Saturday, December 31, 2005

Bible reading

The new year is a great time to begin reading the Bible through. I have looked at several Bible reading charts online and the one I like best is at:

http://www.journal33.org/bible/pdf/biblread.pdf

It is basically a check-off chart listing all the chapters of the Bible, which gives me the flexibility of reading in any order I choose.

Another one I found that I may follow this year assigns portions from both the Old Testament and the New Testament each day. That way I might not get so bogged down in the OT prophets!

http://www.wholesomewords.org/family/bibleread/truth.pdf

Another choice is to read a passage from a different section of the Bible (History, Law, Prophets, Poetry, etc.) each day of the week. The chart for that is at:

http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.pdf

These are all printer-friendly PDF files which you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Christmas report

This seems to be the time for giving Christmas reports, so here's mine...

We had a wonderful QUIET weekend! We decided to bump Christmas up a day at our house, because our church had regular services Christmas morning. So Friday night we had a very special devotional time with "Daddy" reading and commenting on the Christmas story from both Matthew and Luke. We had a fire in the fireplace and the kids opened their traditional Christmas Eve presents... something to sleep in (in this case jersey-weight bathrobes with zipper fronts) and something "spiritual" to take to bed. Sometimes that's been Bible story books, but this year it was Sugar Creek Gang audio books. (Wonderful life lessons in the Sugar Creek Gang stories!) We didn't have a tree this year, for several reasons, so we just piled the gifts on the dining room table after the children went to bed. The pile was not large... Seems like every year I worry at the last minute that it's not enough... Of course, it always is!

I planned several finger-food type meals to have on hand over the weekend... cheese-log and crackers, meatballs in barbecue sauce, artichoke dip and bagel chips, summer sausage, fresh veggies and ranch dip, etc. We enjoyed the variety, and I didn't have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking fancy meals for just the 4 of us.

The kids got up early to open presents on Saturday morning. They were thrilled with their gifts. I knew I didn't need to worry! Their main gift was a set of walkie talkies, so they had a good time seeing how far the range was and learning how to use them. (We think they will come in handy for hiking and camping.) Besides that, they got tennis shoes and books and just a couple smaller things. What seemed a little strange to me was that we didn't buy them any toys! But they honestly don't need more than what they have, and I just couldn't see adding to the clutter just for the sake of them having toys to open on Christmas.

We spent Saturday mostly just relaxing around the house. DH and the kids did go to Wal Mart. One pair of the tennis shoes were too small, so I suggested they go exchange them that day rather than waiting till the day after Christmas. I knew the exchange lines would be really bad then.

Our pastor and his wife invited us over for tacos that night. They live "next door". Christmas Eve was their 52nd anniversary. They had gone out to eat on Friday night, but they always have tacos at home on Saturday night.

Sunday morning was church. More relaxing that afternoon. We were to go to my brother-in-law's house that evening at 6:00 for snacks and games. We left about 5:00 to have time to drive around and look at lights.

We enjoyed a third day of just kickin' back around the house on Monday. We worked on a project of transferring home movies to DVDs. Also, a similar project of transferring 40-year-old family reel-to-reel tapes to CDs. The reel-to-reel equipment is very old and not in the best condition, as you can imagine. DH was checking on eBay to see about getting another machine. He found one that would transfer reel-to-reel to 8-track! Maybe that would be just as good? LOL!

We are planning a Family Game Night for our "youth group" for Saturday night, New Year's Eve. We won't go till midnight, though, because of church Sunday morning. We have a family-based youth group, which includes parents... and we also invite any of the older people from church who are interested. So our "youth group" is really only about half "youth" but that's the way we like it! I am planning to serve sloppy joes and tater tots for our party.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Update

Whew! Time for an update, I guess. I think I've forgotten what "normal" is... because I keep thinking life will get back to "normal" and it never does. In any case, we're home now, so I guess this is as normal as it gets.

We left home a week before Thanksgiving. Traveled 3 days (from Idaho) to Arkansas where we spent the night with my folks. The kids stayed with them then while DH and I had a 3-day get-away to Branson in celebration of our 20th anniversary and my 40th birthday, both of which were in November. We're not really into the Branson scene, so we didn't go to a single show or do anything more touristy than go in a few shops. Mostly we just hung out in the condo enjoying each other's company, the fireplace, and a view of Tablerock Lake. It was so relaxing! We went back to Arkansas the day before Thanksgiving to spend the holiday with my parents and sisters and their families, and then we headed home on Friday.

By Saturday noon we had gotten as far as Denver. In talking to my mother on the phone we realized that she had not been able to find aides to hire to help care for my 90-year-old grandfather who would be arriving on Tuesday. This was a major concern because while my mother loves to care for her dad, she is just physically not able to do it on her own. So my DH and I decided we better turn around and go back. The kids and I stayed 2 more weeks, while DH went home to work.

We were happy to have the opportunity to help take care of our precious grandfather, but it was not convenient... nor was it easy. It is such a sad stage of life.

We also enjoyed spending time with my parents at the "home place". They live in the home my granddad built for his family in the 1960s, so it was always "Grandmother and Granddaddy's House" when I was growing up. How we loved to "go down to the creek" to play when we lived there, and later when we would visit. This time my children discovered the creek, and went down there to play just about every day. It's a wonderful rocky, very shallow creek, perfect for building dams and "waterfalls" and things like that. (Other years we have been there in the summer, and the concern about snakes and ticks has prohibited them from being able to play down there. Granddaddy kept goats when I was a child, so the snakes weren't so bad, I guess. I think we just dealt with ticks.)

One day my mother expressed concern that we weren't getting school done every day, with all that was going on. I said, "You know what, though? The kids are getting to play at the creek. We live in town at home, so they don't get to do things like this very often. Some things are just as important as school... and besides... this is P.E. (think of the hill they were climbing up and down to get to the creek)... and nature study, geology, physics... okay, Science! Time enough for academics later." She agreed with me.

I had to cancel several appointments and commitments in order to be gone, so this week has been very full playing catch-up. Tomorrow night is our church's Christmas program. I'm the director, so that was a major concern that the "show would have to go on" without me. (DH was having to take over, and it just is not his forte so he was very uncomfortable with it.) I spent most of the day yesterday and today getting details finished up for that. I'll be glad when it's over. It's not anything elaborate, but just one more thing to have to think about.

We are keeping Christmas very simply this year. We decided to decorate the mantle, but not put up a tree. The children are satisfied with that. With Christmas being on Sunday I am not planning a big dinner either. (Unless DH asks me to.) For the last 2 or 3 years I have been trying to simplify and managing to do a little less each year. If we hadn't had to be gone unexpectedly, I really think our December would have turned out to be a very relaxing, rather than hectic, month. Isn't that the way it should be? I feel very Scroogish thinking of a big, showy, commercialized Christmas season. Bah! Humbug! But just a quiet time at home with my DH and kids, exchanging a few simple gifts... now that's my idea of a holiday!

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Aging

Aging is such a very sad process. Not so much the general "We're all getting older" thing. Wrinkles and gray hair simply designate experience and (hopefully) wisdom to me. But at the very end of life when a person's strength and ability to tend for himself is gone, stripped of all dignity and interest in living... Heaven just seems that much more glorious! How do people deal with issues like this without the hope of Heaven?

It's such a hard thing to witness, but "this too shall pass"...

Friday, December 2, 2005

Life on Hold

Vacation has come and gone... but I am still not home. My schedule and activities have been put on hold... and the kids and I are visiting my parents for an indefinite time, and helping care for my 90-year-old grandfather. It is not an easy time for anyone.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Fall Vacation

Whew! Our homeschool co-op is over until after the New Year! I think it went well and it was worthwhile... but I'm glad to not have to think about it for awhile. I was looking back over our calendar for the fall and we have done a lot of stuff!

I have signed up to teach "Money Matters for Teens" and "On the Radio" classes for the winter trimester. Both of those sound fun to me... I hope it turns out that way.

We leave for our Thanksgiving/anniversary/birthday vacation in the morning. Way too much still to do... I'll finish up after the kids go to bed. It is way easier to "do it myself" than supervise the children who want to think up things to do to "help" rather than doing the things that would actually be helpful that I tell them to do... I think I spend more time "discussing" (arguing?) with them about what to pack and what not to pack, and chores that still need doing, than accomplishing anything.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Customer Service

I was really annoyed at the post office today. Took several packages in to be mailed. They all contained books, so I was shipping them Media Mail with the exception of 4 packages that were going overseas. I used the Global Priority Mail flat-rate envelopes for the international packages. First of all the clerk scolded me for not putting tape across the flap. They are self-stick envelopes provided by the post office. I didn't know they needed tape, too! The envelopes were flimsy cardboard, but the flat-rate was good for up to 4 pounds so you'd think they would be sturdy enough for shipping up to 4 pounds. Now, my packages weighed around a pound and a half and they were really bulging the envelopes. They fit just fine, it was the construction of the envelope that I was a little leery of. I commented to the clerk, "You'd think they'd make these envelopes a little stronger since the rate is good for up to 4 pounds." She snidely said, "Well! They're really meant for documents not parcels. You're using them for parcels." I was baffled. How are booklets different than documents? I said, "What documents weigh up to 4 pounds?" Okay, I know a document could easily weigh up to 4 pounds. But there is no way a 4-pound document would fit in that envelope! Then I just decided to keep my mouth shut. I wasn't going to change her mind... and even if I did, what could she do about it? (Perhaps be a little more understanding with the next customer?) She finished the international packages and moved on to my media mail packages. She had already asked me if there was anything flammable or hazardous or whatever else it is they have to ask. I had said, "No. There is nothing in these packages except books." So now she asked if I was sure there was nothing in the packages except books. I was trying to be patient. "Well... there are packing lists." Apparently that was acceptable. She processed the first package. As she was reaching for the second package she looked at me real suspiciously and said, "You don't have any advertising materials in these?" I had just about had it! Good grief! What did she want me to do? Bring my stuff in and pack the boxes in front of her? I doubt it! I just sighed and shook my head.

