Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Deck the Blog some more . . .










Here are a few of my favorite ornaments. The balsa wood star came from a little touristy town called Leavenworth. Hubby and I bought it early in our marriage. The glass ball is very old, I have a set of six. The balls have a small piece of garland in them and they were made in Germany. These balls came to us from my grandmother's Christmas decorations when she passed away in 1980. The little stained glass house was made by my mother in law. One year for Christmas she made a set of these from a craft kit and gave us this one. She passed away 18 years ago - so this one holds special meaning to me, we have since been given several more from the originals that she made. As you can see, it is not so much the ornament, but the sentiments and memories associated with them that make them special.

It's snowing . . .




Not really, but inside it looks like it.
Here are a few of our new paper snowflakes and also some paper plate snowmen/women that we made a couple of years ago.

Decorate the Blog

Even though I wasn't tagged for this, I liked the idea and so decided to post a few of my favorite ornaments and holiday crafts. This year we haven't really done any crafts outside of our Gingerbread houses. We have had a good couple of weeks of family members being too sick to care . . . My children did decide to make some paper snowflakes last night and put them up on the dining room wall. I think they are beautiful.

Funky gift . . .


Over the weekend we went to two different family functions. On Saturday we celebrated with my husband's family and on Sunday afternoon we celebrated with my side of the family. My step brother always gives the children very unique gifts, everything from toy guns that sling plastic spiders to a brick at the new baseball stadium with their name on it. This year he gave some of the nieces and nephews these funky action figures. Our family was blessed with Einstein, Sherlock Holmes and the Crazy Cat Lady. Two of the other nephews received Houdini and the Albino Bowler. Each year the children look forward to the gifts they receive from this very special uncle.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

p.s. to What Happened to the Script?



Even though I lost my temper, our youngest said that decorating the tree and the house is one of his favorite things about Christmas. I guess I didn't totally ruin the evening. Above are some pictures of our tree before and after decorating.

What happened to the script?

Yesterday was carefully scripted in my mind. First a very relaxed morning, brunch and then going to see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. After the movie we would come home and smell the Christmas Potpourri, drink Hot Cocoa and decorate the tree and the house for the holidays. We usually decorate earlier in the month, but this year I wanted to wait until after Son#2's birthday party. Well . . . Son #1 was sick, we did make it to the movie and the Christmas Potpourri was simmering. The boys decided to wrestle and then even got their older sister involved. It turns out that I was also coming down with the icky bug and so my temper was flairing. Oh my, when life doesn't go as scripted. My friend the headmistress at the Common Room had some things to say about this topic that really hit home . . . check it out here.

More Birthday Pictures



Super Fast Birthday . . .


Son #2 is going to be twelve on Thursday. We had his birthday party on Sunday - trying to fit it in so that people could attend during this hectic time of year. Our boys are really into racing Hot Wheels right now and so this particular son wanted to have a Hot Wheels Race party. He also wanted Raspberry Cream Pie instead of cake. We invited a few friends and their fathers over for the party. They played wheel launch bowling in the garage and then for the big event, they raced Hot Wheels Cars. My son's best buddy's dad brought over his really cool 1970s vintage Hot Wheels track and they raced a double elimination race. Hubby was in charge of the party and pretty much handled the whole thing. This was a first for us as I usually plan and host all the children's birthday parties. Hubby did a great job! There were 11 men/boys in attendance and I think they all had a great time. This Birthday was a real male bonding time.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Merry Christmas? Happy Holidays?

