Friday, December 31, 2004

Year in Review

I don't often take the time to do the quizzes that go around, but I do want to write my "year in review" today for my scrapbook, so I thought this might be a good place to start. I've seen this on several other Xanga sites... (It's kinda long so I'm going to cut some of the questions I don't have an answer for.)

Did you keep you New Years' resolutions and will you make more for next year?
I set a goal to read the Bible through this year... and I made it! Just a few minutes ago! Yay! I am setting the same goal for 2005.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
My sister did.

Did anyone close to you die?
Our dear ol' doggy died while we were camping over Labor Day. We got him when he was a puppy in 1990, so he was getting close to 15 years old!

What countries did you visit?
Canada. Also in the US: Oregon, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas.

What was the best thing you bought?
Our pop-up camper! We took it on vacation with us, and then on 2 short camping trips in the area. It's a step above tent camping, but still seems like "roughing it" in some ways. I love that it's self contained, so I don't have to gather up all the bits and pieces every time we want to go camping.

Compared to this time last year are you:
a. Happier or sadder? About the same, I guess.
b. thinnier or fatter? Thinner!
c. richer or poorer? About the same, I think.

What do you wish you'd done more of?
Homeschooling. Seems I never get as much done as I think I should.

How did you spend Christmas?
Quietly with my DH and children. We had friends over for dinner, and then visited relatives that night.

Did you fall in love in 2004?
All over again!

What was your favorite TV show?
The only current show I watch is the sit-com Rodney. It makes me laugh.

What was the best book you read?
Well, I'd have to say the Bible because this is the first year I have read the whole thing in a year. Probably the best fiction book I read this year was The Crown of Eden.

What was your favorite film this year?
Second-Hand Lions. (Did that come out this year?)

What did you do on your birthday? How old were you?
I cooked Thanksgiving dinner on my birthday. I'm 30-something.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If DH didn't have to work so much overtime.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
Comfortable, classic. (as usual)

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"...All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me."

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Menu Ideas

I had this all typed up once and then Xanga crashed or something and I lost it all. Arrghhh! Hopefully it will work this time.

Okay... here's my plan. Instead of making a menu schedule I am going to make 4 lists with as many options as I can think of for Breakfast, Lunch, Snack, and Supper... keeping the options pretty basic so it won't be hard to keep the ingredients on hand. I'm always open for more ideas! Then each morning (or maybe the evening before) I can choose something from each list to be that day's meals. This will give me more flexibility and the option to repeat some things more often if we feel like it, to work in left-overs, and to eat out. What do you think?

Breakfast Ideas
  • yogurt, granola bar, juice
  • pop tart, banana, milk
  • oatmeal, hot chocolate
  • scrambled egg, toast, milk
  • dry cereal, banana, milk
Lunch Ideas
  • tuna sandwich, applesauce
  • mac'n'cheese, fish sticks, apple slices
  • grilled cheese, tomato soup
  • turkey sandwich, cottage cheese, pineapple slices
  • frozen pizza, celery and peanut butter
  • chili, corn muffins
  • egg salad sandwich, pork'n'beans
  • Mexican pizza, canned peaches
  • burritos, orange
  • ham sandwich, deviled eggs
  • baked potato, broccoli
  • pasta salad
  • grilled PB&J, carrots and ranch dip
Snack Ideas
  • popcorn, hot chocolate
  • granola bar, fruit smoothy
  • graham crackers, milk
  • apple and cheese
  • muffins, hot chocolate
  • PB&J, milk
  • trail mix, juice
  • bowl of cereal
Supper Ideas
  • hamburger, french fries
  • spaghetti, green beans
  • grilled chicken breast, steamed veggies with cheese sauce
  • biscuits and gravy
  • taco soup, tortilla chips, cheese
  • pizza
  • sloppy joes, tater tots
  • chicken quesadillas, tortilla chips, salsa
  • beef stew
  • tacos
  • lasagna, green salad
  • chicken supreme, broccoli
  • sausage and rice casserole, corn
  • stir fry, rice
  • chili, cornbread
  • chef salad

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Kid Friendly Recipes

The new year is always a good time to try to start new habits or schedules. One thing I want to be more consistent about is making up menus ahead of time. I made up a 2-week menu that we followed pretty well through the month of September (the new school year) but I discovered that we weren't really ready for repeats on most things 2 weeks later, so I need to come up with a month-long menu. Of course, it won't hurt to repeat a few things, but for the most part we like variety.

