Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I’m taking a short break while bread is rising and cake is cooling to do a little reading/writing.

I have plans for next Christmas. I’m going to start on present making early. I know, I know, I say this every year, and being a flighty procrastinator, find myself running around like crazy in December trying to catch up!
BUT! !This time I have made plans to get together with other ladies once a month and work on a project. I really, really hope this works!

Also, I think I will get the family to help me work out an advent catechism….I wonder if there is already such a thing in existence? You know, put down into words the things we talk about throughout the Christmas holiday to be used as a sort of family liturgy. “What do we celebrate at this time of year?” etc…. getting down into the beautiful Grace filled theology of Christ’s incarnation.

Tonight, Gaelan & his bride Emily will join us for dinner, advent devotions and gift exchanging before he heads off to work. Police Officers don’t get holidays off very often as sister Kathryn has often said.

Tomorrow, we will go to Kathryn’s house, (just a mile a way, what a blessing!) and eat begniets and open gifts with her family. We will then just hang out there, playing games, eating and visiting with friends who drop in.

I hope that you all have a blessed Christmas, as you remember the Savior who gave up the riches of heaven to dwell among us so that we may be adopted as sons of God.

All praise to thee, Eternal Lord,
Clothed in a garb of flesh and blood;
Choosing a manger for thy throne,
While worlds on worlds are thine alone.

Once did the skies before thee bow;
A virgin’s arms contain thee now;
Angels who did in the rejoice
Now listen for thine infant voice.

A little Child, thou are a guest,
That weary ones in thee may rest;
Forlorn and lowly is thy birth,
That we may rise to heav’n from earth.

Thou comest in thy darksome night
To make us children of the light,
To make us, in the realms divine,
Like thine own angels round thee shine.

All this for us thy love hath done;
By this to thee our love is won;
For this we tune our cheerful lays,
And shout our thanks in ceaseless praise.
Martin Luther 1524

Monday, December 22, 2008

Click the cartoon for more...

FOR TODAY, Monday, December 22, 2008...

Outside my window... the Sun is shining brightly and the wind is blowing mightily – I bet there’ll be lots of sticks to pick up later.

I am thinking... how blessed I am to be able to be at home to make things warm and welcoming for my family.

I am thankful for... so many things! For this time of year that makes us stop and reflect on the best & most beautiful gift of all, our Lord Christ.

From the learning rooms... just every day things, good music (really listening to Handel’s Messiah), discussing what we are reading, reflecting on our Advent Devotions and praying for those God has given us to pray for. Oh, and 20 minutes a day spent on handwriting practice! ;^)

From the kitchen... some gifts- Apricot-Pineapple Jam & cheesecakes, and a headstart on Christmas Eve dinner – Onion- Mustard rolls & King’s Hawaiian Bread.

I am wearing... Blue jeans, a favorite t-shirt (with burgundy flowers) and my old khaki sweater…my ancient black slides on my feet.

I am creating... a few sewing projects for Christmas gifts, can’t tell though!
I am going... to have to venture out eventually for just a couple of more things and a few groceries.

I am reading... the delightful “Anne & Frederick What-If” entitled “The Little Particulars of the Circumstance” by Susan Kaye over at her blog, what fun!

I am hoping... that Conrad will be home soon, he went in to work last night.

I am hearing... Shayna practicing her piano “Give me that old-time religion” and several carols.

Around the house... People doing chores upstairs, the smell of apricots, laundry waiting to be started and little snippets of felt all over the couch from late night ornament projects.

One of my favorite things... early morning with a hot cup of coffee and blessed quiet so that I can think!

A few plans for the rest of the week: Early this week, a mad scramble to get things finished. (I had the flu and some other things that took my attention and made it impossible to stay on schedule last week!) Our son, Gaelan and his Emily Dearest will come for Christmas Eve dinner, Advent devotions and gift giving, then we will head on over to sister Kathryn’s after begniets in the morning to hang out all day, playing games and just enjoying each other’s company.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
I would like to put up a Christmas tree picture, but am not the camera person in our house…so I will just put up the family picture from the wedding.

Read other Daybook's at SimpleWoman's Daybook site.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Check out the Mother Letter Project. I’ve only read a couple of the letters but they are good…and I like the idea very much.

I learned about it in a convoluted way, (like so many things in the blog world!). Amy’s Humble Musings linked to the letter written by Ann at A Holy Experience…I thought that that letter was excellent and saw the link to the Mother Letter Project. So get a cup of coffee or tea and read one (but only while the kids are otherwise occupied). Merry Christmas, Moms!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A New Kind of Thanksgiving Day

For the last couple of days I have found myself spending more time than usual in prayer.

You see, I have a friend who has a terrible injury, he is in excruciating pain requiring morphine and while he waits to see one of the only two physicians in this country who will treat his injury I am praying for him – every hour. Won’t you join me in praying for my friend and his family?

And also, I have another friend. She and her husband thought he just had a terrible case of pneumonia. It is actually lung cancer and the Dr. says that there is only a tiny sliver of hope that he will ever be off life support again. She is reeling from the shock and spending all her time at his side while their mostly grown children gather. So, I pray for dear Anne & Don and their family as well.

So, I shed tears and pray on Thanksgiving Day, crying out to God for His mercy on these loved ones. And I thank Him that He is God of the universe who holds all things in His hands. And that He loves me, and these friends.

“…in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philipians 4:6b,7

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Thanksgiving Recipe

I made this dressing (stuffing) for Gaelan & Emily's rehearsal dinner.

Cornbread Dressing with Andouille Sausage
2 c. chopped onion
3 c. chopped celery
1 lb andouille, diced
1 stick butter
6 c. cornbread, crumbled
3 c. stale or toasted white bread, cubed
2 tbs. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. each, celery seed, sage, salt
3 eggs, well beaten
2-3 c. broth
Put crumbled bread and seasonings in a large bowl.
Sauté the onion, celery & andouille with butter in a large skillet until the onion is transparent and the andouille is beginning to brown. Add to the bread mixture. Mix.
Add the eggs and broth (should be wet, the eggs give this a soufflé type texture.) and turn into a greased baking pan or pans and bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until hot & golden on top.

Mix 2 cups each of cornmeal & white flour, ½ cup sugar, 1 tsp. salt, 2Tbs +2 tsp. baking powder in a large bowl.
Mix 2 eggs, ½ cup vegetable oil & 2 cups milk together. Add to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
Pour into two greased 9x13” pans (for thinnish cornbread) or 1- 11x14” pan for cornbread you want to split in half to butter. Bake in a 425° oven for 30 minutes or so.

Note for those who don't have access to real andouille...Costco sells a wonderful chicken andouille that tastes better than some andouille I've had from New Orleans. You could substitute any spicy smoked sausage in this recipe.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Good Article

by one of my favorite speakers, Voddie Baucham.

"It's Not All Bad"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wedding Snapshots 3

I'm so busy starting a new diet, and getting my kids back into their lesson routines (we took off the whole month of October...not even required readings!)