This has been a season of contemplation for me. How should our family celebrate this season? We have friends who do not celebrate it at all. We know those who do not include Jesus as part of their celebration, after all, December 25th probably wasn't His actual birthday, but they can celebrate using Santa etc.. We have friends who only celebrate Jesus, but none of the other secular traditions. They all have their reasons and must do what works for their families. We need to decide what this season means to us and then be at peace with our decision. I think our problem has been that we never made a conscious decision, we have just floated along with traditions that we grew up with. One problem with that is neither of us grew up in a Christian home that had a purposeful way of celebrating. I was involved in a chat last Tuesday evening in which many people discussed how they celebrate this time of the year and like me there were others trying to decide a more meaningful way to celebrate. Our family has been sucked into the commercial aspect of Christmas and that is a bit shallow - so hubby and I decided this year to explore why we do what we do - it wouldn't necessarily mean we will change our traditions if they have some meaning, but we needed to find out why they had meaning. Some of our traditions include going to get family pictures with Santa, travelling out to a tree farm and cutting a Christmas tree, decorating gingerbread houses, putting up lights on our house, sometimes we make christmas crafts, watch christmas movies, sing christmas carols. We usually get a new jigsaw puzzle and work on it. We did pretend Santa for our children and they would usually get something they asked him for. They also thought that Santa, along with us, put something in our stockings. The Santa tradition got started when I was a child, my family wasn't close and Christmas was a time of year that my mom seemed to really enjoy doing special things for us kids. My parents would go all out and try to get us what we wanted for Christmas - yes there were the Christmas lists straight from the Sears catalog. Because of this, my best memories of childhood center around this time of year. Unfortunately, we got into this materialistic habit with our own children and I am sure that is part of what has made me unsettled about Christmas. We have 4 children ages 9-20, so changing our traditions suddenly could be a big upset to the family. We asked the children what they especially liked about Christmas and they mentioned most of the things that I have listed above. The one thing that I was thrilled with was that they really want to give each other gifts and yes they do get excited about receiving gifts, but they all agreed that it means more to get a gift from someone that knows you well enough that they don't have to ask what you would like - they already know. Hubby suggested that we give gifts without putting who they are from - we can be secret santas. The children, for the most part really liked this idea - it focuses on the person receiving rather than the giver. Last night we also read the history of St. Nicholas and revealed to our youngest that we had been pretending all along. He was disappointed, but he wasn't angry. Hubby read some scriptures to us about Jesus and then talked about how he was VERY different from St. Nicholas. He also talked about how St. Nicholas gave his gifts because he was trying to serve Jesus with all his heart and that he cared for children and the needy. We love the character displayed in St. Nicholas and we will still have stockings and still get our pictures with Santa because of this. I still have mixed feelings about how we handled this with our children - but they all say that they are glad we did it and that they will probably do something of the sort with their families. I have told them that no matter what traditions they choose to have, they should make conscious decisions along with their spouse before their children are born. We decided that we will continue along with most of our traditions because they are fun and seem to fit the season. We choose to put up a tree because it is pretty, smells good and cheers us up. We don't celebrate Christmas as Jesus birth because it is pretty certain that it was not his birthday - we celebrate his birth, life and resurrection every day, but that doesn't mean that we don't acknowledge that others celebrate his birth now and we certainly don't stop talking about him during December. There is only one thing left that I am a little uncomfortable about and that is our dealings with extended family at this time of year. We usually only see hubby's family during the holidays and so it seems a bit superficial to me to exchange gifts - I enjoy seeing them and love to have time of food and fellowship with them, but it almost seems obligatory to exchange gifts. We have done it many different ways, we have drawn names, bought only for the children, bought for everyone, done family gifts and one year we didn't buy anything because we had been on an extended strike right before the holidays. Hubby decided that for our family, we would just purchase gifts for the nieces/nephews that were still in school and that is what we have done for several years now. His family on the other hand not only buys gifts for all of our children, but for us too. This year I know at least one person is giving gift cards, as are we, because we don't know them well enough to know what they would like. We are essentially giving them our money and they are giving us theirs. There are also great nieces and nephews on this side of the family now and their parents, our nieces and nephews have started giving us gifts too. It is getting a bit ridiculous. I come home feeling guilty about it - we come home with a car load of gifts and we have given two, plus a hostess gift. I know that I should feel thankful that they want to give us something - but it is hard to feel good about it, when you know they are in debt and don't really have the funds to do this. On my side of the family it is not quite as bad, we do bring gifts for the children and although, with the exception of my sister, my family doesn't really know my children all that well either. The aunts and uncles do seem to keep the gifts to small items that are unique and fun. My step sister has bought the children polar fleece pullovers for several years and that is really a nice practical gift that the children enjoy. They have given us gifts too, homemade bread etc. Small tokens of appreciation. The gifts don't seem to be the big thing at this gathering. When I was growing up, the aunts and uncles bought us gifts when we were very small, but they stopped as we got older and we just got together to have dinner. I don't want to sound like a poor sport, but I sure would appreciate it if we could do that here. I don't like the fact that the children grow up expecting that aunts and uncles continue to do that and then for the great nieces and nephews etc. etc. I want our children to learn that it is the relationships with their siblings, nieces and nephews that are important and the time and fellowship mean more than any material item. If I can instill anything in my children during this season - that is what I want it to be. To sum it all up, we are at peace with how we celebrate and I have to accept the fact that I cannot control how our extended family chooses to celebrate. For more food for thought on Christmas celebrations, Mrs. Squirrel over at Deweys Treehouse has a great Christmas post here and Headmistress over at Common Room has another great Christmas post here on her Sunday Hymn post. Whatever traditions you choose to hold during this season, may your family be well and happy and may your season be bright!

Cozy


Doesn't he know where to hang out?

A little bit of Snow



We finally got about an inch of snow and did the boys play out! You would think we had gotten a foot. Here is bouncy boy with the neighbor, James. They did scrape together enough to make this little snowman. We had about an inch on two separate days, just enough to get the boys really excited and hoping for more. Now we are having our more normal weather, rain.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Around the blogosphere

I was just surfing the blogosphere and found an interesting post on a blog that is new to me. The blog is called Journaling Through the Valley and the post is about the history of rooster weather vanes and their relationship to the story of Peter and the cock crowing. I will look at roosters in a new way.

The Headmistress at The Common Room has been posting some beautiful poems from the Child Beautiful and she has an especially touching poem entitled The First Snow-Fall.

One of my new favorite blogs, Whittingshire has a post on why we should remember the bombing of Pearl Harbor. They also have some wonderful photographs from around Washington State.

Santa Claus has come to town!

Our family tradition has been to get a picture with Santa each year. It started out when our eldest was just a baby. Cruel parents that we are we have insisted on Santa pictures each year, whether the children wanted it or not. Luckily for the younger children, they have always had at least one sibling in the picture. The past several years we decided to do it as a family with hubby and I in the picture too. Santa is great! He has been coming to our little town since before we moved to the area 15 years ago, We have seen him here for about 13 years. He made us promise that we would never get to old to come and have our picture done with him!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

We are sad, but hopeful?

For those of you who wonder if we got our snow, the answer is no. The wind came in strong and blew it all away from us. The boys are still praying for it and they get excited everytime the temperature drops below 40 and it appears that there may be some moisture in the air. Unfortunately, the forecast is more rain than snow for the rest of the week. We did get a very light dusting last night, but it was all melted this morning.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow


Western Washington is getting its first snow of the winter and we are hoping, wishing, praying some will come to our home. You must understand that we get very little snow in Western Washington and so even an inch incites much excitement. I have three boys who are hoping to have a snow day off of school. Since we get so little snow around here, I always let them off to play in the little that we get.