The other day I was in Costco. As I was checking out the person who was helping the cashier asked me if I would like a box. I never do, because Costco's boxes are either shallow or cut funny and then I just have to mess with getting rid of it. I'd rather just have my groceries loose. So I said, "No, thank you." I wrote my check and the cashier rang me up. I turned to my cart and there that person was diligently stuffing my groceries into a stupid box with the front cut out! Why did he ask me if I wanted a box if he was going to decide for me anyway? I just pushed the cart out the way of the next person, took the groceries back out of the box and took it back over to him. "I don't need this. Thanks!" Let them recycle it!

Another recent experience at the grocery store... As I got up to the cash register the cashier asked, "Did you find everything?" I said, "No, actually. I was looking for [don't remember what] but you don't have it." She said, "Oh." and proceeded to ring up my groceries. Why did she ask if she didn't care?

While I'm griping... I hate the new self-check lanes. I have tried them a few times and they are not faster than the real-life cashiers, and they are confusing! Okay, so I don't have to use 'em, right? Well, you'd think! But, no. I guess the store employees are really supposed to be pushing them. I've had them come up to me in line and say, "I can help you right over here..." and when I saw that it was actually the self-check lane I said, "No, thanks. I'll wait." The response was, "Are you sure? I'll be happy to show you how to do it..." I firmly said, "I've tried it before. Thanks anyway." Even worse than that is late at night or during another slow time when only the self-check lanes are open. When that happened I just decided I didn't need to shop at that store anymore.

I know... we're quickly moving into a cashless society... and I'm resisting it every chance I get! Seems like more and more places are really pushing you to use the "plastic". I hate it. But I was out of a cash the other night and made a quick stop at Burger King. I noticed a hand-printed sign saying they no longer took checks. Okay. So I'll use my debit card. They took my debit card but then asked to see my ID. My husband's name was on the debit card so they wouldn't take it. Said it didn't match my ID. I took my debit card and ID back and went to McDonald's!

Okay... off my soap box now. I could keep rambling, I'm sure... but I gotta get to church.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Homeschool Convention

Our local homeschool support group had a fall conference on Saturday. I had a booth for Sonlight. My husband and oldest daughter were gone for the weekend on a business trip to Arizona, so I had my younger daughter with me. She did better than I thought she might, but I'm glad I don't have that extra responsibility to have to worry about at larger events.

My favorite thing about going to so many homeschool conventions throughout the year is the networking! One family had a booth to sell harps that the dad makes. The harp they had there was made of cherry wood and absolutely gorgeous. The family has 8 children... 3 teenage girls (who all play the harp), 4 younger boys, and then a baby girl, age 1. Just the mom and the girls were there. The girls took turns playing the harp in between sessions and in their booth. That was just fascinating!

I was also able to visit with a mom about some vision therapy information I needed for my older daughter. It has been amazing to me to watch God open doors for the needs my children have in just the right time.

A Creative Memories lady I know (who, coincidently, also has 8 children!) also had a booth, but she has recently started doing photography, in addition to CM. She did her daughter's senior pictures recently when she found out how expensive they are through a studio, and they turned out so well that she decided to offer her services to others. She has entered photography in the fair in the past and won ribbons, so it's not like she just took it up on a lark. I was very impressed with her work and her prices, so I will definitely use her! I just haven't been impressed with Sears Portrait Studio in the last few years.

My big splurge of the weekend was 2 sets of Your Story Hour history CDs. My family loves audio books and dramatized radio programs.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Mini-Retreat

I went to a "mini-retreat" today... A Talk a Latte... (much to my disappointment, there weren't actually any lattes!) The topics were on home organization and scheduling/routines. There were three really great quotes that stuck out to me...
"Our unwillingness to say no to requests for our time or involvement is a modern form of idolatry. We enthrone our own desires, our pride and the lure of appearing busy." --Alice Fraley
"Put first things first and we get second things thrown in. Put second things first and we lose the first and second things." --C.S. Lewis
"Though I am always in haste, I am never in a hurry, because I never undertake more work than I can go through with calmness of spirit." --John Wesley

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

5 Weird and Random Facts About Me

Since I'm one of SophieMae's subscribers I think I got tagged again. She was rather vague about who she was tagging... but I suspect she meant me! Anyway, I think the tag games are kinda fun...

The assignment for today is to come up with 5 WEIRD and RANDOM facts about myself.
  1. I have a small birth mark in the palm of my right hand. It's how I tell right from left. Really! I know the compass directions intuitively, but I have to look at the palm of my right hand to remember which is right and which is left.
  2. The only way I can listen to anything is if I have something to do with my hands. Otherwise my mind wonders. I wish it would be acceptable to take my knitting to church!
  3. I am widely traveled within the continental US, having visited something like 35 states, but I've only barely been across the border into Mexico and Canada. Never overseas. I'd like to visit Europe... but I doubt I ever do. I'd also like to go on a road trip to Alaska. That seems more likely than the Europe trip.
  4. I think a day-old piece of cornbread crumbled in a glass of cold milk makes a pretty good breakfast!
  5. I have traced my family tree clear back to Adam and Eve! (Okay, so everything before about 1500 or so is most likely mythology... it was still fun to do.) I love seeing where all the branches wander off to.
Well, there ya go. Who wants to play next? You know the rules. Tell us the facts, then choose 5 others to do likewise. 'Cept I'm not gonna choose. If you read my list and want to play, go for it!

Sisterchicks

I've heard about this series for awhile, but finally found one at the library. It was a kinda fun read... but it made me wonder... Am I the only woman who doesn't have a "sisterchick" and doesn't really feel a need for one? The cover blurb has a definition...
sisterchick n.: a friend who shares the deepest wonders of your heart, loves you like a sister, and provides a reality check when you're being a brat.
Ummm... except for the part about loving like a sister, that definition fits my husband! (And I'm pretty sure he doesn't love me like a sister! Goodness!) So... since my husband is my best friend, I don't seem to miss having a "best girlfriend". I have sisters and I have good friends... but nobody that close to me.

In this particular story the 2 "sisterchicks" go on a cruise to Mexico and have a grand and adventureous time. Sounds fun... 'cept I'm just sure I'd want my husband with me on such an excursion, rather than some other woman. Am I weird? Oh, well... don't tell me if I am 'cuz I really don't care!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

10 Things That Bring Me Joy

SophieMae tagged me a week or two ago to tell about the music I was listening to. I honestly don't listen to music much. (Weird, I know.) So I never got around to doing the game. However, she posted another one about what brings you joy. She didn't tag me on that one, but I took the liberty of "trading"! I decided it would do me good to think about joy in my life right now...

The challenge: name 10 Things That Bring Me Joy...
  1. Walking with the Lord. His peace gives me joy... even when it seems like I don't feel very joyful.
  2. Talking with my husband. Two weeks from today is our 20th anniversary. What a short 20 years it's been!
  3. Reading to my children. Read-aloud time is the best part of the school day!
  4. Long drives on back roads... or better still, long road trips... Our best family times are usually in the car.
  5. Watching the puppy play. Can't help but smile.
  6. A caramel latte... especially when my husband swings by Starbucks unexpectedly and tells me to get him a mocha and get me whatever I want. Let's see there was a fancy name for a certain style of latte that I really liked... What was it? Macciati? Something like that, seems like. It was creamier or something. Can't remember. But it was yummy!
  7. A good book... and time to read it!
  8. Camping in the mountains. Fresh air. Wood smoke. Time to relax. Mmmmmm....
  9. Time away with my husband. We try to get away for at least one night every year around our anniversary. The kids call it our "honeymoon".
  10. A crackling fire on cold winter evenings. Our house is tiny and crowded but we do enjoy the fireplace!
And a very special #11 for my sweet little nephew, Garrett, who embraces everything in the world with more joy than anyone else I know.

Ha! Reading back over the list you can tell I'm a romantic... and very much in love with husband, can't you?

