Sunday, December 30, 2007

13 Years

Tomorrow will be Mike and my 13 year wedding anniversary.

13 years for us =

4 children
6 dogs
lots of fish
1 guinea pig
1 ferret
3 rabbits
58 birthday cakes
9 vehicles
6 houses
in 6 towns
in 3 states
1 job lay-off
1 college graduation
1 eye surgery (me)
1 vasectomy (not me) :)
5 church homes
3 ministry positions
tons of laughs
a few tears
thousands of movies
lots of games
lots of cards
many great friends
2 cruises
2 ski trips
a few family road trips
a home school mom
many, many kids sports games
lots of quiet dates alone
some precious gifts
and sweet love letters

Wow, I started this list then realized there is so much to our 13 years together! Too much to list. He is my heart and my best friend. He can make me laugh like no one else and I feel so blessed that God put him in my life. We aren't perfect and have definitely had our rough moments but all those times have just strengthened our lives together. When I look at his gorgeous face it just makes me smile and can't believe that He gave him to me!

I can't wait to see what the next 13 years will bring us!


Friday, December 28, 2007

A Relational Christmas

After a crazy week last week with Mike preparing for the four services on Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve arrived and it was awesome. I was only at one of the services but it was great. What an awesome night of life change and celebration. The staff at The Orchard never stop amazing me with their creativity and skill.

We decided to take the Advent Conspiracy to heart and gave relational gifts this year. It was really a fun thing to do. Mike and I skipped gifts for the kids this year and we decided to take the kids, on Christmas, to an indoor water park. Santa did visit the house and fill our stockings and after the kids opened their gifts from their aunts and uncles and grandparents we packed everyone in the van and headed for the Dells. What a great time!

It was awesome. I have to admit that I wasn't really looking forward to putting a bathing suit on this ultra white body after so many months of not being exposed to the sun, but it was a blast. Mike and I both got some great one on one time with each of the kids, whether it was going down the tube slide, sailing down the lazy river or playing a little one on one at the pool basket ball hoop, priceless bonding times were had by all. We brought the movies that Santa brought and watched those in the evenings, ate bake potatoes and ice cream sundaes at 10 o'clock at night and laughed a bunch.

I think we may have just started a new tradition for our family. The kids loved it and didn't miss the cheap toys that break the next day. Mike and I loved it and didn't miss the cheap toys that break the next day. I am sure the kids will always remember this Christmas.

I wish I had pictures but there are only a couple and my sweet man has them. And no there are none of the actual water park. You have to know I wasn't going to be having cameras in the bathing suit vicinity!!!!

And the best part it waited to snow until today!!!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Seth's Fried Sandwichs and Such

I felt that maybe I should update the progress on the fried sandwich shop. Since it was first thought of there has been branding, hiring, firing and plans for building. Amazing so much could happen in such a short time.

Seth decided that the name should be Jones Fried Sandwiches and Such. His oldest sister was hired to make desserts, his Kylee was hired to make appetizers (she has a specialty of garlic bread), and his brother was hired to paint paintings....he wants to be an artist, not a restaurateur.

I found out this morning that in Seth's words his sisters had "fired themselves" and Joshi is going to open an art gallery next door to the restaurant instead of inside the restaurant. He was pretty distressed that he didn't really have any employees.

Mike and I suggested that maybe he could put up a help wanted sign. He thought that was a great idea and said that as soon as it was built he would do that.

So it sounds like things are back on track after a some what traumatic week in the sandwich business.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cooking Up Some Patience

Man am I tired!! We are finishing up our last week of school before Christmas break, Mike is working like crazy getting ready for Christmas Eve and the four services that are to be, basketball is still going through this week, and the kids and I have been doing a ton of baking.

We are finishing up our three week mini unit on non-European ancient cultures, with our focus this week on the ancient Americans. Lots of reading out of some great books, history and literature, but not a lot of cool activities. So I thought why not spend our activity time this week baking for Christmas. The kids love to bake. I love to bake. Confession time.

Okay, I don't have a lot of patience for helpers in the kitchen. I don't just mean children. But children definitely fall into the category of ones I don't have patience with in the kitchen. Don't get me wrong, I want to have them learn with me and I do have the serene image of the kids and I working together in the kitchen them gently stirring a bowl of batter while I smile and crack eggs. But let's face it that isn't how it happens. The batter never stays in the bowl, the ingredients usually get strewn from one end of the kitchen to the other and what child can resist licking fingers in the middle of cooking? EEWWW!

While they were little I convinced them that you learn by watching. That worked for a little while. But now that they are all older not so much. Faith luckily stuck it through the "learn through watching" stage and is a really great cook now. She can make snikerdoodles like nobody's business!!! But she has unfortunately also inherited my "lack of patience in the kitchen" gene.

Okay, I got off the subject there. I did, even though it nearly killed me, have them all help out with the baking this week. Seth and Kylee helped with the chocolate cookies with Andes mints melted on top, Faith and I both worked on fudge and Faith made her famous snikerdoodles. Josh and Seth dipped the crackers in the melted chocolate to make the thin mint cookies- I can't even describe what the kitchen looked like when they were done with those- and no they were not allowed to lick their fingers. Tomorrow we go for another batch of Carmel corn, since my first batch ran into a little problem I like to call "I need new cookies sheets", and probably some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies to finish off the baking week.

So enjoy some baking this week and earn some patience.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Just Kylee Taking a Math Test

Here is one of the many things I love about home schooling our kids. This is Kylee taking her math test. I came down the stairs and found her lying on her back in the sun doing her work. I love that they can be themselves and aren't restricted to do things the "normal" way. BTW, Kylee is almost done with her 4th grade Saxon Math book with only a few more chapters to go. The beauty of having them at home is that I work with them every day, one on one, so I know that they understand the concepts fully before they move on to something else. And I think that is why they are all ahead of their grade level on the work they do. Not because we push them, because I don't, but because they get individual attention every day and when I see a problem I stop and we work on it until it isn't a problem any more.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Kitchen Boy

I just finished The Kitchen Boy A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander. I loved this book!! There is quite a bit of fiction to the story, but lots of cool history as well. I am sure the fact that I know very little about Russian history helped me to enjoy this book.

It presents an imaginative twist on what really happened to the two missing Romanovs' children's remains. Really a well written book, with great character development and an interesting plot.

It was funny coming back into a historical fiction novel after so many weeks of reading Harry Potter. I had to change my whole mind set.

I just picked up a novel about Annette Vallon, William Wordsworth's mistress, set during the French Revolution, today and I am hoping it is as good as the Kitchen Boy!!


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Teach a Man to Grill....

Today for lunch the kids decided they wanted grilled cheese. I didn't feel like making grilled cheese. So I told Faith she could make the grilled cheese. She didn't want to make the grilled cheese.

Seth said he would make the grilled cheese. Which meant a cooking lesson for Seth.

He made everyone a grilled cheese sandwich and did a great job. But here is the best part. After lunch Seth declared:

"When I grow up I am going to open up a fried sandwich shop, for people who like fried sandwiches!"