Hard at work




Here is the crew working hard at decorating their gingerbread creations. Top left is plantlover & B#1, Bottom Left is hubby and Boy#2, Top Right is Boy#3 and his cousin Bella Bella, Bottom Right is Sister and her boy#2.

Here is the evidence








Here are the gingerbread houses, train and tree that our family did. Also, the Star Wars jigsaw puzzle that my family worked on all day Saturday. The puzzle is really cool, it is two sided - one side has the evil characters and the other side has all of the good guys. Of course my boys all chose to do the dark side first. Go figure!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A side note on "Black Friday"

It saddens me that people would behave so badly as to fight over "things" or "places in line" such as has been reported in the media. It does not help you to feel good about your fellow man when you hear such stories. That said, I must report that I witnessed no such incidents yesterday. I did have somebody take my cart when I stepped away from it in Fred Meyer, other than that minor irritation, yesterday went very smoothly for us. I did not see anyone hurt anyone else nor did I wait in line for hours anywhere and I went to many different places from variety stores to toy stores to a major mall. For the most part, other than dealing with being in crowds, it was a fun experience. I think we need to remember that for every bad incident reported, there were many more normal shopping incidents that went unreported. Remember, the media tends to focus on the negative, that which will get attention. I am not trying to defend shopping on "Black Friday", it definately isn't for everyone, especially those who can't deal with crowds, but it is not as bad everywhere as the media made it out to be.

Our Holiday so far . . .

Thanksgiving day was very nice with good food and fellowship with family. My 92 year old grandmother was able to attend with my dad. My mom, sister and her children also attended. Our family is a bit unusual in that my parents are divorced, but can spend a pleasant holiday together and for that, I am very thankful. After parents and grandparents departed, my sister and I assembled gingerbread houses, trees and trains in preparation for decorating the next evening.

Unlike many of my friends, I enjoy going shopping on "Black Friday". I enjoy getting a good deal on items I am looking for but don't take the sales very seriously, unlike some people mentioned in the articles posted on the Common Room. My sister, daughter and I have gone out early in the morning the past three years to do some Christmas shopping. We have gotten some good deals and also watched people. We usually have lunch out together and have some great girl time. We come home very tired and ready to relax. My hubby is great to take care of the 6 other children while we are gone. This year we came home and relaxed for awhile and then we helped the children decorate gingerbread houses. They had a great evening and so did we.

Today we will just relax. My sister has packed up and departed for home, daughter is at work, husband & son #1 are working on our new Star Wars jigsaw puzzle, sons #2 & #3 are outside playing in the remains of the hail that fell earlier today. Christmas music is playing on the CD player and the day is good.

Thank you, God, for our family, our warm home, good food and most of all for your Son.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

CHANGE

Change is a difficult thing. Change can be good. Change can be scary. Life is full of changes - it is constantly moving forward. We have made the decision to change church families, to move on. It is a decision that came after much prayer, frustration, and heartache. It was a difficult decision for us to make - we love our church family and yet it is time for us to move on - to stretch ourselves spiritually, to submit ourselves to a Godly eldership. Where that will be we don't yet know and so we are in a state of limbo. We don't belong to our old church family and we don't have a new one yet. This is a difficult time for us, as our church family played such a big part in our lives. We worshipped with them for 13 years. I can't believe this is where we are and yet I know God will use this time to grow us. He has already started stretching us.

Our Thanksgiving Holiday

This year we will have a action packed holiday weekend. It all starts with the family dinner. My grandmother, father, mother, sister and her children will all join us for food and fellowship. My sister and her children will stay for a couple of nights to visit with us. Very early Friday morning, sister, Plant Lover and I will join the crazy people and go shopping. This has become an annual tradition for the three of us, it is great girl time. Then, after a crazy morning, we will come home and decorate gingerbread houses with hubby and all of the children (7 children, age 7 - 20). This year we cheated and bought kits, when they were on sale at Target. I usually bake them for everyone, but with baking rolls and pies for Thanksgiving, I just couldn't do the gingerbread too. Decorating gingerbread houses has also become an annual tradition with our family. We will spend Saturday morning recuperating from all of the fun. On Sunday, after church, we will gather with friends for lunch and for the children to share their Washington State History projects with their dads. This weekend will be full of great company and much activity.

What I am Thankful for . . .

I have so much to be thankful for: salvation, my family, our home, good friends all across the country. I appreciate the freedom to worship God without fear and to homeschool my children. I am thankful for the country we live in. Thank you, Dear God, for the care that you give me. Help my life to show you how thankful I am.