10-year-old Boys

The little boys in my Character Qualities class crack me up. As I mentioned before, they are all about 10. It's such a funny age. Today's character quality was Gratefulness. One of the activities was an acrostic of the word "gratefulness" written on the board and then the class was supposed to think of things they were grateful for that started with those letters. The first thing one of the little guys thought of was "Great-grandparents!" Skipped right over the grand-parents to the great-grandparents. LOL! So for a few minutes everyone was randomly calling out things that they could think of. I told them I wanted to cover the whole board. Well, after several minutes of brainstorming and basically naming every toy and food and animal they could think of... they struck on insects and reptiles! "Gratefulness" has 2 S's, you know! So we got spiders, and snakes, and scorpions!!! And, of course lizards... and praying mantises would have been added to list if only there was a P in gratefulness! LOL! Only 10-year-old boys would be grateful for such things! I told them that was like being grateful for mosquitoes! At the end of the class I told the lady who was helping me that every noun that popped into their heads that started with those letters went on the board.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Ramblin'

I have been doing quite a bit of deep cleaning lately... we got some new bookcases and a new desk, so been digging through papers and books. I came across my journals from 1989-1992. Guess what? This is not the first time I've been depressed! However, the last time I remember being hit this hard was the winter of 1998-99. So I guess I should count my blessings instead of moping around. *sigh* Oh! And I really should do a better job of keeping a journal!

I was looking forward to an all-day scrapbooking crop on Saturday, but got an email from the lady today saying it had been cancelled. *sigh*

The kids were invited to attend AWANA tonight with their cousins. (They are not in AWANA regularly for several reasons, but we let them go tonight as it was something one of their cousins needed as a badge requirement or something--to bring a friend.) I took advantage of the opportunity to have a date with my dh! He had to work late but it didn't take much persuasion to convince him that I could pick him up and go out for supper with him anyway. There's a restaurant near where he works that he's been wanting to take me to. We were hoping to go there, but turns out it's closed on Tuesdays. So we went to a diner instead. I just enjoyed the company! Love dat man!!!

I have a question. I don't keep up on fashion much, so I don't really know what all the latest styles are. Tonight I was in Wal Mart and needed to get some pantyhose. I also wanted some heavier opaque tights to wear with dresses and my winter clogs in cold weather. Wal Mart's "panty hose aisle" is half the size it used to be. I had noticed that before... however, I couldn't get the style I wanted in my size. And much of the merchandise in that section was dusty like it had been there awhile. I also didn't find the color I wanted of opaque tights. I had to settle for what they had that would fit. So, my question is: what do women wear on their legs with dresses in the winter these days? In the summer I noticed that it seems to be acceptable to wear bare legs everywhere... even to formal occasions such as weddings and Sunday morning church. But in the winter, it seems like your legs would get cold in a dress! I feel like an elderly grandma... "Why! Back in my day... a woman wouldn't be considered fully dressed to go out with her legs bare!" LOL! My mother has worn pantyhose every day of her life, I do believe.

We were going to try spinning with drop spindles tomorrow in my medieval life class. But all my efforts to find some wool to work with have been in vain. I am seriously considering stopping by Joann's in the morning and buying a bag of polyfil to try spinning! Oh, yes, indeed, girls... the peasants in medieval times had polyester sheep!

Under Attack

I am really feeling under attack right now. A lot of not-fun things going on, in addition to too many responsibilities. Oppressed, depressed, stressed... that's me. Every time I turn around lately it's something different. And it's not even winter yet! Although, the daylight hours are getting shorter, so that's not helping.

Our pastor had a good message last night on how to recognize attacks of the enemy. It was heartening for me to realize that is what is going on... but it didn't help me feel much better. And yet another major attack from a totally unexpected quarter today. But tonight, I opened my Bible to where the bookmark was... it's been a few weeks since I used this particular copy of the Bible, so the bookmark was just at a random place. I just started reading on the page... and God spoke healing to my heart through His word...

Teach me how to live, O Lord.
Lead me along the path of honesty,
for my enemies are waiting for me to fall.
Do not let me fall into their hands.
For they accuse me of things I've never done
and breathe out violence against me.
Yet I am confident that I will see the Lord's goodness
while I am here in the land of living.

Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Psalm 27:11-14 NLT

I was also reminded in the message last night that my "enemies" are not people. The enemy is Satan himself, and he will do everything in his power to deceive. Hmph! I don't b'lieve I'm gonna let him get by with that!

I could use extra prayer right now, if you feel so inclined...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Randomness

We don't pay our pastor enough... or rather, I can understand why that's a job that requires a calling from God. I just can't imagine that anyone would willingly accept the headaches and heartaches of such a job for mere money. Our pastor and his wife were on vacation for 2 weeks, and we had to fill in the gap. I am very grateful they are home now!

Monday I actually got school done in 3 hours. The kids, for once, did what they were supposed to do when they were supposed to do it. It was wonderful! That evening we printed 50-some sets of the little books I am publishing. We are getting orders in pretty steadily.

Yesterday I had a teleconference for an hour right when I usually start school, so that pretty much blew our morning. Then the monthly homeschool skate meeting was in the afternoon, so we didn't get as much school done as we should have. Still, we got some done... so I was glad for that.

Today was our co-op day. For myself personally I would just as soon not do it... but my kids are enjoying it, and I think it's good for them... so I continue to do my part. I am teaching 3 classes and they are all very different from each other. My newsletter/journalism class is 5 teen boys. Medieval life is 4 teen girls. And Character Qualities is 8 ten-year-old boys! That class is a crack-up! The groups for each class just happened that way. I didn't set it to be for only boys or only girls... and the Character class was open to 4th grade through high school.

Tomorrow I need to go to a tax workshop on Sales & Use tax for my little business... and then take R to speech therapy in the afternoon.

Friday evening is our annual fall weiner roast for the Youth Group.

Let's see... I think Saturday is still pretty much open. At least right now.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Train Ride

We went for on the Fall Colors Excursion Train Ride on Saturday. It was so much fun! I was surprised that more families weren't doing it. The kids loved it! The train was full, but it was predominantly senior citizens. The "Red Hat Society" was out in all their glory!

The Red Hat Society cracks me up. One little old lady in a bright red hat is cute. A whole herd of them is just too much of a good thing! I just look at them and smile. Maybe that's the idea. I dunno... I've just never been one to follow the crowd, and I can't see myself doing so when I get to be 80 either! Even if I was inclined to wear a red hat, if every one else was doing it that would be a good reason for me not to!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Made My Day!

Our homeschool co-op started today. One of the classes I signed up to teach was Newsletter. Only 3 students signed up for it. All brothers. Teenage boys. I cringed a little. They candidly admitted to me that they mainly signed up just so they wouldn't have to be in Study Hall that period. But they had some real good ideas, so I think they will enjoy the class. But what made my day was that these young men all politely answered, "Yes, ma'am," or "No, ma'am," whenever I asked a question! That clued me in that they weren't from around here. Up until then I hadn't noticed that they also spoke with sweet, slow Southern drawls! (Just sounds normal to me! However, no one says "Yes, ma'am," and "No, ma'am" around here! So that stood out to me more than their accents.) Come to find out they just (within the last month) moved up here from Tennessee. They were also helpful, courteous, and very respectful. It will be a joy to work with these young gentlemen!

Their dad was there so I made a point to mention to him how sweet the boys were. (Not sure if their mom was also there. If she was, I don't know who she was.) His reply, "Well, if you have any trouble with 'em, you just do whatever you need to to keep 'em in line!" With home training like that, I don't think I have to worry about any behavior problems! What a blessing!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Camping

Camping was great... 48 hours is just too short. We didn't get to spend as much time with "just us" as we usually do. We actually spent significant portions of our time visiting with 3 other families. We aren't by nature real outgoing, so I think that was good for us. We met up with some casual acquaintances who just happened to be camping at the same campground. Their kids are of similar ages to ours, so of course the kids played a lot... and we got to know the other family better. That was really neat, because they are also a homeschool family, and very like-minded in several areas. I hope we can get together with our "new friends" again soon. We also had an older couple from church come out to visit and share the campfire on Friday night. They brought along hot dogs to roast so we just joined our meals together and enjoyed the fellowship. They are of our parents' generation, so like grandparents to the kids. And then Lyle's brother's family came out on Saturday at lunch time for a birthday celebration. Building relationships these days is often a challenge because of how busy we all are... so I am glad we got to spend time with special people while we were relaxing.

We saw several deer while we were out. On Friday evening a doe and 2 fawns came up pretty close to our campsite. I grabbed the camera and was actually able to get pretty close. They must just be used to people, and probably come through the campground often.

Tomorrow it's "back to school" and our "regular" routine, which I am still working on. I can't remember when I've had a school year get off to such a rough start. I sure hope things begin to smooth out some soon. The homeschool co-op classes start this week, too. We are excited about participating in it, but it does add to the busy-ness of our days.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Goin' camping!

We get to go camping this weekend! Yay! Not that we have time to go camping or anything... but we're going to make time, since we haven't been out all summer. I have fifty kajillion things to do before we go... and about that many to take along to work on. Lesson plans come to mind. *sigh* Oh, well... maybe the fresh air will help clear my mind.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Busy-ness

Well, I was gonna post "before" and "after" pictures of our house. We finally finished painting it Saturday. Also, Lyle built new front steps... (and I'm quite impressed with his work, carpenter that he isn't!)... and we replaced the indoor/outdoor carpet on the porch. Spruced the ol' house up quite nicely!

However, it was overcast Saturday evening when we finished, so I decided to wait until Sunday afternoon to take some pictures... which I did. But I didn't get around to transferring the pics to the computer, and my BIL came by when I wasn't home to borrow the digital camera. Lyle didn't know I had pictures on it. So... you'll have to wait till I get the camera back to see the pictures. I could show you the "before" picture, but nah... it will be more dramatic if you see them together.