A grilled cheese sandwich store. All grilled cheese all the time. I don't know.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

December Snow

There are no girl pictures here because they were on a date with their daddy. The boys made the snow man all on their own, for the first time ever!! Frosty had to have his eyes, mouth and buttons collected before Jasmine met him because they were items that are toxic to her. She did try and knock his head off and run off with his scarf this morning.


Friday, December 7, 2007

The Air We Breathe

The one consolation to being sick this last week, I thought, was that I had just been to the library and had two new books.

Unfortunately for me I picked the wrong one to start with.

I began The Air We Breathe by Andrea Barrett this week and struggled all the way through it. Although, not a long book it took me all week to read. Partly because I was sick and didn't really feel like reading, but mostly because I really didn't like her style of writing.

The story is set in 1916 in an isolated community in the Adirondacks where tubercular patients were being treated. There are two groups of care cottages one for the wealthy who have private cottages and one for charity patients, mainly immigrants, who were in a large public sanatorium. The book is all about the interaction between one rich patient and the poor patients, the use of x-ray in curing these patients, and the war starting up in Europe.

For me there just wasn't enough character development. I really didn't care about any of them and she wrote it from a weird point of view. It was like she was writing from the perspective of all the poor patients as one person but they some how knew what was going on every where else and in everyone else's minds. I just found that confusing.

After I read this book I found out this author's primary focus is on scientific history which makes sense from the page after page of science text book she included in the book.

Just not my thing. But I did start the second book on the last Tsar of Russia and am LOVING it right now. I will let you know!


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Visiting The Doctor Wellness Phenomena

I first discovered this phenomena with my first child. We were typical first parents and when she got a cold or virus, we would rush our little sweetheart to the dr. for them to tell us that she had a virus, take her home and let her rest.

This is where the phenomena kicks in. After leaving the dr. office the baby, toddler, child who could barely walk and hadn't smiled in days would immediately begin feeling better. Never again would we see the high fever, lethargic behavior, green snot. Romping and playing would ensue and a normal healthy child we would have again.

I don't know if some kind of chemical is released in the body when you enter the office but for some reason it just works.

Well, I think I tricked my body yesterday. Because today I feel sooooooooo much better!! My throat looks incredible. Still got the weird bruise, but it looks to be fading. But I can swallow and eat!! So maybe it is the stress of going to the doctor. Because I definitely felt that yesterday, even though I didn't go. Hmmmm. Stress related cures, I don't think it will take off.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

More On Being Sick

Okay, so I am coming out of a little two hour freak out. I have been sick for going on 6 days now. And to this point really just thought I had the flu. The kids had it. They were miserable. They had it for about 7 days, all the same symptoms, so when I got sick I just sort of settled in for the long haul.

Well, then today I decided to have a little look at my nasty throat and noticed a pretty ugly spot on the back amongst all the other ugly spots and right then flashed my flash light up and noticed on the roof of my mouth a huge blotch. Kind of like a giant bruise on the roof of my mouth.

Okay so I freaked a little. I have four kids and one husband and have seen my fair share of stuff. Trust me. But never, never, never, seen this. So, I called my trusty friend who would give me the best council and she told me to find out who my dr. is and go.

See, I don't go to the dr. Ever. Yes, I know. But this isn't time for a lecture. I am sick remember.

So, I called my trusty (ha) HMO and asked for my dr. name. called the number and they didn't answer. Not even a machine. Hhhhmmmm. Not a good sign. I called the insurance back and waited on line for-ev-er and then finally got through.

They gave me another dr. name. Called them. They are out of town. Told her my symptoms she told me she would page the dr. They called me back and told me to go to the emergency room.

Okay, now that freaked me out a bit. Now, I know they are telling me that so they can cover their back sides but when you are sick you aren't all that rational. After I cried for a couple of minutes convinced that I had some rare monkey flu, I decided to try the insurance company yet again and see if I can get a different doctor.

15 minutes later the insurance lady gave me the name of another doctor. Actually three doctors at one office but said I could only see them. Okay.

I call that office and select the option to speak with a nurse. This is a great solution I am sure of it. I tell the nurse my symptoms, don't water it down one bit and she says that I need to be seen to swab for strep.

Okay folks this is what I have been waiting for. I am about 99% sure I don't have strep. Kylee had the same EXACT illness and we did take her and they did swab her and she didn't have strep. But okay, I will be swabbed.

So I ask to make an appt. Guess what?

No appointments.


How about tomorrow?


But she did tell me that if I call back tomorrow at 7 I may be able to get in....

That is perfect for me. I found out I don't have some strange other-worldly disease brought here by some inter planetary creature (I know this because the nurse would have been worried about more than just strep, right?) and if I am still miserable tomorrow I will call tomorrow.

Oh, and by the way did I mention that I can't take basically any over the counter medication for colds because it gives me some very, very, strange side effects. No Sudafed, No NyQuil. Oh nothing prescribed with Codeine in it either.

So, I will continue my Tylenol, Motrin regiment and pray for the best.



I woke up to Seth and Joshi running through the house squealing with delight that it had snowed. This was a tad disturbing at 7:00 this morning. And before you think I am just lazy I only got about 2 hours of sleep last night because of this blasted sore throat. I had come down stairs and made a cup of hot tea at 5a.m. hoping to make the throat a little bearable and had just drifted off on the couch at about 6:15, snow gently falling out side, when I was jolted awake by the little Misters.

They are really wound up. I can't really blame them. They have been trapped in this house for so many days with a sick mommy. I welcome the snow, it will give them an outlet for their energy. Mike told them to get dressed and start their school work, we are on a very abbreviated work schedule due to teacher illness this week but they still have their basics to do, I said maybe they should go and play outside for 20 minutes first, so they can focus better.

They got all suited up and romped. Very fun. We had warm fake-o cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate waiting for them and now I have to go and stumble through some school work.

I am hoping that this super virus will just pack up and get out soon.


Monday, December 3, 2007


Fever, chills, sore throat, no appetite, headache, muscle and joint pain. I am going to lay down.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Feels Like 10

This is how we know it is really winter. As soon as it gets cold out Jaz searches the house for the spot where the sun comes in the window. Then she lays there all day. The good thing is that if you are cold and looking for some place warm all you have to do is look for the dog and you know you will be in the warmest room.

Seth and I checked the temperature today so we could record it on our chart and at 9:30 it was 23 degrees. Oh, but it feels like 10 degrees. I won't even go into that.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Deathly Hallows

I am pretty excited. I have just about finished the seventh Harry Potter book. I have about 150 pages to go. Little sad to come to the end though. I have really enjoyed them. They aren't my usual reading choice but I am glad I took the time to read them. Faith is pretty mad at me because I told her I had to read the last book first. Every time I gasp or laugh she about has a fit. I wanted to be surprised by the ending and knew that wouldn't happen if she read it first.

I have two new historical fiction books waiting to be read as soon as I am done with Harry, so I will let you all know how they go.


Through the Eyes of Faith

Faith is blogging again!! She is too funny!! She loves to read but hates to write. I had her start this blog a while back thinking she would write more and it would improve her typing skills. She did write on it for a while through the summer but kind of took a break over the last few months. She decided a couple of days ago that she would like to start blogging again.

I am so happy!!! Check her blog out and encourage her!!