Our Thanksgiving Menu

This year we will be hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my side of the family and I wanted to do a few things from scratch and then there will be the old favorites:

Roast Turkey
Stove Top Stuffing (a family favorite - we add turkey broth, turkey, water chestnuts, onion and celery)
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Yams (not sure how they will be fixed, hubby is in charge of that)
Home made rolls (a first for me, Yeah! they turned out!)
Steamed Broccoli & Cauliflower
Black Olives, Dill Pickles and Cranberry Sauce (in the Shape of a Can)
Pumpkin Pie
Raspberry Cream Pie
Pecan Pie
Sparkling Cider & Egg Nog

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Good Fantasy/Bad Fantasy

"We can use our minds and imaginations in either a wholesome or a degraded way; by the same token, human beings can produce good fantasy or bad fantasy. Both draw on the inner world of the soul, and both can be a way of making spiritual realities tangible, presenting goodness and evil in concrete terms. Good fantasy elevates and disciplines the imagination, awakening its readers to the beauty of goodness as well as to the repulsiveness of evil . . . Good fantasy projects a universe of grandeur and meaning. Good and evil are a matter of moral absolutes. Th principles of virtue are austere and all-demanding, yet full of splendor. Evil is presented in all of its hideousness. The reader's moral sensibility is sharpened, and spiritual truth is thrown into high relief.
Bad fantasy, on the other hand, is concerned only with the self. The writers of much contemporary fantasy are doing nothing more than manufacturing daydreams for the reader. In line with the demands of mass culture, they are designed solely for self-gratification and often do little to elevate or instruct the imagination."

Quote from Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature, by Gene Edward Veith, Jr.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Right Stuff continued

Well we watched the movie tonight and . . . never believe the rating on a DVD. The DVD said PG, I would have rated it at least PG-13. The story line is fairly close to the book, although not quite as meaty it does a pretty good job at explaining what was involved in starting up the space program and the personal sacrifice made by the test pilots, astronauts and their families. I don't recommend this one for families because of the adult material and language. It may be fine for those with TV guardian - but I would still recommend previewing first.

Defamiliarizing

"Realistic literature operates by "defamiliarizing" experience. It is often said that familiarity breeds contempt; it is probably more accurate to say the familiarity breeds blindness. When we become used to something, we stop noticing it. Driving a car for the first time was exhilirating; after awhile, the complexities of driving become automatic and routine. . . ."

. .. ."Literature "defamiliarizes" experience by causing us to take notice of realiities that we have come to ignore. A realistic novel about ordinary life can open our eyes to the rich texture of our own "ordinary" life - to its problems and dramas, to the complexity of relationships, to the preciousness of the common cycle of life (growing up, falling in love, raising a afamily, working, dying). The aesthetic distancing, the way the writer makes us imagine the significant details, the complexity of the form (which demands close attention and reflection) - such literary devices can awaken us to what we have taken for granted, the unseen and unfelt all around us. A novel about love, marriage, and children can enable us to appreciate our own families." . . . .

Quote from: Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature, by Gene Edward Veith, Jr.

Friday, November 11, 2005

More Pictures from our Sunday Field Trip












Here are two more pictures from our trip on Sunday to the Pioneer Museum. One with the kiddos posing in front of one of the "town buildings" and Bouncy Boy with Middle boy behind the Military Motorcycle.
fanny
you are Fanny Price, Passionate in your beliefs,
Defiant in the ways of the world and creative
in your own right...


Which Jane Austen Character Are You?
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Pride and Prejudice


Today Plant Lover and I got to go see the new Pride and Prejudice movie with some dear friends. It is released nationwide on November 23rd, but the Seattle area was slated for early release, and today was the day. It was simply wonderful. I must admit that I was a little skeptical when I heard that there was going to be another Pride and Prejudice motion picture. I really like the A & E version and wondered how they could ever fit all that wonderful story into a shorter version. Kiera Knightly plays Elizabeth Bennet and does a superb job. She is the main reason I decided to give this version a try, I really liked her acting in Pirates of the Caribbean. The producers did a wonderful job of keeping the flavor of Jane Austin in this version. I give it a thumbs up!! We definately look to purchase this one when it comes out on DVD.
Take the quiz: "Whats your season?"

Summer
You like hanging with your friends.

who Am I?

Take the quiz: "LOTR Personality Match W/Excellent Pics"

Arwen
She is said to be the most beautiful of all living beings. Her heart being just as beautiful. You also have a good heart and you walk with a light about your face.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


YOU ARE ROSEMARY


What herb are you?
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Thank You God!

My mother had her mammogram today and it was clear!!!!! Thanks be to the Lord!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Trust in the Lord

It is so easy to tell others to trust in the Lord . . . now the rubber meets the road for us. My mother, diabetic, no health insurance, has now been called back for a second mammogram. Tomorrow, we take her for her second mammogram, my hope is that they will find nothing wrong. My prayer is that I trust the Lord, no matter what is found.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Sunday's field trip



This year we are studying Washington State History with our friends, the Pusateri Family. We have been wanting to take some field trips together, so on Sunday we went to visit the Peace Arch on the border of Washington and Canada. We also stopped in the town of Lynden, WA to visit their pioneer museum. Lynden was originally settled by Dutch imigrants and so you will see signs of that around town, such as replica windmills. Their museum is very impressive, containing many items from the town's past. They have a replica town inside the museum that contains items from an early school house, church, doctors office and more. In the basement, they have a very large collection of horse drawn vehicles and also some early automobiles. The museum was well worth the drive. Since the places we visited were about 1 1/2 hours north of us, we visited the Skagit Valley Church of Christ on the way up. The members there were very nice and we even met a new homeschooler among them. We were fortunate that there was a break in the rainy weather for the day. We ended the day with dinner at the local pizza parlor. The day was very full of education, fun and fellowship.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Wet Weather - etc. . .

