Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Giving vs Sacrifice, OR When Giving is Sacrifice, OR What Do You Do With That Pledge Card?

Thinking out loud today.  You see, I'm desperately praying over the pledge card carefully tucked inside my Bible.  So many things going through my heart and mind.  Wanting to give.  Not sure how much to give.  Dealing with past giving.  And lack of past giving.  Fear.  Duty. Excitement.  Love.

Unlike past pledge cards, this time I have no husband to defer to.  The buck stops with me.  Of course, it should have before, too, to some extent, but that's another story.

Now I find myself wondering what the Lord requires of ME.  I see how He has provided abundantly to me.  Not that I'm rolling in the dough, or even finding a balance in my account at the end of each month.  Sometimes finding the money to pay a bill is hard.  Yet over and over, our needs are met.  By God.  Big, Mighty, giving-more-than-I-deserve God.  What do I do with that? 

Oh!  I'm thankful!  Believe me.  I know EXACTly where it's all coming from.  It would totally baffle me if I didn't know I had a faithful God.  Actually, it still baffles me.

But now I have to make a promise, and I'm trying not to be anxious, but I'm gripped by all that God is doing in my church, through the people there, and I'm sitting back with my children, soaking it all in.  And wondering.

"What do you require of me, Lord?"  I know He doesn't need my money what He's given to me to build that building, or buy that land.  I know that many struggle with the "legalities" of tithing.  I never did "before".  Then I spent 12 years married to someone who had different ideas.  Ideas which, by default and subjection, became my own.  And while it's not hard for me to see the lies now, it's a bit harder to shed their affects on my thinking.

Fear?  Sneer.... I don't like fear.  It has crippled enough of my life.  Yet, God used it to bring me to a better relationship with Him, yet it is a constant in Satan's economy.  While I may recognize it, apply Biblical principles in disarming it, and make it powerless in GOD's economy, it is still creepy.  Creeps in here.  Creeps in there. 

So, I want to give.  My kids keep asking if we are going to give.  I keep expecting God to put some magical number on the wall for me.  How much is too much?  What is my "widow's mite"?  Why is this so hard?!!  

The thing that I keep resisting is asking the question, "What can I afford?".  I can't "afford" anything.  That's where the sacrifice will come.  That's where my relationship comes full circle with Him, and I hear that still, small voice say, "Do you trust me?  Do you really trust me?  How much do you trust me?"   

I don't pretend to be good at that.  There is very little about this giving/sacrifice thing that I understand or have practiced faithfully.  I just know He keeps giving to me.  Don't get me wrong.  I don't feel guilty.  I feel amazed.  Unworthy.  Amazed...  

In my head I know there is no right answer.  I get "stewardship", as in spend wisely with a purpose that would be pleasing to the Lord.  I get "example", as in be a good example to little eyes that are watching.  I get "blessing", as in it's more blessed to give, than to receive.  But getting it all to come together is the question of the day.

If God is no author of confusion, and if prayer is a constant, and if His word is the foundation, then if I choose THAT, if I choose HIM, the rest will come.  That I know.  But the choosing...

Part of me says "promise nothing", then anything given will be a boon.  Then the Lord tugs on me again:  "You can trust me!"  But I'm not comfortable "there" yet.  But He wants me to be.  My head says I have nothing left to give, my heart says sacrifice.  

The world says "keep".  The Lord says "give".  Why am I so wretchedly selfish?  I don't want this battle within me!  Yet I know, the battle is the Lord's.

In the end, it will be in hindsight that all the answers are revealed.  God is God, after all!  
 (She smiles knowingly, as she remembers.)  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A New Advent

Every year I jump on the most recent Advent band wagon.  Sometimes it's good.  Sometimes our best intentions fizzle.  But, I think we've covered them all!  This year, knowing the kids aren't here every night, I wasn't sure what to do.  All afternoon Sunday (1st official day of Advent) I was silently wondering...

I went to my bookshelf, as a book-lover/hoarder is known to do on occasion, and chewed my lower lip for about ten seconds.  I touched the Christmas books, running my fingers across the shelf full and found myself pulling out this book:

Though I've never read this, I've had it for years and have heard wonderful things about it.  It seems to me, there is no better time to read a classic family story than now!  

Advent, as a preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ, is worth celebrating, no matter the method.  We'll also follow along with some Advent scripture readings, lighting our Advent candle ring, singing and praying together. 