Monday, November 26, 2007


This is a picture of the kids doing our geography lesson. Jasmine apparently felt neglected and decided to lay right in the middle of the map. Luckily we are studying India so she was okay laying on the Americas.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday

Had a great Thanksgiving holiday. Mike and I started a tradition with the kids last year. Since we are away from family we make a little thanksgiving dinner than go to a first run movie. That is a big deal for our kids because we usually wait till they are at the dollar theater.

This year we had the added pleasure of having our Thanksgiving meal with our great friends the Mitchells. Mike and I took the kids to Enchanted and then went to the Mitchell's and Paula and I whipped up an incredible dinner, followed by Paula and my annual tradition of preparing for our Friday shopping. This is our third year together getting up and conquering the crowds on the biggest shopping day of the year.

We schemed and planned and then parted agreeing to meet the next morning at 3:45 a.m. to go to Kohls. We usually hit Walmart first but Kohls was opening an hour earlier so we thought we would give them a try.

So after not even an hour of sleep I got up and Paula picked me up for our shopping fun.

It was a blast! We got some great deals but more than anything else just enjoyed the rush of being in the middle of all the excitement and hanging out together. Our Kohls first plan, didn't work out well. They were not prepared for the quantity of people opening an hour earlier would bring and we ended up leaving and coming back later. Macy's surprisingly brought the best deals with jackets the kids need for winter. I got London Fog jackets for Faith and Seth for 11.50 each!! Of coarse Faith's will probably have to go back because it was a little snug.

After seven hours of non stop shopping we wrapped it up and came home. Man I am so tired!! I crashed on the couch for a while but it will definitely be early to bed for me tonight!!


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Too Funny

Just saw this and had to share!!!




My friend Joni tagged me to list 7 odd things about myself. So, I don't know how odd these things are but here it goes:

1. I can burp on command and taught all of my children to do it also. (no pop needed, cheaters!)
2. I don't like any kind of fruit in my ice cream.
3. I hate tomatoes but I grow them every year
4. I can time a meal and have it on the table exactly when I planned it.
5. Along with the meal thing, I like to have Mike's dinner plate of food on the table for him, hot, when he walks in the door from work.
6. I am obsessively not late to anything. Ever. I literally get ill if I am.
7. I once won a Bull winkle shirt from Taco Bell for eating 50 tacos with my best friend. She ate 25 I ate 25. Actually we ate more than that because after so many they gave you a free taco so we had to eat those too. Mike won one on his own :)


Monday, November 19, 2007

Directionally Challenged

This weekend was the start of the basketball season in our house. It started a little traumatic but only because I am so directionally challenged.

Mike had Fuel so it was up to me to get the boys to their games on my own. Wow that sounds pretty lame of me. I just have such a hard time getting to new places. I can't explain it. It doesn't matter how organized I am it just seems that the first time I have to be some place new I get lost.

So I got the directions for both of the schools and felt pretty prepared. Made it to Joshi's game at 8:30 with no problem.

Maybe I got over confident.

Decided to do some shopping in between games, see if I could get a great deal on a winter jacket for Faith. I didn't. Left Kohls with an hour before the game. Followed the directions and ended up miserably lost. I called Mike but he didn't answer his phone. Tried Paula, she didn't answer her phone. Called Jen, she answered!!! She got me turned around and I was in the right neighborhood. Didn't realize there were two streets with the same name and I took the wrong one. Ended up lost again. Called Jen, she didn't pick up. Paula, still no use, Mike nope. Then I thought, "Hey! What if there are two streets with the same name?"

Drove down the road and sure enough there it was.

We got there right as the game was starting.

I decided to take the directions I had backwards home to see where I messed up. Okay, here it is. The directions said to turn on Frontage Road. Which I did. It neglected to mention that there were two "Frontage Roads" on this same road and I turned on the first. The one I was supposed to turn on was the second one.

So I don't feel totally responsible for this mistake. Google maps needs to take some responsibility here.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sick House

Life has been crazy the last couple of weeks. Faith got this weird virus going around which in turn I caught and have been trying to get rid of for two weeks. Kylee got it which was weird because she just doesn't get sick often.

She got it and started running 104 fevers that I couldn't bring down. That was a high fever for any nine year old, let alone a one who doesn't get sick often. So after two days of battling the fever I took her to the doctor. She told me her throat didn't hurt that bad. But I was worried about UTI. She has had a history of them since she was three, but hasn't had one in a year.

When the doctor asked her all the questions she just kept saying she didn't feel bad, her throat hurt a little. So when the doctor looked in her throat and about fainted from the horribleness ( is that a word?) of it she did a strep test, and a urine culture to satisfy me. She came back with the good news that she didn't have strep, but bad news that she did have a horrible UTI. She just could not fathom that she wasn't complaining. I tried to explain to her that she never complains that is why these infections have been so tricky. She says it doesn't hurt. But she also said her throat didn't hurt. Go figure she has a high pain tolerance, she must get that from Mike.

Anyways, we had dentist appt. for the kids I couldn't cancel so I went straight there right after the doctor. Always fun!

Everyone is feeling a ton better. Kylee is back on the cranberry pills which I had taken her off of (oops!!), my cold is starting to wrap itself up after two long weeks, the boys and Mike some how managed not to acquire it, and I am ready for a week off of school!


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pharaoh Update

Well, we left Pharaoh alone for a couple of weeks thinking he was not loosing as much fluid and hoping that just staying in the salt would help him. I don't know if it was a good choice.

He definitely has parts that are very very very dry. Feels like plastic. But then there are a few areas that are still really pliable. So I don't think he is done. We cleaned him off and weighed him.

3 lbs. 2 oz.

We re-salted him and I put him back in his box. But it is so cold now I have moved him inside. I put him on the dryer in the laundry room. That is a pretty dry place. Maybe that will help speed him along.

He really should be done now but I think the combination of my neglect in changing his salt, our not so humid climate, and the colder temperatures have slowed his progress. To be honest I am not sure if he will ever truly dry out in this climate. And what happens when he is done? Will he moisten back up in our humid conditions?

Don't know but it has been fun trying.


Friday, November 9, 2007

Reading Goals

We just completed our first nine weeks of school. I just had to post about their reading goals because they are doing so great!!

Both girls have earned their first date and Faith has earned her second with Kylee only a couple hours away.

Seth earned his first date (which we had on Monday night, he is a great date!) and Joshi just reached the first date goal yesterday!

Here are their hours as of today

Faith- 45 hours 45 minutes
Kylee- 43 hours 15 minutes
Seth - 27 hours 30 minutes
Joshi- 22 hours 30 minutes

That is a lot of recreational reading for nine weeks! I am really proud of them.


Monday, November 5, 2007


This week we are finishing our unit on the patriarchs and also the three week mini-unit on Jewish holidays.

Today we talked about the holiday Sukkot. We learned a lot about this cool Thanksgiving type holiday. The kids made harvest cupcakes which we haven't tasted yet, because they just came out of the oven, but they smell out of this world!!

And they also made these miniture models of Sukkahs. Sukkahs are built at the synagogue and at private homes during Sukkot. They are simple tent like structures made of wood with open roofs. The kids did a great job on their Sukkahs.

The Sukkah represents eternal thanks to God and our need for God's shelter. Pretty cool!