Well it's official, the rain is back. Not only is it back, it is back with a vengence. After a very dry couple of years, we are back to the rainy northwest. The weather systems have been dumping much snow in the mountains, which is great for the ski industry. When there is snow in the mountains, there is rain in the lowlands. I do know that we need this rain to keep our lovely state so green, but does it have to come day after day? So much for climates changing and everything being out of kilter - I think it is more a case of cycles and we are back to our old fall weather patterns. I don't think there is much of a chance of drought next summer.

Sunday, October 30, 2005










This is my furry baby. His name is Rusty. Rusty is about 14 years old, but still plays like a kitten at times.

Our Week . . .

This week has been a bit different for us. My 9 year old niece, Bella and my 7 year old nephew Patrick have been staying with us since Tuesday. Their mom and dad are on an anniversary/birthday trip and so the children get to stay with aunt, uncle and cousins. We have continued to do school, although in a bit of an altered fashion. Bella and Patrick are also homeschooled but in a little different way than we practice. They have quite a few workbook type items, which has been easy for me to give them. Patrick is learning to read - and I had forgotton how hard that was for little ones. It has been two years since Bouncy Boy was learning. We are all adjusting pretty well, although school is hard when the cousins want to play together all day. I am trying to allow plenty of playtime as they don't get to be together all that often. We will meet their big brother Tuesday evening and then they will go on to pick up mom and dad at the airport.

The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

I was asked to preview this book for the HEO curriculum year 10. It turned out to be a little too risque to recommend for the curriculum, but it was such an interesting book that I couldn't take it back to the library before finishing it. Tom Wolfe is an excellent writer, although definately for an adult crowd. The Right Stuff is a book about the beginning of America's entry into the space race. It shares the lives of those involved in breaking the sound barrier and also the first Astronauts who participated in the Mercury space program. The book chronicles people such as Chuck Yeager, Al Sheppard, John Glen and the other of the first 7 astronauts and flight test pilots that broke speed records in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Mr. Wolfe does an excellent job of putting you in the place of the wives of the test pilots, experiencing the emotions of not knowing if your husband would come home from work that night or if some official would knock on your door to let you know that he would never come home again. The language in the book is very rough and the lifestyles of the guys are also rough. Mr. Wolfe is a very descriptive writer that helps you to visualize the story well, even the things you would rather not see, such as the sordid details of the pilots lives. The book also took a look at the competition involved in the flight test program and probably with military pilots in general. Overall, I am glad I read the book, it put the space program in human terms. We watched the movie years ago, when it first came out - now I will have to watch it again and see what I think.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Working Poor

Searching on the internet, you can find a great debate as to whether or not the working poor even exist. I find this all very interesting. Yes the statistics can be skewed to include part time workers and those who are younger than 18, but I do know that they exist and it has hit all to close to home for us. My mother, who is over 60, but not old enough to collect social security or medicare, falls into the working poor. Add to this that she has type 1 diabetes and no health insurance. Until recently, she has been very fortunate to have had little or no complications with her diabetes for the past 40 years. She is working full time in a low paying job and because of her age and lack of experience, doesn't have much hope of gaining a much higher paying job. There seems to be little or no help out there for her with her medical expenses - now if she didn't work at all, she might be able to get some help, but because she is trying to support herself - there is not much help. I also find the government's ideas of helping people interesting. On one hand they have supplied junkies with clean syringes, but the diabetic must pay high prices to get them. Ironic isn't it? It seems that our government "help" says that if you are motivated to help yourself, they are not motivated to help you succeed. We are in the process of figuring out what our options are and praying that her health can maintain some sense of stability for a little longer.

Glass, furniture, paintings etc.


What do you think of when you hear the name Tiffany? How about Louis Comfort Tiffany? I always pictured glass lamps when I heard his name and this weekend I found out that there was much more to his art. On Sunday we were able to attend a special exhibit of Mr. Tiffany's art at the Seattle Art Museum. We were able to view glass windows, mosaics, lamps, vases etc. etc. Those were beautiful and kind of what I expected to see. What I didn't know was that he also painted and that he designed wallpaper and furniture. The exhibit did a great job of showing how different cultures influenced his art and how versatile he was as an artist. There were pieces with a middle eastern influence and with an asian influence. It was one of my favorite art exhibits yet!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Integrity?

Have you ever had your integrity questioned? I can tell you it can be extremely painful. Especially if the questioning comes from people who have known you and whom you have loved and served for many years. It makes you take a step back and wonder what your actions have said to others. Have they spoken division to people all along and no one said anything? Having the worst thought of you and your motives really hurts. You would hope that people who have known you would assume the best until they have talked to you and clarified things. The last thing you expect is to have the worst thought and no time taken to clarify things. I hope that I have learned not to assume the worst of people, not to judge their motives without discussion and to show love in the confrontation.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do no cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners will be converted to You.

Psalms 51:10-13

92 years young


My grandmother, Eva Lee was born in 1913 in Mulberry, Arkansas. She turned 92 today and we got to spend the afternoon and evening celebrating with her. She is a short, spunky lady who has had an amazing life. She still lives on her own and gets around very well for someone of her age. She tells stories of how mischievous she was growing up and how much fun she had as a young girl. She grew up on a farm with many siblings and they picked cotton, along with beans and berries. She met my grandfather while picking cotton. They shared over 50 years together before he went to be with the Lord. She misses him greatly, but enjoys spending time with her son, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She loves the Lord and says she is ready to go be with him. So far, it appears that the Lord needs her here for some reason and she is fine with that too. She laughs easily and tells everyone whatever is on her mind, that keeps us on our toes. I feel very fortunate to have had so many years with her in my life.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Drifter by Robert Service

This Poem was one that I needed to hear. I sometimes get to whining about my circumstances. This is bad, especially since I have pretty good circumstances. This poem reminded me to buck up and press on.