What are your plans for celebrating Advent?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

About That Jonah Fella

As I told you recently, the kids and I are going through "Wrong Way, Jonah!" for our Bible time together.  Oh Jonah!  I've read your story many times over the years, but I think I finally get it.  Oh you selfish, gotta have your own way, bitter, angry, head full of knowledge, heart filled with blech, ________(insert name)! 

The reason we don't know what happened to Jonah, is because we don't yet know the full end of our own stories.  Isn't that just like our mighty God to show us our hearts, our human ways, and His much better way and nudge us toward He Who Is Greater?!

(Bicker with your kids much lately?  She asks herself with much sarcasm!)

In His story of Jonah, we see God:  "...for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster." Jonah 4:2b (ESV)  Yet Jonah chooses to suffer.  He KNOWS God.  He KNOWS what is right.  He KNOWS the very nature of his suffering.  And yet.  Yet he chooses to sin, and to suffer for it.  The exact opposite of Job, I might add.  Two pictures God shows us of responding to circumstances. 

Has God shown you what's really in your heart lately?  Is He nudging you to choose better?  Choose wiser?  If He is, it's because He is "a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster." because He loves you.  He loves me.  He keeps showing me His way is better.

Jonah had the answer all along:

"When my life was fainting away, 
I remembered the LORD, 
and my prayer came to you into your holy temple.  

Those who pay regard to vain idols 
forsake their hope of steadfast love.  
But I with the voice of thanksgiving 
will sacrifice to you; 
what I have vowed I will pay. 

Salvation belongs to the LORD!"  Jonah 2:7-9

It can't just be about getting out of the belly of a whale, but about choosing this day whom you will serve.  Lord!  Help me to choose You every moment!

Monday, November 28, 2011


I'm so thankful to report that our family Thanksgiving, with house full of loved ones and thankful hearts abounding, was all I could hope for!

Apart from the wonderful family time, and blessed hearts and lives, this large gathering and all it's logistics has taught me much.  For instance, basic and easy recipes are often the best.  Every recipe I took from a certain magazine I love, was less than great.  Learned my lesson.

The big cooking success was two-fold:  First, turkey in a bag!!!  Let me say it again:  "Turkey in a bag!"  So yummy.  And secondly, having a dear friend by my side to help me keep from losing my mind while minding the last concoctions and timing, to get it all on the table before everyone went to Taco Bell.  Thank you, Colette!

So I've never seen mashed potatoes disappear that fast in my life!  And I've never seen this large family eat dessert 5 minutes after dinner, but they did.  And it wasn't because of lack of dinner, either! 

The truth of the matter is that the long, long (yet wonderful!) Thanksgiving Days of my childhood are no more.  Everyone is older, and everyone had to drive a lot to get here, and to go home.  People are tired and lingering is more difficult.  But, every minute was precious!  We fit it in.  We hugged, laughed, shared...all that good stuff. 

I wonder if each person there was thinking of Thanksgivings past, like I was.  Missing my mom.  Seeing my Aunt in one of her shirts.  Smelling my mother's perfume.  Seeing my brother, whom I couldn't help but hug more than anyone.  Seeing my children soak in the family goodness.  Realizing how everyone is growing older.

So thankful!  Thankful for every detail.  Thankful!  Thankful! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Preparing for Thanksgiving Guests

You may remember that I am having my family for Thanksgiving this year.  I haven't done this in a long time and there is a lot to do!  I've learned a lot about myself through the process of preparing for the day.  While my homeschool mom eyes have been ever-watchful over my sweet daughter and her newly revealed to me learning style, as I've mentioned before, I'm realizing that I share the visual learner brain.  Translation:  lists!  And lots of them.  Piles, pictures from magazines, recipe cards, craft supplies, serving dishes; all where I can but my googly little eyes on them!

This has its good points.  And its bad.  I've realized multiple fancy, shmancy planning printouts are not my friend.  One good ole' blank sheet of paper with columns by category makes me sigh with contentment.  All (on one page) or nothing, people! 

So here's my list(s):

Paint living room and kitchen.
Hang new light fixtures.
Re-install curtain rod and curtains.
 And yes.  I know it was crazy to start a home-improvement project right before a holiday, but I couldn't help myself!  
Clean carpet high-traffic area.
Cleaning the dining chairs (Hello!  Milk spills!)
Thanksgiving/Fall decorations.
Confirm guest list & send directions to our new home.
Finalize menu.
Grocery list.
Grocery shop.