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Costumes

Well here they are!! I made them again this year. Faith was Cleopatra, Kylee was a baby, Seth was King Tut Mummy, and Joshi was a bat. Some of the pics were a little blurry, sorry our camera is on it's way out.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pumpkin Seeds

My favorite part of Halloween is the pumpkin seed baking!!

It seems every year I am trying to find a new and better way to roast these little guys. They turned out great this year. Thought I would share the recipes.

I have made these sweet and spicy ones before and decided to try them again this year. They are really different and yummy.

First you clean off the seeds. I just take out the big chunks of pumpkin and wash the seeds in a colander.

Then spread about a tablespoon of olive oil on a cookie sheet and dry them in the oven flipping every fifteen minutes or so. Just till they are starting to turn brown. I did it at 350 for about a half an hour.

Then take 1 1/2 tbls. oil and put it in a sauce pan. Heat. Add the seeds and 2 tbls of sugar. Cook until the sugar melts. About one minute.

Transfer to a bowl with these spices mixed in it.

3 tbls. sugar
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 ginger
1 pinch cayenne

coat and let cool.

With the seed from our second pumpkin I tried this new salty version. It turned out really good.

Clean the seeds then put them in water. 2 cups of water for every 1/2 cup seeds. Also add 1 tbls. salt for every cup of water. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 10 minutes. Drain. Spread a tbls. olive oil on a pan and bake in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes. I was worried the consistence would be weird but they are so good and very salty. Infused with it!!

Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thoughts on the Golden Compass

Okay, I am sure I am going to get into trouble here. But here it goes.

So, it wasn't too many years ago that there was a big uproar about the Harry Potter books. And I didn't join in I just didn't have kids the age to read them and I have too many other books I wanted to read. I have never been one to accept what the majority of people say about something without really looking into it myself. Especially if it is the Christian right community that is saying it.

I also think that if you tell your kids not to do something it becomes a lot more appealing.

So, as the kids got older I could see that the Harry Potter issue was going to come up. But I hadn't read them and I didn't feel comfortable just throwing them in the ring with it. So, I said we would get the books and read them together.

We read the first three books together and the kids and I both loved them. The fourth is not age appropriate, I feel, for the little guys but Faith has read it and Mike and I are reading it right now.

With that said here comes the "Harry Potter" of 2007. Some may disagree but this whole Golden Compass nonsense is in the same league. And frankly I am getting a little tired of the email going around. I just wonder if the people who are forwarding the email could say that they had actually read the book. I have not read the book so I will not judge it. But I did go to Phillip Pullman's personal website and found something interesting. He is The Orchard's target audience!! Here is the quote and I will tell you what I mean

question: His Dark Materials seems to be against organised religion. Do you believe in God?

"I don't know whether there's a God or not. Nobody does, no matter what they say. I think it's perfectly possible to explain how the universe came about without bringing God into it, but I don't know everything, and there may well be a God somewhere, hiding away.
Actually, if he is keeping out of sight, it's because he's ashamed of his followers and all the cruelty and ignorance they're responsible for promoting in his name. If I were him, I'd want nothing to do with them."

Wow that is really telling. What he says isn't against God it is against his followers. Christians. And can you blame him? I am a Christ follower and I have seen some pretty ugly stuff, out of myself included. The whole goal of the Orchard is to reach out to people just like Mr. Pullman. People who have been hurt by religious doctrines. Those rules that say you have to be a certain way for God to love you. That if you just follow these simple rules you will be acceptable in God's eyes. These things are not true! God loves you where you are and he forgives you even when you can't forgive yourself!

Now, I am not saying that I am going to go out and purchase the book and give it to my kid for Christmas. But I am going to get it from the library and read them before I write them off as vile and worthless. And if after I read them my kids want to read them we can read them in an educated way and discuss them.

Hiding from the culture around us is not going to make it go away. Understanding it helps us to relate to it though.

Just my two cents worth.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Canasta Victory

Another busy weekend. But it was good. Friday we went to the Field Museum in Chicago. The kids loved seeing the mummies and telling their Daddy every thing they have learned. It was awesome to hear that they really have been listening!!

Yesterday was a great day at church. Awesome worship!! Great message on Control. Wow that is a hard one for me. You mean I am not in control???!!!

Then we met at Paula's house for linner and Canasta. Terri and Dave came and the women were more than victorious. We creamed the guys three times in a row. And I can brag here because it has been rough going for us ladies the last little bit. But yesterday was a great day for the girls! I have to say I really enjoy playing with Terri and Paula as partners. And the victory dancing in the kitchen afterwards isn't too bad either!

School is moving right along. We are studying five of the major holidays of the Jewish faith. This week is Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. Reading through some of Leviticus. We read 1-5 this morning and the kids had a good time dramatizing it.

There have been quite a few questions about the Pharaoh from friends and family. He is fine. He is pretty dry and so we have not changed his salt in a while. I am worried about this temperature outside. Not sure if he is frozen or drying now!! I am tempted to leave him in the salt a little longer. We are going to take him out and weigh him and see how he is doing today.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Have You Ever Thought?

Have you ever just thought that maybe our society has gone a little over board on the whole safety seal thing.

Okay let me explain. Today as I was scrubbing the bathrooms and I got the new bleach bottle out, to rid the shower of the mystery smell that appears once every few months, I unscrewed the lid and low and behold there was a safety seal/tab.

That got me thinking. And I am sure there are some just exceptionally smart people out there that will probably have a great answer for this, but, what in the world are they trying to protect us from here? I mean it is BLEACH!!! We are not going to be ingesting it or rubbing it into our skin, washing our hair with it or soaking in it. What is it exactly that they are trying to prevent someone from adding to this bleach?

Just a thought.


When you Give a Pig a Pancake

Sunday night as we were about to sit down to dinner I looked at Seth and he looked a little odd. He was kind of squirmy and had a sneaky look on his face. I asked him what was up and soon realized that he had Harley on his lap. Here is how the conversation went;

Mom- "Seth we are not going to eat with the guinea pig at the table."

Seth- "Why not?"

Mom-"Because people just don't eat with guinea pigs on their laps."

Seth-"Some people do"

Mom-"What people do, name one"

Seth-"I don't know but i am sure some people do."

Mom- "Well we don't put him away."

Have you ever eaten with a guinea pig on your lap?



In the spirit of Egypt I picked up Margaret George's historical fiction novel Cleopatra. It has taken me five weeks to read the 957 page book. Having finished it last night, I can say, I am a little sad for it to end. What a great book!!

George is an exceptional author. She really finds a way to keep things historical while adding in a touch of fiction to keep things going. She did a nice job of presenting "her side of the story". George talks in the author's notes about how not only was Cleopatra's side of the story kind of wiped out, since she was not the victor, but also the leading writers of that day were her enemies. They did not have a lot of good things to say about her. But through her research she was able to uncover a lot of great stuff about Cleopatra that, in the past, has not been focused on in other accounts of her life.

Any ways, it was a great book if you like historical fiction do not be turned off by the size of the book. It is totally worth the time.

But you may want to buy it so you don't have to renew it three times like me :)


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I Have No Face...

Because these guys rocked it off last night!! Oh man!! What a great concert! Reliant K was great but for some reason their vocals were hard to hear.

But when Switchfoot came out it was AWESOME!!! So much energy, great sound, and just an incredible performance.

