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Couldn't resist this one...


I have a new favorite kids' show. I already love most of what PBS Kids produces. I love how you don't have to put up with all the stupid commercials like on Nick Jr. or Disney Channel. Since we have TV now, due to someone's injury a few months ago, I've discovered all kinds of programs out there that really are quality (though I honestly DON'T understand the Hannah Montana obsession).

Sid the Science Kid is a new favorite around here. It's produced by Jim Henson studios and is created using computer animation. The colors are bright and fun, the music is fantastic. It's geared toward preschoolers and helping to develop their interest in science. As a result of the water melting and freezing episode, my five year old became a man obsessed with freezing juice in popsicles and freezing water in plastic cups.

So check your local PBS station to see if they air Sid the Science Kid!

Hey Friends!

My sweet little girl is now one week old and we've been adjusting as best we can. She's not a colicky baby at all, but does love to be held, especially in the middle of the night when her mama would like some blessed sleep.

Her head of dark hair is so soft, her back so furry, her smell so sweet, her hands so tiny, her legs so, uh, "chicken-y" :). She's just a precious, precious girl.

Our 20 month old thinks she's a living, breathing baby doll and tried to body slam her the other day on the couch while I was changing the baby's diaper...

Her older brothers think she's pretty great, too, and beg to hold her (but when told to wash their hands first, decide it's not worth it...stinky little boys!).

Hopefully, I can post a good photo here soon of our new girl. Thanks to all of you who have been checking in on me! I appreciate it :).

If you've been following this blog for a while, you'll know how much I love celebrating the Reformation and last year my posts dealt with the fun ways we've tried to celebrate in the past. There really are lots of great resources out there, so be sure to click the links from my previous Reformation Day posts.

But, you can only swim upstream for so long.

This year I have a ninja, a race car driver, and a butterfly.

We'll go to the neighboring church's harvest festival, drive to some church member's houses to get candy, take some pictures.

*sigh*

Quick update: Monday begins the official checking to see if I'm dialating or not and marks 37 weeks, which is when I delivered baby #3. I'm as big as a house, can hardly put on my socks, and not sleeping so much. This is our last day of homeschooling for a while and we'll focus on playing games, reading books, hanging out...So if I disappear again, you'll know why. :)

I have not fallen off the face of the earth...but here's what I have been doing:

My dear husband broke and dislocated his ankle in September so I've been, uh, pretty busy caring for him, the third grader, the kindergartener, the toddler, and the 34 week old baby still baking in my tummy.

He has about a week and a half more of his Aircast boot thingie then he can attempt to put some weight on it.

I've delivered all my babies around 37/38 weeks. So the question of the hour is: Will he be able to drive me two hours to the hospital to deliver this baby?

I try not to think about it.

But I did want to share a hilarious conversation I had yesterday with my 5 1/2 year old:

Little boy: Are you for that Rock Obama guy?

Me: Well, I'm voting for the other guy, John McCain, I guess.

Little boy: Yeah. That's who I'm for, too. That other guy doesn't want you to have your own money. He wants to give it away.

Maybe we've been watching a little too much Fox News???

Please explain to me why someone, who is becoming a popular speaker on the homeschooling circuit, writes blog entries like the one dated from September 1?

Here's the link to read it for yourself. I first saw it on Thatmom's blog.

Kevin Swanson's Take on Sarah Palin

These are harsh words spoken without compassion, full of judgement and scorn. I'd hate to be his homeschooled daughter who comes to Kevin Swanson with the news that she's pregnant out of wedlock. With a response like that, I'd think that girl would see abortion as a better option than a public, graceless, tongue lashing from her father. Apparently, it must not make any difference if you've repented and turned from your sin. Fornication, working outside the home, I guess these are the unforgivable sins?

Bristol Palin is making the hard, humiliating, difficult choice. She's admitting her mistake, taking responsibility for her actions, and choosing to give her child life and her baby a father. Is that contributing to the "demise of the family"? I'd say that's showing the world how God can take something wicked (sex outside the marriage covenant) and turn it into something beautiful: a loving family with a mom and dad who are committed to each other and to the life of their baby.

And this is the face of homeschooling presented to the culture.

To say there's a tension in my mind right now regarding this pick would be an understatement...

To say I haven't been influenced by the Voddie Bauchams and Kevin Swansons in the world through all the literature I've read through the years about homeschooling would be untrue...

To say I haven't been influenced by 13 years in the public school system where I was told that I shouldn't be the nurse, I should aspire to be the doctor wouldn't be true either...

Yet, I LIKE Sarah Palin. I admire her tenacity. Her drive. Her decision to carry her baby to term and rejoice over his birth. Her support and love for her daughter who made a wrong choice, yet is redeeming herself by doing the hard, humiliating thing and carrying her baby and marrying her baby's father.

I understand the points being made about Deborah, the passage in Isaiah that talks about women being in leadership as judgement on Israel, about Titus 2:5...

I choose to be a keeper of the home in a narrow sense: I homeschool, I don't work outside this sphere.

But I think the better question among all of us is "What does it mean to be a keeper at home?"

Does it mean you can NEVER under any circumstances work for anyone else? Some would say it does.

Does it mean that your family cannot suffer because of your own ambitions? I think so.

Sarah's husband, Todd, completely supports his wife in her bid for the vice presidency and her job as governor of Alaska. From what I understand, he cares quite a bit for the children, as does their extended family. Is that wrong? She let go the chef because she wanted to cook for her own family. And I'm sure letting go the driver was a bummer considering how kids need to be carted everywhere these days...

If her husband is OK with this, then what right does Voddie Bauchaum have to say on CNN that she's being disobedient to the scriptures when the definition of "keeper at home" is not specific at all?

I just don't know, except that I hope she'll be an advocate for families in the White House.



It's no secret I LOVE TO COOK. I even love menu planning and grocery shopping. I think it's because I don't feel guilty buying food like I feel guilty buying stuff for my house or clothes or whatever. I mean you have to EAT.

With that said, I will divulge my system for organizing recipes I clip from magazines, the internet, and ones I write myself.

For many years, I had a computer program called Mastercook. When I only had a couple kids I was very disciplined about typing in recipes into their recipe form and then printing them off. (I actually make a cookbook for my friends when they get married to give them a head start in finding stuff their families will like to eat.)

I still type up recipes occasionally but the best part of my system are the plastic page protectors I slip all the recipes into. I then collect them in 3 ring binders. I'm a messy cook and they wipe clean in the sleeves. My collection of personal recipes has grown to include three binders:

1. Appetizers, Drinks, Desserts
2. Breakfasts, Salads, Side Dishes
3. Main Dishes

Now, I just pull out the recipes from magazines or from the internet and put them in my binder.

Works for me!

Gotta love it!

Magic books?


OK. I need a little feedback here. My son is doing the accelerated reader program at school for part of the day and our local library has put all the a/r books together on the shelf for your convenience. Yesterday, my son found a very thick book called Magyk by Angie Sage. I've read some reviews on amazon about it and most people just think it's a poorer quality Harry Potter. I've not read anything yet about anything inappropriate in regard to sex or violence. But as a Christian, I worry about reading books about sorcery.

YET, I'm now reading The Fellowship of the Ring and I freely let my children read C.S. Lewis books and fairy tales.

So what's the difference? Does it matter? What do you do? Is it worth censoring in this area or will that just provoke more interest on his part? I think he chose it because it was thick (and worth 7 a/r points) and had an interesting cover.



What?! Two posts in one day?