DRIFTER

God gave you guts: don't let Him down;
Brace up, be worthy of His giving.
The road's a rut, the sky's a frown;
I know you're plumb fed up with living.
Fate birches you, and wry the rod . . .
Snap out, you fool! Don't let down God.

Oh, yes, you're on misfortune's shift,
And weary is the row you're hoeing;
You have no home, you drift and drift,
Seems folks don't care the way you're going . . .
Well, make them care - you're not afraid:
Step on the gas - you'll make the grade.

Believe that God has faith in you,
In you His loving light is shining;
All of you that is fine and true
Is part of Him, so quit your whining . . .
Buck up, son, for your Maker's sake:
Don't let Him down - give God a break.

Skinny Skater is 15

Skinny skater turned 15 at 10 am on October 10th. It is amazing to watch him grow and change. He still is my goofy boy, but then again I see glimpses of deeper thought. He still likes to play with his brothers and he has many friends that are much younger than himself - but then he doesn't want to "play". He can carry on a grown up conversation on one hand and act like a total goof on the other. It is so much fun to watch him change, hard to watch him struggle, challenging to let him make decisions. The teen years are years of change - the desire to be thought of as "grown up" and yet the pull of childhood is still strong. Being at home has allowed him to take his time growing up (in the world's sense of things) and has also allowed him to enjoy his family more. It is truly rewarding watching him grow. Happy Birthday Skinny Skater!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The 23rd Post

Hello - my friend JavaMom just tagged me with the latest tag floating around blogosphere. You have to find your 23rd post to your blog and then find the 5th line in that post and it is supposed to say something about you.
Well my 23rd post was on August 30th and was entitled One Last Hurrah. The post was about our last camping trip of the season and here is the 5th line:
"We all went over to the Olympic National Park and camped in the Heart O' the Hill's campground at the foot of Hurricane Ridge."

I am not sure what this post says about me - maybe that my heart is in the hills and I can be like a Hurricane????

Anyway . . . As far as tagging five other people - all of my blogging friends have already been tagged, so the game stops here.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Reevaluating things

Here we are nearing the end of our fourth week of school. I am fighting a head cold and not as on top of things as I wish and my children seem to be very aware of that. I need a substitute teacher on days like these (smiles). I have had to remind them that I am the one that is sick, not them. We are already behind on the plan that I made, not that that's anything new. It is frustrating, just the same. It is this point in our school year that I start questioning all the things I have planned - is it the right plan for us? Is it someone elses idea of what is right? I don't have the answers to these questions yet. I want to challenge my children, but not frustrate them. I want them to graduate from our homeschool with a love for learning. Most of all, I want them to be spiritually minded. I am not sure our current schedule and plan will accomplish any of those things. Don't get me wrong, not everything we are doing is not working - I think most of it is - but I must continually check and recheck. I think it is a sickness that I have, always second guessing things. It is time for some serious prayer. Prayer for guidance and for peace of mind.

tootles . . .

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Not on my Booklist - but finished . .

Today I finished two books that I have been reading. They weren't on my booklist, but slipped into my schedule. The first is a book that I was asked to review for House of Education. It is Nikolenka's Childhood by Leo Tolstoy. This book was the first of his published and is a delightful childs story about a boy growing up during pre-revolution Russia. The story deals with the changes in a young boy's life - from spending early years in the country to living in the city of Moscow and also the tragedies of his early life. I would recommend this book for children in about 4-6th grades or later if the student wants to get a flavor of Tolstoy's writing without tackling major works like War and Peace or Anna Karenina.

The second book that I finished was Fearfully and Wonderfully Made by Dr. Paul Brand & Philip Yancey. This book is on House of Education's Year 7 booklist for health. The authors did a wonderful job of explaining how different parts of the body work and then drawing analogies to the body of Christ. This book is a great resource for those wanting to learn more about how our physical bodies work and how the spiritual body of Christ should work. I truly enjoyed this book.

Although these books were not on my original reading list, I feel that they were both well worth the side trip.

I am still working on my reading list and some of those books, such as How to Read a Book, I am reading slowly over time.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Happy Birthday To ME!!!!




We had a no school day on Tuesday - or should I say a field trip. Yes that sounds better. Anyway, we went to a little town a couple of hours from us called Leavenworth. It is a neat tourist trap of a town. The town faced severe economic difficulties and then in the 1960s they came up with this brainstorm idea to turn the town into a bavarian village. It is a very cute village in the foothills of the cascade mountains with lots of shops and restaurants. They have festivals at different times during the year and bring in bavarian dancers and singers. On weekends throughout the summer, they have art in the park. It is a fun place to visit or stay for a couple of days. We had a great drive and got to see the fall colors, stopped at the fudge shop and had a great lunch out at a place called Gustavs. It was a very enjoyable way to spend my birthday.

The Vote is in . . .

And 80% of the union members said yes to the contract and going back to work. The strike is over and none too soon. We were due to be without Health Insurance tomorrow and though we enjoyed having hubby home for the past four weeks, it is difficult to pay bills with no income. Now we can get back to a normal routine and breathe a little easier. One thing that we implemented during the strike and that I want to continue- was daily menus that included inexpensive meals. We became more diligent on our grocery budget and balanced eating. This is something that I should have done all along but it took a financial struggle to force it upon me - so something good can come from every tough situation.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

HOORAY!!!! I HOPE!!!!