The venue was fabulous also. It was at Star theater in Indiana. Not a huge venue and we had great seats.

Except for the unsupervised 12 year olds behind us :) Yes, I am getting old.

Man, if you get the opportunity to see Switchfoot in your area take it!! You will not be disappointed.

Now, I have to function as a teacher and mom on less than my usual sleep. Wish me luck!


Monday, October 22, 2007

What a weekend!

Wow! What a weekend. I feel whooped. Mike left early Saturday morning for Fuel and then stayed at church to get ready for the first Saturday service. I made Faith's Halloween costume so that her and Kylee could go to a party Saturday night and after I had the girls off to the party the boys and I went to church. Mike has a great post with pictures here.

Then Sunday I went to the second service in Wahabu to be a small group leader to the third grade girls. Those girls crack me up! They are so funny.

The fam. and I stopped at the ever nutritious and delicious McDonalds on the way home (Faith only eats salad there, oh and french fries) and then we came home. Mike crashed and I headed to the library to get the books that had NOT been put on hold for me. But, they were all there on the shelves. Came home and spent the rest of the afternoon/evening planning for school this week.

So we start another busy week. Lots going on. Tomorrow night is Switchfoot and Reliant K. Oh man!! I can't wait. I will have pics and much much more on wed!!!


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dropped the Ball

Oh!!! I am so mad at myself right now!! I think I got over whelmed this last week. Lots going on. And because of that I didn't get my books reserved for the coming week. I don't know what I was thinking!!! I have been doing it on the previous Monday, that way they have a week to get them at the library and if I have to buy them I have time for the bookstore to get them.

But I didn't do it.

Luckily most of the books were at the library so I just have to wait till they compile them. I am praying they do that on weekends. I may stop there and find out.

But Kylee's literature book which she is to read 50 pages in I had to buy. And they said it won't be in for 4-6 days!! Not their fault. Mine.

I am frustrated mostly because I have been feeling like I have things so organized and I have been so put together and then I make this giant error!

Okay I feel better for venting. I wish I had someone to blame other than myself. Maybe I could blame it on the dog. That would make me feel better.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Two New Recipes

Tried a new recipe last night. The kids and I had planned on making Lentil soup last night and fig cakes to go along with our unit. I found this recipe and made a few adjustments. I added half of a package of Jimmy Dean Hot sausage (browned), chicken broth instead of water, no vinegar and 1 tsp of cumin. Also as it cooked I had to add about 4 more cups of water to it because it seemed that the liquid boiled out of it. But it was sooo good. The kids all loved it, it is a keeper. When we went to the grocery store they did not have any figs. I went to two stores and gave up. So the fig thing didn't happen. Am I sad?

We also made Challah bread. It was listed under Egyptian food. It was really good and easy to make.

2 cups warm water or milk
2 pkgs dry active yeast
6-7 cups bread flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 t. salt
1/4 cup oil
1 egg

I used my kitchen aid mixer to mix the dough then let it knead it for me for about five minutes. I covered it with a towel and let it sit for about 1 1/2 hours. The kids enjoyed rolling the ropes out and helping to braid them together. Then we just covered it and put it in a 250 degree warmed oven turned off for about 30 minutes. I baked it for 20 minutes at 375 until it was brown. Kind of a sweeter bread but really good. And remember the trick to great bread is great ingredients. Buy good bread flour and I don't mean the stuff at the corner grocery. I have tried it and it is inferior. Sams has a brand called Bakers & Chefs and it is the best! Not expensive and it makes superior bread. I don't know what the difference is but it just works better.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Coloring Fun

So, yesterday as I was at the bank with the kids they noticed the bank was having a coloring contest. As I reached up to give each kid a sheet, a memory came flooding back. Here it is

When I was in high school I had some great friends. We were a pack of girls that hung out together all the time. We loved to hang out at parks and swing and color. Yes, I said high school. And since I lived right down the street from the high school my friends and I came home to my house every day for lunch. My mom stocked the fridge and cabinets for Alicia, Renee, Angel, and I so that we could eat there. Every day. My parents loved doing it. Thought it was great to have the kids in the house before and after school. They knew that if I was there with my friends then they knew where I was. I understand this concept as a parent now.

My dad especially loved having all my friends there and thought of them as his daughters. So one day when he was at the grocery he saw they were having a coloring contest. And knowing that we loved to color he picked up some sheets. He also knew that we were too old to enter the contest so he brought the sheets home and told us that he would run his own little contest and if we did our best and turned them into him he would judge and decide the winner. And being the goofy 15 year olds that we were we went along with it.

So we did our best, I mean we really put our heart into it. We took it very seriously and got a little competitive. Then we turned them in to him.

You can imagine our surprise when we walked into our drivers ed class the next day and saw there on the wall our four coloring sheets up on the board. My dad had taken them down to the school and given them to our favorite teacher. Mr. Adler. He was a riot. And he loved a good joke. So he took the pictures and put them up in the class. He explained to the class what had happened how we had "entered" this coloring contest and then had his classes vote on which was the best.

Yes, it was humiliating. But only for a moment. Mostly it was just fun. And what a great memory. I don't remember who won. I am guessing it was Renee since she was an artist, but I am sure that I thought I got robbed at the time. Yes I was competitive even then.

As I told this story to Mike this morning he laughed so hard he cried. then I called my dad and all I had to say was I got the kids coloring sheets for a coloring contest....and he was laughing hysterically.

Thanks for the laugh Dad.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Teaching Moments

I'll admit that while I love this new curriculum we are using, it is kicking my rump!!! Seriously!

The kids like it and I feel like we are really getting into some great stuff but I am working really hard too! That's okay I just think that after this first 9 weeks we will be deserving a week off.

We are on week six. Last week's focus was on Abram's home town of Ur. We did a little studying on Mesopotamia. That was cool. This week we are reading all the rest of Genesis 23-50. It is cool to read about the people God uses to do His work. I am loving the conversations with my kids about the stupid mistakes these guys make. We may not make the same mistakes today but the same idea. Kylee was blown away by the father/ son trend of saying their wives were their sisters to get out of trouble but it in turn that getting them into trouble. She said she couldn't understand why the sons' would do the same things the dads did. Yeah, that doesn't happen today does it? Ha! We got to talk about how sometimes a parent's bad choice does get carried on in the children, whether that be anger, language, eating habits, drugs, alcohol, whatever. It was a great conversation.

For specials this week the kids made cardboard box looms and they are weaving mats. I think it is a lot harder than they thought it was going to be. But they are doing great. Also we are making Lentil stew on Thursday and fig cakes. I am not so sure about the fig cakes but I will put on a good face. Not a big fan of the fig.

So other than being wiped out things are going great. Three more weeks than we get a break!


Friday, October 12, 2007

More than One way to Skin a Cat

It is moments like these that I feel so completely technologically inept! I wanted to post the pictures from Seth's birthday with text but spent about 45 minutes this morning struggling with it. So finally I posted the pictures and decided that I would just add the text to another post. So here it goes.

The first pictures is a picture of Seth with his birthday meal. He requested steak wrapped in bacon, baked potato, corn, cheese and garlic biscuit, and root beer.