I suppose this might seem old fashioned in this new-fangled internet age, but I still love to send out snail mail birth announcements. I don't do photos in them since hubby has a wonderful family website that we use to share pictures, but I like to find something really cute to send out to people. I usually put our website on the announcement.

For the last two pregnancies I've ordered beautiful announcements from Inviting Smiles. I LOVE this company! You can pre-order your announcements and they will send you the envelopes, which I address and stamp ahead of time. Then, once I have the baby, I call and let them know the information for the card and within a week or so, they arrive and my mom (whose here by now helping me!) and I stuff envelopes and mail them. Finished! Now THAT feels good to have that done so quickly.

So check them out or tell a friend. The announcement here is the one we chose for our third baby, our first girl. I think I've found a couple I like for this next girl but I need to have hubby take a look, too.

Can you tell I'm ready to have this new baby? :)

Ladies, you all know I'm about 29 weeks along with another sweet baby girl and the two areas of my life that have suffered during this pregnancy have been gardening (I won't even post pictures this summer. It's TERRIBLE out there. Overrun with grasshoppers, weeds...shameful) and blogging.

I've also made a few changes in what requires my attention. I have bowed out of most ministry commitments at church not because I'm not interested or don't love the people, but because I'm only one person with almost 4 kids. Yes, everyone is busy but I no longer feel the need to "carry my weight". I serve in the church nursery and that's the extent of it. I'm friendly, I call folks for playdates or sometimes to come over for dinner. I make sure their pastor has enough time to prepare, I iron his shirt, I remind him of things should the need arise, I make him tasty meals and clean the house and teach the children.

My point is, fellow pastor's wives, I know I must very carefully decide what I'll commit to do. Yes, I will come to every wonderful MOPS meeting, but I cannot be the one posting flyers about it all over town. Yes, I'll attend every ladies' Bible study but I can't lead it anymore. Yes, I'll come to or suggest a women's ministry event but I can't be the one to plan it and carry it out. Yes, I'll come to church every Sunday and take my kids to Sunday School but I can't teach it.

There are lots of ways to show my support and commitment to our body of believers, but just because I'm married to the pastor doesn't mean I'm the go-to woman for every event. I've learned, slooooowwwlllly, that I don't have to be involved to some degree in everything that goes on. My ministry at this season of my life is to my family of small children.

Are there some days I wish I could do something "more" than that. YES. But I keep reminding myself of something someone said to me once, "The days with small children are long, but the years are short." Someday, when my children are grown, I'll be the one helping plan the picnic, the ladies' event, the Bible study, whatever.

But for now, I just can't.

And that's OK.

You honestly won't believe how delicious this is. In fact, it's soooo good that my pizza loving man wants it INSTEAD of take out.

Here's the link to the recipe:

http://recipes.robbiehaf.com/T/272.htm

We've decided it's time to send our oldest to the public school for part of the day. Each day for about three hours he will get instruction in reading, art, and recess :). During that time I'll teach his little brother and chase his little sister around and carry a baby that's due in a few months.

In so many ways, the decision flies in the face of so much of what I read about the homeschooling vs. public school debate.

Scare tactics, like those used by the HSLDA, that any involvement with "government" schools, the derogatory term used for them by some militant homeschoolers, means you are putting your entire family at risk for social services to come take your kids away.

Criticism by Christian parents who believe the Bible requires you to homeschool your children can make you feel guilty for even considering any other alternative. As soon as you add "God told me" to a statement it automatically carries more "weight".

Bloggers who detail their homeschooling days in such a way that everything appears to run smoothly and she is "super mom", but they neglect to mention the fact that they have a housekeeper who comes or young teenagers who assist with smaller children. In other words, they project an image that regardless of how many children you have you SHOULD be able to keep an orderly home and teach all the children so that your husband returns home to find you smiling and not crying.

Yes, academically homeschooled kids score great. But did it occur to you, as it did to me a few months ago, that if you had the kind of student-teacher ratio in all the classrooms that you have in homeschooling homes, you'd get better scores? Or the fact that many families attempt homeschooing and it doesn't succeed so guess where they send their kid? The public schools, which are comprised of a vast demographic of kids from every social class and family type imaginable. Everyone is tested, not just the "smart" kids, which certainly affects the scores of the entire group.

Here's my point: Each and every school, family, parent, and kid is different. You absolutely cannot make sweeping statements about what everyone else should do in how they choose to educate their child. Yes, I would LOVE to have other homeschooling families here. In fact, it would make the whole experience a hundred times better for all of us. But it's not reality.

So this is what we're trying. Do I have reservations? Yes, some. But right now, this seems like the best choice for our family.

Time will tell.

I made this up one night using what I had on hand. Since we're being so frugal there were no extra trips to the store for ingredients!

1 lb corkscrew pasta
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 head of broccoli, cut into very small florets
3 shredded carrots
1 c mayonnaise
1 c sour cream
2 pkts Good Seasonings Dry Italian Salad Dressing Mix
2 T sugar

Cook noodles according to box. Drain, but don't rinse. Let them cool a bit. Toss with vegetables. Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, Italian seasoning packets and sugar. Pour over noodle/veggie mixture until combined. I like to serve this not too cold.

Frugality


Our family is taking the plunge to wipe out debt! We're making great progress because we've been listening to Dave Ramsey's podcasts and I read his book The Total Money Makeover. I am INTENSE about this! We spent $254.00 on JUST FOOD for the month of August. Now that doesn't include diapers and paper towels, but for food alone that was IT. I built in another $100 for milk, eggs, and produce in town, as well as any wiggle room I might need.

And so far so good!

Here's a great link from Crystal, the money-saving mom, that she posted today.

The borrower is the servant of the lender!

I realize I've not been terribly articulate lately or attentive for that matter. But my garden is dying, my carpets need vacuuming, my laundry needs putting away...so something has to give and it's usually THIS.

Anyway, I thought this guy was pretty insightful regarding Christians' relationship to Obama, especially since I'd be classified as a "world view" Christian.

Here's the link.

I thought this was a fantastic post. Even though it has to do with children's ministry, the truths apply to all church members.

Here's the link.

Over at Tulipgirl, a website I really, really like, she posted a whole list of helpful articles in dealing with toddlers. I just had to share!

They did it again! I hope these guys become so famous.

Prepare to start your Monday laughing!



I've been laughing my head off looking at all of Terry Border's art at his website. This photo is entitled, "Ending a Dysfunctional Relationship".

It was a difficult decision which photo to share with you to entice you to head on over there, but after a conversation I had recently I thought this one might make a certain someone's day.






1. $10 roll of quarters
2. A small bottle of laundry soap (or some powdered from home in a ziplock bag)
3. A large mesh laundry bag

I've had numerous occasions when I have been so grateful for these three items while on the road with three children, especially the time when sweet baby girl threw up her nasty Casa Bonita food all over her most special pink blanket and car seat.

I was able to pack just 4 or 5 outfits a piece to last us two weeks while on the road this last time because every hotel has a coin laundry and I'd do it after the kids went to bed. Plus, it felt good to come home with more clean clothes than dirty clothes to deal with.

Works for me!

The BBQ Song

In honor of the two weeks I spent in the South, I decided to post the newest Rhett and Link video!

BUT-they totally forgot Kansas City!

I couldn't let Independence Day pass without reminding you of one of my favorite Rhett and Link videos!


I should be packing and cleaning...but I had to tell you about this wonderful, absorbing book called Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson. I'm halfway through and can't put it down. This author writes historical nonfiction like a novel. He uses primary sources from actual letters, speeches, telegrams. I want this guy to write MORE.