The biggest challenge to me is planning lunches for the kids. My almost-12-yo DD likes to cook, but the recipes need to be fairly simple and straight-forward for her to be able to do them without my supervision. She can make things like:
  • mac'n'cheese from a box
  • tuna salad
  • scrambled eggs
  • mini pizzas (using canned biscuits)
  • grilled cheese and tomato soup
Now I'm looking for more kid-friendly lunch ideas... Here are some helpful sites I've found...

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Bible reading

I am challenging the young people to read through (or listen to on tape or CD) the entire Bible in 2005. I was looking for a Bible reading chart that lets you check off each chapter as you read it. I had one like that when I was in high school and I really liked it because it helps you keep track of exactly where you are even if you get off-schedule. I found a really nice printable one at http://users.aol.com/dennish658/journal/biblread.pdf. I am also printing out one that schedules the reading straight through from Genesis to Revelation with a portion each day that is relatively equal in length. I discovered there are lots of charts out there with different ways of doing it, but I decided to encourage the straight-through reading this year, so we can all do it together and also to make it a little more convenient for those who are using audio-Bibles. The chart I followed last year alternated a book from the Old Testament with a book from the New Testament. I liked doing it that way, too. I am currently in Amos. I need to finish the OT and Revelation this week to achieve this goal in 2004!

Saturday, December 25, 2004

It's a Wonderful Life

We are having a lovely Christmas Day. DH even watched It's a Wonderful Life with me for the umpteenth time last night. He's so sweet... and I still love that movie! Jimmy Stewart is my all-time favorite actor, and it's always good to be reminded of how our lives impact others, even when it doesn't seem like we are accomplishing much.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Santa comes to our house!

Kids are such great pretenders!

We have always told our kids that Santa is a game we play. It's just pretend, and Mom and Dad are the ones who really put the presents out on Christmas Eve. We still go through the ritual of putting out milk and cookies, but we remind them that it's all just pretend. They still believe!

I remember several years ago our youngest daughter (she was probably about 5) figured out how Santa could park his "giraffes" (just a little mixed-up there in the story) in the back of the house and come in through the back door since we didn't have a chimney at the time. We reminded her again that Santa is just pretend, but she kept talking about it anyway.

Just a day or two ago I had this conversation with the same daughter (now 9).

DD: Mom, is Santa coming to our house?

Me: Well, we'll pretend like he does.

DD: Oh, yeah. You're really Santa, right?

Me: Yep. Me and Daddy.

DD: Can we put out cookies and milk for Santa?

Me: You think Santa would like that?

DD: Yes. We always put out cookies and milk, and he always eats them.

Me: Okay.

DD: Can I put my teddy bear under the tree for Santa to see?

By this time I'm just cracking up. The child refuses to NOT believe!

Oh, well... they grow up much too fast.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

My cough drop!

Background: I have been fighting a cough for the past month or so, ever since a bad cold I had several weeks ago.

Saturday: We had rehearsal for our Christmas program. I was sitting on the front pew directing the rehearsal, and sucking on a cough drop. When it came time for my solo, I spit my cough drop out on the wrapper and laid it on the pew, thinking I would put it back in my mouth as soon as I finished singing. Apparently, I forgot.

Sunday morning: Our pastor sometimes walks around, down off the platform while he's preaching. So he's strolling along in front of the pews and right in the middle of his sermon he reaches down and picked up that cough drop! "Hmm... looks like somebody's used cough drop. Wonder who left that here? Pastor W, is this yours?" (Our associate pastor, a man in his early 70s, leads the singing so had been up front earlier.) I just about died! Oh, no! I can't believe I left that cough drop there... and even worse, I can't believe the pastor is talking about it RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF HIS SERMON! I wasn't about to claim it then... BUT... what was so funny... Pastor W starts solemnly nodding. Yes, that was his cough drop! I couldn't figure out WHY he was claiming it! He is slightly hard-of-hearing so maybe he didn't understand the question. Who knows?