So here are a few more pics.

the reception and a glimpse of the work & helpers behind it.
The first dance was "hole in the wall" and the wedding party danced it.

More dancing!

The cakes!

Steven's "best man's speech"

After we sang 128b "Blest the Man that Fears Jehovah" the couple left the reception.

Bye to Daddy & "little" brother.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Wedding Snapshots take 2

Gaelan & Emily
The Wedding Party

Isaac clowning

Groomsmen, waiting...
Steven, David & Isaac

Shayna & her newfound friend, Meghan

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election 2008 results are in!

For a timely reminder, read Doug Wilson's article from a few days ago. It is excellent.

Ten Things to Keep in Mind After the Election.

1. God is still Father, Christ is still at His right hand, and the Holy Spirit is still abroad in the world, recreating that world according to the image of Christ. When the nations conspire against Him, He laughs at them.

2. The most important thing we can do for our nation, and for the world around us, is to gather for worship every Lord's Day. The privilege of voting in presidential elections comes to us every four years, while we are graced with the opportunity to take the Lord's Supper week to week. Right worship reforms the Church, and is therefore God's central instrument for remaking the world. For this reason, we must insist on worship that is in accordance with Scripture. Judgment begins with the household of God. Our generation is fatherless. In the power of the Spirit, in the name of the Son, we must therefore worship the Father.

Read the rest...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

One more for today!

The cake...

catching up on a little blog reading...

I saw this post at Flourishing Mother.


A few Snapshots, take 1

From the rehearsal.

From the rehearsal dinner.

Beautiful maidens, sister Christine, friend Meghan, Emily & sister-in-law Shayna

My hug! Conrad looking on.

Brothers, Gaelan & Isaac
We're still recovering...doing laundry, trying to find my kitchen counters, returning items to the lenders such as platters, candle sticks, vases... God is so good!

Monday, October 27, 2008

just a few more days!

Here is a link to my Pastor's family's blog where his wife, Sara has written about the quilt the girls made for Emily.

Please pray for our family this week as we prepare for Gaelan's wedding. I will check back in again after we recover!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Still getting ready.

Brrr! It's chilly outside. Gaelan has just left to go to try-outs for Tactics Team. He doesn't think he'll make it this time. He's had far more important things to do than work out lately. He says he just wants to do a respectable job at it. So, ya'll can pray however the Lord leads there.

We have less than 10 days to go before the wedding. Yesterday I spent about 4 hours shopping with my kind and patient youngest son looking for the shoes and jewelry to go with what I'm wearing for the wedding. So, now THAT'S done!

I have decided (after discussing it with a fellow baker) to not freeze the cakes ahead, but to work on them just a couple of days before the wedding. So, this is how my schedule looks.

This week:
Thursday-Saturday - a thorough cleaning of the much neglected house and yard.

Sunday is our day of rest (thank you Lord!) We are planning to picnic at the York River after church.

Monday I'm taking down Shayna's hair and grocery shopping for fresh ingredients.

Tuesday Shayna's hair gets deep conditioned and I prepare to bake.

Wednesday I will begin to bake, crumb coat, wrap & chill cakes. I will also thaw the chicken breasts for one of the main dishes at the party.

Thursday I will begin to thaw the food for the rehearsal dinner, brine the chicken breasts, finish baking any cakes not baked and make the filling for the cake. I will also make the buttercream for the cakes.

Friday is the day before the wedding and the rehearsal dinner. I will ice & stack the cakes and transport them to the walk-in cooler at the reception hall. Then will get started heating up and cooking for the rehearsal dinner.

Rehearsal is at 4:30, so I'll get ushered down the aisle and then leave for where the dinner is at in order to be ready for dinner at 6:15.

Then, I should be free on Saturday to get my nails done before the wedding? Maybe, maybe not!

I'm not sure when Shayna's hair is going to get done at that time. A friend has offered to do it for me, I am going to take her up on it. Perhaps Thurs or Fri.

No matter how I figure it, Thursday and Friday will be very busy days. Pray for us all as the wedding approaches.


Friday, October 17, 2008

A Tea Party & Fruit Scones

Many of the young ladies and some of the moms who have been blessed by Emily’s ministry over the years she has been here participated in making an embroidered quilt for her. Today is the luncheon where she will be presented with it.

I will have to get a picture of it because it is amazing! Many of these ladies had never done embroidery but all of them did an amazing job. Most of the patterns are copied from vintage patterns and the colors are all in muted deep colors such as burgundy, navy and smoky blues, deep rose and mossy greens. I know Emily is going to be delighted and touched.

The luncheon is going to be a dress-up tea party. Shayna and I made fruit scones to share.

Here’s the recipe:
Fruited Oat Scones
*1 ½ cups oat flour
1 ½ cups a.p. flour
1/3 cup plus 2 tbs. sugar
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
¾ c. butter
1 cup buttermilk
¾ cup chopped dried fruit (currants, apricots, craisins, golden raisins)
1 tsp. grated orange zest
1 Tbs. heavy cream
¼ tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400°F. Use an ungreased baking sheet. Combine the flours, 1/3 cup of the sugar, baking powder, baking soda & salt in a mixing bowl. Stir with a fork to mix well and aerate.
Cut the butter into the flour mixture, using a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles fresh crumbs.
Add the buttermilk, fruit & orange rind. Mix only until the dry ingredients are moistened. Gather the dough into a ball & press so it holds together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead lightly twelve times.
Divide the dough into two & pat each half into a circle ½- ¾” thick. In a small bowl, combine the cream, cinnamon and remaining 2 Tbs. sugar, stirring to blend. Brush the dough with the glaze. Cut each circle into 8-wedge shaped pieces. Place the scones slightly apart on the baking sheet. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until tops are browned. Makes 16 wedges.
Whirl oatmeal in a food processor or blender to make oat flour.
We often pat these out and cut with a sharp, metal heart-shaped cutter and then brush with the glaze.

Cream Cheese Spread for muffins and scones:
1 8oz. block of cream cheese, softened
1 Tbs. butter, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
dash of ground mace
Mix all ingredients with electric mixer until smooth. Serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Here it is Wednesday

… and not unexpectedly I am not very far in my To Do List.

I have a lot of shopping and even price comparing to do, today.
I have two pans of Cornbread & Andouille Dressing (Stuffing) made and need to make four more. (Then freeze them.) Plan to do that today as well.
Then I have the Shrimp Etouffee to make. Thursday & Friday, I’m thinking.
Then I need to start making the cakes. (Next week)
The way my day goes is morning Quiet Times, breakfast, a little blogging for my sanity then housework until Lunch.
Then I get to work on Wedding stuff. Yesterday I started before lunch and today, the housework is going to be all up to the kiddos.

Gaelan’s To Do list is getting shorter, though and that’s a good thing.
Rings bought, vows written, apartment secured, insurance taken care of, tux measured, honeymoon arranged…. He just a few more very important things to do, such as get the license!

We were all happy to hear that he got his own squad car last night, very exciting!