Check out his website:

http://www.jameslswanson.com/

C.J. Mahaney said he slowed down reading this book toward the end because he didn't want it to end. I would agree!

Slim PIckin's

Between illness and getting ready for a looooon driving trip, it will be pretty sparse around these parts. Expect the occasional posts, but I still have to get my chores done and start packing! Both of the grown ups in this house have terrible sore throats and doesn't help the equation either.

I was searching for some ideas for our upcoming almost cross-country trip and I found the most fantastic website:

www.momsminivan.com

It's full of fun games for all ages of kiddos (even babies and toddlers), snack ideas, and general travel trips.

Even though I've taken many road trips with my kids, I still saw some ideas that made me go "DUH! Why didn't I think of that?" (like covering the seats with old sheets so it's easier to clean up crumbs and packing homemade snacks in ziplock bags instead of dumping money at the gas station for snacks)

So happy clicking!

You MUST see this movie. It is so good we're having a girl's movie night at church to watch it, and I'm very selective what we choose. There is not one inappropriate scene. While there are very mature themes that are not suitable for children (but definitely teenagers who watch with their parents), the story is one of the most beautiful I've ever heard. In fact, I'd venture to say that Bella has become one of my favorite movies of all time, right up there with Anne of Green Gables! Excellent, excellent, excellent. I've already purchased it. :)

If anyone has any credibility, Kendra Fletcher over at Preschoolers and Peace, does. She did an outstanding post about getting babies to sleep through the night that I think anyone can appreciate. I do something similar, but she explained it so well I wanted to link to it today.

Sleeping Through the Night



Do you like to read in bed when your spouse would like to sleep? Do you find yourself in hotel rooms or tents with children who must must sleep, but you don't want to?

Then the LIGHT WEDGE book light is for you!

I know I sound like an infomercial, but honestly, I've owned the paperback size and the original and both are fantastic. The light doesn't go all over the room like other lights (or flashlights) and it's also a bookmark. When I travel, I ALWAYS bring my Light Wedge. I would have one caution, though, and that is that they are not indestructible so be careful. I cracked the corner off my smaller one. It still works, but is annoying. So just store it in a book or its carrying case.

Timberdoodle, a homeschool resource company (and one of my favorites), has them at a great price.

OK. I have to admit being pregnant is HARD for me so I don't crave this like I did before I was pregnant with this fourth baby. But living in the boonies has forced me to figure out ways to keep fresh produce tasty and healthy for my family, especially salads.

I have a mixture of healthy greens I prepare ahead of time and keep in a large rubbermaid container in the fridge and I add different stuff to it each day for lunch for variety and healthful eating.

Here's what I do:

1 bag of hearts of romaine lettuce
1 bag baby spinach

Chop the hearts of romaine, rinse it, and spin it in a cheap salad spinner from Walmart. Getting that excess water off the leaves helps it to stay fresher, I'm convinced. Now wash the spinach, too. Sometimes I also peel and shred a bunch of carrots since my kids seem to eat shredded carrots better than chunks of carrot.

Now think of the possibilities!

Asian salad:

boiled, shelled edamame (soybeans)
sliced almonds
drained, canned mandarin oranges
chopped red bell pepper
chow mein noodles
Newman's Own Sesame Salad Dressing

Mexican Salad:
(this is a great side for enchiladas or burritos or whatever that's healthy!)

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can yellow or white hominy, drained
1 can corn, drained
chopped tomatoes
crushed tortilla chips
Salsa Ranch dressing

Tuna and White Bean Salad:

1 can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white tuna, drained and flaked
shredded parmesan cheese
Fat Free Italian Salad dressing (I like Walmart's brand)

Italian Salad:

1/2 c shredded mozzarella
1/2 c turkey pepperoni, chopped
Big crunchy croutons
Any kind of Italian salad dressing (I have a great recipe on here for a Creamy Low Fat Italian dressing

Now let your imagination go and create your own!

I found this by accident but thought it had some great nuggets of truth in it so I figured I could pass it along to all my pastor's wife readers. And I'm sure if the rest of you read it, your pastor's wife would thank you. :)

Here's the link.

This is one of my most requested recipes so since I had to type it up for a friend, I figured I'd post it here.

These get devoured at church dinners, though they take a bit of last minute preparation.

Chicken and marinade:
3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 T chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 c water
1/2 c lime juice
2 splashes liquid smoke
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper

Combine all this and refrigerate either overnight or for a few hours.

1 can black, beans, drained and rinsed
1 /2 c frozen corn, thawed
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar, mexican blend, or pepper jack cheese
1 pkg egg roll wrappers
1/2 bottle canola oil

Saute chicken with the marinade until cooked through. Chop chicken into smaller pieces. Then in a bowl, combine chicken, black beans, corn, and cheese.

Follow the directions on the egg roll package for how to roll an egg roll (they have diagrams which make it easy) and fill them with the chicken mixture. You need a small bowl of water to get your fingers wet so you can seal the egg rolls.

You can also assemble them ahead of time, cover them with a damp paper towel and put them in the fridge. They are best fried right before you eat them because they don't reheat well.

Fry egg rolls in oil (preferably in a fry daddy) until golden brown. Keep a close eye on them so they don't burn.

Drain on paper towels. If desired, slice lengthwise and arrange on a platter (I only do this if I'm taking them somewhere).

Serve with Chipotle Ranch sauce:
1 c prepared ranch salad dressing
1/4 c salsa, strained of chunks but RESERVE the liquid, so strain it in a measuring cup
1 1/2 T chipotle sauce, or to taste


I found this in my google reader this morning and thought it as so good I had to share it. I'm excited about the fun my kids will have with Phil Vischer's new idea, Jelly Telly.

Here's the link with the interview.


My dears, I have a love/hate relationship with my mop. I use the Libman Wonder Mop. I like it because I can take off the mop head completely and machine wash it. I like it that I can wring it out without getting my hands wet.

But it doesn't seem to be able to scrape all the dried on crude that abounds in my kitchen, especially under the high chair.

SOOOO...what do you use? Why do you like it?

Wise Words

For all my "aloneness" in homeschooing in the desolate West with few other like-minded families, there is one family who live in my neighborhood and they've been homeschooling at least 10 years. They've faced a lot of what I have and their oldest just completed his first year of college.

The mom and I have been meeting off and on to pray together for our kids and we met this past week. She said something so profound to me that I can't get it out of my mind.

We were discussing (well, maybe I was complaining...) how moms make kids do all the mundane "boring" stuff, like cleaning and school, but dads get to have all the fun with the children. She said, "You know, it's like a continuum. Dad is extreme fun and extreme disciplinarian. If you get in big trouble with mom, then to dad you go. But mom's purpose is all that stuff in the middle, the daily stuff, the steadfast routine. And kids remember both!"

I just really liked the spin she put on the differences in roles and purposes for both mom and dad. Very cool.



I just got finished watching this movie and I had to write about it while it was fresh in my mind.

I've been anxiously awaiting this one from Netflix for a while now for a few reasons.

Not that you'd probably know it from my writing on this lowly blog (I'm convinced I've lost brain cells with each pregnancy...) but I was a member of a nationally titled forensics team in college. I'll admit debate was certainly not my strongest event, but I was passionate about all things public speaking. So obviously this movie piqued my interest. I mean, when you're on the speech and debate team, no one is terribly interested at your school outside your own squad. So a movie about debate? COOL!