Locate and pull serving dishes.
Get kids' haircuts.

Table service for 21.
Food prep schedule.
Make note of when to pull 24lb turkey from freezer.
Choose outfits for the day.
Empty and charge camera.
Make Thanksgiving napkin rings.
Make centerpieces.
Last minute home cleaning. (Saving till the last minute! ;))

There's probably more.  

Here's my menu, which I'm very excited about and will make you wish you were coming here for Thanksgving too!  (And you'd be welcome!)

24lbs of golden Turkey goodness, cooked to perfection (a girl can dream!) and carved by (hopefully!) my unflappable Uncle Dan. (with dressing by Aunt Janie.)
Sweet Potato Spoon Bread
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Glorious Rolls (Think buttery melt in your mouth, can't eat just two!)
Cranberry Relish
Baked Corn Pudding
Beet, Carrot, and Apple Salad
Lemon Herb Green Beans
Herb Gravy
Pumpkin Pie
Pear Pie
Molasses Bourbon Pecan Pie (unless I can't find bourbon from a friend in which case the optional bourbon will be bourbon.)

Whatdaya think?  Hungry yet?

The things that throw me (list, list list!) are things like remembering to set butter out to soften; getting the turkey outta the freezer on time;  remembering you need serving spoons for all those dishes.  Since I'm not a practiced large crowd, meal provider, filling the salt and pepper shakers is off my typical radar! 

I'm so excited!  Even though we're having our big meal the day after Thanksgiving (That would be Black Friday to some of you!), I will be sharing heaps and oodles of thankfulness with, and for my family!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Night Randomness

Seventy degrees in November rocks!  My doors were open today and it was so nice.  Don't you think it's much more relaxing when the house is open?

I finally got my crochet on for the winter!  I chose the yarn colors for dd8's new afghan and chose this wonderful pattern.  Crocheting makes me smile.  I love crocheting.  Just sayin'.

My furnace went out this week.  Got it fixed pretty quick.  Was mighty thankful it didn't happen when it was really cold out.

My little boy now has bigger feet than mine, as well as being taller than me.  He's twelve!  That whirling sound is life flying by!  And daughter?  Quickly gaining.  I'm good with it.  Healthy, strapping, children.  Thank you Lord.

Church community groups are awesome.  At least mine is.  Love these people!

What a pain in the rear not having a man in the house to move heavy furniture up the stairs.  Did I mention I love my community group?

I'm tired of hearing about pumpkin recipes.  But I'm still craving pumpkin seeds that I haven't gotten around to harvesting from my front porch.  Maybe this week.

We all need haircuts.  Badly.  Haircuts!  Haircuts!  Haircuts!  They pound on the table in joyful anticipation.  NOT!  Now the dentist they would be happy about!  What's with that?!!

My room is a pit.  Why is it always the room that gets the last and least attention?  Every other room is more important.  Yeesh.

Still loving my new yellow living room/kitchen.  Yellow sings sunshine 24/7.  So glad I got it done before Thanksgiving. 

Speaking of Thanksgiving.  Got me a 22lb turkey for nearly half-price.  Got me a bag to cook it in.  Even bought a pan and a baster.  Made room in the freezer.  Barely.  Thinking non-dry turkey thoughts.

Borrowed a library book on my kindle through Amazon!  It was totally cool.  Worked like a charm.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Expiration Dates

I just saw a new warning message on my printer.  I've had this printer for years and have never seen this, but it said, "Ink cartridge about to pass expiration date.  Please replace soon."  Seriously!  They've got to be joking!  An almost full cartridge that they want me to throw out because it "might" be too old?!  Do they know what I paid for that sucker?  Of course they do!  They want me to buy more!  I'm sorry, but that gets my ire up.

There are some expiration dates that can't really be ignored.  Food.  Food past the expiration date does creep me out.  And I'd have to add anything I'd give to my kids.  But ink in the printer?!  Really?!

Do you jump through hoops because of expiration dates?  Tell the truth!

Monday, November 7, 2011

New Skillet Love

After several years, my very used up, cheap skillet's last leg gave out.  Spending a lot of money on a skillet is not my preference, nor is having another piece of junk skillet!  So it was time to shop.