The next picture is of his cake. Seth really wanted to play basket ball this fall but being on limited income we can only do so many extra curricular sports a year. Seth had his with baseball in the spring. It is now Joshi's turn. But we did tell Seth that if he wanted to have us sign him up for fall basket ball than we would but that would be his birthday present. He said that is what he wanted so we did. That is when he decided that he wanted a chocolate cake with coffee ice cream inside, and it had to be shaped like a basket ball. (his daddy also brought him home a bag of candy and a starbucks card).

The third picture is of him getting his candles lit...Are some of those trick candles?

Next he is directing us in the birthday song.

The fifth picture is the cheesy smile picture.

And finally he is blowing out his candles. Or trying to :)


Seth's 7th Birthday Bash!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Seth!

I have a feeling this is going to be a book. Sorry.

I can't believe my little boy is seven today!!! Seth's birth brought an amazing thing into my life. The relationship between a mom and her son. Now don't get me wrong, I love and adore my girls and we have a special relationship as well, but let's face it they will always be their daddy's girls. And I love that for them and their daddy.

I will never forget the day that we found out we were having a boy. You see Mike had made it very clear that if the third child was not a boy than we were stopping. He didn't want to be totally out numbered in a house full of girls. So I got this book and read it from cover to cover. But even though we had bought the book and followed it's advice I still was totally shocked when the ultra sound tech said,"It's a boy!"

I had a little freak out. I mean I had two girls I knew what to do with those. I knew how to care for them and dress them and... a boy seemed out of my league. I didn't even have brothers! What had I gotten myself into.

He was due on October 14th but we were hoping for the 10th. His birthday would have been 10-10-00. But he waited till the 11th. We had a delivery room full of people. Friends and relatives I thought it was great. Lots of tears and excitement. I had had an epidural so really it went very smoothly. Until after he was born and the drug lady said as she was leaving make sure you drink lots of caffeine.

What? I thought that was a strange thing for a doctor to tell you right after you have a baby. But then I tried to sit up. And felt like someone had dropped an anvil on my head.

It was decided that I had an epidural headache. From what I understand it is when the dura sac is nicked and begins to leak spinal fluid. I was told you could do a blood patch which is where they do another epidural tube but this time fill the tube with your own blood and this patches up the hole. I was told this was very dangerous and could cause me to have all kinds of problems. The other option was to drink lots of caffeine and lots of fluid and hope it patched on it's own. I went home with the headache a day later.

Two weeks I lived with this headache. I could never put into words what this headache was like. Unique, because all you had to do was lie down and it completely disappeared, but lift your head and there was nothing you could do to make it go away. It provided all the effects of what I hear a migraine does for you. Now I think back to it and those first two weeks, they were a blur. I lost all my baby weight because I couldn't eat, but I also couldn't hold my baby unless I was laying down, as soon as I would pick my head up I felt like my brain was banging against my skull.

After two weeks Mike called the hospital back. The people in the ER freaked and said to come right in. That they should never have let me go an that i could have had a seizure! So I went back in had the blood patch, which hurt like I can't explain, but after it was over my head was instantly clear. Amazing.

After recouping from the blood patch I was able to start enjoying my new little boy. What a sweet baby!!! He was a great kid. Slept great, ate great, very happy guy. And he still is!

Today he is in second grade and loves school! He loves to learn new things, play with his friends, play video games with his dad, ride his bike, and read. One of the most unique things about him is his generous spirit. He really is so kind and loves to give things to people. He will spend all his points at church just to buy his brother a toy. For a while he opened a shop in his room,of his toys, but everything was free. I pray that God would continue to bless him and that he would always keep that generous spirit and help this world out in mighty ways.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Guinea Pig Powers

Somehow a 5 oz animal has accomplished something that I have, to this point, not been able to accomplish. The girls set their alarm for 8 every morning and therefore have forty five minutes to eat breakfast, brush teeth, make beds, dress and do hair. This sounds like a reasonable amount of time but for some reason it hits 8:45 when they are supposed to be practicing their instruments and the girls have eaten breakfast, but that's it.

But since Harley has been in the house, everyone has been up dressed, brushed, fed, and ready for their day by 8:20!! What is that? I can't explain it....

The power of a guinea pig.


Monday, October 8, 2007

Meet Harley

Some may say I am crazy, and maybe it's true, but what can you say when he has birthday money and this is how he wants to spend it?

Seth received money from his Nana and Papa for his birthday and he wanted to invest in a hamster. The problem with this is that I have a huge fear of hamsters, gerbils and lets go ahead and throw mice and rats in that little list. I just don't like to touch them, so much. But, I did have a guinea pig in college and knew they were fun and gentle so I thought I could handle that.

He bought Harley and his cage, food and bedding and is already planning future purchases for his pet with his allowance.

I was really proud of Seth to pick something that lasts. I think sometimes kids, my kids, have a tendency to waste their money on toys and junk that just break and they get bored of it too quickly. Now I am not saying that Harley's newness isn't going to wear out and he may start getting less attention but I am encouraged that Seth picked something he is going to nurture and care for. He knows it is his responsibility and he will have to clean his cage once a week and feed and play with him. And he has accepted that challenge. I know he will do great. All four of the kids love animals and have always done a great job taking care of their dog. They have spoiled her and loved on her to the point that she is such a baby!!

I think a lot of parents shy away from adding pets to their home because they don't want to care for them. But I think that if you do that you are setting that child up to fail. Why not give them the responsibility and hold them to it? Why not encourage them to stand by their commitment and finish what they start? I am excited about Seth's new responsibility and so far he is doing great! I know he will be a great guinea dad!!


Friday, October 5, 2007

College 2

I got some great responses from you all about my college question! Thanks for your encouragement.

I spent some time yesterday looking on-line and trying to decide what I might want to do. I ended up finding out that the college that I got a good deal of my major credits in Humanities from, NAU, offers an on-line BA degree in Humanities! I am pretty excited about that. I think if I could just finish up the last bit through the same school than I wouldn't have the headache of transferring credits to another university and all the mess that goes along with it.

I already got a call from the Arizona University online program people. They have already sent off information in the mail to me.

I think I may try applying on-line and then go from there. I went to ASU for a year after NAU so I have credits from there to transfer back to NAU. I would really love to speak to a counselor and find out what I really need to do to complete this thing.

I am pretty nervous. I haven't written a college level paper in 11 years. I am not sure I can still do it. Also, the classes will be higher levels and I am not sure how much I remember from the previous classes. But I think that if I commit to this I need to really commit and finish this time.

I will post about it when I know what is going to happen. Thanks for your prayers and encouragement.


Chicken a la Pharaoh IV

Pharaoh's stats today: 3 lbs 7 ounces. That means he lost a whole pound in a week!! His skin is really dry and he has shrunk quite a bit. He does have an odor but it isn't a bad smell. I can't really explain it. But you don't forget it. Someday I am sure I will run across a similar smell and I will be able to say,"Man, that sure smells like a partially mummified chicken!" That will make it all worth it.

And I bought other Ziplock bags, bigger, and they worked perfectly. So there was no ripping or tearing today.


Thursday, October 4, 2007


I went to college for three years and never finished a degree, but came close. I never regretted the decision to stop my studies and become a full time mom. I know I am intelligent and never felt the desire to go back just to get a piece of paper that somehow validates your education.