Additionally, while in high school I was privileged to take a college credit American History class with an outstanding teacher (who later left the public schools and taught at a more suitable place: one of our state universities). The pivotal assignment for the class was a research paper and if you were enrolled in this class then you got a pass to the university library, the big one, the REAL one at the BIG school down in the city. Oh boy was this a big deal to a lowly 16 year old girl. I drove down there with my temporary library card, checked out a monstrous stack of books and lugged them home feeling like "big" stuff. And I scoured that stack for weeks typing on an old dinosaur computer (remember this was 1995).

My topic was one I saw lacking in my history books and it intrigued me, particularly because I had actually faced racism in my own neighborhood school. What was the demise of the civil rights movement as a movement? If all the laws were in place, did these organizations, who organized Freedom Rides and sit-ins all over the South, just dissolve with no purpose? Did they morph into something else? Why don't I hear about the Congress of Racial Equality anymore? We certainly haven't arrived.

So I wrote and wrote and wrote (and got an A, for which I am still proud).

With that said, this movie suited many of my personal interests. And I'm being vague on purpose so as to not spoil anything with my pseudo-review.

Overall, I liked it. A lot. There were funny parts that only a nerdy debate-type person can appreciate. It was loosely based on a true story from the 1930's, and as a period movie it was fantastic. Denzel Washington's character inspired like Robin William's teacher did in Dead Poets Society. Of course, there's the predictable Hollywood influence of a love story (involving a brief inappropriate scene that could have been replaced with a simple kiss and made this movie acceptable to show to students, but that was a previous post, huh?) James Farmer Jr. is played by Denzel Whitaker and I think he was my favorite part of the movie.

There are some historical differences in the movie, but I still enjoyed it and would recommend for adults.


you must pick up out of the bathroom window the dead buzzing insect you sprayed from 6 feet away as your shivering 5 year old little boy stands by with soap in his hair and sans pajamas.

If I'm brave enough to observe it maybe I'll get online and see if I can figure out if it was a wasp, a hornet, a big bumble bee...or I might just humor the kid and put him to bed...

Got any other funny "you know you're a mother of boys when" for me?? Then post them in a comment. It should get pretty funny!

My friend has written such an articulate post about worship that I absolutely had to share it tonight.

Well done, my friend!

How I'd Like To Do Church

These were a huge hit this morning so I had to share the recipe with you. I adapted it from one at my favorite recipe site www.allrecipes.com.

1 c water
1 c plain yogurt
1/4 tsp. vinegar
2 c flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs

Combine water, yogurt, and vinegar in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir with a whisk. Add yogurt mixture and eggs to flour mixture, combining well. Put in waffle maker according to manufacturer's directions.

These are light, crisp, and delicious!



I'm the worst laundress on earth. Even my husband admits that's not my strong suit. He'd rather have a Derby Pie...Anyway, I cannot stand to do laundry but the part I like the least is folding it and putting it away.

Now when you've got three kids, are pregnant with your fourth, have two little ones who routinely wet the bed, are a bit queasy most days, live in the parsonage where you must keep up with your chores (at least in public areas), homeschool at least one kid through the summer, maintain a large flower garden and six Square Foot Gardening boxes, you need some help, yes?

So my boys are 8 and 5 and each one has a laundry basket. There is one hamper in their room, which is the 8 year old's job to lug down the stairs for me, but each boy has a basket. When I'm sorting the clean clothes (I also just wash almost everything together on cold, with the exception of some shirts and sweaters.), I just put each kid's clean stuff in his basket. I don't honesty care how their drawers look as long as they close and I can't see the clothes. You've just gotta let something go! They don't necessarily need orderly drawers.

Besides, I'm tired.




We've been using this kindergarten curriculum for a few weeks now since my son is all about wanting to read.

I've looked at my neighbor's old KONOS books. I've read The Well-Trained Mind. I've read Mary Pride's Complete Guide To Getting Started Homeschooling (an excellent read, comprehensive in scope, for the person investigating homeschooling). I've called Sonlight and talked to them about their curriculum. I've used all Abeka as a beginning homeschooler. I've had moments where I wish there was just ONE way of schooling so that I didn't have to make a decision.

But using My Father's World has become my answer. Sure, it took me from first grade to fourth grade with my oldest of figure it out, but MFW is a combination of unit studies, Charlotte Mason (with the focus on living books), and Classical (teaching Latin or Greek, which we probably won't do, actually, and history taught chronologically). There's a good balance of work and fun. I feel like it takes the best from all the approaches that I like, especially the BOOKS.

Let me describe briefly what we did yesterday in kindergarten for our first lesson on the sun.

Math for kindgarteners is counting to 100, doing a calendar, using Cuisinare rods to form the letter S, counting those rods.

Reading instruction involves teaching the /s/ sound, cutting some stuff, touching the textured S as we discuss words that begin with that sound, reviewing other sounds as we've learned them.

The Activity Guide section of the book has a lot of ideas and something I've learned is that you don't have to do all of them. In fact MFW has a message board that has been absolutely invaluable. Today we're suppose to make raisins from green grapes, but a lot of moms said it took too long and wasn't really worth the effort. I think that's good to know! I've had my share of project busts! What we did, upon suggestion from someone at the board, was lay out 109 pennies side by side on our kitchen floor to represent the fact that it takes 109 earths to cross the diameter of the sun.

The Curriculum recommends a 6 day lesson cycle, with the sixth day a book day, but I've read again on the board that it's better (and simpler!) to just spread those books throughout the week so yesterday we read two scientific, factual books about the sun. Today we have some literature books about the sun on the agenda.

I've found my niche! FINALLY.

Advice!

If any of you have had morning sickness, I need you to post your best remedies! Mine has just started in full force just now at 16 weeks (I'll be 17 weeks on Tuesday.).

Have you had it start this late before???

So weird, but it's making me SO unmotivated...

That would be the question a lot of people would ask. If you know your baby has a grapefruit size tumor attached to her still in the womb, why bother? Just have another one, right?

Because this family knew that this baby was precious, even though she hadn't yet been born. At her 23 week ultrasound, the doctor discovered a rare tumor that had attached itself to the baby. The only solution:

Take the baby out of the mom, perform surgery, then put her back in.

And it worked.

Click the link and see photos of this fantastic, adorable, miraculous baby, Macie Hope.

I wish pro-choice advocates everywhere would realize the depravity of their logic that this baby isn't a baby at all.

Macie Hope has a bright future ahead of her!



A good friend of mine loves old movies, and there are lots I enjoy, too. Recently she loaned me a DVD collection with Doris Day and Rock Hudson that included a movie called Pillow Talk, made in 1959. Let me say that they have fantastic chemistry on screen and that the movie was cute in general. But as I was watching it, I wondered if I'd let my children sit through it.

Why? Well, surely a movie from 1959, the era of Leave it to Beaver and the Dick Van Dyke Show, must be wholesome and uplifting?

There are some aspects of the movie that are: the goal for the young woman is to settle down and have a family with the man of her dreams. The womanizer, Rock Hudson, mends his ways and pursues the driven career-girl and eventually wins her over. The physical affection between the couple is relatively innocent most of the time.

BUT-

When Rock Hudson's character, Brad Allen, has a button he can push in his apartment that transforms his place into a love nest, complete with a fold out bed that mechanically pops out, the lights going down, the record player starting...How do I explain what's happening to my children?

"Oh, he's just having a sleepover." ???

Another scene shows the two of them in a split screen, each in the bathtub covered with bubbles on the phone. It's very sensual and made me feel embarrassed even though I was watching by myself. What do I say to that?