I have heard from Conrad only a little, while at Presbytery/General Assembly. He says that they are very busy with Presbytery until lunch, then General Assembly after until dinner and then worship in the evening and starting all over again the next day. He sounds tired.

Tonight my sister and Heather have invited us over to their house (the Dornan’s are living with Kath, right now, as well as another family!) for dinner, tonight. I volunteered a vegetable and Cake! What else? I’m making a batch of the recipe I’m planning to use for the groom’s cake along with the same filling and icing. Nothing like getting as much practice as possible!

I guess that is all for now. Keep us in your prayers.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggidy Jig!

We are back from our third annual insanity church campout. I believe that it was the most successful one yet. It was wonderful to have so many volunteers and to not have to worry about every little detail!
Conrad organized a kickball tournament with modified rules so that even little people could participate. It was genius! Everyone had such a good time, especially the younger kids who participated with the older.
Many people have asked if we can do this twice a year.

Today, we have tons of laundry and housework to do. Conrad and Pastor Hemmeke are off to Presbytery and the following Pastor's conference. So, as the day progresses and I am better able to clear my foggy brain, I will get back on here with this week's plan.

Ya'll are going to help me stay focused!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Today we start to get ready for our church campout!
My To Do List:
Gather things to pack into a pile in the living room
Work really hard on the laundry (Conrad needs to pack to go away for a week on Sunday evening)
Cook a side dish and dessert to bring for Sunday's lunch
Make cookies for snacking over the weekend
Grocery Shopping for the campout and to take advantage of sales for the rehearsal dinner
Spend extra time in The Word (feeling dry lately and it is mostly because I've been neglectful in that area)
Spend lots of time in Thanksgiving and Praise

The rest of the week, I'm trying to put the wedding out of my mind (hard, even impossible to do, but I'm going to just jot down the thoughts and then move on).

It looks like it might be a bit rainy, but thankfully the temperatures will be warm. Who minds a little wet if it isn't too cold?
I'm looking forward to a relaxing, fun-filled weekend with hubby before he goes away for a whole week to Presbytery. Conrad has been working insane hours lately and then with all of the other duties he has it will be nice to have nothing to do but visit with dear church family and enjoy the outdoors.

Next week I will be jumping in to get the majority of the remaining work done for the wedding.

I will write again when the weekend is over.

Here's a link to a convicting article which I found over at Ladies Against Feminism.

Today I'm Thankful for: Frozen pizzas! And the chilly, breezy, sunshiny day. I'm also thankful that my friend Myra is coming in for the wedding from Holland! Woohoo!
Today I'm praying for: Gaelan and Emily and Emily's family who are all working hard on the wedding. For my cousin Marla who just lost her dad - my Uncle Billy, I'll miss him.
What's for Dinner? Grandmother Doskey's chicken and noodles and some of Granny Smith's ginger bread cake, it's the perfect day for it!

Here's a link to my Pastor's latest sermon in the series on Ecclesiastes, I am still thinking about it.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

27 days and counting!

Today, I hope to get most of my To Do list done in the morning so that I can go to the Fall Folk Arts festival in Newport News Park this afternoon when Conrad gets home from work.

The weather here is beautiful! Cool and sunshiny. When it is chilly enough in the house that I need to put on a sweater, it makes me want to bake! I am looking forward to having a couple of young ladies over to my house in November to make streudels. I usually make them for Reformation Day, but won't this year!

I have a couple of items off of yesterday's to do list that still need doing:
Bake that cake!
Make Slaw for tomorrow's lunch
And the house can still use some more straightening.

Here is today's list.
Have Steven & Isaac bleach the front of the house
Yardwork (lots of sticks to pick up and more cutting back of the shrubbery)
Bedrooms cleaned
Make BBQ pork for Sunday's lunch
Clean my library
Catalog a couple of items for the church library
Make a grocery list for the remaining items for the wedding weekend.
Normal Sunday prep things such as find your clothes and makesure there's food ready.
GO TO THE FESTIVAL! Do you think I'll make it?

We are all looking forward to the church campout, it is one of my most favorite events of the year. I'm reserving all of next week for that, sort of taking a week off of wedding preperation.

Well, Gaelan should be home soon from work (8:30ish). It is hard (and exciting) to think that it won't be me keeping that vigil much longer. I'm going to go get some chicory coffee and make sure that my late risers are out of one wants to get up when the windows have been open all night and it's chilly! I'm going to listen to the messages that my pastor has already preached in this current sermon series while I'm baking and cleaning today. Here's a link!

God bless your Sunday preperations and worship!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Wedding Happenings

Greetings everyone!
I thought that I would use my blog during this busy month to help myself gather my thoughts and keep track of my growing “To Do” list.

Here is what the month looks like:

Next weekend (9-12) is the church camp-out. Our family is in charge of that, but many people have volunteered and all that we really have to do is coordinate the weekend and plan our own family’s camping meals & packing.

The following week is Presbytery, Conrad and our pastor will be in Texas for the entire week. I’m sorry that I will miss it this year, but even without the wedding coming, a whole week away is crazy!

Emily’s shower is on the 21st and the Crisis Pregnancy Center’s annual benefit banquet is on the 23rd. Conrad is the chairman of the board, and so has to be there, but I haven’t decided if I will. Our friend RC is going to be speaking, and going right back home again, so I would like to go, if I’m not too crazy by then.

The 31st is the rehearsal and post rehearsal dinner. This will be the first Reformation day that we haven’t celebrated in many years, it will feel weird. I think perhaps we should at least sing “A Mighty Fortress” at the end of the dinner. What do you think?

I’m cooking the meal. It looks like we are going to have close to a hundred guests. I’m only a little nervous about how the food will turn out and having the right quantities. I’m mostly excited. I’ll be doing what I love for people I love.

The first of November, All Saint’s Day is Gaelan & Emily’s wedding. It is going to be huge, we have more than 500 people invited and only a few “regrets” have been received. Emily’s folks have engaged an amazing band and we plan to contra-dance the afternoon away! I’m baking two large cakes, the wedding cake and the groom’s cake as well as other single tier cakes to serve all of those guests.

Things accomplished:
Wedding cake flavors and décor decided on.
Guest list for the rehearsal dinner finished.
Menu for the rehearsal dinner and contract for room rental taken care of.
Dress purchased (still have to find shoes and jewelry).
Desserts for rehearsal dinner made (I chose many dishes that make ahead and freeze beautifully since I will be concentrating on decorating a wedding cake.)
Out-of-town relatives notified of hotel arrangements and invited to rehearsal dinner.