We just found out this afternoon that Boeing and the Union had secret negotiations this weekend and they came to a tentative agreement. The union is recommending that the membership accept the contract. This contract contains most of what the union asked for and it looks very good to us. The members vote on Thursday and, if accepted, hubby will go back to work on Friday. We have truly enjoyed having him home each day - but unfortunately, Boeing will not pay for him to be home with us each day. Please pray that the members accept this contract.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

For the Beauty of the Earth

For the beauty of the earth,
for the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies:

Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our sacrifice of praise.

For the beauty of each hour,
Of the day and of the night
Hill and vale, and tree, and flow'r,
Sun and moon, and stars of light:

Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our sacrifice of praise.

For Thy church that evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Off'ring up on ev'ry shore,
Her pure sacrifice of love:

Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our sacrifice of praise.

Click on the title and you can here the melody. This is one of our family's favorite hymns.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

We made it . . .

We made it through our first week of school and all of us survived. The week went pretty well and I am learning of adjustments that we need to make in our schedule. Skinny Skater did pretty well with his notebook and working his own schedule. He is having to learn to keep track of his assignments and his workload. We need to work on writing this year - so there will be more written narrations each week and that in itself is a big adjustment. Our family is reading our first Shakespeare play - we each took parts and read one act of Henry V. It went pretty well, but I chose too much for one sitting. We will need to break it down in smaller portions. We have read several plays in Lamb's Tales of Shakespeare and Nesbit's Beautiful Stories but this is our first time tackling an actual play. We have been having Hot Chocolate time in the evenings and reading our poetry, doing picture study and music appreciation. This has been a big hit with the boys and it is a great way to wind down for the evening. Another new thing we started this year is joining another family once a week to do some Washington State History together. We met for the first time on Friday afternoon and it was a nice change of pace. Since hubby is out of work during the labor dispute with Boeing, he is able to participate in some of our activites and that made the week special too. Overall, I would rate our first week at about an 8 on a scale from 1-10.

Monday, September 12, 2005

First Day of school . . . well sort of

Today we had our first official day of the new school year. We had a special breakfast of apple puffed oven pancake with syrup and whipped topping and bacon for breakfast. We also had sparkling apple cider served in the crystal stemware. I wanted to start the day out special - to help encourage good attitudes. We didn't do a lot of actual "school work" but went over each of the boys schedules, their notebooks and school books. We did do copywork, Skinny Skater helped me make home made soup and we had a writing activity. Everyone read and we started up our family devotion time again. We ended the day with hot cocoa time, a poem and reading a portion of Diane Stanley's Leonardo Da Vinci. All in all, I would say the day went pretty well, even with the added dynamic of dad being home all day long. Tomorrow we will work at a whole days schedule.

Poems

Poems by Robert Service

A poem should be like a brook,
As dulcet to the ear;
And it should need no second look
To make its meaning clear:
As chrystal as a rill it should
With music meet your mood.

A poem should be like a bird
And to green joy belong.
That should inspire each jewelled word
With pregnancy of song,
And be of brooding thought no part,
Appealing forthright to the heart.

A poem should be like a flower
That gems a sullen space,
To live ineffably its hour
Of ecstasy and grace:
A lily, violet or rose,
That in sheer beauty glows.

A crystal brook, a flower, a bird
Are poems perfect planned;
We have no need of graven word
Their grace to understand:
So wrapt in them is my delight,
A poem I've no need to write.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


At the sculpture park. Me clanging a gong. There were a few bells/gongs throughout the park and I gonged every one of them.


The marina in Roche Harbor.

The garden in the English Camp



Hubby in the garden and
The Historic Hotel in Roche Harbor.



The Lime Kiln Lighthouse.

Just a few of the pictures from our wonderful trip.

San Juans in September


We decided to take advantage of hubby's extra free time and take our anniversary trip to the San Juan Islands. We stayed two nights in Friday Harbor in a very nice Bed and Breakfast. The house was built in 1907 and since converted over to a B&B. Our room had period furniture and a native american flair, it also had a fireplace and huge jacuzzi tub. The breakfasts were scrumptious. The weather was beautifully sunny and in the low 70s. We toured a neat sculpture garden that had trails through meadows & forest with different sculptures at places along the way. This was like a nature walk and art appreciation all at once. We went into the little village of Roche Harbor which features a historic hotel that was established in 1886. The hotel had a beautiful garden and the view of the harbor was pretty. We went to the British Camp and the American Camp that were established during a dispute over who owned the islands - a war was almost started over an American settler shooting a British settler's pig. We also went out to the Lime Kiln Pt. State Park and watched for whales - we didn't see any, but we had a nice picnic lunch there. We toured the island, walked a lot, ate out and relaxed. It was a great way to let the anxieties of life drift away. This trip was provided by very generous family and friends. We truly count ourselves very fortunate to have been blessed in this way. I will post some pictures from our trip in a separate post.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

We have the answer to the question . . .

Well the verdict is in and the union voted to strike. Hopefully the company and the union will come together again soon and the strike will be short. What it means for now is that Hubby will be around a whole lot more - - - which is good for us and bad for the pocket book. Too bad the company won't pay him for staying home. Please keep us in your prayers.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

One Last Hurrah!


Above are pictures of a view from Hurricane Ridge and a deer that came into the picnic area while we were eating lunch.