"Ummm...you probably wouldn't want to talk on the phone in the bathtub because you might drop it in and electrocute yourself? And it's immodest to let anyone see you bathing...Let's fast forward-"

Not to mention the outright deception Hudson's character pulls off. Granted, he does face the consequences of his actions, but it's still painful to watch.

In researching the history of the movie, I discovered that even Rock Hudson was hesitant to make this movie because he thought it was "too racy". (Of course, the tragic turn of his life might become a post in and of itself someday. It's terribly sad. At any rate...)

In many ways, this movie isn't much different in its subtle messages than a modern movie. Sure, there may not be as much skin, but there's plenty of sexuality implied. Would a kid "miss it" and just enjoy the movie, especially a romantically minded little girl or teenager? I think kids pick up on more than we realize.

You cannot assume that just because a movie is rated G or PG or is one from the '50s it must be OK. We have to watch each movie with a discerning, even a critical, eye, asking, "What message is this movie trying to communicate?"

I'm not a total fundamentalist here on movie watching. I think I was just taken back at how not much as changed at all over the years in Hollywood. And the movie caused me to keep a more watchful eye on what my kids are absorbing in the media. I'm also reminded of the extremely helpful site over at Focus on the Family that reviews media called Plugged In.

Be vigilantly on guard for your family in the culture.

As always, dear Karen articulates this morning what I long for my homeschooling to be. If you're a homeschooler or thinking about it, please go over and read her definition of a "relationship homeschooler". My prayer daily is that I would love my children and my husband as Jesus does, to see them as precious in his sight, and my work around here, which so often frustrates me in its mundaneness, would be for his service.

So I'm taking Karen's wonderful thoughts on what this means and what it looks like as my own. I know I'm a miserable failure on so many levels, but in her Titus 2 way, Karen gives me hope.

Here's the link.

Over at Thatmom and over at True Womanhood there have been some lively discussions lately about all this STUFF. I've been fascinated by it, honestly, and we've been talking a lot about it around here.

I think one reason I'm so interested in these links between patriarchy, as taught by Doug Phillips at Vision Forum, the complementarian view of men and women's roles, and homeschooling is that every homeschooling magazine I read seems to assume that GOOD homeschooling families have lots of children, never use birth control, live in the boonies, start their own home churches, raise animals, dress like Laura Ingalls Wilder, not send your girls to college EVER, never speak in church if you're a woman, always be a keeper at home no matter WHAT.

So, here's the THING that bugs me.

I'm complementarian to the core. I believe in distinct gender roles, ordained by God, and that there is an order to the family that is right and good (husband, wife, children). I believe I am to submit to my husband, yielding to his ultimate decision in matters. I think in general it's best for a wife to stay home and raise her own children rather than ship them off to daycare. I think I am called to homeschool my children, but if there was a Christian school around I would be sending my children there in a heartbeat.

What I'm bugged about is that I am being lumped together with folks like Doug Phillips because I believe in these distinct gender roles. Suddenly, being a complementarian equals being a patriarch.

I just don't think this is right or fair.

With that said, I had to post this hilarious link about the very things that set off the alarms in my brain a few years ago when I began receiving Vision Forum materials. I've removed myself from their mailing list. I've also removed myself from any association with my state Christian homeschooling group because all their conferences have Vision Forum types as the speakers.

Here's the link.

When I get too busy to blog about anything important, you get a recipe because during the midst of LIFE I still have to cook.

Hubby and I created this when he wanted to grill out and I was tired of hamburgers and wanted a twist. So we put our brains together and came up with this:

1 lb ground beef
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp minced garlic
2/3 c shredded mozzarella cheese

1 c prepared marinara (or any red pasta sauce you like)
1 box Pepperidge Farm Garlic Texas Toast (found in the freezer section)

Season the meat with the italian seasoning and garlic. Form into 6 large, but thin, patties (or 8 smaller, thin ones). Put a tablespoon or so of cheese in the center of half the patties, then top with the remaining ones, crimping along the edges of the burger.

Grill over medium-high heat until cooked through. Grill Texas toast for a few minutes until no longer frozen and toasted.

Assemble burger on Texas toast with marinara sauce as your condiment.

Next time, I'm going to recreate a baked french fry similar to Red Robin's Garlic Parmesan fries to go along with this.

Anyone who grew up in the '90s and went to church knew about Steven Curtis Chapman's music. His albums have touched so many people through the years and continue to do so. If you haven't heard already, he and his wife lost their 5 year old daughter yesterday in a tragic accident so as you pray today, remember this family who has ministered to millions of people, that they would know God's comfort during this horrible time.

I had to take a batch of cupcakes to the public school kindergarten in our town yesterday for a church member who couldn't get there for her son's birthday for various reasons. I was glad to help, but I have to admit I felt a deep sadness walking through those front doors.

I really, really liked school. I loved everything about it, especially in elementary school: new school supplies, bulletin boards, spelling bees, libraries, books, science projects, school picnics, field day, field trips, my own desk, recess, playgrounds, four square, maybe sometimes gym class...

Sometimes, even though I know the worldview taught in the public schools, I feel like my kids are missing out on something wonderful and fun. My son did attend for one semester before we pulled him out in our little town, where I am the only homeschooling family of elementary aged children, and I was in the classroom all the time helping. I saw firsthand that things were not getting done, my son was not challenged, and that all those first graders didn't even know their vowels from their consonants by January of that school year. So I knew we'd made the right decision to homeschool.

This choice was also confirmed on Sunday when the valedictorian of the high school class started her moving speech with, "The hardest part of giving this speech was not falling on my butt on my way up here." *sigh* THIS is the top of the class?? THIS is the product of 13 years? The rest wasn't much better.

BUT--School IS FUN. I know my second child, especially, who is so social and agreeable and friendly and smart, would have fantastic days in kindergarten. Are they missing out on some rite of passage for American children? Would I feel differently if I lived in a bigger city that had co-ops, support groups, and a church that had other homeschooling families? Is it just the isolation here that makes it difficult? Do I just wish I was "in the loop" with all the other parents, especially the church parents who send their kids and are hugely involved in the schools?

I don't know.



I've always wanted a hammock, but never had two trees to suspend it in between. I decided a free standing one would suffice so I asked for one for Mother's Day and hubby picked me out this one.

AND I LOVE IT!

I'm reading Anne Rice's second book about Jesus, Christ the Lord-Road to Cana, and I spent a good hour or so yesterday letting my chores go, lying in my hammock, in the shade of my aspen and elm trees, reading.

NICE.

Girl talk always has the best Friday Funnies! This is just so precious I interrupted by hubby's wiffle ball game in the backyard to share it! Please let me give this girl a lollipop! She's the sweetest thing!


Hosted today at Whatever Things. Be sure to check out recipes from all around the world.

Here's my recipe for delicious, rich Derby Pie from Saturday.


I've been lurking around Shannon's wildly popular blog, Rocks in My Dryer, for a while now. I thought it was time for me to hop on the WFMW bandwagon with a tip for how to save on diapers.

I am not your average grain-grinding, chicken-raising, raw honey-eating, long praire dress-wearing home schooling mom:

I use disposable diapers.

Here's what I do.

I buy the Walmart brand Parent's Choice (that's the yellow package) when my kids are little, especially when they are brand new because you're already changing a bazillion blow outs all day anyway no matter if they're in Huggies custom fit baby powder scented diapers or cheapies.

Now, as my kids get older things get more, uh, overfilled in that particular area. The deposits get bigger and smellier. I've found that the cheapies DO work fine for during the day, but at night I do splurge a bit and buy the better diapers, usually Luvs. The more expensive brands ARE better. If you use cheapies overnight, then you're changing sheets (and I already do that enough with two older brothers in the family!).