Today’s To Do List:
·Make the Red Beans for the rehearsal dinner in the roaster and freeze.
·Decide on exact amounts for the main dishes and check for ingredients still needed.
·Work on seating assignments and continue to brain storm about a low-key activity for during the dinner to help family members get acquainted. Any ideas?
·Make slaw for Sunday’s dinner (this is so that I can spend some of Saturday at the folk arts festival in our town.)
·Downstairs straightened. This gets delegated for the most part to the kids.
·Some errands, Michael’s and Ulta and a friend’s house to pick up some vegetables that she is chopping for me.
·Bake what I hope is the last cake to decide on what recipe I’m using for the groom’s cake.
·Work on the gift I’m making for Emily for her shower.
·Supper Bubble & Squeak

Today, I’m thankful for: Our Heavenly Father’s care. I don’t know how anyone can marry off a kid, or send them off to start their life without being able to trust to God for their life. And for His care in my very breathing out & breathing in not to mention all of the unimportant details such as getting ready for a wedding.

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

'For in him we live and move and have our being.' Acts 17:28a

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Black Bottom Muffins

Black Bottom Muffins

for the delightful Amy Jo...

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cups sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
2/3 cup buttermilk
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup butter, melted & cooled
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips, chopped
(I use mini & skip the chopping)

1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/8 tsp. almond extract

1.Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease twelve muffin cups.
2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda & salt.
3. In another bowl, stir together buttermilk, oil, butter, egg & vanilla until blended.
4. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients; add buttermilk mixture and stir JUST TO COMBINE. Stir in chips. DON’T OVER STIR BATTER!
5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
6. In a medium bowl, stir together cream cheese, sugar, egg & almond extract until well blended. Spoon mixture over chocolate batter in muffin cups.
7. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into center of one muffin comes out clean.
8. Remove muffin tin or tins to wire rack. Cool 4 minutes before removing muffins from cups; finish cool on a rack.
9. Serve warm or cool completely and store in an airtight container in refrigerator. Let muffins reach room temperature before serving.
These muffins freeze well. Makes 12 muffins.

Monday, August 18, 2008

For Today... August 18, 2008

Outside my Window...a neglected yard calling to me…

I am thinking...about how wonderful it is to have a fresh start on Monday.

I am thankful husband, his loving leadership. He always helps me to feel calm about all of the work to do and to figure out what my priorities are.

From the kitchen...nothing today, but tomorrow we plan to try out a wedding cake flavor. Perhaps Apricot Brandy Pound Cake with Ambrosia cream.

I am wearing...long denim jumper with buttons and embroidery all over it - a Christmas gift from my Mom, and bare feet with my hair up in a clip…haven’t put on makeup yet.

I am reading... Love that Lasts; Where Marriage Meets Grace by the Ricuccis and Plaited Glory

I am hoping...That we get our work done today, Monday is always too full of things to do!

I am hearing...The Youngers listening to an audio book while they fold laundry - Jack Plank Tells Tales by Natalie Babbit

I am creating...a new library cataloging system for the church library and finishing up the quilting on the wedding quilt for my cousin (who got married LAST MONTH!)

Around the house... Cleaning up the mess left from a busy weekend. Laundry, Laundry & More Laundry! This week we are doing housework projects, catching up on ironing, cleaning out the linen closet, etc.

One of my favorite things... Baking…I’m looking forward to meeting with my sons fiance’ to talk about wedding cake plans.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... Oops! I already mentioned that in around the house. We are going to do “light school” until after the wedding so that we can get a lot of different projects done…I’m just too distracted to do the “thinking work” of teaching class.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you..

Go on over to Simple Woman's blog and add your own daybook entry.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Little Ones in Church, a link.

One of the things our church has sought to do is include the little ones in the service. We treat them as though they belong with us, because they do. We used to have a full-fledged Sunday school or children’s church during the “adult” service way back when, but over the years it has fallen out of use. The parents wanted to keep the children with them rather than send them off to their own service.
Read the rest at Nancy Wilson's blog Femina

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Tips on Homeschooling Preschoolers...

Sorry that I have been MIA.
Things are very busy here, as we are finishing up the last few weeks of our school year and plan for the next.
I found this little list while cleaning up files on my computer. Hope it encourages someone.

Tips for Homeschooling Preschoolers
by Margaret Doskey

#1 Get thee to a parenting class! The most important thing is to raise our children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. I highly recommend the materials from Family Ministries- “Child Training Tips” by Reb Bradley comes in book, tapes, or video-terrific resource.

#2 Train him to sit still, quiet and unoccupied. Other words, self-control.

#3 Read aloud, Read aloud, Read aloud! “Honey for a Child’s Heart” by Gladys Hunt. And as an aside, television & video, being a passive medium has been proven to impair language skills, limit it severely!

#4 Talk,, Talk, Talk! Explain what you are doing, tell how God made everything, count, sing, ask questions, use proper English.

#5 Mom & Dad- Pray, Read & Pray! Various homeschool books:

"When You Rise Up" by R.C. Sproul, Jr.

“Home Grown Kids” by Raymond Moore

“Homeschooling, the Right Choice” by Chris Klicka

“ For the Children’s Sake” Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

“ What’s a Daughter to Do?” tape by Doug Phillips of Vision forum

“ Homeschooling with a Meek & Quiet Spirit” by Terri Maxwell

“ Dumbing Us Down; the hidden curriculum behind compulsive education” by John T. Gatto

“ Clergy in the Classroom” by David Noeble

#7 Teach her to read in little bits (5 min.) at a time, knowing the alphabet is not necessary and some say actually causes confusion… Ask, “do you want to take a nap now, or do some reading practice?” “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” by Engelmann & Haddox & Bruner

#8 Math, count, observe. Cuisenaire Rods along with the activity cards.

#9 Writing Readiness- Ready Writer workbook

#10 “Doing School” Rod & Staff Preschool workbooks

#11 Memorize, memorize, memorize! Kids this age are sponges (how quick do they memorize commercial jingles?). Put it to music and they will learn it. Scripture tapes (Steve Green), Catechism (Judy Rogers), Science, history, French & Latin vocabulary. Play the same Scripture CD over and over at Bedtime for a month. Record a tape of things you want her to learn (birth date, address, family mantra, etc.), use it as a timer for an activity.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Homeschooling in the news...

A Secular Newspaper in Mississippi has this to say in an article...

"Methinks American middle-class people are uncomfortable around the home schooled for the same reason the alcoholic is uneasy around the teetotaler. Their very existence represents a rejection of our values, and an indictment of our lifestyles. Those families are willing to render unto Caesar the things that Caesar’s be, but they draw the line at their children. Those of us who have put our trust in the secular state (and effectively surrendered our children to it) recognize this act of defiance as a rejection of our values, and we reject them in return. "

Read the whole article here.

Thanks to Stacy at Sacred Calling for the heads up!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy!

What is it about summer months that make everyday life so busy? We planned to continue school as we always do right on through the summer but the last couple of weeks have been crazy and we are doing well if we get the basic seat work in!

The big news is that our oldest son has gotten engaged to the most lovely young lady. We are all very excited and are working on making a wedding happen the last weekend in October.
I have been putting off posting because I wanted to write something brilliant about courtship and about young ladies who are dedicating their lives to serving others...what a blessing they are. But I'm so busy that words fail me.