I went to my end-all/beat-all store--Target-- and started the search.  I quickly sized up an idea of the price range, size, and features.  Because I'm lazy and not a "cook", I knew I wanted non-stick, dishwasher safe.  I also knew the whole peeling, non-stick surface had left a bad taste (pun intended) in my mouth!  Honestly, I'm not even sure if they make that kind any more.  I don't have cable, so I don't see commercials and I also neglected to do an internet search.  So, not a lot of preconceptions.  I just wanted to make a good purchase and go home!

They don't make it easy on us though, do they?  Shapes, sizes, features, even price range are rather extreme.  Some of us just don't need all that!  T-Fal was one of the predominant brands at Target.  I'd heard the name.  I hadn't heard anything bad, that I could remember.  They had a good size, at an okay price--I wouldn't call it cheap, but I guess considering they last a few years, that's acceptable.

So I bought it.  Funny...I kept thinking about my mom and her one cast iron skillet she had and cooked out of her whole life.  I wish I had that skillet!  I know I bought one when I first left home, but it was NOT the same and didn't last long.  Sigh.

So in the end, I love my T-Fal skillet.  I haven't washed it in the dishwasher yet, but it's doing the cooking job pretty well.  Now, if only I could perform food miracles in it! 

Do you have a favorite skillet?

Disclaimer:  Though I'd love T-Fal to pay me for my opinion, there's no sign of that on the horizon.  This is just my experience. :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Parole Denied

Anyone who has ever been a victim of a violent crime will tell you that regardless of how much time passes, there is an anxiety and difficulty in processing new information about "it".  First, you are registered with the state and assigned a number.  You are told by form letter of your rights.  You are told that your input matters.  You wait.  A lot.  

As a Christ follower, you think about forgiveness.  You think about fearing the Lord, more than man.  You think about redemption.  You hope that the person on the other side of the bars is repentant.  Then you find out they aren't.  Decades later, multiple parole hearings. 

Even though you wish things were different, you find yourself relieved to get another form letter:  Parole denied.  And yet...

What does life in prison compare to life separated from God?  I'm grateful today that I know a loving God who longs to be in relationship with me.  Me, who deserves death, but for His sacrifice.  My sentence has been commuted. 

Romans 6:23  "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Trimming Home: Painting Furniture Black

My new paint looks fabulous, but the black furniture that I had concerns about, now looks even better!  Who-da thought painting the walls would make everything all sparkly feeling?!  I was so inspired that I grabbed a roller and brush; my handy-dandy-always-keep-it-on-hand high glass black paint and rescued a few stragglers that had yet to be transformed.  There was that horribly marred up end table from my grandfather, and a bookcase from Sam's Club.  Finally transformed.

There are a lot of reasons painting furniture black is a great idea.  The fact you can touch it up with a sharpie being foremost.  It's just super relaxing, in a home with children, to know you can roll on a fresh surface coat every now and then with little effort.  Just like the little black dress, black furniture fits every occasion, style, and budget.  And it always looks good.  Well...there is the dust issue, but we'll just be thankful for swiffer dusters (they're machine washable, you know!) and little girls who like to use them.

I forgot to take the before picture of the table, but take my word for it; it was a mess!

What do you think?  Sweet black high gloss paint!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Two Learning Styles and Bible

We use a few different resources for our Bible study (which you can read about on my Homeschool page), switching back and forth depending on the topic.  Right now we are going through "Wrong Way, Jonah!" Discover 4 Yourself Kids book from Kay Arthur.  I love her books because the Biblical foundations are sound.  Period.

What I haven't enjoyed so much is some of her particular nitty-gritty such as marking words a certain way, or using a lot of fill in the blank.  With my oldest, my son, we struck right at the meat of the matter, passing over the fluff, but now little daughter is on board, with her very individual learning style, and I'm realizing some of that fluffy goodness is just the thing for her!

Now here is where I really saw my own personal growth:  I let boy skip the markings, while girly got busy.  He read the passage to her (because he learns well from reading) and she totally mastered the word breakdown.  I sat back and realized this was one of those ah-ha moments, and tried not to grin like a silly Mama who just snuck a cookie.