My days are so full. I worked out a "school" schedule with some flexibility built in. Last week was not real organized. I am hoping things will come together as we go along. Lyle says I just need to keep "plugging along". I guess that's all I can do. But now I need to find some time every day for piano practice (30 minutes, at least, I think), as our church pianist moved away and I'm filling in. I'm not what you'd call a good pianist by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know that practice will help.

Cookie goes back for the rest of her puppy shots this afternoon, so that's a 2-hour chunk of my day. I am scheduled to work tomorrow and Thursday. Wednesday is our homeschool co-op orientation. Also, L has one class that day. Her Apologia science lab starts a week earlier than other classes... (And, oh, yeah... I need to be ready to teach my classes by a week from Wednesday!) Then, we plan to go camping this weekend, since we had to cancel our plans for camping on Labor Day, and we haven't been out all summer. We will go Thursday evening and come back Saturday evening.

I think the coffee's done. I need to go check the clothes in the dryer, and then pour some coffee and take my Bible out on the porch. The kids will be up anytime.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I Don't Have Time

I am so tired of hearing that! Of course you have time. Everyone has the same 24 hours as everyone else. If you don't "have time" to do a particular thing it's because that thing is not as important to you as something else. It's all a matter of priority.

I was almost offended the other day when I was visiting with some older grandmothers at church. (By older, I mean that these ladies are old enough to have great-grandchildren, so are quite some time past their child-rearing years. That's why I was only almost offended!) We were discussing homeschooling, and one woman said, "I don't know how you have time to homeschool. I would have never been able to do it. I was just too busy with [all these other things]." The other grandmother agreed. "Yes, I was busy, too. I can't remember what all I was involved in, but I know I was busy all the time." I stood there thinking, "Of course you were busy! Everyone is busy! Especially mothers are busy!" I just smiled and said, "Yes. It is a challenge. But I think it's worthwhile." I wondered if they thought I didn't have a thing in the world to do so just chose to homeschool my children as sort of a hobby?

Speaking of busy-ness... I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed with the committments I have right now. School is taking longer than ever this year, but we also want to be involved in a homeschool co-op once a week. The girls are getting to the age where I think something like that would be an enriching part of their education, rather than just a fun diversion. I also have more than my share of responsibilities at church, due to lack of personnel (either that or everyone else is "too busy" to take on anything else). I think I wouldn't feel so very overwhelmed if I just had time to get better organized. But who has time for that?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I'm Sorry

Do you use "I'm sorry" as an expression of sympathy? Or only as an apology?

I was involved in a discussion today about whether or not you should apologize when you didn't do anything wrong. My position was that I often say "I'm sorry!" to be sympathetic. For example, a friend was telling me about a problem she was having with her child. I said, "I'm sorry..." She said, "Oh, it's not your fault!" Of course, it wasn't my fault! I didn't have a thing to do with it. I said, "I know. I'm just sorry you're having to go through that." In the discussion today I was informed that using it that way was a "Southern Thing"! LOL! All these things I've just grown up doing, never noticing that not everyone else does it... Who knew?

I also didn't know until recently that calling my mother "Mother" was a "Southern Thing"! I'm sure there are others... but I'm not thinking of them right this minute.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Book shopping

Seems like there oughta be something interesting to post about. Just too much going on, as usual.

We made a quick run to Boise--down on Thursday, back on Saturday. It's an 8-hour trip each way. The print shop has a contract to print the carbonless forms for the state. (You know how the government has to have everything in triplicate!) With the state capitol being in Boise, we have a lot of printing to deliver down there. So we make the run every two or three months.

My brothers both live down there, so we enjoy getting together with them when we go. One of my sisters-in-law is a book hound like I am... so every chance we have we hit the thrift stores and used book stores looking for goodies!

Right now I am looking for Dr Seuss Beginner Books to add to my collection to use with my younger daughter for school this year. She is supposed to use Dick & Jane and the Dr Seuss easy readers for the first semester. I have several of the Dr Seuss books but I'm looking for more. I found 3 at a used book store for $3 each. That's more than I like to pay for used children's books, but they sell for $8 or $9 new, so I went ahead and got them. I told my SIL, "Watch! We'll probably find these at a thrift store for a quarter or something!" Would you believe? We actually did! Well... just one of them... and it was 39 cents, not a quarter. But, still!

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Thirty-Thirty Chocolate Sauce

My mother-in-law emailed us a fun recipe for chocolate sauce this week. (My in-laws live in South Africa. They moved there as lay-missionaries when they retired.) She knows my 12yo daughter is interested in cooking...

Does L have the craving for sugar that her Grandma does? She might like to know a little recipe I found recently. I don't advocate eating too much chocolate or sugar, but this recipe only makes a half-cup. And I really like it for topping for icecream. It's called "Thirty-Thirty' because it has thirty grams of every one of the ingredients in it. (People over here use grams and millitres instead of tablespoons and ounces.) It so happens that thirty grams is the same as 2 Tbsp, so I use Tbsp on my recipe card. instead of grams, even if I keep the name, "Thirty-Thirty". "Two Tbsp-Two Tbsp" just doesn't sounds as good!

Anyway here it is:

2 Tbsp. cocoa
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. syrup
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. water

Simmer for a minute or two.
Makes 1/2 cup sauce.

Ummy-yummy!

Saturday, September 3, 2005

Painting Our House

We started painting our house today. Most of the youth group was here to "help". Some of the kids were actually more of a hindrance than they were help, but we sure didn't let on! The kids need to learn to do things like this, so we just gave 'em each a paintbrush and let 'em have at it! We did try to give some direction as we could, but a lot of it will have to be gone over. Oh, well! They had a good time, and we got a lot done. I think most of them plan to come back Monday to help some more. The only drawback is that most of the reachable-from-the-ground walls are finished. So Monday will be a lot of ladder work. Not sure it's a good idea to have the kids on the ladders. We'll see.

The paint color I chose was called "Perfect Blue". It's what I call "periwinkle" and it came out more purply than I meant for it to... but it's pretty. I think it will look better when we're done and all the old green and brown is covered up. The trim will be dark blue (almost navy, but the same family as the "Perfect Blue") and white. Oh, well... even if the color's not exactly what I had in mind it will be fresh and clean!

Thursday, September 1, 2005

"Father and Mother"

Reading Dick and Jane with my little girl. She has taken to calling me "Mother" instead of "Mommy" or "Mom"... which doesn't bother me at all. I call my mother "Mother"! I think it might be a Southern thing. But R can't understand why her daddy does not want to be called "Father"! I tried to explain that God was her Father, and Daddy was her Daddy. Not sure she got that!

My dad never let us call him "Father" either. Not that we really wanted to, but sometimes we might just joking around. He always quoted the scripture that says something about, "Call no man Father..."

We are enjoying the sweetness and innocence of the Dick and Jane books. She finished the first one, and is well into her second one.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Change of Plans

I'm bummed! We had to cancel our plans for camping this weekend. We were hoping to go camping over Labor Day, and then next Saturday paint the house. But... a business trip came up that my husband has to make next weekend and we decided that we better not put off painting the house any longer. Weather in north Idaho can be very unpredictable starting about the middle of September. So... we will paint this weekend, go to Boise next weekend, help somebody move the following weekend... and then maybe still go camping the last weekend of September? We have it pencilled in, so we'll have to see if that will work out.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Concert on the Mountain

We got free tickets to a Phil Vassar concert tonight on "the mountain"! When dh asked if I was interested my first reaction was "Who's Phil Vassar? But, yes, I want to go!" Going up the mountain is a real treat, because you have to ride a gondola to get up there... and gondola tickets are spendy so we don't do it very often. I think the last time we went was Labor Day weekend 6 years ago! From what I can tell on the web, concert tickets are a 2-for-1 deal. You get another ticket to ride the gondola again another day!

If the music's too loud or we don't like it, we don't have to stay! And we can go up any time today, even though the concert doesn't start till 7:00. However, we had already made plans to go to the North Idaho Fair today... which opens at 11:00. So we'll do that first. Then come home and change clothes (we'll need to put on long pants and get coats and blankets), pack a cooler, and get the dog. It will be a full day. But fun!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Lost Child, Part 2

Remember the little naked feller who showed up at our house a couple weeks ago? Well, he came back last night. Appropriately clothed this time. He didn't come into the house, but probably only because the kids were in the back yard. He was just milling around again, like he belonged there! Some of the other neighbor kids were also here, but they are school age kids, and come around frequently. This little guy is definitely too little to be out alone. I just took him by the hand and started walking around the neighborhood with him. Sure enough, his mother was looking for him. She said something about the garage door being accidently left open. I asked her where they lived so I would know where to take him if it happened again, since this was the second time. "The second time? This has happened twice?!" She seemed shocked. So I told her what happened the last time. She didn't know anything about it. I said, "I think a friend of yours was watching him that time." Anyway, they live just across the alley from us (our houses are back to back), not way down the street somewhere. So the police officer must have been thinking about a different little boy. That comforted me to know that he really hadn't gotten very far... but still, the fact that he will just go into a strange house is really scary!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Gorgeous Weather

The weather is gorgeous! Sunny and 70s. Just perfect "enjoy-the-outdoors" kind of weather. I sure hope we get to go camping for Labor Day weekend. And it would be lovely if the weather holds!