Meanwhile, let me just say that it is an amazing blessing to have the two of them continue to seek counsel from their parents and to ask us to do a study on marriage with them! I'm amazed at God's goodness to us, when we have so often been so unfaithful!
The Garden from Doug Wilson's book Her Hand in Marriage

Thursday, May 22, 2008

That Ol' Moloch Box!


The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER
letThem near your television set --
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we've been,
We've watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone's place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they're hypnotized by it,
Until they're absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don't climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink --
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!'you'll say,
'But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!'
We'll answer this by asking you,
'What used the darling ones to do?
'How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?'
Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
THEY ... USED ... TO ... READ!
They'd READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more.
Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching 'round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it's Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There's Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They'll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start --
oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts.
They'll grow so keen
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.
Roald Dahl

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Return to Meal-Time Sanity

I have been noticing something lately... some of my kids have grown picky. I believe that for one, it is the side-effect of having more grocery money at my disposal; not having to stick to simpler foods… mostly though, I believe the reason is lack of vigilance on my part. In my experience, the answer to this is a sort of meal-time boot camp. No more choices, just thankfulness. (How often does God have to deal with us, thus?)

There was a time when the task of meal planning was much saner in this household. I’m being nostalgic and going back to the way it was, at least to the degree that I’m able.

We are going to have our breakfasts planned according to the routine of the day.
For instance on Monday, we “hit the floor running”, it is the day that we have extra mess around the house after the festivities of the Lord’s Day, we usually have laundry piled up because we didn’t do any on Saturday and Sunday, and it is the day that we have a standing appointment in the afternoon – piano lessons.
So, on Monday, breakfast is easy, and you must get it yourself - Mom is busy! The kids can choose between cereal, toast, any designated leftovers in the fridge or make themselves an egg, as long as they clean up the mess!
Monday lunch is also about speed and ease, usually grilled cheese. The rest of the week, we will have soup made from “must-goes”, fresh bread and fruit.
So here is what my morning meal plan looks like:
Breakfast: Each day, Kephir Smoothies &
Monday (our crazy day): Catch as catch can!
Tuesday : Oatmeal and bacon
Wednesday: Pancakes or Brown Rice Waffles and sausage
Thursday: Grits and ham
Friday: French Toast & sausage
Saturday: (Grocery shopping early in the morning) Muffins
Sunday: Muffins or other baked goodies, breakfast casserole
(There are some of us who must have protein at breakfast.)

Lunches will be soup, bread & fruit. If the soup runs out, or we have to eat on the run, we will have tortilla wraps or sandwiches.

I’m hoping that going back to this plan will result in healthier attitudes at the table. I’m also hoping that as prices go up, it will make things easier on our budget.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

On my list of "want to reads"

Reasons to win souls from the book Unashamed by Floyd McElveen: Found in the review of that book at Discerning Reader.

Because our Lord and Savior commanded us to
Because those who die without Christ are eternally lost
Because nothing pleases God more
Because winning souls brings great joy to our lives
Because winning souls results in changed lives
Because the sacrifice of Christ demands that we win others to Him
Because redeemed individuals bring glory to the Lord
Because winning souls demonstrates the power of God
Because winning souls demonstrates the purpose of God
Because we are grateful
Because of love
Because there is rejoicing in heaven
Because of the promise of heaven
Because of the reality of hell – McElveen makes no bones about the reality of hell; if God and heaven are eternal, then hell must be eternal too.
Because of Jesus Himself – “Jesus is what makes heaven a place of incomparable glory and joy.”

Check out the other great book reviews there!

Monday, May 12, 2008

First Simple Woman's Daybook Entry

FOR TODAY: Monday, May 12, 2008 ...
Outside My Window... it's a chilly cloudy day, the branches in our old oaks are whipping around.

I am thinking... about how much I need to get my pictures into albums.

I am thankful for... my hardworking menfolk, Steven has just arrived home, Gaelan has just left for his shift as a police officer, and hubby is finishing up his day at the shipyard.

From the kitchen... Chili that Shayna made in the crocpot, she's about to make cornbread, there's potato sourdough bread rising on the counter.

I am wearing... a long denim skirt, pale green t-shirt, a beige, multi-colored flecked cable cardigan and green socks, hair's in a pony-tail.

I am creating... a scrap quilt for a cousin's upcoming wedding.

I am going... to change my shirt when I'm done and touch up my make-up before Conrad gets home. (I'm not planning on leaving the house until Wednesday.)

I am reading... The Compleat Gentleman by Brad Miner and Mossflower by Brian Jaques to the kids.

I am hoping... for Gaelan to have a good night, and that God will grant him the desires of his heart.

I am hearing... Wind in the trees and the children talking while they fold laundry.

Around the house... School's done, chores are mostly done, it's pretty quiet.

One of my favorite things... My new crocpot...I got the kind with the gasket and clamps to keep it from spilling. I have retired my old ones which were limping along missing various necessary parts.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: I'm hoping to work on Shayna's hair more, we've been taking out her locs...hard sore-head work, that! I would like to get a third of that quilt pieced this week!

Here is picture thought I am sharing..."How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!" Psalm 133:1

Gaelan and Isaac actually goofing off, but a good picture none-the-less!

How To Help Your Grieving Friend

I wanted to put a link to this great series so that I could refer to it again. It looks to be very good. Found through Nancy Wilson's blog (also very good!).

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Bitty Booties

I made these Bitty Booties for Moya Mommy's baby shower. I found them fun to make, and really like how they turned out. Take a look at the flicker photos of all of the possibilities.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Comment on the Bulgogi recipe...

This recipe is SPICY! Lisa tells me that beef bulgogi is not supposed to be spicy. We had this just the other day and all decided that we would have enjoyed it with a little less kick. So, the next time I make it, I'm going to use only 1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Anna at Pleasant View Schoolhouse wrote an encouraging post entitled "Lessons from Vintage Fiction". Here's a little taste:
"Vintage fiction has been my treasure trove for figuring out how to put together a homemaking life. Old housekeeping manuals will give you out-dated specifics about how to iron or polish the silver the way it was done in the thirties or forties, but it's the mentioned-in-passing daily routine that fascinates me so deeply. Here's what I have learned about a domestic life, courtesy of Grace Livingston Hill, L.M. Montgomery, and their ilk:Homemakers have work to do. They get up early and make breakfast, since someone in the family needs sustenance before catching the trolley for a long day at the office. Homemakers have a plan for each day's special tasks. There's really no time to sit around; running a home is a demanding undertaking."

Go and read the rest.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Favorite Recipe

A dear friend, Lisa brought this wonderful dish to our house, cooked it, showed us how to eat it and shared it with us on the evening I came home from surgery. What a special blessing it was! She sells it at her store, so I couldn't get her recipe, but this is one that I've adapted. If you come to my house, you are likely to be served Bulgogi...Yum!

Bulgogi (Korean Beef BBQ)

2 lbs. beef- sliced thin, across the grain and into strips
4 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs. brown sugar
2 Tbs. dark sesame oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger - or 1 tsp dried, ground
2 Tbs saki or dry sherry
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
toasted sesame seeds (~ 2 tsp.)