Later that day I did confess to the pastor that it was MY cough drop, and I didn't know why Pastor W claimed it! I guess I won't fight him for it! He can have it!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Christmas blues

Christmas blues... It's just hard to be very excited about Christmas when we're not going anywhere, nor is anyone coming here. Of course, the children are excited, so I'm excited for them. And I decided I would cook a nice Christmas dinner this year even if it "just us". Other years we have just had snacky stuff. We usually get together with my BIL's family Christmas night for a gift exchange and snacks and games, so I'm trying to plan some special snacks for that. The best part will be that DH gets to be home with us 3 whole days in a row! (He has to work New Year's weekend. I'm bummed about that.)

Cooking... for dinner I am planning to bake a turkey or a ham (haven't decided which, I have both in the freezer), a cheesy potato casserole, green bean casserole (DH's favorite), lime jello salad (also DH's favorite), and a broccoli salad (my favorite). I'm not going to make rolls or pies because I want to make other goodies. For snacks my list includes "Keep 'Em Comin' Smokies", "Pepperoni Pinwheels", cheese log, crackers, veggies, "Puppy Chow" (sweet Chex mix), and an assortment of cookies and/or candy. That oughta keep me busy for a day or two.

I wish I knew of a good multi-player computer game that we could get to play over the network this weekend. DH and I sometimes play Age of the Empires (on the rare occasions when we have leisure time), but that has a little to much battle for my tastes. I want something that's more strategy. I liked the old King's Quest games, but they weren't multi-player.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Christmas program

Spent most of the day working on the Christmas program. First we had to set up the stage... then we had two dress rehearsals back-to-back... and then this evening I had to type up the bulletin/program thing to pass out to the attendees. Whew! I will be so glad when this is over. I wasn't thrilled about directing it this year, but it was one of those things that needed doing, so I did it. I can tell the teens have had a good time helping build the stage sets and figuring out costumes and all that, and that's the main reason I decided to do it -- to get them involved! But it has been a job! Anyway, it will be over tomorrow night and I can move on to the next thing!

Friday, December 17, 2004

There ya go!

Seems the latest "home remedy" making the rounds in our areas is to put a bar of soap under your sheet in your bed! Now, it can't be Dove or Dial... for reasons unexplained to me... but Lever 2000 supposedly works wonders! Stick a bar (or several!) under the sheet down at the foot of your bed and you'll sleep better. Whatever aches and pains you've had in the past won't bother you any more!

I about died laughing when my neighbor lady just told me about it. She thought it was funny, too, but she said she tried it and her bad hip hasn't bothered her since she's had the soap in her bed. (2 nights.) She said several people told her about it, and it even came out in some doctor's column in the paper.

What next?!

Science experiment

Today's spontaneous science experiment:

I was baking bread (in the bread machine) and my almost-12-yo DD got the yeast out of the freezer for me. She was asking me how yeast works. She knew it had to be "active" but she didn't understand what that meant. And she wondered why I put some sugar in the dough. I explained that the yeast "feeds" on the sugar. So then she decided to get the microscope out to see the yeast in action! I didn't know what she was up to when she asked to get the microscope out... but she was soon frustrated because she mixed some yeast and sugar (dry) on a slide and it didn't do anything! So we mixed in some warm water and flour and smeared some of the glop on a slide. It took some fiddling but we finally focused in on a section where the yeast was moving around doing its business! So cool!

I love spontaneous learning!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Charlotte Mason

I've heard a lot about the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling but had never taken the time to read her books. I discovered this week that our local support group's library has them, so I checked out the first two. She has some very interesting ideas! Most of them good... especially considering that they were written a hundred years ago. I do get tickled, though, at her sincere advice to always dress children in wool (so their skin can breathe!) and some other quaint Victorian ideas like that. Who knows? She may be right!

The main ideas I am getting from the first book so far are: 1) spend more time outside studying nature... and 2) be very consistent in your parenting (so important, I know, but oh-so-hard to do).