We haven't had a chance to go camping all summer, and most of the National Forest campgrounds close after Labor Day. There is one State Park campground in the area that stays open later, so we could go there sometime in the fall if next weekend doesn't work out, but I like the National Forest better. Besides, I need that "down-time" over the holiday weekend to get psyched up for school. I always take my teaching materials and a notebook along to get the semester planned. Then I'm ready to start when we get home!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Puppy Training

We went to the library last night to see if we could find some books on dog training. Our pup is still a little young for "formal" obedience school. They usually start at 4 - 6 months. Cookie is just now 3 months old. We thought we oughta start training her a little anyway! And we're very much amateurs when it comes to dog training. We just let our last dog do whatever... However he was at this stage 15 years ago. And that was pre-kid! Now we know a little more about training babies/children, so we thought some of the same principles oughta apply to little dogs! There oughta be a book! Well, this was the one we found on puppies, and it's a good one. Very practical advice. For example, we didn't know we shouldn't let her be "mouthing" us. It's cute and it seems like play... but according to this expert, by allowing her to "bite" us (even though it's not aggressive and it doesn't hurt) we are actually showing her submission. Dogs are pack animals and humans need to let the dog know that we are the pack leaders not them! I dunno. Sounds kinda silly, but if it will make the puppy mind us better, I'm all for it! I know we will enjoy a well-behaved little dog much more than a "wild thing"!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Da Puppy's So Cute!

Cookie

All together now... "Awwwwwwww....."

I'm taking her to the vet today for her puppy shots. We had to wait a couple weeks after she was over the Parvo to make sure her immune system was built back up. I'm also taking the cat. She has some hair loss at the top of her tail that I'm concerned about. Boy! It oughta be an interesting trip with both the cat and the dog in the car!

The cat has learned to tolerate the pup, but I'm not sure she's real impressed. Yesterday, I took Cookie outside and the cat was in the yard. Cookie immediately bounds over and starts trying to herd the cat! Border collie coming out in her, I guess. She was bouncing around, her little front paws manuevering this way and that way. That cat wasn't going to go anywhere the dog didn't want it to. The cat just crouched into a ball and looked at the puppy like she was crazy. Pets are so much fun!

Getting Ready to Paint

We're getting ready to paint our house... It is currently a funky green color... bright green... not exactly lime... kind of a medium shade of mint. Just not the most "trendy" color. Oh, and the trim is dark brown! I am really curious as to who came up with that combination to start with... and why?? No, it's not *the* most awful combination ever, but it sure wouldn't be my choice.

We've been driving around looking at houses trying to decide on a new color. In the new housing developments all the houses seem to be neutral colors with white trim... pale taupe, cream, shades of pale gray... just boring! I do like the white trim, though. I would go for light blue with white trim except the house next door is that combination. So I'm thinking of pale sage with white trim... maybe even dark sage accents. Sage would cover this "weird green" nicely. And then we would just have the trim to have to do multiple coats to cover the dark brown. I originally wanted white with navy trim but DH said that he didn't want to have to cover the green with white. So I'm trying to decide on a "color" that is at least as dark as what is already on the house, without going too much darker because of the fade factor.

DH used a power washer to wash the house Saturday. Now we just need to touch up a few places with primer, and we'll be all set for the youth group to come help us paint! We scheduled a work day for September 10th. Since this is the church "Youth House" we try to involve the youth in the maintenance of it. They enjoy it, and it's good training for them! I'll get some sandwich fixin's and cookies and a cooler of pop on ice, and they'll think it's a party!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Registered for Co-op

We got registered for homeschool co-op. The kids are excited about the classes they get to take. My youngest is signed up for: All About Horses, Little House on the Prairie (unit study), P.E., and a unit study about the Holidays. My older daughter will be taking: piano lessons, Sign Language, Science Lab, Medieval Life (my class!), and Sewing. Oughta be fun!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Old Readers

I'm getting school figured out for the coming year. I plan to start school the day after Labor Day. Just too much going on this month to start any sooner.

We will be continuing where we left off with Sonlight Core 6 (World History, part 1) in the spring. I am hoping to finish by Christmas and start Core 7 in January. I got Apologia General Science ordered for my oldest. She will be taking a lab class for that at the homeschool co-op. That will help keep me accountable to make sure we get Science done this year! (Up to now I've been a pretty faithful member of HENSE--Home Educators Neglecting Science Experiments!)

We had an appointment with a neurodevelopmentalist this morning who helped us plan a program of study for our youngest for the next 4 months. I am very excited about that. It will help us focus on some developmental issues she has. I can't wait to see the progress she will make now that I know what to focus on to help her.

One thing that was recommended was the Dick & Jane books. No, they aren't phonics based, but for now that's what she needs. I was happy to have an excuse to buy these darling books. My mother remembers learning to read with Dick & Jane!! I had Jack & Janet... with their pets Tip & Mitten, when I was in first and second grade. I have been able to find all of the first grade level (and some of the second grade) Jack & Janet books at thrift stores and the like over the years. I am also collecting the Ginn Basic Readers. I never had those in school, but my mother had picked up a few of them at garage sales or whatever when we were growing up and they were very appealing. I have about 10 in that series so far. I love old Readers!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Lost Child

Last night a small child (maybe 3 or 4?) walked into our house stark naked and acted like he lived here! We had no idea who he was or where he came from. He just wandered in and started going in and out of rooms, touching things and picking them up. He wasn't upset or agitated. He just made himself right at home! My 12yo daughter about freaked out. My husband and I both tried to ask him who he was and tell him he didn't belong here but he was just oblivious. Then I remembered that this was something that my special needs nephew might do, so I picked up the poor baby and wrapped him in a blanket. I called 911 to report it, and then took him out on the porch to rock him on the porch swing until the police arrived to help us find where he belonged. My husband walked out to the alley behind our house to see if he could see anyone looking for a child. He heard someone calling way off around the block and down the street, so he went over to see if they were missing a child. Sure enough! He brought the woman back to our house. I asked the little boy if that was mommy (not that I expected an answer, he hadn't replied to anything else I asked him), but the woman said no, she was mommy's friend. Apparently she was babysitting. As she took him she said, "Just because the gate is open doesn't mean you can wander off!" It was just so pitiful! And we still don't know why he didn't have any clothes on! Not a stitch!

A little later a police officer arrived. We told her what happened. When we described the boy she said she thought she knew who he was. He lives several blocks from here! And this is not the first time it has happened. He goes into neighbor's houses, always either naked or with just a diaper on. I b'lieve I'd be getting me a childproof lock on my door, if I was his mama! I asked the officer if there was something wrong with the little boy mentally, but she said, "No. He is just quiet." I think maybe she just doesn't know.

The only time either of my children ever did anything like that was when my youngest was about that age. One day at nap time I went to check on her and she wasn't in her bed. I searched the whole house and couldn't find her. I really started to panic. I went outside to look and found her in the dog house with the dog!!! (Shoulda known! That child loves her animals!) But, believe me, I locked the outside doors at naptime every day after that!

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Puppy is home!

Puppy is home! Yay!She is very, very weak and very, very thin. We are feeding her baby food (pureed meat) to start with. She likes the little "meat sticks" (the ones that look like Vienna sausages) the best. I'm only letting her have one at a time, until her tummy gets used to digesting food again. I'll try to transition her to regular puppy food in a day or two. She has slept a lot today. We are just happy that she is eating and drinking again, so we can take care of her at home. Hopefully she will be back to normal soon.

Monday, August 8, 2005

I want my puppy home!!!

She has just been very, very sick... and I guess it's something of a miracle that she's still alive. She did finally begin to improve yesterday. Is able to keep a little water down. They will probably offer her food later today... and when she can tolerate that, then she can come home. It has been a lonnnnng week, worrying about the poor baby!

The thing that is most frustrating to me is that our regular vet is gone for a few days, and I don't like the "relief vet" nearly as well. I'll be so glad when the whole ordeal is finally over!

Medieval Life

So I agreed to teach a class on Medieval Life... Then it dawned on me... What do I know about the Middle Ages??? Hmmm... castles, knights, the Black Plague, the Catholic Church... I think that's about it! And all that gleaned from novels!! (See! Reading novels does enrich one's life!) So I went to the library today and checked out a stack of books on the subject as big as I could carry. Some awfully dry-looking tomes, at that! No novels! The first thing I need to figure out is exactly what is considered the Middle Ages. I know it comes between the Fall of Rome and the Renaissance... so what? About 500 to 1500 A.D.? Yep... I just googled it. I was pretty close! Okay, so I know when the Middle Ages were. Now I need to come up with an 8-part outline of what to cover in the 8-week class. I think I want to focus on what life would have been like... so maybe I can cover a different aspect of that each week... types of homes, clothes, religious life, medicine, food, travel... Now we're rolling! There's my rough outline. Now to fit in the research between now and then!