1. Combine all ingredients except beef in a large bowl. Whisk together. Add meat and marinate atleast 30 minutes.
2. Cook the meat over med. high heat on a stove top grill. Heat grill first, making it very hot. Brush w/peanut oil. Cook meat 1-2 minutes on each side browning nicely. ---I've also fried it or just thrown it into the crocpot. We actually prefer it in the crocpot on low ~5hours.

Serve with sticky rice and leaf lettuce.

Here is how you eat it. Put a small pile of the meat and a small pile of the rice onto your plate. Take several lettuce leaves and put a small forkful of both the rice and meat on the lettuce leaf. Roll up into a little package and then stuff the whole thing into your mouth! Once the novelty has worn off, just cut up the lettuce on your plate with the rice and meat and just eat it.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Favorite Everyday Things

Tooth & Gums Tonic...I'm addicted to the stuff!

It has wonderful ingredients such as Echinacea,

Gotu Kola, Peppermint Oil, Red Thyme, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus,

& Lavender.

Arbonne NutriMin C cleanser, toner & moisturizer

Bath & Body Works Orange Ginger Body Lotion

Bare Minerals makeup

Amy Knapp's Family Organizer

Post-It Notes - I use the pad on the bottom, it's lined.

I use it to keep my To Do list for the day in my organizer

and to jot down notes for school.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Why Family Revival and Discipleship Is A Critical Tool in God-Blessed Evangelism

Unrighteousness is always the result of ungodliness, and the only hope of getting back any measure of righteousness into life is to have a revival of godliness. That is precisely what the apostle is saying to the Ephesians and to ourselves. The best and the most moral periods in the history of this country, and every other country, have always been those periods which have followed mighty religious awakenings. This problem of lawlessness and lack of discipline, the problem of children and of youth, was just not present 50 years ago as it is today. Why? Because the great tradition of the Evangelical Awakening of the 18th century was still operating. But as that has gone, these terrible moral and social problems are coming back, as the apostle teaches us, and as they have always come back throughout the running centuries.

Present conditions therefore demand that we should look at the apostle’s statement. I believe that Christian parents and children, Christian families, have a unique opportunity of witnessing to the world at this present time by just being different. We can be true evangelists by showing this discipline, this law and order, this true relationship between parents and children. We may be the means under God’s hand of bringing many to a knowledge of the Truth. Let us therefore think of it in that way.

-David Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Prayer #1: That the Lord would save the souls of all of our children early in life, and that none would be lost.
Prayer #2: That our children would be faithful covenant-keepers with the God of their fathers.
Prayer #3: That God would send blessed, well-suited, Christ-loving spouses to our progeny, and that there would be no divorce for 200 years.
Prayer #4: That our children would continue to home educate their own children, following the Biblical/Hebrew model for discipleship.
Prayer #5: That God would bless the wombs of our daughters and daughters-in-law, with a multitude of covenant-keeping children, who will be mighty in the land.
Prayer #6: That God would bless and make fruitful the dominion labors of the family in all of its generations.
Prayer #7: That our children will honor their fathers and mothers, and be faithful to the godly and applicable visions their fathers give to them.

From Strategic Insights into A Multi-Generational Vision of Victory, Presented by Doug Phillips at the 200 Year Plan: A Practicum on Multi-Generational Faithfulness

Taken from Doug's Blog

A friend and I were just talking about this on Monday. We were discussing "goals" that we have for our families. I specifically mentioned that I pray that my children would have a "generational vision of faithfulness" and that they would continue to homeschool and be open to having as many children as the Lord would bless them with. I realized I sounded like good ol' Doug Philips and well, there you go!

(I've started my Estrogen Replacement Therapy and though I'm excited to be working to get rid of all of the symptoms I've been experiencing, my headaches are back in full force. My Dr. said that since I'm apparently very sensitive to the hormone levels in my body it may take some time before we have the right balance to be headache free and lesson my other symptoms. Thank you for your prayers.)

Friday, March 28, 2008

More Christina Rossetti

WHY? \
Lord, if I love Thee and Thou lovest me,
Why need I any more these toilsome days;
Why should I not run singing up Thy ways
Straight into heaven, to rest myself with Thee?
What need remains of death-pang yet to be,
If all my soul is quickened in Thy praise;
If all my heart loves Thee, what need the amaze,
Struggle and dimness of an agony?--
Bride whom I love, if thou too lovest Me,
Thou needs must choose My Likeness for thy dower:
So wilt thou toil in patience, and abide
Hungering and thirsting for that blessed hour
When I My Likeness shall behold in thee,
And thou therein shalt waken satisfied.

I had planned to post something for Good News Thursday, but couldn't think of any that is of broader interest than our own home front. There is one thing. A little girl at our church fell last Sunday and scraped her elbow. It got infected and her mother took her to the E.R. on Tuesday. The Dr. said that if they had waited another day or two they are not sure that they would have been able to save her. She was in the hospital for two days as they tried to get the right combination of antibiotics to work. Please thank God with me that she is home, now. Also, both her parents have pneumonia, now! We've got young people over there helping out with the household and meals are taken care of. Please pray that the "G" family gets some rest! Thanks!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Gearing up for the big move...

Not away from my home, but IN my home. We have decided to flip the library and living room.

The library is currently housed in the larger room. The living room is in what was supposed to be the dining room in my 60s era ranch style home. We are committed to having Bible studies here starting in April and sitting around our dining room table as we have for parenting classes just isn't going to work.

I love moving furniture around, it allows for a good, thorough cleaning. My boys, well, not so much! Steven very carefully measured the rooms for me and drew a diagram so that I would be sure where everything would go. I have actually made little paper patterns for my furniture (12 bookcases in those two rooms) and am sure... I think! :)

So, next I need to plan what we move in what order, since it will take a few days. I will be purging bookshelves, a painful (and usually unproductive) task and cleaning books. What is it that Don Aslett says about maintaining stuff? Well, I'm sure that he didn't mean books!

I'm looking for a desk for Conrad to put in the library. He really needs a place to study other than on our bed. He has piles of books all around the walls in there that he is either currently studying or planning to study. I am hoping to incorporate an office for him in the future library. My Dad always had a study.

Well, I survived yesterday,as I always do. I didn't manage to do any laundry. Gael and I were talking last night and realized that Tuesday and Thursdays have become big laundry days around here. Monday and Friday are just too busy for anything more than a little ironing (not even that on Mondays). I took my little room patterns with me to piano and did that there while I was waiting for Shayna to finish her lesson. We got all of our schoolwork done (number one priority) and the house cleaned up (number two) but I only made one of my phone calls and didn't get to the church library catalog.

Today will be much better. I have bread rising and laundry in the washer. We will get schoolwork and chores done and basically just keep working on all the things that need doing. Tonight is a session meeting which all of my menfolk attend. Shayna and I are going to friends' house to teach them to do ribbon embroidery. I'm sure that we will have tea.