Then, as if that wasn't fabo enough, I realized that I, too, write like a fiend in my Bible.  All my sermons notes are crammed in the margins and I MARK STUFF UP!  I don't color code or have a marking key, but I do have a special "won't bleed through the pages or fade" pen!  Maybe I'm more like my daughter, than my son.  Or she's more like me.  You know what I mean!  Ah-ha!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Getting Home Ready for the Holidays

I'm in!  I'm excited to follow Aby's 28 day challenge to get my home (and hopefully myself!) pulled together for the holidays.  With my large family coming for Thanksgiving, every bit will help. 

So what about you?  Are you in?


We're just not into Halloween.  Many reasons.  Allergies, beliefs, stuff...  But, we love an excuse to have a special night!  So this year for our Un-Halloween we got us a "can't be beat" frozen pizza, "plop it on the pan" cookie dough, caramel dip and apples, and our favorite Halloweenish movie:  "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken", with Don Knotts.  It doesn't get much better than that, unless you consider that we also...

...turned off the lights, whispered when the doorbell rang (only once!), ate  by the light of the TV and then had a serious (is there any other kind?) Super Mario Kart race.  My two loves and me.  Perfect night!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trimming Home : Living Room Redo

We've lived in our new home for just over a year and it's time to paint!  The living room is currently two color and not as light as I require to get through an Indiana winter without feeling like I'm living in a cave.   With that time of year fast approaching, I'm in the mood to trim out our home.

I love home trimming projects because I love to make things functional and beautiful.  I also really enjoy the process of planning a good project.  This room's trimmings will include patching and painting, installing window moldings, changing out light fixtures, and changing furniture layout.

I've measured the room and used a paint calculator to estimate the amount of paint & primer needed.  I've chosen  Valspar's Oatlands Yellow, sampled it, and I'm ready to patch some holes.

I recently saw a technique for patching wall holes that gave me new hope!  I can't stand lumps of spackle under my paint!  No matter how much I sand, it's not until the last coat dries that I seem to see how bad a job I did.  Grrr!  So here's the tip:  use a hammer to dimple the hole, and its edges in.  Then when you plaster, it will be completely flat.  No rough edges. No mounds of spackle.  Smoothing the surface is much easier and painting is so satisfying!

I can't wait for a fresh, bright room!  Pictures still to come.

Do you enjoy home painting?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

One Parent Home: When the Math of a Countdown Won't Work

I'm am a total sucker for holiday traditions.  Love them!  Some of my favorite have always been countdowns.  You know...countdown to Christmas, countdown to Resurrection Day, countdown to whatever you feel like counting down to.  I'm seeing lots of countdowns lately.

Problem comes when many of those very important, countable days, that usually involve a specific something (to count the day as part of the countdown), are missing the kids.  When it first happened, my brain couldn't figure out what to do!  It seemed like this giant, insurmountable, horrible (and believe me, it is horrible!) loss.  How could we possibly celebrate Advent with holes in it?!

Here's the thing.  I still don't have the perfect answer, but I have managed to figure out a few things:  that it's not the end of the world; some is always better than none; and most importantly, that God is bigger than all of it.  That about covers it!  Oh.  And amazingly, new traditions are just as fun as old ones!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When Mom's Too Sick to Teach

There's always a moment of dread when it's apparent someone in the house is getting sick.  After the well-being of everyone, the loss of productive time is usually what is foremost in my mind.  But even when it's me, mommy, teacher, who is down and out, sick days don't need to be a total loss.  Here's what I've learned (Now, we're talking short-term sick here.):

Care Giving
When it comes to teaching handicrafts, and including character building in a home, no better opportunity arises than loving and caring for a sicky.  Patience, compassion, servant-hood, and more, all become necessary during an illness. Whether it's fetching warm socks, or being sure all the remedies are at hand, this is not an opportunity to be wasted.  Don't forget prayer!  It provides the perfect chance for a family to lift each other up.  Often small children don't know what to make of mom being sick, but sometimes by needing them, you are giving them a gift!

Lesson Adaptation
Forget that schedule!  I know you're a read aloud family and your throat and voice, and energy level,  are currently toast.  But now is when you break out the audios you haven't had time for.  Check into radio broadcasts from sites like Lamplighter Publishing, Classics For Kids, Answers in Genesis, etc.

Remember that craft kit you bought eons ago?  The one sitting there collecting dust?  Having the kids sit quietly while working on a project is just what the Doctor ordered.  If you've chosen wisely, the end result will be something beautiful and useful (Thank you, Charlotte Mason).  If you're anything like me the "quiet" part of that is of great benefit.