So there's my tip:
cheap diapers by day, expensive ones by night

You DO save money. Honest! I've done it with all three of my kids.

Derby Pie!

Ask and you shall receive, ladies! I lived in Louisville, KY for a few years and it was probably my favorite place to live. It's considered the northern most city in the southern part of the United States, so it had the best of both cultures, in my opinion.

You probably know about the most famous two minutes in sports: the Kentucky Derby held the first Saturday of May each year at Churchill Downs. I've never attended the event (It's expensive and the cheap seats are filled with stupid drunk people.) but there's a pie to commemorate it: The Derby Pie

Now, in restaurants all over Kentucky this pie is actually trademarked by Kern's Kitchens in Louisville. "Kern's Kitchens" is actually stamped all along the crust of the pie. You can also purchase them for about $13 at grocery stores. A restaurant cannot call it's chocolate nut pie a Derby Pie unless it was made in Kern's Kitchens.

Well, that doesn't stop good cooks all over the Bluegrass State from concocting their own versions, and I got my version from a longtime Kentucky resident.

So there's the story of the famous Derby Pie!

Kentucky Derby Pie

1 c sugar
1/2 c flour
2 beaten eggs
1 stick butter, melted and cooled slightly
3/4 c chopped pecans
3/4 c semi sweet chocolate chips
1 t vanilla
2 T Kentucky Bourbon-optional
unbaked pie shell

(This first step is disputed in our home. I like it, hubby doesn't so for him I don't soak the nuts.)

Heat oven to 350.

Soak the nuts in bourbon. Set aside, draining excess bourbon off.

Mix sugar and flour. Add eggs and butter. Add nuts, chips, and vanilla. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake for 30 minutes at 350.

TIPS:
I have had to cover it in foil and cook longer on occasion, watching it every 5-10 minutes or so. It should be chewy, not runny. I check it with a toothpick.

You must let this cool completely before cutting it. In fact, I try to make it the day before. It tastes better that way!

One more story about it:

When I was tired and 4 months pregnant with my little girl and very nauseated and tired and all that, I had just finished hubby's birthday pie and had it cooling on the counter. My stupid dog, the over-sized Sheltie, got on the counter and ate the top out of the ENTIRE pie. I held that grudge for a long time...I'm very careful about my Derby pies. I ended making him another one.


This month is hosted by Whatever Things.

The theme seems fun: special dishes from your region of the world, foods that are unique to your geographic location.


I know what I'll be posting because it's what my husband asks for every birthday:

DERBY PIE

Next Thursday's the day!

I was reading the news this morning and have been following the story of the Austrian man who imprisoned his daughter and committed unspeakable crimes against her and her children. An article over at Fox news suggests that perhaps this man has some kind of mental disorder so he will plead insanity and be placed in a mental institution instead of prison.

Does this seem right? I know this isn't the first time, or the last, that this will happen. But when you have a high view of the Doctrines of Grace and a clear understanding of the utter depravity of the human heart, then anything like this is possible for any person, BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD. The wickedness of what this man has done is the seed of sin that is in every human heart from the time of Adam.

The DSM-IV doesn't have a category for sin because, apparently, there is no such thing. Everything wrong with a person's mental state can be attributed to chemicals in the brain so no one is responsible for any of his or her actions because the person "can't help themselves".

The lawyer quoted in this article asserts that he cannot imagine anyone doing such a thing unless he had some mental problem. The problem, however, is that this man's problem goes much deeper than his mental condition: it goes to the heart and his need for the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit to cleanse and change this man. And I pray that somehow that will happen.

The Sigh

I have a bad habit I wasn't aware of until recently. It's something that has replaced my too frequent "growl". It usually appears when I'm frustrated that the toilet hasn't been flushed, the kids wet the bed again, the baby won't sleep, or I have mountains of laundry to fold. I've tried to be more cognizant of my growling problem because I know it signals utter discontentment with my lot in life and communicates to my children that if you don't like what's happening to you, you can fuss and complain and that's OK.

But it's been replaced by the "sigh", which still communicates discontentment but in more of a "poor me" I don't deserve to slave all day in this kitchen, waiting on everybody, washing dishes. I don't deserve to have to clean up this muddy floor AGAIN. I shouldn't have to wash his sheets AGAIN. I shouldn't have to tell him to stop bugging his brother AGAIN. I already have more dishes to wash? Am I the only one who sees the pee all over the bathroom floor? And the newest one:

"I'm pregnant. I shouldn't have to ___________."

The sigh tells my children that I don't delight in them. It tells them I don't delight in the Lord as my strength and my salvation. It tells them that staying home and caring for children is a thankless job that I wish I didn't have to do but feel obligated to do. It's not accompanied by a smile. In fact, it removes all love from whatever task I might be doing.

So I suppose you could phrase my problem like this:

If I have a large family, but find myself irritated with the work that goes with it, I'm no better than a childless couple who finds kids annoying.

If I homeschool, but do it grudgingly then I am no different from the public school teacher who has no passion for her students and no fear of God.

If I attend church regularly, but complain about those who aren't as faithful as I am, I am the worst of hypocrites and might as well stay home.

If I live frugally with one car, no satellite TV, discount store clothes, a small house, and limited budget, but complain that I don't have enough to buy the toys I think I need, then my supposed self control with spending money is a sham and I'm really very greedy.

BUT if I tend to my family's needs with love, homeschool in view of making disciples, attend church joyfully, and rejoice in the provision God has for my life, I have LOVE, which "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

So I pray for love, and I pray that my sigh will be one of contentment and rest and joy.

I catered a church dinner yesterday and so my week has been consumed with preparations for it. I think I'll post a recipe for you from it. Everyone seemed to enjoy the good Southern comfort food I prepared.

I'm also 10 1/2 weeks pregnant and still tired, a little queasy, tired, did I say tired? Wah, wah so tired. OK. And not terribly articulate around here.

Enough already. Here's the recipe:

Chicken Fried Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded in a ziplock bag to an even thickness
30 saltine crackers
2 T instant potato flakes
2 T flour
1 t seasoned salt
1/2 t pepper
3 eggs
1/2 bottle (or so) of canola oil

a big thick skillet or a nice wide electric skillet (I prefer the electric one.)

In food processor, combine the crackers, potato flakes, flour, seasoned salt and pepper. Process until fine crumbs. Put in a ziplock bag.

In a pie plate, scramble the eggs. Heat the oil on the stove over med/medium high heat or 300-350 on the electric skillet. Dip the chicken in the egg, then shake in the cracker crumbs. Fry until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Don't flip them over until the coating "sets" otherwise it all comes off. I like to use tongs to flip. And wear an apron!

I've been making this for a looooong time. I did 20 chicken breasts yesterday. Whew. Let me know if you try it and if you like, too.

I am so compelled by this question, even though my kids are young. I should be getting the baby ready for church, but these thoughts keep swimming around in my mind after the event I attended last night.

Our town has a long standing tradition before the junior/senior prom each year: The Grand March. I'd never heard of anything like this, but all the couples gather in their finest prom attire, the whole town congregates into a gymnasium that's been decorated with the traditional prom balloons, twinkling lights, cardboard cut out decorative stands, etc. A man announces each couple by name and then the boy gives the girl a red rose and they pose for a few seconds for a photo. When that's all done, they crown the king and queen.

Remember me with the tiara?

I'm not prom queen/princess material. So I don't know if I'm just prejudiced because of my nerdiness (I didn't actually go to my senior prom-and have NO regrets. Anyway...).