Until recently.

I don't know what it is and maybe it will pass. But I have this strong urge to have my credits from the three colleges I went to transferred to a local university and try and complete what I started.

We don't really have the finances right now to put into my education but it might be something I will be looking into in the future.

I am not sure it is something that is worth the time pursuing. I know I have lots of credits towards a degree in humanities and I know now I would want a degree in something more practical so I don't know how those credits would even transfer over.

Just a thought. What do you think? Should I pursue it or just be happy with what I have?


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Park, It's about 300 Cubits Away...

This weeks history focus is on the creation of the world. This curriculum presents Moses' story and times he lived(hence the pharaohs and Egyptian mythology of the last couple weeks) then goes back and presents the stories of creation, the flood and the Patriarchs that Moses would have written down for the Israelites in the wilderness.

Today we got through Noah. The study suggests measuring out the Ark in cubits. I went through several feelings with this project.

My first was, "That sounds great! The kids learn so well with hands on projects and I really think that this will bring it home just how big the Ark was. And they will learn how long a cubit is!"

My second was,"I don't know if I really want to look like a weirdo going up and down my street. I mean my neighbors already think I am strange with my kids at home all the time. Maybe we should skip this."

My third was,"okay kids here is your string."

So we each got an 18 inch piece of string (1 cubit) and started down at the park. I now know that my house is just a little longer than 300 cubits from the park at the end of our street. I am also sure that my neighbors think I am a crazy women but, oh well. I wish I had a picture of us all lined up with our strings.


Monday, October 1, 2007

Reading Lists

Last school year we had reading sheets, for every 5 books they got a small reward and every 50 (for older), 100 (for younger), books they read they got a date with mom or dad. This was not such a great system for everyone. Great for Josh who could sit down and have 10 books at a sitting read to him. Great for Seth who was just starting to read and could complete a book rather quickly. Great for Faith who reads 5 books a week. Not so great for Kylee who read and read but just couldn't read as many books as the others.

So this time around I decided to do it by minutes instead. There are four goals and after each goal they will get a date with mom or dad.

So far the kids totals since we started our school year (we just started our fourth week of school this week) are:

Faith- 16 hours

Kylee- 13 hours 45 minutes

Seth- 11 hours 30 minutes

Joshi- 8 hours 15 minutes

I am totally blown away by them!! I knew Faith was reading a lot but I am so happy to see Kylee so motivated. They can not time any of their school reading it has to be all independent time reading. And let me tell you these totals are to the minute!!! They actually take the timer with them and time themselves!! Too funny!! I keep telling them they can round the times and they don't have to time themselves but they want it to be right on.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Chicken a la Pharaoh III

Here are the pictures I promised. This is the Pharaoh today as we took him out of his salt containment. We were all delighted to see that he had lost some weight and had shrunk. Unfortunately we didn't have our scale until this week so I didn't weigh him last week. But his weight on the package was 4.17 pounds. Today he was 3 lbs. 7 oz.

Here he is getting repacked in salt. And no I didn't buy new bags and yes they ripped again.

Here he is in his resting place for the next seven days. Still no smell and looking good!!!


Mike's coming home!!

Mike will be home tonight! He has been away for the last couple of days at the Innovate 07 conference at Granger Church in Indiana. It is a great time of refreshment excitement and I am so glad he had the opportunity to go.

With that said I miss him so much!! He left Wednesday morning for work and we haven't seen him since. It is so hard for lots of reasons.

First, I love him so much and he is my best friend. I will never be and have never been one of those women I hear who "just need a break" from their husbands. He is my best friend and I never need a break from him. I love talking to him and spending time with him and just hanging out. He is such a fun guy to be with!

Second, the kids miss him so much! He is such a great helper to me that when he is gone we all feel it. We eat together every night we can as a family and the kids miss him being at the table. That is when we talk about our day and hang out. I hope the kids never lose their love of the family meal. Also, he is the bedtime guy. He does a great job of it. I am horrible at it. Usually by 8 I am done for. I have no desire to be kind or friendly to anyone under the age of 21. But that is when Mike steps in and gets everyone moving and into their designated sleeping spots. Prays with them and does all the final last comments that must be made before bedtime. I sit back and listen and enjoy but don't have to partake. It works for us.

And third, Mike works second shift around here. Without him here there is no resting. I have to do night patrol, lock the house and listen for danger and children all night long. I don't like to do that!!

I do have to admit that I cheated on Wed. and took the kids to my great friend Paula's house. her hubby was out of town as well so we had a giant slumber party. Paula and I stayed up late and watched movies and talked and then I slept like a baby because I had someone else to listen. Thanks Paula!! Then we let the kids play all day (they had school off for some crazy reason and so we took the day also) went to the park and to Ci Ci's pizza for all you can eat pizza so we didn't have to do dinner last night.

But even though I wasn't alone the whole time I still miss my guy so much!! Get everything you can from that conference then come home to me sweetie!!


Monday, September 24, 2007

Why I Love My Curriculum

I was looking around on the website of Tapestry of Grace today and it is pretty cool! It has some really nice helps on it as well as message boards and support.

I was reading through some of the past message boards trying to find a supplement worksheet for the book Seth is reading and I found this entry by a parent asking why they were using the literature books they were using for Ancient Egypt. They were quite upset about the books because they include talk about the gods of Ancient Egypt and they felt that it wasn't right to be exposing their child to these other beliefs.

The response from a staff member at Lampstand was this:

"At Lampstand Press, we seek to teach children about these other beliefs, how they differ from God's word, and how we can compassionately answer those who oppose our faith. Now of course, we're not likely to come across any ancient Egyptians, but the basic premise of being able to recognize and identify falsehoods, as well as to stand firm against them, is the goal in this regard.To that end, we try to incorporate such things on an appropriate level. An upper grammar student should be able to recognize these falsehoods, although he probably won't be able to analyze them and make connections between these false gods and the ones mentioned in the Bible. However, this is a step in that direction.When my boys were that age and we read about these other beliefs, we prayed for people today who believe in a similar manner. I believe that it helped my boys be sensitive to the lost condition of others' souls and be able to respond in a way that will ultimately bring glory to God."

I think she said it so awesomely!! That is totally my goal. Our kids need to know that their belief system isn't the only one out there and be compassionate and loving to people who have differing ideas. To pray for them and treat them kindly. I think if we bring our children up to be ignorant of other belief systems we will be harming our kids hugely. I want for our children to truly understand what they believe and why they believe it and make their faith their own. Not just what mom and dad believe but what they believe.



Chicken a la Pharaoh II

I am delighted to report to all of you who are anxiously awaiting a smell update that as of today the Pharaoh still smells of cinnamon! Trust me I am delighted at this little smell fact! It is going to be nice warm day today, which I am so happy about. Can you believe 90 degrees for the high??!! That is awesome for me and for Pharaoh!! But then tomorrow there is a drop and it is going to get cooler. I will have to find a warm place for the king.

That would be a shame if he froze, wouldn't it?


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Chicken a la Pharaoh

Wow! Who knew that mummifying a chicken would be so....messy.