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

A "real" Christmas tree

For several years we have talked about getting a permit from the Forest Service and going up in the mountains to cut our Christmas tree. For one reason or another, it just never seemed to work out. This year we talked about it again. "Wouldn't that be a fun memory? We could take the 4Runner and go up in the snow level and tramp around looking for just the right tree..." We wanted to wait till just a week or two before Christmas so the tree wouldn't dry out too much before time to take it down.

As is usual this time of year, one thing and another came up and all of a sudden our weekends were full. It looked like our tree-cutting excursion wouldn't work out this year either. But DH had an idea. This past weekend we had a trip to Boise to deliver a print job. What if we could get a permit down there and cut our tree on the way home Saturday? That sounded like a reasonable idea to me, so I proceeded to try to find out what would be involved in getting the proper permit.

I got the phone book... turned to the blue government listings pages... under Forest Service there was only a website, no phone number! I was pretty sure the website wouldn't have the information I needed, besides I didn't have convenient access to the internet. So I called a "general information" number for the government and asked for a phone number for the National Forest Service in Idaho. Well, they didn't have a number for Idaho. They could give me a number for Ogden, Utah! Fine, what's the number for Ogden, Utah? I called Ogden, Utah and asked if they had a phone number for the National Forest Service in Idaho. (Keeping in mind that while Idaho is 75% National Forest, we do have such modern conveniences as telephones out here in the Wild West!) Ogden, Utah did have a phone number for Boise so I called them. Yes, Christmas tree permits were $10 but they were only good in the Boise National Forest, not the entire state. We could come by their office to buy our permit and they would give us a map of the cutting area in the Forest. Great!

We stopped by the office and looked at the map and discovered that the cutting area wasn't exactly along our route home. However, Payette National Forest would be. Could we get a permit for that Forest? We couldn't there, but they told us where to go to get a permit on our way home.

When we got to Payette National Forest on Saturday it was raining. A soft gentle rain, but cold and wet! Not only that, there was about 2 feet of snow on the ground. Okay, we've come this far... we are bound and determined to get our tree! We purchased our permit... only $5 in Payette National Forest... and started out. We drove down several roads looking for likely areas with appropriate sized trees at least 300 feet from the road (per the Forest Service rules). With the rain and the snow we weren't so anxious to tramp around in the Forest as we thought we would be! Finally we found a stretch of road that seemed likely. We all clambered out and hiked down the road a piece, pointing out prospective trees. Darlin' DH tramped out in snow, nearly up to his waist in places, checking out each tree that we girls were so helpfully pointing out from the relative dryness of the road. He wasn't too impressed with any of our selections once he got close enough to them to see all the flaws. However, pickin's were kinda slim in that part of the Forest, so we finally settled on one that "would do". DH quickly sawed it down and dragged it back to the trailer, and we were on our way again. I was resigned to having a "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree and camaflaging the whole thing with lots of lights and ornaments.

As DH was unloading it at home that night I could tell he was rather disgusted with it! I asked him if he was disappointed. He said, "Oh, no! Of course not! It only has one flat side!" I told him that was better than three flat sides!

Monday night we brought it in the house to set it up. It was just the right size with the tip touching the ceiling and just took a little trimming of a couple of the branches to be about the right size around. We put the flat side against the wall so it didn't show too much. Lovely! This was going to work out just fine... until... we started trying to decorate the thing! The branches were very slender and sloping ever so gently down, so they wouldn't support very much weight. So much for the idea of lots of lights and ornaments! We gingerly draped two strings of lights among the branches as best we could. DD had made a nice red and green paper chain that helped matters immensely. It was light-weight, but bulky to help fill in some of the gaps. And then I told the girls to choose just the lightest ornaments which we judiciously placed to finish filling it out. Forget an angel on top! But, oh what a memory we made! And DH allowed that it actually ended up looking better than he thought it might.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Christmas busy-ness

Well, I wanted to post about getting our Christmas tree... It was quite the ordeal! ...but I ran out of time today. Hopefully, tomorrow!

Spent most of the day working on the Christmas issue of our family newsletter. My goal is to have those ready to print, along with our Christmas cards, tomorrow night. I'll be doing real good if I get them all in the mail on Wednesday!