I felt like the entire event was the most ridiculous waste of time. And I got to thinking about the expectations of prom night:

-appealing to a cultural standard of beauty that is all but impossible except for a few select people
-wearing an immodest dress for what purpose? ummm...I won't be crude here but I think you know what I'm meaning.
-dark room, immodest dress, boys and girls close together dancing, music that encourages what was mentioned above
-and at least when I was in high school, the culmination of prom night was a hotel room with lots of alcohol provided by some older "friend".

Am I a fuddy dud? Do I just not want kids to have fun? I mean, there was adult supervision there and an after prom party to discourage drinking and other activities. So what's the big deal? Why does this bug me? Why would I be mortified to think of my daughter in a dress like that? Why would I cringe inside if my son had one such girl on his arm and hormones coursing through his blood?

I once read somewhere that the teenage years and the college years are a time when young people are given all the privileges of adulthood with none of the responsibilities of it. In other words, they can work, earn money, go to school, have a car, go wherever they desire, expose themselves to anything under the sun, but not have a wife or husband or children who they need to take care of and be responsible for. There's no one at home wondering where they are and what they're doing. It makes no difference because everything in the single person's life is focused on themselves. *Note I am most certainly NOT calling all people who are single selfish. I've known plenty of godly, loving, pure single people.

So what's the point of all this last night?

Thoughts???



I got this from the library and just kept renewing it over and over. I'm thinking there must be some limit on the amount of times you can do that...so I found it on www.paperbackswap.com in a paperback version. On Amazon, it was only available used and Barnes and Noble didn't offer it all. But I found a photo of the cover on the author's website www.jeannejones.com.

Here's what I love about this cookbook:

1. I live in a remote part of the West so trips to the grocery are either expensive in town or only once a month out of town. Everything you need to make any recipe in this book can be stored in your pantry, freezer, or refrigerator.

2. The variety of recipes is amazing. She's got chapters of everything from breakfast foods to salads to beverages.

3. Most of the recipes call for lower sodium or lower fat ingredients.

4. The author and her husband tested these recipes on a houseboat in the middle of a lake so there was NO WAY to make a quick run to the store! Ingenious!

So thanks, Jeanne Jones, I've got this one coming to my house permanently. :)

Oh Karen THANK YOU for directing me to this! I'm dying laughing!!!!!!

I just love Kendra Fletcher's blog, Preschoolers and Peace. This gal is full of wisdom and great ideas for managing a large homeschooling family.

So I noticed on her sidebar the other day a button for a Motivated Moms planner and I clicked it. For $8 you can download a PDF file that serves as a 2008 planner with checklists for various chores and space to write your own stuff.

"Hmmm...I'm very unmotivated right now. Maybe I should buy that."

So I did and I started it today. I printed off 6 weeks worth of pages yesterday and will put them in a 3 ring binder. I've also decided to dump my old school planner (note: you can't plan an entire semester of homeschooling day by day. STUFF always comes up. Next year I'll plan a MONTH in advance and that's IT. Too much erasing has taken place in that planner. ANYWAY-) There's a spot for that day's menu, appointments, chores that must be done daily, and other jobs that might happen once a week, like changing sheets.

I'm excited because the worst part of pregnancy for me is the absolute lack of motivation to do anything I normally enjoy: exercise, cooking, eating, and tending my home and garden. I'm a "check it off the list" kinda gal so maybe this will help me!

Here's the link: Motivated Moms.

Crummy Church Signs: Humm....are you idiots??

Couldn't pass up sharing this one today.

Someone help us! Just put Bible verses on church signs, 'kay?

Devotions

I was curious about some of the Bible studies you've enjoyed. I'm in between right now and could use some recommendations. Since we've been at our church we've done Lies Women Believe, The Excellent Wife and Seeking Him. I've also recently done A 30 Day Walk With God Through the Psalms.

I'll admit I'm not a huge Beth Moore fan...I've done her Jesus and David studies. Please don't hate me fellow Southern Baptist women!

Does anyone have any other ideas???

blog readability test

TV Reviews



I saw this over at Christie's blog and thought it was funny. All you have to do is type in your blog address and it computes it for you. Maybe I haven't lost as many brain cells as I suspected since college... ha ha!


OK, ladies. We've got a high tea at church this afternoon and I'm suppose to wear a fancy hat. Problem is, I don't have one and I don't even wear baseball caps, AND I don't even like to wear a skirt and be all dressed up. So, a church member got me a tiara instead.

A tiara.

I just took it out of the plastic and tried it on.

I looked downright SILLY with my brown glasses and long blonde hair (of course, I was wearing my bathrobe).

So now I don't know what to do:

1. Be rebellious and wear nothing but what I'm comfortable wearing: khaki pants and a nice sweater twin set.

2. Give in and wear the tiara with my normal looking clothes.

3. Give in and wear the tiara and a find a dress to wear with terrible, horrible panty hose.

Oh, what should I do? I'm the PASTOR'S WIFE! Must I succumb to peer pressure? Or should I keep the peace and go along?

I forgot. I didn't have the MacBook and I went to the nearest biggest city to take a friend to the airport and pick up my hubby. I'm sorry. Maybe next month!

OK. You get one more since I thought Pastor Throop put it so well over at his blog. Now I have to make my house appear cleaner than it usually is for when I go pick up my friend from the airport tomorrow. And finish getting ready for church.

Or more accurately, the P has left with the "precious" (read:Macbook), for the Together for the Gospel conference.

So it shall be silent in these parts for a bit. And if you know the APW personally you can make some snarky comment about her being silent.. Ha ha. See me laughing? :)

Holiness

Over at the Reformed Baptist Fellowship blog I read the most helpful article.

Here's the part that stood out from Pastor Savastio's post:


My wife told me the other day that she is concerned when she hears phrases like, “Oh this woman is so godly! She’s modest and she homeschools!” You see it is possible for a woman to do that and yet be prayerless, loveless, and graceless.



It forced me to ask myself as a homeschooling pastor's wife: Am I prayerless, loveless, and graceless? Many days, the answer is "yes". God help me if I think that I'm better, more spiritual, more devoted to my family since I homeschool and have no network TV when I can just as easily fall into despair, anger, and bitterness.



I really, really like this cookbook. It might not be the "in" thing in healthy family eating right now, when the trend is to do more sneaking and pureeing than actually cooking veggies and serving obviously healthy meals. I've had this cookbook about three years and find myself STILL making the Blueberry Banana Pancakes and Have-it-your-way tacos. Their chicken nuggets are probably the best I've ever had, too. The authors' emphasis is to take foods that kids already enjoy, like tacos and chicken nuggets, and include more veggies and whole grains and less salt, calories, and MSG. I find them to be VERY balanced.

I've tried a few of the Deceptively Delicious recipes by Jessica Seinfeld and I've looked over The Sneaky Chef's website. While the Meal Makeover Moms do a bit of sneaking, as in the Squishy Squash Lasagna, most of their recipes focus on encouraging kids to eat healthier so that they WANT to. I'm very fortunate to have good eaters, but it took months of serving green salads at dinner before they actually ate them without complaining or without much prompting on my part. We also had lots of dialogue about why we should eat healthfully. It worked!

So get this cookbook!

field stone cottage: Recipe Round Up Time!

April's Round Up is around the corner. The theme is sandwiches! I'm salivating already and can already think of a few to share. Yippee!!!! Thanks, Dorothy!