Sunday, August 7, 2005

Homeschool Co-op

We are going to participate in a homeschool co-op this coming school year. It meets one day a week for 4 class periods. I have always been reluctant to get too involved (over commit myself) before, but the selling point for me on this one is that one mom is offering to teach a science lab for Apologia General Science... which is the science program I had already decided on for my soon-to-be-7th grader. I had worried that I would never get around to doing the experiments, so I will be very happy to take advantage of the lab class!

There will also be a professional music teacher, offering piano lessons. I have been wanting to get my oldest in that, too, so that will be convenient.

Moms have to agree to teach at least one class a year, and help other times. I told the coordinator that I would just as soon teach as be a helper. She said that was great! Most people would rather help than teach. So I signed up to teach 3 classes for the fall trimester. (8 weeks, so not too bad at all.) I will be teaching Medieval Life, Character Qualities, and Family History. Medieval Life because that's the period we are studying in history. Character Qualities because that's what I've been teaching at Youth Meeting for several months, so I've already done the prep work. And Family History just because I think it would be fun!

Friday, August 5, 2005

Sick Cookie

Cookie is still in the hospital. (See previous post.) She did get to come home Wednesday, but she was sick again with a couple of hours and all through the night. So I took her back to the vet yesterday morning. I called to check on her late yesterday afternoon, and the vet said she was still pretty sick. I'll call again in a bit and hope the report is better. From what I've read about Parvo, if the puppy survives the first 3-4 she should make a rapid recovery and be back on her feet within a week. Today is Day 4, so I am hopeful! I sure hope we get to go get her later today.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Our New Puppy

We got this little bundle of sweetness on Saturday at our family reunion in Missouri. One of my uncle's dogs had puppies this spring. She is a beagle/border collie mix. We traveled home with her Sunday and Monday. Yesterday morning when we got up "Cookie" didn't seem to feel very well. I thought it was strange that she didn't get sick on the trip but did after we got home. So I took her to the vet. The diagnosis was not good. She has Parvo. It's a puppy virus that is often fatal. However, the vet said that with treatment she has a 90% chance of survival. They can't actually treat the virus, but they can give her an IV to keep her hydrated and supplied with nutrients. I guess it's the dehydration that usually kills. So Cookie is in the hospital. The vet said it usually lasts 1-7 days. I am praying she will recover quickly, not only because we want her home and healthy, but because I don't need a big vet bill! I will call in a bit to see how she's doing.

If it doesn't offend you to say a prayer for one of God's little creatures, would you remember our sweet puppy?

Update: Just talked to the vet's office. Cookie is up and barking this morning, which is a good sign because she was so lethargic yesterday. She also was able to eat this morning. Another good sign because she had no appetite yesterday. If she keeps her "breakfast" down she will probably be able to come home today!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

On the Road!

Gotta post tonight just because I can! We are traveling east on I-90 through Missoula, Montana as I type! Way too cool!!!

The cell connection is spotty and slow, though. Not the most reliable way to connect to the internet. Glad I don't have to depend on this all the time.

Monday, July 25, 2005

What next?

This is it. We have arrived. There is nothing left to get. We have it all!

My DH's cell phone was acting up so he went to the phone store to see about getting a replacement. While he was there he got a cable to connect his cell phone to his laptop. We can connect to the internet via cell phone while we're tootling down the highway!! At first I though, oh, yeah, I've heard of being able to check your email over your cell phone... but no, this actually connects your computer to the 'net! Just like if you had it connected to a regular phone line. It does use up minutes so we'll only be connecting during free hours (nights and weekends), but still... it just boggles my mind!

We plan to drive all night tomorrow night, headed to the family reunion. Guess what we'll be doing to stay awake while we travel? Well, no, not the driver (DH)... but maybe I can find something interesting online to keep us both entertained and awake! 'Course, cell phone signals aren't always the greatest in parts of the west.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Dog-sitting

We are "dog-sitting" for some friends this week. The kids are loving that. Our dog died of old age last fall, and we have chosen to not get another one for awhile. We do have a cat. The cat loved our old dog, but she's pretty sure she does *not* like this one!

The dog we're keeping looks like that breed that is on Sesame Street sometimes. (At least, it used to be when my kids were little. I expect they still run those segments.) The ones they dress up like fairy tale characters to act out stories? Know what kind I mean? I think they said "Vizsla".

We picked raspberries this morning. Got about 5 quarts. We made a cobbler for lunch, and put the rest in the freezer. I love having berries in the freezer!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Update

I'd post an update if I could form a coherent thought that wasn't somehow related to Sonlight Curriculum. This is the busy time of year... homeschoolers choosing their curriculum for the upcoming school year... so I basically just eat, sleep, and dream Sonlight in the summer. When I come to blog I wanna talk about something else, but I can't think of what...

My folks arrived safely today. We were happy to see them! Since this is an R&R trip for them, not really a vacation, I made everyone take a nap this afternoon. Protests all around (except from Dad, of course) but everyone cooperated. (Well, the kids didn't actually go to sleep, but they did go to their room and were relatively quiet so their grandparents could rest.) I had to confiscate Mother's cell phone to make sure no one woke her up! She actually slept nearly 2 hours, and then fussed because of "all the crazy dreams" she had, which she says happens any time she naps in the day time. I told her, "Tough luck!" She'll just have to put up with the crazy dreams 'cause I'm gonna make her take a nap every day! She is so far behind on her sleep, I think it will take her months to catch up. I read once that if someone dozes off any time they get still (which she does) that's a sign that they aren't getting enough sleep. I think that's true.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Cleaning house

I gotta clean house today! And I just wanna whine about it. I don't like cleanin' house! If I'd just learn to maintain better I know it would be an easier job.

I am having a Sonlight Open House this evening from 4:00 - 7:00. I had several people who wanted to get together to look at my materials, so I decided it would just be easier to have 'em all at once. Of course, once I do, I'll still be getting calls from other folks who missed the Open House, wanting to get together. I figure I'll probably need to schedule another one in August.

Oh, well... I guess it's good that I'm forced to clean house today. My folks are coming Tuesday... and my Mother is supposed to rest so I need to have as much as I possibly can done before they get here. She has a way of finding all sorts of little jobs that need doing, and taking it on herself to do them when she visits! Somehow I've got to convince her that the "little jobs" are not up for grabs! This trip is strictly for R&R!

Friday, July 1, 2005

Life Just Isn't Fair

My 12yo thinks it should be! I was chewing gum today. She asked if she could have a piece. I told her, "No." (I was outside at the time, and the gum was in my purse. I didn't want her to go digging for it. But I also didn't feel obligated to explain all that to her.) She comes back with, "But you have a piece!" I told her, "Get over it. Just because I have gum in my mouth doesn't mean you are entitled to it! You often have gum when I don't!" I guess she accepted the logic of that because she didn't say anything else about the gum. Still... you'd think she'd know better than to sass by now. "Mom" is being inconsistent there somewhere.

Not two minutes later she is whining, "How come R's sunflower is taller than mine?" (They each planted a seed in a cup a couple months ago, and then transplanted them to the flower bed. The plants are now maybe a couple feet tall.) Good grief! Like I'm supposed to control how fast the plants grow?!? Of course she knows that plants grow at different rates of speed! She was just wanting to complain!

That was a perfect example to me of how it's futile to try to make everything "fair" for the kids. Some things are just out of my control! Yes, I could've dropped what I was doing to go scrounge up a piece of gum for the poor deprived child, ...but I chose not to. What was I supposed to do about the sunflower, though? Cut off her sister's plant so it wouldn't be taller than hers?

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Get Busy!

I made good progress clearing off my desk this morning, which had been piling up for 2 weeks. I have also made a good start unpacking boxes of books from my conventions. I have to display my own books in my booth, so now that the season is over I need to get everything back on the shelves where they belong. I have scheduled a Sonlight open house here next Thursday so that really gives me an incentive to get stuff organized quickly. That's a good thing.

I need to start a list of things-to-do-before-the-family-reunion now that the convention trips are behind me. Let's see...
  • publish and mail the July Family Chronicles
  • make a Power Point of our digital pictures to show everyone on the laptop
  • decide on which scrapbooks to take and see how much updating I can fit in
  • plan lessons for youth meetings so I don't have to spend every Sunday afternoon doing that
  • clean and declutter around here so we'll be ready to paint and do some outside maintenance in August before time to start up school again
  • work on the 3RsPlus reading books
  • oh... and work 20 hours a week whenever I can fit it in!

Why am I sitting here yakking? I should get up and get busy!

Later!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Totally Random Thoughts

I am beginning to wonder if life will ever slow down. Trying to wear several hats at once is just utterly exhausting. I think it would help me feel less stressed if we could get caught up on some things around here... and then hopefully get into a "maintenance" routine. Maybe this weekend? We thought about trying to go camping for the holiday weekend, but I think we've decided against that. To be honest, as fun and relaxing as camping sounds, it almost sounds better to stay home and work on getting caught up. Then maybe we could make some homemade ice cream or something like that for the 4th. We can see the city fireworks from our yard... yes, they're a mile away, but it beats fighting the crowd!