Our Christmas program is Sunday night. I expect it will take most of Saturday getting set up for that, and a final dress rehearsal. Oh! I have to build a "campfire" for the "shepherds" using a fan, an orange spotlight, and some tissue paper. I have heard of such things, but I have really no idea how to go about building one! It should be interesting to see what I come up with.

I have no idea when I'm going to finish my Christmas shopping! Mainly I need to buy some clothes for the kids. I hope the stores aren't too picked over by the time I get there. Maybe they won't be since I just need basics.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Horseback riding

We were at my brother's for a couple of days. He has horses... my 9-year-old is obsessed with horses... needless to say, she loves going there!

Saturday morning just before we were ready to leave, he took her down to the barn to see the horses. She is seriously convinced that she helps him train his horses every time we go. (Our visits may be 6 weeks to 3 months apart!) So she was "needing" to give Candy (the mare) a workout. My brother was just going to set Becky up on Candy's back and let her walk around the corral a few times. No, that won't do. Candy has to be saddled! But, really, Becky would rather ride Annie (Candy's foal who is about a year or so old). My brother explained to her that Annie hasn't been trained yet for people to ride her, she doesn't know how to carry a person on her back. Okay, well, in that case, Candy will do. So around and around the corral they go, and down the driveway a bit and back. In a little while, Becky says, "I think Annie's been watching us. I bet she knows how to carry a rider now!"

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Silence?

I was just making phone calls and got a recording, one of those call screening things, "You will hear silence until you are connected." Excuse me? Hear silence? How do you hear silence?

So silly!

Monster Cookies

Holiday baking today. We will be seeing my brothers this weekend so I wanted to make some goodies to take them. I made the Holiday Pretzel Treats and the 7-Layer Cookies and Monster Cookies...

Monster Cookies

6 eggs
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 pound butter
3 cups peanut butter
8 cups quick oats
8 ounces chocolate chips
8 ounces M&Ms

Mix together. (No, this recipe does not have flour!) Bake at 350 degrees approximately 12 minutes.

Monday, December 6, 2004

Sleepy Eyes

Saturday the youth group got together to work on stage sets for the Christmas program. My 9yo dd took along a doll. It was lying on a table and I noticed that several of the teen boys were standing the doll up and laying it back down again, over and over. They were all gathered around and so fascinated. I asked them what in the world they were doing. They said, "The doll's eyes close when she lays down! And they open again when she stands up!" Three families of boys with no sisters... they didn't know about sleepy eyes on baby dolls! Too funny!!!

Calling from God

Finished Isaiah this morning... started Jeremiah tonight.
"Jeremiah, I am your Creator, and before you were born, I chose you to speak for me to the nations." (Jeremiah 1:5, CEV)
Isn't that awesome to think that God decided what Jeremiah's calling would be while he was still in the womb? God literally created Jeremiah for a specific purpose! I love thinking about how God is interested in each individual person, and creates each one of us to fulfill His plan!

Jeremiah goes on to "argue" with God that's he's not a good speaker and he's too young. God tells him that he's not too young, He will give him the words to say, and that He will be with him and keep him safe... all Jeremiah had to do was to be willing to be used.

I read a quote one time from Mother Theresa: "God does not call us to be successful. He calls us to be faithful."

I like that!

Sunday, December 5, 2004

Snow!

Okay, so the weatherman was just off on his timing by about a day or so... it is pilin' up out there now! A couple inches so far and still coming down... The first big snow of the season is always exciting! (I like snow in December, don't mind it in January and early February but once Valentines' Day is over I'm ready for spring!)

Website update

I worked on my website all afternoon. I wanted to post some articles I wrote a couple of years ago. Just trying to collect them all in one place. Nothing real profound or anything. However, I was also trying out a new (to me) html technique that I hadn't done before, so it was quite time-consuming! Not to mention the fact that my computer kept crashing (7 times in one hour!) because there's something wrong with the graphics card. DH worked on it tonight, so we'll see if it's better. And I'm not through with the new webpage yet, so there's nothing to see there yet. It's coming along though, and a very cute layout if-I-do-say-so-myself-who-shouldn't!