The woods, children and tents - what do they all have in common? Camping in the Olympic National Park! We just got back from a wonderful camping trip with several of our dear friends. We all went over to the Olympic National Park and camped in the Heart O' the Hill's campground at the foot of Hurricane Ridge. The children put on cammo and grabbed wooden guns and ran around in the woods playing army. They had a blast. We went on short day hikes, up at the ridge where the views are spectacular, and in the campground through the woods. One family went on a long walk (about 12 miles) on the beach at the Dungeness Spit all the way out to the lighthouse and back. We had wonderful fellowship and a very relaxing time. We also had our worship service in the campground, there is something about worshipping the Creator amongst his beautiful creation that is so special. Most of us went over on Thursday and came back on Sunday and thankfully the rain held off until we were all packed up on Sunday afternoon. My boys are rating this trip as one of the best they have ever been on and I would have to agree.

To Strike or Not to Strike . .that is the question.

It is that time again, contract negotiations between the union and Boeing. There is the typical accusations back and forth - the wondering and waiting. Will we be without income for awhile or will it all be resolved? Trying to put some money aside and keep expenditures down in case we do go on strike. Our family has weathered two strikes in the past and the Lord has always taken care of us - I must learn to leave it in his hands. The vote is on Thursday September 1st, so we will soon know the outcome.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Skinny Skater's sketchy school plan . .

Here is a very rough outline of Skinny Skaters school list. Most of term one is planned and I need to flesh out the rest of the year. We will probably start school on September 12th this year.

Bible/Devotional Reading: bible - his choice, God Came Near by Max Lucado

History: Washington State History - we will be using a textbook for this and supplementing with a book called Chronicles of Washington, which includes excerpts from diaries of explorers, settlers and others from Washington's past. We will spend on semester on this topic.

World History: 1 reading a week - continuing where we left off last year - renaissance. During the second half of our school year, our focus will be on American History and World History studying the late 17th and 18th centuries. Our materials will be chosen from Ambleside Online's year 9.

Language Arts: will include Easy Grammar, Understanding Writing and we will implement some of Institute for Excellence in Writing methods. Copywork, dictation and narration will also continue.

Math: Saxon Algebra II

Literature: English Lit. for Boys and Girls, Reading Between the Lines, and With Wolfe in Canada will take us through our first term. We will also read Shakespeare's Henry V and the poetry of Rudyard Kipling and Robert Service.

Science/Health: Abeka Physical Science, Total Health and Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.

Practical Drafting: This is probably the subject he most looks forward to.

Others: Are You Liberal, Conservative or Confused? How to Read a Book, and Plutarch's Lives will also be part of our curriculum this year.





Thursday, August 18, 2005

Book Lover by Robert Service

I was searching for some poetry to share with the boys during our first term of school this fall and came across this poem. I think it is very funny and I feel this way at times.

Book Lover

I keep collecting books I know
I'll never, never read;
My wife and daughter tell me so,
And yet I never heed.
"Please make me," says some wistful tome,
"A wee bit of yourself."
And so i take my treasure home,
And tuck it in a shelf.

And now my very shelves complain;
They jam and over-spill.
They say: "Why don't you ease our strain?"
"Some day," I say, "I will."
So book by book they plead and sigh;
I pick and dip and scan;
Then put them back, distrest that I
Am such a busy man.

Now, there's my Boswell and my Sterne,
My Gibbon and Defoe;
To savour Swift I'll never learn,
Montaigne I may not know.
On Bacon I will never sup,
For Shakespeare I've no time;
Because I'm busy making up
These jingly bits of rhyme.

Chekov is caviare to me,
While Stendhal makes me snore;
Poor Proust is not my cup of tea,
And Balzac is a bore.
I Have their books, I love their names,
And yet alas! they head,
With Lawrence, Joyce and Henry James,
My Roster of Unread.

I think it would be very well
If I commit a crime,
And get put in a prison cell
And not allowed to rhyme;
Yet given all these worthy books
According to my need,
I now caress with loving looks,
But never, never read.

Fast Cars . . .

Boys and their toys! This week the boys have been spending almost all of their spare time creating race tracks out of cardboard boxes all taped together and then racing their hot wheels down the track. The neighbor boys have all been hanging out at the house too. Today they added in an urban portion, jumps, tunnels, the desert and the ocean to their track. The track is pretty long and everyone is having good creative fun. When they aren't here playing on their track, they have been going over to their friends and racing him and his dad on his hot wheels track. They have used their allowance $$ to buy new cool cars and trying to get the fastest one. I am thankful for summer days and the joys of boys.

Monday, August 15, 2005

God's Word on Plans

The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. ----Proverbs 16:1 NAS

Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established. -----Proverbs 16:3 NAS

The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. ----Proverbs 16:9 NAS

In trying to plan out our school year, it is easy to get caught up in doing all the educational, intellectual things and forget the most important, the spiritual things.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Plot and Plan . . .

It is that time again . . . school planning time. It is a time of renewing, looking forward to the year and new knowledge. It is also a time of pruning, no my children will not have time to read all of these books. I am constantly asking, "how will we fit it all in?". We have tried to work on a new chore system and put some routines in place before we start in September. I had large ideas of getting organized this summer, you know, things like meal plans, chore plans, service plans etc. etc. Here we are and summer is almost over and not many projects finished. Oh well, there is still three weeks left before school starts again.

I do have some plans finished, such as our Washington State History and Science. I have picked some of the books we will read this year and I have been busy pre-reading some books for SS to read during his first year of High School. I guess the summer hasn't been a total loss.