I'd be remiss if I didn't add that if mom is sick, now is the perfect time for the kids to try furthering their list of "on their own" learning. Sometimes this can become a great boon for your homeschool!  We don't always want to let go of our control over certain aspects of schooling.  Be thankful!  You've just been given a gift!

Changing Perspective
When you're sick, it's okay for your kids to watch "How It's Made" for Science.  It's okay for them to play "Equate" for Math, and it's okay if they do nothing more than entertain one another.  This too (Lord willing!) shall pass, and when it's time to get back to your normal daily routine, you may actually find that someone has grown and actually learned something!  Then you can realize that keeping pace from day to day, ain't all that!

What about you?  Do you have a sick-day plan?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Perfect Hot Beverage

I'm on a hunt for the perfect hot beverage for winter.  As things stand today, I am not a coffee drinker, and I'm not the hugest fan of hot tea, since I gave up adding refined sugar to my recipes, I'd like to be caffeine free, but I'm horribly, and expensively addicted to International Coffee's Vanilla Nut Cafe.  I'm between two to three cups a day, sometimes relying on the sugar/caffeine combo, and definitely relying on the warmth and comfort of a hot mug!  Those two to three cups a day equal two to three packages a week, and that expense is right up there with soda and fast food.

Being ready for a change, and a savings, I'm on the look out for a replacement.  What I'm looking for is a healthier, cheaper alternative.  And before I go further, I did try to find a recipe to make it myself.  No cheaper or healthier.  So, I'm looking for a no caffeine, and low or healthier sweetener drink.  What I've tried is various teas with various natural sweeteners that, quite frankly, don't go so well together, and herbal teas which I just can't seem to get used to.  I admit.  It won't be easy.  I like creamy goodness.  I may be kidding myself, but I'm going to keep an open mind!  

For today, I'm drinking my "sick" tea, which is really very good anytime.  It's lemon based, with raw honey, and ginger.  I used to make big pitchers of it using real lemons, freshly squeezed and ginger root cut by yours truly, but I make it by the cup now.  This is because I can no longer stand throwing away fresh produce that I haven't used just because I'm a terrible judge of how much I'll use before it rots.

Here's what I use now:

Yummy raw honey, organic crushed ginger, and 100% lemon juice.  I use about 2T of lemon, about 2 pea-size squirt of ginger, and 1T or so of honey.  I add it to already heated water.  YUM!  And, it makes you feel better when your a sicky.  So for today, this drink moves to the top of my list for the perfect hot beverage. 

Do you have a recipe to share? 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving

We're about a month away from Thanksgiving, and I'm sick as a dog (day 2) and while soaking my head in the shower this morning (Yes! It's that kind of sick!), I had a wild hair to have Thanksgiving at my house this year.

It won't be the first time, but it's the first time in a long time.  It's also the first time since the divorce.  I had to think as to whether I'd ever even made a turkey before!  Ummm, I think so.  But it must not have been very memorable.  Or it could have been that I've blocked out the horrible memory of destroying a perfectly good chunk of bird.  Not sure which.

Anyhow, I'm in THAT time of life where everything seems to be changing.  All of my family that has cooked hundreds of holiday and reunion meals, are a wee bit older and not so anxious to do all that work again.  Those things are being passed on to the next generation, as they should be, but it's just so sad that THIS part of the next generation can't cook!

But, where there's a will, there's a way.  I'm pretty sure the last time I cooked a Thanksgiving meal, I didn't have the advantage of the internet and all the fabulous recipes that my bloggety friends have to offer.

Deep breath.  I can do this!  My kids are excited.  I warned them before I committed, that this would be a lot of work and I'd need they're help.  They were overjoyed.  Overjoyed at the prospect of lots of work!!!  Now we're talking!  Okay.  So, I'm thinking lots of thankfulness to our big God, good food (there's always hope!), awesome family, of course, some crafty goodness, decorations out the ears...  Oh yeah!  Now we're talking.  I'll keep you posted on all the details.  But for now, I'm printing out this free Thanksgiving planner from The Project Girl.