I was also trying to make some blinkies. I have Photo Shop which is supposed to be able to do everything Paint Shop Pro can do (and lots more). I think it's a more professional program or something. (DH is a printer which is why I have it.) I am learning by trial-and-error with that just like I am the html. So I click on the Help menu to find out how to do animations. Sure, there's directions... they just tell me to click on options that just aren't there. Select "animation" from the "Window" menu... now if I could only find where it says "animation" under "Window"! I wasted way to much time hunting and hunting with no luck. I finally decided to forget it... my blinkies don't have to blink, do they? They can be "un-blinkies"!!!

I'll post my "un-blinkies" tomorrow and hopefully get my new webpage up, too.

Saturday, December 4, 2004

No snow

Would you believe it didn't snow a flake? Not one! Yes, they were predicting 6 inches! SIX! Thursday day night and Friday morning they were "issuing a weather storm watch" (which means it's likely to happen, right?)... then by last night it had been upgraded to a "weather storm warning" (which means it's imminent, right??)... this morning when there was no snow in sight the report was a "winter storm advisory with an 80% chance of snow"... now here it is late Saturday night and still... no snow!!! Sheesh... what do weathermen know???

Friday, December 3, 2004

Ramblin' Update

Most of the snow from earlier in the week is gone. It's wet and gray and miserable outside today. But... they are forcasting 6 inches of snow for tonight/tomorrow. So... I *have* to get out there and get those leaves raked up today. Stupid late-falling tree!! Now the leaves are all wet and soggy. Not as bad as they will be if I leave them till spring, though.

I need to go to Michael's some time today to get the tempra paint for the stage sets for our Christmas program. We will be working on that in the morning. Which reminds me, I also need to draw up a rough draft of what I have in mind for the sets. Fun, fun!

I set a goal at New Year's to read the Bible through in 2004. Well, I'm really going to have to do some marathon reading to make it. I'm a little over half through with Isaiah, then I have all the rest of the OT prophets to read, plus the book of Revelation. Unfortunately, the prophets aren't exactly the easiest part of the Bible to read! I almost need a commentary to figure out what they're talking about half the time. Our pastor has read the Bible through every year for 30-some years! He said that it occurred to him that God gave us the whole Bible for a reason, so he figured that it must be important for us to read the whole thing. I think he has a good point. Wouldn't have to be the whole thing in a year, though, I don't suppose. Still, I spend enough time reading everything else... I can do this!

Well, I'm off to rake leaves. Later you might find me buried somewhere in Isaiah or Jeremiah!

Peanut Butter Popcorn

My brother and his wife made this when we were visiting them recently. It's kinda like caramel-corn only peanut butter instead of caramel. It is very yummy!

Pop 3 quarts popcorn (or 2 bags microwave popcorn). Get the "old maids" out. Measure out 1 cup peanut butter.

On stove in saucepan:
1/2 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup Karo syrup

Bring to boil stirring constantly until it thickens. Boil 2 more minutes. Add 1 cup peanut butter and 1 tsp. vanilla. Stir quickly with wooden spoon. Pour over popcorn and mix well. Pour out on wax paper until cool. Break apart and serve.

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Winter is here!

I think winter is here! It snowed a little Saturday night. There was just a scattering on the ground all day Sunday. Yesterday morning we woke up to a good ground cover and it snowed off and on all day. We had at least an inch by the end of the day. And we still don't even have all the leaves raked out of the yard! We have this one huge maple tree that doesn't loose all its leaves until about Christmas time. I don't know why it's always so late. Kinda weird. Anyway, hopefully the snow that's on the ground will melt so we can get the rest of the leaves raked up. That job is so much ickier if we wait till spring.

R (age 9) thinks that once it snows it should be Christmas! She's always thought that. I am trying to keep things as low-key as possible for the holidays this year. I need to *not* take off school for the whole month of December. I have in the past, and I know many homeschoolers who do, but we just can't this year. So I have to keep the merry-making to a minimum. No great loss there, IMHO!