I'm having a terrible time staying on my diet...I am finding that I'm just too busy with the urgent. I sent Conrad to work with regular ol' spaghetti and meatballs. Oh well! I'll just keep trying. Conrad says not to get discouraged, but I am. Sigh!

Well we are off to study the Phoenicians! Have a good day!

Today's focus: Laundry! Deskwork

What's for dinner?: Hotdog Casserole for the kids. Chicken breast for Conrad and me. Salad, fruit, fresh potato sourdough bread.

Today, I'm thankful for: New beginnings...I know, I know, I could count how many times I've said that on this blog! For the robins in my yard. For my hardworking menfolk. For my daughter, my companion in domesticity. For the curriculum we are using this year, it has a been a blessing to have someone else do the research.

Today I'm praying for: The peace of Christ to reign in our hearts, with thankfulness. Collosians 3:15. For the guys, that they would find favor in the eyes of their employers, and that they would accomplish the work set out for them. For the girls, that we would have the "law of kindness on our tongues".

Monday, March 24, 2008

To Do list:
Clean up the's a terrible mess - 1.5 hours

Laundry - haven't done any since Thursday - total actual hands on 2 hours, that includes some ironing

Lessons - my share about 2 hours, that's teaching, grading and recordkeeping

Paperwork - menu planning for the week, going over the church library 1 hour total

Cooking - easy stuff today, 1 hour total, only because Conrad and I are dieting, that takes extra work

Phone calls - I have to make 5, at 10 minutes each (and knowing I'll go over) I'll give that an hour

Piano lessons - out of the house for 1.5 hours, I do get some studying done, for about 20 minutes of that

Library - an hour if I'm business like and don't linger

And all of this needs to be done before the evening when we try really hard to maintain a routine of family devotions, quiet study time and read aloud time with whoever is at home at the time.

I hate starting the day out knowing I'm not going to get everything done no matter how hard I try. I realized today too, that I have dropped the habit of looking over the coming day's work the night before. I could have started a few things ahead and would have been more energetic about getting out of bed if I'd thought about it ahead! Sigh!

So, this is the total of my computer time today. Have a good week! It definitely gets better! :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

by Christina Rossetti

Shall Christ hang on the Cross, and we not look?
Heaven, earth, and hell stood gazing at the first,
While Christ for long-cursed man was counted cursed;
Christ, God and Man, Whom God the Father strook
And shamed and sifted and one while forsook:--
Cry shame upon our bodies we have nursed
In sweets, our souls in pride, our spirits immersed
In wilfulness, our steps run all acrook.
Cry shame upon us! for He bore our shame
In agony, and we look on at ease
With neither hearts on flame nor cheeks on flame:
What hast thou, what have I, to do with peace?
Not to send peace but send a sword He came,
And fire and fasts and tearful night-watches.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Long time no write...and a few questions.

I know, I know, it's been a while.

I've been trying to get back on track with dieting and rising on time. And of course, there's the rest of life, busy, busy! So, blogging (both reading and writing) has definitely been low on my priorities.

I'm trying to figure out the best way to keep track of my reading this year. How do each of you do it? I am planning to keep a random (not dated or organized) list of the books I've read this year on the sidebar, here.

The weather has been delightful, but we really haven't been out much in it. I hope to start walking today and stick to it. Does anyone have opinions on the best mp3 player for books and sermons?

I noticed that food prices are really going up and am determined to stick to the same amount in my grocery budget. I have certainly been on a bare-bones budget before, but it is amazing how easy it is to get used to spending money! What are your favorite ways to cut grocery costs?

We are not getting new outfits for Resurrection Sunday (Easter) this year, we haven't always, but it sure is fun to do that. We decided that we all have enough clothes, but it sure is hard not to want a new Easter outfit when friends start showing off theirs! Do you (or your kids) always get a new dress or shoes for Easter?

I'm back to baking bread (and trying not to eat any of it). I like to use a sour dough starter, but my family is not crazy about sourdough, so I add a little yeast and don't rise it quite as long. I'm using some of my favorite amish potato sourdough starter to make cinnamon buns for Easter morning. We are going to have to grab breakfast on the run because we have to be out of here early for a early morning baptism service up in Williamsburg before our regular service. What a wonderful day it's going to be! I love the worship on Resurrection Sunday, it is always so joyful, it usually brings me to tears - not that that is an unusual thing for me during worship. I'm so often moved by so much gratitude, what an amazing, loving heavenly Father we have, to give us so many good gifts!

I finally have an appointment to see the Dr. to start Estrogen replacement therapy. I feel read up enough on it that I can discuss it with her intelligently. I have lots of notes! It will be good to get rid of these several annoying symptoms.

Well, I just got on here for a few minutes while my youngers are scrubbing out bathtubs. It is definitely time to get back to the books, after a walk.

Today's emphasis: Do the next thing!

What's for dinner? Baked fish, pasta and stewed tomatoes (don't ask, it's a family thing!), broccoli, pineapple and potato bread rolls.

Praying for: Dilligence and for The Fruit of the Spirit, especially Kindness to reign in my home.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A poem, predestined to be in my inbox when I needed it to be.

Christina Rossetti
Weary and weak,--accept my weariness;
Weary and weak and downcast in my soul,
With hope growing less and less,
And with the goal
Distant and dim,--accept my sore distress.
I thought to reach the goal so long ago,
At outset of the race I dreamed of rest,
Not knowing what now I know
Of breathless haste,
Of long-drawn straining effort across the waste.

One only thing I knew, Thy love of me;
One only thing I know, Thy sacred same
Love of me full and free,
A craving flame
Of selfless love of me which burns in Thee.
How can I think of thee, and yet grow chill;
Of Thee, and yet grow cold and nigh to death?
Re-energize my will,
Rebuild my faith;
I will arise and run, Thou giving me breath.

I will arise, repenting and in pain;
I will arise, and smite upon my breast
And turn to Thee again;
Thou choosest best,
Lead me along the road Thou makest plain.
Lead me a little way, and carry me
A little way, and listen to my sighs,
And store my tears with Thee,
And deign replies
To feeble prayers;--O Lord, I will arise.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival

I tend to love the traditional quilts, but this one was my absolute favorite! I wish you could see all of the embroidery stitches on it. This is definitely a happy quilt!

More Later!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Another "I knew that!" article

Old-Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills
by Alix Spiegel

"Clearly the way that children spend their time has changed. Here's the issue: A growing number of psychologists believe that these changes in what children do has also changed kids' cognitive and emotional development."

Read the article here. Thank you to Julia for the heads up on this article.

We've tried really hard to raise children who weren't all about "things". But of course, we struggle with materialism ourselves. It is very hard to live a middle-class life in America and not accumulate tons of unecessary stuff. It has been easier to not accumulate lots of toys one of the reasons being that we have understood that the best kind of play is the play a child makes himself.