An older couple in our church has a son who is an Army chaplain. He's been on "combat deployment" (is that what they call it? I think that's what he said...) to Iraq 5 times! He and his family are currently visiting his folks, so they were at church tonight. Our pastor invited him to share about his experiences. It was really interesting. Sounds like Army chaplains are very similar to regular pastors, but of course, have different issues to deal with. I was just amazed at how free they are to witness to and pray with the soldiers. What about "separation of church and state"? I mean, the whole fiasco about not being able to display the 10 Commandments on government property, taking "under God" out of the Pledge, not allowing prayer in schools... but yet the government (military) pays for Christian chaplains? I don't get it!! I'm glad for them... but I don't get it. Inconsistency drives me crazy! Actually, I think I do get it... in times of crisis Americans do know where to turn. They make noises about being tolerant and politically correct, but when something like 9-11 happens they all flock to the churches and solemnly remind each other to pray! Same thing with the military, I s'pose. When our soldiers are in "harm's way" the things that really matter suddenly come to the forefront.

Hmmm... well, I thought I had more ideas to ramble about, but my random-thought-generator seems to have suddenly gone on the fritz. I think I hear the bed calling my name...

More later...

Monday, June 27, 2005

I'm Tired!

I'm tired! What's that essay about how many people there are in the world, and how many are actually doing all the work... and it finally comes down to leaving only 2 people to do the work... and you're reading the article so I have to do it all? I read that some time ago. Thought it was cute... Anyway, that's kinda the way I feel right now. We've been traveling a *lot* lately... which is fun... but rather exhausting, too. Now I'm just ready for a *real* break. Wonder if it will work out for us to go camping this weekend? That always refreshes me... just getting away from all the demands and enjoying nature.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Left Behind Kids series

We've been listening to the Left Behind Kids books in the car as we travel. They are really more "teen" stories than they are "kids"... the characters are middle school/high school age kids. We are almost finished with the second set. We have the first 3 sets so far. I'll have to see about getting the others. There are 6 sets of CDs or tapes, I think. The public library has the first set. CBD has the second set on cassette for $1.99... and I downloaded the third set from Audible.com. It's taken us awhile to get around to listening to them... partly because of the maturity of the subject matter, but they have been good. They present the message of salvation repeatedly throughout, and talk about having the right motives for accepting Christ... because you truly want to have a relationship with Him, not just for what you can get or to avoid hell. And, of course, there is edge-of-your-seat excitement.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Convention season is over!

Whew! Convention season is over! Now summer can begin! LOL!

Actually, we have enjoyed traveling to the various conventions. My workshops have been well-received and I've met a lot of neat people. It's just draining...

I have to laugh, though. Tonight after we packed up the booth and came back to the hotel room, I collapsed on the bed with a huge sigh of relief. My DH walked in and said, "Couldn't we just do this for a living year-round?" I laughed and said, "Homeschool conventions don't go on year-round!" I think he was half-serious!

I picked up an excellent book this week: Debi Pearl's Created to Be His Help Meet. I had heard a lot of good things about it and it was available at a good price so I bought it. During slow times this week-end I read it. Some really *good* stuff in it. My DH paid me the sweetest compliment, though, when I told him I had bought a book on being a good wife. "You don't need a book like that!" LOL! "Thank you, dear, but I can name several areas off the top of my head that need improvement!"

Reading the book helped me realize anew how much influence my wonderful mother has on the kind of wife I am... Mother has always respected and honored Daddy. Like the rest of us, he's not perfect... but as a child I always thought Mother thought he was! Isn't that the way it should be?

We're taking the "scenic" route home tomorrow. Western Montana is all scenic... even from the interstate, but we thought we'd try some back roads. We'll get to see some more Lewis & Clark country! That should be interesting. I just need to remember to take a half-tablet of Dramamine! (Enough to keep me from getting car sick, but not enough to make me drowsy.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Summer fun

I took the kids to soccer this morning. No... I haven't turned into a soccer mom yet! LOL! Another homeschool family in the area has organized a "soccer camp" for kids ages 6-13 to meet once a week this summer to learn the rules and just play some scrimmage games. It's not real teams or anything like that. And it doesn't actually meet all summer. Just this week and next, and then the month of August. Anyway, I thought it would be worthwhile. Be a good way for the kids to get some exercise, learn something, and play with other kids. I wondered if they would like it... They did!

They've been begging to "play in the water" for the last 2 days. It is finally warming up enough here that they think it's "just so hot" that playing in the water sounds fun. We don't have a pool or anything but they like to get wet with the hose. It's just such a mess! Soggy dripping clothes... (I won't let 'em wear swimsuits in the yard because our yard is *very* public) ...and just now I was informed that water leaked into the basement and is now all over the floor in their room! I don't *need* this! *SIGH*

We leave on Thursday morning for my last homeschool convention of the season, in Billings, Montana. Naturally I have a lot yet to do to get ready to go. Why does life always have to be so hectic?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Summer projects

Wow! What a weekend! We left for Seattle on Thursday. I was so utterly exhausted that I felt sick all day. But I slept like a log in the motel that night and was much more myself the next day. I was very grateful for that! The Seattle homeschool convention was great! Good attendance and a good turn-out for my workshop. I have one more homeschool convention in Billings, Montana this weekend and then I will be done for the year. I really enjoy doing them, but 8 is enough for one year!

My next project is to help get some great little readers I've discovered back in print. Right now they are only partially available in digital format. We hope to have them available in print by the end of the summer.

How does my garden grow? Well, my red petunias in the hanging pots are happily blooming away. I can't quite figure out why the purple and white ones aren't blooming yet. Hopefully they will soon. I've had a handful of sweet, ripe strawberries off my 3 strawberry plants that are growing in the wheelbarrow. The grape tomato plants aren't looking too great. Maybe they need some Miracle Grow. My prettiest flower right now is my Martha Washington geranium. I'll have to take some pictures soon.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Random Foolishness

I always think of things to blog about when I'm out and about, and not at my computer, of course. Then when I sit down at the keyboard I never can remember what any of them were. Wonder if I start just typing "stream of consciousness" if it will come to me? (Isn't that what you call it when you just write whatever pops into your head?)

I went in Safeway today to pick up a few things. I wanted to get a tube of Mentholatum to put in my purse because my nose has just been really dry lately. Not sure why, but I thought Mentholatum might help. And, no, Vicks Rub wouldn't do. I used to think they were the same, but they're not. Well, Safeway had several different sizes and variations of Vicks Rub, but no Mentholatum! I thought that was very weird. I asked the pharmacist about it. She said that apparently they quit making it because she couldn't get it any more. How strange is that? Mentholatum has been around forever, hasn't it? I was in a different grocery store later and checked there, and lo-and-behold, they had it! So I bought 2 tubes, just in case this is leftover stock and they won't be able to get any more. Hmmm... I just Googled Mentholatum and found http://www.mentholatum.com/usa.php. Doesn't look like they've gone out of business to me. I don't know what Safeway's problem is!

Hey! I managed to get rid of 8 boxes full of books and other miscellaneous school-related stuff in the past week or so, at 2 used-curriculum sales! I made about $125 for my efforts. I was pretty pleased. And lest you fill sorry for me, parting with all those great books... don't worry! It hardly made a dent in the massive library of books and homeschooling supplies still inhabiting this house!

I think I'm going to start sneaking a few out of the house one-by-one by participating in www.bookcrossing.com if I can figure out some good places to just leave a book lying around where someone else might pick it up and enjoy it. I've registered a few to leave in geocaches, but haven't had any reports back on them yet.

Tomorrow night we're having a graduation service and reception for the 3 boys in our youth group who graduated from high school this year. We are going to make homemade ice cream for the "party" tomorrow afternoon. Apparently my kids don't remember making home-made ice cream before. We used to have an electric freezer but the motor was ruined in a flood we had in our basement years ago. May have even been before the kids were born, I don't remember. But we're going to borrow an old-fashioned hand-crank freezer. That will be fun!

Speaking of the Class of '05 reminds me of something I wanted to comment on... when we get to the year 2010 are we going to start saying "twenty-ten" rather than "two-thousand-ten"? Probably we will, since it's one less syllable. For this decade most people say "two thousand five", of course, or maybe just "o-five". Either is okay with me. What bugs me to death, though, is the people who say "two-o-five" like it's the year 205! Or even funnier, is when people write it 20005! They have to write out 2000 and then just tack the 5 on the end!

Okay. I guess that's enough random foolishness for one night.

Monday, June 6, 2005

Geocaching

We had the most fantastic day Saturday! The weather was absolutely gorgeous. We packed a cooler, hooked up the GPS to my laptop in the SUV, and took off for a day of Geocaching. We headed up to Lake Pend Oreille... over around the east side of the lake and into Montana. It was an all-day trip and we hit 10 caches.

#1. Sunnyside Up. What a pretty area! We had a time deciding which was the "eagle tree" but we finally found the cache.

#2. Pack River Flats. What a beautiful view! Water level was awfully close to the cache, but it was still dry inside.

#3. Bridge Out? My favorite cache of the day! We saw a moose! We have lived here for 7 years... and this is the first time I've been close enough to a moose in the wild to get a picture of it.

#4. Fountain. What an interesting spot. We also wondered why the fountain was here... and enjoyed the view.

#5. Crossroads of Old and New. Had our picnic lunch here.

#6. Boo-Boo Cache. A very cool location near a historic Ranger Station.

#7. Big Eddy.

#8. Spring Creek.