We have been needing a new Christmas tree for several years. We have an artificial tree we bought about 15 years ago that is somewhat the worse for the wear. It's been through 5 moves and a flood in the basement, as well as being hauled out and used all those Christmases. For the last couple of years we have talked about getting a permit and going to the National Forest to cut a tree, but it hasn't happened. This year we decided we will wait till closer to Christmas to do it. Typically we have put up our tree on Thanksgiving weekend or at least the first week of December. Hopefully having a fun outing of driving the SUV back in the mountains... there's sure to be snow! ...and tramping around hunting for a tree will make up (to the kids) for not having it in the house so long. It just seems like Christmas comes around SO often and then we drag it out by having the season last from Thanksgiving to New Year's at the very minimum. So... one of my goals for simplifying things is to shorten the season at our house!

We have an opportunity to be involved in a nursing home ministry being organized for homeschoolers. The kids are planning a simple program and then will pass out Christmas cards to the residents. It sounds like a great idea... one we've participated in before. I was very tempted to join in again this year, but... it will cut into 4 days of school! Two to practice and two to perform. I just can't "afford" that. (We never did finish our curriculum last year, and we're already behind this year. So we have to stay at it.)

So... I guess we will be satisfied with taking part in the Christmas program at church and let it go at that. Being the youth director, I can't exactly get out of that one!

Okay... speaking of school... it's time to get at it!

Timely tips

Great lists worth perusing, especially this time of year!

Clutter-Free Gift Ideas

Traveling With Children

Our soon-to-be-6-year-old niece is having a birthday party Saturday. She really doesn't need a thing! So I've about decided to subscribe to a magazine for her. I think she would like that. Probably Clubhouse, Jr. from Focus on the Family would be my first choice, but I'm pretty sure they already get that. I looked at Ladybug but it was something like $40 a year! That's way too much! So the other option I found was Your Big Back Yard. I've seen that before. Lots of colorful animal photos. It's only $15 for 12 issues, so I'll probably go with that. I can't really think of any other Christian magazine for young kids. She is one of 5 children. Maybe I'll subscribe to magazines for all of them for their birthdays this coming year. Kids love to get mail! At least, mine do! I never know what to get these kids, so maybe this is the answer.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Ramblin'

I love having a laptop! I took it along to the library today... and I can hop online there! The connection seems slower than home. I wonder if it has anything to do with how far I am sitting from the main frame computer or something. I'm on the computer all the time, but I really have very little idea of how it works.

The kids are attending Homeschool Hour at the library today. I love having the hour to relax in the library. I could live in the library!

After we get done here I need to find some place that sells tempra or poster paint in relatively large quantities. I don't need gallons, but I do need more than the tiny little bottles in the school supply department at Wal Mart. The youth group will be making sets for the Christmas program on Saturday. Several of the boys are pretty good artists. I want to just assign them a backdrop to paint and turn them loose with it to see what they come up with. I think that will be fun for them... and good for them! Wonder if Michael's carries big bottles of paint? I'll check there first.

Monday, May 24, 2004

The Crown of Eden by Thomas Williams

"...nothing we do can destroy the order and beauty of the master tapestry. Each of us is given a thread and a pattern for its weaving. We are utterly free to weave our thread either by the pattern or in defiance of it. But regardless of how we weave it, we will always find that our thread has been anticipated. You may even choose to leave your thread unwoven, but if you do, there will be no gap in the fabric. You will find that another has already been laid down to take its place and the resulting design will be the one orginally planned. It is inevitable."

"...Adam's Eden was not just a place of beauty; it was a place of decision. It is as true for you as it was for him: Eden can be retained with the right choice or lost with the wrong one."

"The choices you make within the next few months will shake thrones and move armies. But you should not count that as exceptional. Every man and woman born, if they only knew it, make decisions and commit acts daily with consequences that spread like ripples through time, working untold effects on the shape of the future for generations to come."

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Reflections

Memoirs of a Middle-Aged Housewife... a book just waiting to be written. Sounds riveting, doesn't it?

I've recently been reflecting over the "seasons" of my life as I have been helping a friend plan her high school graduation. So many twists and turns over the past 20 years... but I am so grateful that God has been with me every step of the way! Sometimes 20/20 hindsight can actually be encouraging!

Sunday, March 21, 2004