Are you excited?!  I am!  Any tips on cooking turkeys?  Be sure to share!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

To Be Well-Watered

I love, love, love this post from Raising Homemakers.  I hope you all will too!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Good Winter People

There are good winter people, and then there's me!  The recent cold start has brought all kinds of wintery things out from storage.  While heading south isn't really an option for me and mine, God has graciously provided the staying home option.  With that comes all kinds of warm, winter goodness to bend me, and those like me, into good winter people!

Furnaces, Fireplaces, Space Heaters, Candles & Electric blankets.  Oh my!
Ahhhh!  Hallelujah for hot, blowy air and instant warmth.  Let's hear it for artificial heat sources!  I'd be remiss to not include the oven in this list.  Now's the time to get the favorite baking recipes out. 

Liquid Warmth
Hot chocolate, hot tea, hot any-drink.  Hold it in your hands and warm you from the inside out!  Feel it's comfort.  Know there's more just a kettle away.  Is there anything more relaxing that a hot drink?! 


Cuddle Duds, wool sweaters, turtle-necks, fuzzy, warm socks, coats, slippers, mittens; all things warm and layery!  And I have to include in this, yarn crafting.  There is no better time to whip up a crocheted afghan than when it's cold outside.  Having the yummy softness piled around you while your fingers warm to the rhythm of thousands of stitches.

Snuggle, cuddle, burrow, hug, nestle, snug, enfold, wrap, encircle, embrace.  You get the picture!
So what keeps you warm till spring?   Let's add to the list!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Yummy, Easy Granola Goodness

I just made the most yummy, super easy granola!  It was doubly yummy goodness because both kids gave it such high praise.  They usually aren't a fan of the stuff.

From the basic idea of choose your poison (just kidding!), you start with 4 cups whole oats.  Dump 'em in at least a 12" skillet.

Then the fun part!  Start adding.  Start with 1/3c of oil.  I used coconut (that sound you hear is the hallelujah yippees for all things coconutty).  Then add 1/3c sweetener (honey, agave, brown sugar, are some).  I used honey.

Turn skillet on low-med and start stirring.  Add whatever flavors/seasonings your family enjoys.  I threw in a little orange peel, cinnamon, coconut (of course!).  You could also add vanilla, which I would have done if I weren't out.  Add some nutty goodness--almonds, walnuts, etc.  Maybe a bit of dried fruit.  Flax would be good...:)

When thoroughly warmed, mixed and browned a bit, containerize and gobble down.  That's the best part.  The gobbling goodness!

WARNING!!  Highly addictive!

While this only makes a 4c batch, going stove top beats heating up the oven for an hour.  I think it only took me about 15 min total.  And eating it warm is so, so...well, you know!

So what would you throw in your batch of Yummy, Easy Granola Goodness?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Respect for the Flag

One of my earliest memories of my public school days was saying the Pledge of Allegiance in elementary school.  And yes.  The one that says "one nation under God."  Between that weekly happening, Brownies and then Girl Scouts, I learned flag respect.  I couldn't wait to teach these things to my children!

That's why when my son recently asked if he could take our flag off the house and play some flag-flying, boy running, Nerf-gun wielding game with it, I said, "Uh....NO!" And then when the flag pole broke in a wind storm, he got a lesson in flag etiquette for throwing it in the floor of the garage!  I guess we'll be a little refresher course, and soon!

So what do you teach your family in the way of flag etiquette?  Tell me!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The World of Two Learning Styles

Is she listening?  She looks like she's listening.  She says she's listening.  Maybe she's not hearing?  Maybe she's not understanding.  How could a child of mine not like to be read to?  How will I teach her? 

These are the questions that have had me in total panic for weeks since I realized that all the narration tips in the world were not going to change what was going on with my daughter.  It didn't take too long before I realized this wasn't a issue of being read to, or an attention issue.  This was a learning style revelation!  My child, surrounded by thousands of books which we constantly read aloud, is a (gasp!!) visual learner.  Exhale.  

I guess it was too much to hope that both my children would have the same learning style.  My son can listen to me read while writing, drawing, playing legos and whistling, and tell me what I read word for word.  He hears conversations from three rooms away, while having one of his own, with an audio book playing.  I'm so excited I figured it out!

My light bulb moment?  When she picked up a little science reader, proceeded to devour it (figuratively speaking) and then came bounding into the room with a huge smile on her face to tell me everything she just learned!  If that did cinch it, her narration of an entire episode of "Beakman's World" did. 

So I've got some adjusting to do! 

What about you?  Any learning style stories to share?