#9. Ross Creek Giants. My second favorite cache of the day. In fact, it is right up there with the Bridge Out one. The cedar forest was like entering fairy land! The kids thought it was a great playground... and we expected to meet up with a hobbit just any minute!

#10. Thompson Pass.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Gardening

For the Roses by Julie Garwood is one of my favorite romance novels. Read it years ago. We watched the Hallmark movie that was based on it this week, so I had to dig the book out to re-read it.

Speaking of roses, they are just beginning to bud in my neighborhood. The irises are at their peak. I don't have either in my yard. I have one large pot of pansies and violas on the porch. I planted the pansies last fall and they survived the winter. They love the cool-ish spring weather and are just going to town... blooming their little hearts out!

I also planted 3 grape tomato plants in a large planter. They are beginning to bloom already! I was so late getting my tomatoes set out last year that they didn't do much. Hopefully I'll have better luck this year. Nothing like home-grown sun-ripened tomatoes! And I love the little grape ones that you can just pop in your mouth.

A friend gave me a start of spearmint that is just going to town in another planter. I'd like to get a piece of peppermint to stick in the other end of the same planter. The same friend gave me some "pungent" plants that were coming up in their garden... it's either garlic or chives. It will be interesting to see what develops. I stuck those in another planter. (Can you tell I lean toward container gardening?)

Let's see... what else do I have going? Oh, yes... a wheelbarrow full of strawberry plants! Our elderly next-door neighbor died last year. She was a wonderful gardener. Her son (our pastor) gave me the wheelbarrow of strawberries last fall. I threw leaves on top of it and pushed it up against the house. This spring I took the leaves off and moved it out in the sun. The plants are blooming! Maybe we'll have a few berries off it.

I do have one little flower bed by the front steps. I need to get some annuals to put in it. This year I'd like to just do a mix of 4 or 5 different things all jumbled together. I should do that this week. I'd also like to fix some hanging baskets of annuals for the porch. They are expensive to buy already put together, but maybe I can put some together myself for a fraction of the cost. We'll see.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Show-off Horse

Animals are so funny! I have always enjoyed the antics of cats and dogs... but I never realized how funny horses are, too. My brother raises Arabians. He has 3 stallions and several mares. We were visiting him last week and he decided to let one of the stallions out of the barn into a corral. The stallions basically live in the barn and take turns getting turned outside for exercise. Well, this was the "granddaddy" stallion... 20-some-years-old... but still whickering at the mares. My brother said it was a "wolf whistle"! The old feller didn't know that particular mare was his granddaughter, nor did he care! (Okay, I guess it was really a filly, rather than a mare, since she's only about a year old and has not been bred yet.)

So, he goes trotting out in the corral, happy to be out where he can kick up his heels. The first thing he did was lay down and roll over on his back, waving his legs in the air, rolling from side-to-side. That was hilarious to watch! I guess that was how he scratched his back. Then he got up and "played" with my brother. The stallion would lunge at Tim, then Tim would run and the horse would chase him. They were both having a fine time! My husband and I had started back for the house, but we were walking along the corral fence. We stopped to watch the "show", but we were a good ways down the fence from where my brother was. The horse would run the length of the corral, but never go near the fence except where we were! He would dash over and kick dirt at us and then go on! It was a riot! We decided that he knew we were watching him, and he was showing off for us. Tim told us later that was exactly what he was doing!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Exhausted!

We traveled nearly 1700 miles in 4 days last week. I set-up and took down my Sonlight booth 4 times, and spoke 4 times. I am exhausted! I'm grateful I have a 4-week break before my next 2 conventions. They are back-to-back weekends in June. And then I'll be done with conventions for the season. I do enjoy it, but it is tiring!

More later...

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Free-Style Walking

We were invited to attend a "film festival" at a local high school this week. One of the guys in our youth group is a senior and was the one of the MCs for this event. He also produced 2 or 3 of the films shown in the festival. It was 2 hours of high-school-produced films... ranging from 3 to 10 minutes. Some of them were quite good... but oh, my!! Some were just excruitating to sit through! But, oh, the audience (mostly high school kids) was enthusiastic! I bet Hollywood movies don't get the applause at their premiers that these films did. It was hilarious!

One "movie" was about "Free Style Walking"-- something I had never heard of before. It was 4 or 5 boys--the "Free Style Walking Team"--basically jumping on and over anything they could think of... walking a step or two up a wall, jumping over a fence, running along a park bench... things like that. It was actually pretty interesting, and looked fun for the boys. I wonder how often they got hurt pulling stunts like that. I asked my husband if he could "walk" like that. He said he probably could have when he was their age. He was a pretty good jumper.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Lost Knitting Needles

I pulled a good one yesterday. It was Homeschooler's Hour at the library. The kids went to their "class" and I dropped off some books in the book return before signing up for a study room. My books were in my knitting bag, which I took back out to the car after I dropped the books off. I took my laptop to the study room to work on some stuff while I waited for the kids. I had taken along both my laptop and my knitting because I wasn't sure which I would decide to work on.

When I got home and got my knitting out, I couldn't find my circular needles. (I had a mistake in the sweater so I was in the process of unraveling it a few rows, so the knitting was not on the needles, but I had put them in the bag!) I thought maybe the needles slipped out of the bag in the car, so I went out to check. Nope. I looked through the bag again. Nada. Then it occurred to me that maybe they got caught between the pages of a book and got turned in the library. No, surely not! But since I couldn't find them anywhere else I decided to call and see. Would you believe it? That's exactly what happened! How silly! I felt kinda foolish going back to pick them up... but I was glad to find them.

I finished unraveling back to the mistake, got the sweater back on the needles and I'm good to go!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Pet Peeve

A pet peeve of mine... mostly 'cause people don't know better, I'm sure...

When the time changed a couple weeks ago, we entered Daylight Saving Time. So if you're telling someone your time zone, it's Pacific Daylight Time (or whatever zone you're in) *not* Pacific Standard Time! Standard Time is in the winter. Daylight Time is in the summer. (Unless, of course, you live in Arizona or parts of Indiana or some other country, which don't switch to Daylight Time.)

As I was picking up phone messages today (from around the country) I had at least two people say they were in Eastern Standard Time. *sigh*

Speaking of correct word usage... I have noticed that most people know that B.C. means "Before Christ" but a lot of people think that A.D. means "After Death". It doesn't. It stands for "Anno Domini" which is Latin for "the Year of Our Lord".

Just another random piece of trivia...

(What I've never figured out is why B.C. represents English words, and A.D. represents Latin words. Maybe the Latin words for "Before Christ" also start with B and C? That's probably it!)

Saturday, April 2, 2005

Projects

Today I'm working on signs and posters for my Sonlight booth. I have 6 homeschool conventions to attend this spring/summer... 4 in May, 2 in June... and one speaking engagement with no booth. I've been labeling catalogs with my contact info, then I have bags to stuff, and books to pack. But today's project is to get my signs made.

Now I'm working up a character study for youth group. I got some great materials from "Character First" and I'm using that as my basic curriculum... but I'm trying to come up with some word puzzle worksheets to go along with the theme. There's a free downloadable word search generator at http://www.schoolhousetech.com/, but I can only use so many word searches. Wish I could find some other free programs for making other types of puzzles.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Draught

Who knew that "draught" is supposed to be pronounced "draft"??? I had no idea! I thought it was "drawt". My pastor heard me say it that way. He knows I like to use good grammar and proper pronounciation so he told me to look it up. I was so surprised. The "augh" in "draught" is pronounced "af" the same as it is in "laugh"!

He also says "err" is pronounced "ur". I looked that one up, too. My dictionary says either "ur" or "air" is proper for that one. I had never heard the "ur" pronounciation until I heard him say it.

Interesting! Ya learn something new every day!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Easter baskets

I have been trying to come up with a few little things for the kids' Easter baskets without loading them up on candy or clutter. I thought of sidewalk chalk (consumable but not edible)... and cotton candy (a nice size bucket of it at Wal Mart for $1 but not all that much sugar for how big it looks... plus I rarely buy it for them and they love it!). I also got some Easter pencils and erasers. Anybody have any other ideas?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Ramblin'

I keep popping in here... thinking I'm going to post something... but usually it's at the end of the day and my brain is tired... so I draw a blank. Life is just so busy... and just when I think it might slow down a bit... nope... it gets even busier. Sometimes I just feel so overwhelmed with it all. Why do we do this to ourselves? Who says we have to live like this? And the scary thing is, *my* life is really very simple compared to many, many people I know! I couldn't function like that. I would utterly have a nervous breakdown. I know I would!

Well now... wasn't that just such an original, inspiring thought?

Friday, March 18, 2005

Weirdness at Wal*Mart

I saw the weirdest thing at Wal*Mart tonight. (Seems like everything weird I ever see is always at Wal*Mart!) There was a little kid... maybe 5 or 6 years old... with a pair of panty hose pulled onto his head like a stocking cap!!! The legs had been braiding together some kind of way so they dangled way down his back like a long pom-pom or something. He was too young to have come up with such a thing himself (I think)... and apparently too young to know how very strange that was. I mean, I could almost see an older kid or teen wearing such a get-up just to see what kind of reaction he would get... but this kid was too young for that, IMO.

Stuff like that just makes me wonder and wonder...

What were his parents thinking letting him go to Wal*Mart like that???