So, I was thinking, in the reality of modern life in America, which toys have we had around for all of our children and just wouldn't like to do without? Books, though not toys, comes to mind, first. We like building materials of some sort...the ones which have stayed and continue to be played with are the Duplos - the large sized legos that even a grown-up will get down on the floor and build with. Dolls, especially dollhouse sized ones are also great. Though we do have a collection of lightsabers which keep little boys immensly entertained outside, that is about it for the toys that we have always had and wouldn't like to do without. So, what are the necessary toys in your home?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day Dinner

I didn't take pictures this year. I just didn't get to do much decorating, though the children hung up hearts all over the house.

Our menu was good and the main dish is definitely a keeper! Here are a couple of recipes.

Palermo Pork Loin en Croute
2 1/4 pounds bonelss pork loin roast
4 thick slices of day old bread, crusts removed
2 Tbs. minced fresh herbs, rosemary, sage, etc.
2 Tbs. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cooked crumbled bacon
1 garlic clove, minced
salt & pepper to taste
1 lg. egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
2 Tbs. salted butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 Tbs. thinly sliced garlic
1 14oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
1 bay leaf
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim away any visible fat from the meat.
2. Place bread, herbs, cheese, bacon, garlic and salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add egg, and 1 Tbs. of olive oil; mix well. Encase meat with the mixture, pressing firmly.
3. Put meat in a baking dish with remaining oil, chicken broth and vinegar. Roast for 90 minutes, or until internal temperature is 145 degrees. Remove to a cutting board.
4. To prepare sauce, deglaze the roasting pan with wine over medium-high heat. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook butter, onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add meat dripping/wine and remaining sauce ingredients. Cook over medium-high heat for 12-15 minutes, or until reduced by a third.
5. Slice meat, pour sauce on a platter, arrange meat on top. Makes 6-8 servings.

This was an easy recipe and very delicious. I substituted dried herbs (about half as much) for the fresh because my market's fresh were nasty looking!

Shayna and I served this with red potatoes cooked with garlic and tossed with butter and parsley, roasted red onion slices, homemade applesauce and a salad of hearts of romaine with oranges and bleu cheese.

For dessert we had caramel custards with chocolate cookies. The recipe I used for the custard came from Arnaud's a restaraunt in New Orleans. I've been wanting to have custard ever since I tried a version of Creme Brulee which was curdled and dry...I thought, "This isn't the custard I remember." I learned to make just a regular custard and then sprinkle the brown sugar on top and put it under the it closely and THAT my friends is Creme Brulee the way you would find it in New Orleans.

For last night I chose to make caramel custard, you unmold the custard and the caramel syrup pools around it on the plate. Yum!

Caramel Custard
1/2 cup granulated sugar, for the caramel
1 Tbs. water
3 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups whole milk, scalded
1/2 tsp. best quality pure vanilla
Preaheat oven to 275 degrees.
In a small, heavy skillet over medium heat, put the 1/2 cup sugar and 1 Tbs. water, cover and heat for 30 seconds. Uncover, stir and swirl the pan until the sugar is melted and turns a light caramel color.
Divide the caramel among six-4oz. custard cups and let stand until cooled.
Beat the eggs with the 1/4 cup sugar and add scalded milk, slowly, while stirring. Add the vanilla and strain carefully into the prepared cups, to avoid disturbing the caramel.
Place cups in a pan of hot water. The water should come almost to the top of the cups. Cover with foil. Bake slowly for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the water and cool to room temperature. Chill until serving time.
To serve, run a knife around the edge of the custard and invert the cup onto a small plate.

So, to make Creme Brulee, omit the caramel on the bottom and sprinkle the cooked, cooled custard with brown sugar. Put under the broiler until the sugar is melted, but not scorched. Serve in the custard cups.

It was a delicious dinner and I had a pork loin twice the size I needed, so I just baked the other half up with some herbs on top. I'm going to be making fried rice with it and sharing it with friends tonight.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A delicious new recipe

Two weeks ago we studied about Ancient China. We had a chinese feast.

This was the best of the recipes we tried:
Five-Spice Shrimp with Walnuts

1 pound of medium or large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined.
1/2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. dry sherry
1 tbs. cornstarch
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 large red bell pepper, cut into short, thin strips
1/2 cup walnut halves or quarters
Hot cooked rice
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1. Toss shrimp with the five-spice powder and garlic in small bowl.
2. Blend broth, soy sauce and sherry into cornstarch in a cup until smooth.
3. Heat wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, heat until hot. Add shrimp mixture, bell pepper and walnuts; stir-fry 3 to 5 minutes until shrimp are opaque and bell pepper is crisp-tender.
4. Stir broth mixture and add to wok. Stir fry 1 minute until sauce boils and thickens. Serve over rice and garnish with onions.
Note: Watch those bell peppers, don't let them over cook! The next time I make this, I will add a handful of snow peas.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Blind Squirrels

The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle, a book review

My husband often says that “Even a blind squirrel can find a few nuts”. He means that even when a person has all of the wrong philosophies or theologies, because of God’s good grace, they can unwittingly land on good ideas or practices.

This, I have found true in Laura Doyle’s book, The Surrendered Wife. Laura Doyle claims to be a feminist and is definitely writing from a non-complementarian point of view. She also only believes in a “higher power” who fits in to her imagined parameter. In spite of these obvious errors, Mrs. Doyle found some golden nuts.

First, her test: “How Intimate is Your Marriage?” Answer “rarely”, “sometimes” and “frequently”.

Do you:
1. Feel superior to your husband?
2. Nag your husband?
3. Commiserate with other wives about your husband?
4. Hear yourself say, “I told my husband…”?
5. Think that everything would be fine if your husband would do what you tell him to do?
6. Eavesdrop on your husband’s conversations?
7. Feel like the only adult in the family?
8. Feel overburdened in parenting your children?
9. Do things for your husband that he is capable of doing for himself?
10. Have recurring anxiety and depression?
11. Feel exhausted?
12. Find either of you are disinterested in “the marriage bed”?
13. Feel resentful or jealous about your husband’s victories in life?
14. Reject or criticize his gifts?
15. Fantasize about divorce of life with a man who would better match you?
16. Discount the reasons you chose your husband in the first place?
17. Feel hopeless about your marriage because your needs have gone unmet for so long?
18. Have a hard time trusting you husband even in small matters?
19. Find yourself trying to control your husband?
20. Get angry with your husband when he makes a poor decision?

I realized that just in these first pages that I have some work to do. I scored middle of the range in this test and the reason is that I have learned to not verbalize my disrespect, but it is still there, playing over in my mind. And I’m fooling myself if I think that my family doesn’t notice my attitude. Ouch!

The author does a very good job explaining how we women try so much to control what is going on…that old garden curse! She tells us that we only end up destroying trust in our marriages.
I’m a conservative, complementarian Christian, who believes that God’s Word in the Bible is infallible. So saying, I did find some of the things that she says offensive. I also found some of the things she says surprising knowing that she would consider me a “fanatic fundamentalist”.

I definitely think that this author over all, has found some good principles that God in His grace helped her to find. And I think I have some homework to do!