We got up and got most of our other school work done. The kids had told their friends about the mummification about to happen and what do you know, the public schools had the day off yesterday. So at 1 o'clock when we decided to start our work on our Pharaoh, in came neighborhood friends. My four kids, plus three additional little girls, set to work mummifying dear Pharaoh.

We washed the "body" dried him inside and out and stuffed him and covered him with Rosemary and cinnamon.

Then I got out the Ziplock brand bags.

I need to stop here to say that I specifically bought name brand bags this one time thinking that they would be better, stronger than the store brand. Let me just say you won't see me on any commercials for Ziplock any time soon. We got the chicken in the bag with four containers of salt and right as I was about to zip up the bag, it ripped.

So I poured the salt into another bag put the king and his ripped bag in another bag and preceded to zip it up ripped.

I was covered in Cinnamon, salt and chicken by this time and the kids had most definitely lost interest in the plight of poor chicken Pharaoh. Mike and I managed to pull a different bag over the top of the other two and tape it at the bottom. I don't know if this is going to work. I sealed him up and put him in the plastic container that I bought. I think I will check him today and make sure that he is still totally covered in salt. We don't want our Pharaoh to rot. That would be bad.

Sorry no pictures quite yet. They are coming. I was a little preoccupied with the whole, raw chicken and spices everywhere to run and get the camera. But we have to clean him off, weigh him, and repack him next week and I will try and get it then.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Time Flies

I just can't figure out what has happened to this week!! Man it has just flown by.

School has been smooth but I feel like I am immersed in Ancient Egypt right about now. It's good just gets me to feeling a little over whelmed at times. No biggie.

I had to run Faith to student group last night and figured I would just stop by the brand new super Walmart down the street from the church since I was there and do my shopping and then pick ms. Faith up when group was over. I haven't been grocery shopping at 7 o'clock at night with three tired children.....ever. So it was a little much but i got my groceries including my 9 containers of salt and the tasty and tender chicken pharaoh. I was not really in the mood for questions as to why I was purchasing 9 containers of salt, a chicken and a large plastic bucket, and thankfully I didn't get any.

I will post pictures tomorrow of the beginning of our mummification process!!


Friday, September 14, 2007

Quote of the Day

"That's not green play dough under my nails. It's the green crayon I picked out of my teeth."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cookie Dough Maps

The kids have worked really hard this week. This new curriculum we are using is challenging, I really like it and so do they. The curriculum suggested maybe taking it slow and doing your math and spelling and adding an element from the curriculum in every week. But that really isn't my style. I kind of jump in with both feet. Also we have been doing unit studies for a while so I thought I could handle it.

So far things have gone well. Yesterday was our hardest day I don't really know what happened but it was a long day and kind of a struggle. But we got through it.

This study is very map intensive which I am glad about. Not my strong point so I feel like I am learning a ton as well. The kids have not done a lot of map stuff so some of the review stuff is new to them but that is okay. They are smart and are catching on quickly. Seth really enjoys the map work.

One of the suggestions was to do a salt map of a made up region that had as many geographic features as you could fit on it. Since we just did a salt map of the US not that long ago we went with the no bake cookie dough recipe. They had fun and we got to review some of these terms. They turned out cute and they can't wait till after dinner to enjoy!!

Here are pictures


Sun Glasses, Motorcycles and Ninjas

This afternoon as we took a lunch break I was sitting in the dinning room listening to the chatter in the kitchen and this is what I heard.

Kylee- "Girls are made out of sugar and spice and everything nice, but boys are made of slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails!"

Seth- "That's not very nice!!"

Kylee- "Well that is how it goes!"

Seth- "No this is how it goes---Girls are made of cabbage, stink bugs and rotten apples, because they are mad all the time.
And boys are made of Sun glasses, motorcycles and Ninjas." (You really have to picture him doing a really cool Ninja move after that)

I am not so sure if that revision is going to take off.

One Motivated Kindergartner!

Since Faith went to public school for kindergarten and first grade Kylee was my first at home kindergarten experience. Looking back I don't think I did such a great job.

Unfortunately, since she got me in my first year I think I felt I had something to prove.I was going to home school my kids better than any one had ever done it!

I didn't get it. I had completely missed the point of schooling them at home.

But, on my behalf there was, and always is, a lot of pressure on the home school parent to make sure your kids look like they are keeping up with the school kids. I was crazy with poor little Kylee. She was going to learn to read and she was going to do it by Christmas. This poor little kid was NOT ready to learn to read. She really had no interest and looking back I don't think she was mature enough to start the process. I screwed up. And sometimes I think back and wonder how things could have been different if I had just let her play and worried about her learning her letters and numbers and sounds until she was ready.

Well, she did learn to read but didn't learn to love it. I think she is getting to learn to enjoy it but it has taken a long time.

So, I would like to think I learned my lesson. when Seth came up to being close to kindergarten age I decided I was not going to push him. If he wanted to play for a couple of years and start reading and math when he was 7 or 8 I was really okay with that. I totally laid off of him. And when he wanted to started kindergarten at the age of 4 3/4, daily I would just ask him what he wanted to do. He would play and listen to the other kids and do school pages occasionally and when he got bored of us he would go play with his little brother. He was reading great by Christmas, right after he turned five. Loves math, loves to read and write.

So, I thought i had found the key!! I was so happy to think that all you have to do is....well nothing and kindergarten was a snap! Then came Joshi. He just started kindergarten this last week. I really thought we would try the Seth method of kindergarten with him, but he is driving me crazy!!! He doesn't operate the way Seth does. He really wants to be involved with what is going on and he wants to be taught! He would have loved the Kylee kindergarten experience. So I am trying very hard to balance something out for him.

All this said it just hit me in the face what I say all the time to parents of school kids, all kids are different. They learn at different rates and with different techniques and you can't cookie cutter the learning experience and expect them to do well. It is just going to take some work on my part to learn Joshi's style and create something for him that is unique and fits his personality.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New School Year begins

Yesterday was the first day of our new school year. It went pretty smooth. We had all instruments practiced, and all school assignments completed before 2:30. I think for the first day that is great. This curriculum is pretty reading intensive and I was a little worried about that, being that one of my children is not so much a lover of reading. But she did great and kept up with the schedule. I don't think I did a great job of bringing around the reason we are starting with Ancient Egypt. But I will do that today. It is supposed to get them to understand what it was like when Moses was alive and understand the culture he was living in.

We had Salmon last night, okay so the Egyptians didn't necessarily eat salmon but fish was a staple so I thought maybe it tied in. Here is the recipe for it

Salmon about 2 pounds
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter
3-6 tablespoons lemon juice
2 1/4 teaspoons dill weed
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients except salmon. remove 1/2 cup to a saucepan. simmer until heated through. Set aside remaining mixture for basting. Sprinkle salmon with lemon pepper. Place on grill with skin side down. Grill covered, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Brush with the reserved brown sugar mixture. Grill 10- 15 minutes longer basting occasionally. Serve with the warmed sauce.

It really is so good. The kids all ate it and said it tasted like chicken. Tonight we are having curry with lentils. You see where I am going here? Yes, Lentils being a major staple and crop for the Ancient Egyptians. And my whole family loves them so bonus!!!

Oh, and one more fun thing!! Next week we are going to mummify a chicken!!! I will tell you more about it later!