OK. I don't like to read long blog posts so I'll just give you the complaints of a woman whose 7 weeks pregnant:

1. I wake up every morning extremely queasy.

2. I have no motivation to do any of my housework.

3. Nothing sounds appetizing to me.

4. I'm hungry.

5. I'm tired and don't want to exercise (what!?).

6. My sense of smell is so sensitive I'm having a hard time changing diapers, cleaning toilets, and taking out the trash.

7. I can't sleep through the night.

8. I've already gained a pound and a half! (wah wah wah, I know).

9. I feel like I have a virus that lasts 9 months then instantly disappears when I have a baby and is replaced by weeks of sleeplessness and drastic hormonal swings.

10. I don't even have anything to blog about.

Italian Salad

Here's a new salad I created and I've found myself wishing I could get some turkey pepperoni in town. I'm sure it would be good with the real stuff, but that's so fatty...Remember, the base of all my salads are a combination of romaine hearts chopped up and baby spinach. Both keep very well in the fridge. Sometimes I throw some shredded carrots into that basic combo, too, then add whatever extras I want.


2 romaine hearts, chopped and washed
2 c baby spinach, washed
1/2 c turkey pepperoni, chopped
1/2 c part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 c roasted red bell peppers, chopped
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
fat free italian salad dressing (as much as you like)

Combine and enjoy! YUM.

I've been craving this lately.

"So it's God's lunch?" asks my 5 year old during worship.

Did you know this is coming out next month??? I remember sitting in the theatre on my birthday a few years ago with tears in my eyes watching The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Prince Caspian will be FANTASTIC!!!!!

So totally weird--but if you think of it maybe ask God to help me?

My beautiful platinum wedding band is STUCK on my finger. It appears I've had some kind of allergic reaction to maybe my dish soap (Palmolive with bleach alternative). I have a bad habit of filling a large soap dispenser at my kitchen sink with dish soap and I use that to wash my hands all day. It's no wonder they crack open and bleed. Anyway, my finger is so itchy, painful and swollen I can't get my ring off so could you pray that I could?? It's so weird and being pregnant I wonder if I have some kind of strange tropical finger disease...

Thanks.

I read this post by Kim over at The Upward Call, and I don't think I've ever had *my* problem so articulately expressed. I had to share it. I cannot remember kicking any kneecaps literally, but I know I have in my own mind!

Unbelievable

I've had a few minutes to browse the headlines this morning and found this on Fox News. I know terrible, shocking things happen every day, but I think this really bothered me on a couple of levels.

The story is about a group of third graders who plotted to kill their special education teacher because she scolded a child who was standing on his chair.

I think I find this so disturbing because I have a third grader. Also, while I know this seed for destruction lies within the hearts of all sinful, depraved human beings, I cannot help but wonder if a few things help that seed to grow:

1. An entertainment industry bent on exploiting the worst of human nature and making it accessible to everyone, regardless of age or station in life, all in the name of freedom of expression.

2. Parents who refuse to discipline their children.

3. Parents who refuse to shield their children from the violence and sexuality in the media.

4. Teachers who try, and try, and try to discipline and teach children, who pour their lives into the kids, but cannot take the place of a parent who won't parent.

5. School administrators who won't/can't handle problem children.

6. Doctors, parents, and teachers who are more interested in medicating children than solving the root problems in the family (when most of these medications can often make psychotic episodes more likely!).

Something is so wrong here! I know that stuff like this has always happened somewhere or another throughout history. I know that the information is so much more accessible than in generations past.

But doesn't the culture FEEL different now than when we were in school?? What has changed?? What can we do to make it better??

*sigh* Now I'm all depressed.

Life Update

One word: BUSY.

Pregnancy, kids, church commitments, schooling--I'm excited we're nearing the end of the school year!

I've had a touch of queasiness but nothing like previous pregnancies so I'm very thankful for that. I'm still not feeling totally NORMAL. I usually feel like I have some kind of virus during my entire pregnancy then suddenly, once I have the baby, I feel completely back to myself. It's so strange.

But it's made me feel not so eloquent on the blog front.

I'm hoping for some inspiration today--from somewhere...out there...

I know you may have seen this already, but I can't resist posting!

Man Cold!

I saw this a few weeks ago over at Girl talk and had to share it!

News

I know it's been a bit sparse around these parts of the web, but I have a legitimate reason. Honest.

I'm pregnant!

#4 will be here in November.

No morning sickness yet, thank you Lord! And I've been able to continue the majority of my work out routine so I'm actually feeling pretty good.

So there's my news. And my excuse. :)

I just read this goofball's article on www.foxnews.com. The guy reasons that because monogamy doesn't exist in the animal kingdom, then it's ridiculous to expect it among humans. Of course, the basic assumption he's making is that we're no different from animals. I suppose he's at least being consistent. The article was kind of gross and inappropriate so I won't link it here. Yuck.

But the other day as I was in the cardio room, there was a movie on that someone else was watching. I am by no means endorsing the movie; I just wanted to note something in it.

The movie was Anger Management with Adam Sandler. I suppose the story is that he has such a bad temper that the girl he loves won't commit to him and he's in therapy for it, and yada yada yada. Anyway, I saw the very end and here's what happened (spoiler warning-since I'm sure every last one of you is dying to see this movie).

Adam's character is at a Yankees game. His girl is in the stands. He somehow manages to get a hold of a microphone down on the field and the cameras of the stadium are on him. He then tells his girl how he's done getting mad, he's a changed man, and that all he wants is to get married and have a family with her. She gets all teary, he runs up the steep steps to her seat, then hug and kiss all on the big screens and everyone's happily ever after, the crowd's cheering.

If people really don't have an innate sense within them to be with one person for the rest of their lives, tell me why the happy ending to this movie was just that.

Just another example of how we AREN'T just animals, but are created in the image of God.

Home

Lydia over at The Purple Cellar shared a wonderful description of how the Bible describes HOME.

I think I'd like to make mine this way.

TAG! 7 Things

I've been tagged by Karen at thatmom, which is truly one of my most favorite blog reads. Her podcasts are fantastic and highly recommended! What I like about Karen is that she's very balanced in her views of womanhood, homeschooling, and parenting. Anyway, I'm suppose to give you a thumbnail of 7 things about me, then tag 7 more people. Here are the rules:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I am prone to strange dreams that cause me to shoot out of bed and run down the stairs in a panic. Often, I have no idea what I even was dreaming about! It doesn't happen often, but it makes my poor husband wake with a start.

2. I met my man on the debate team-which made for some interesting conversations in our early years of marriage. :)

3. Reading to my children is my favorite activity with them. I would read books all day if they would let me. I've loved the book Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt as well as Sherry Early's Picture Book Preschool.

4. I am a pro at Connect Four. I am rarely beat BY ANYONE.

5. My favorite candy bars are Butterfinger bars and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Cadbury Eggs.

6. I enjoying buying baby dolls, fancy dresses, and tea party sets for my baby girl. I really, really like buying girl stuff. :)

7. I absolutely love to exercise and can't wait to go after my dinner settles. I need some time with my iPod, my treadmill, and my Brooks running shoes.

I am tagging:

Anita

Joann

Crickl

Music Minister's Wife

Alida

Caroline

Rachel



Here it is, my dears! I hope you'll be inspired and also enjoy finding some new blogs to read.

Rebecca over at Rebecca Writes has a delicious recipe for Scored Potatoes.

Elaine from Home But Not Alone has also shared a BUNCH of side dish ideas!

Next, we have Dorothy at Field Stone Cottage with two recipes for us: Broccoli with Garlic and Sweet Potato Puffs.

Jane has posted a recipe over at Rebecca Writes for Cheese Grits.

Tricia has some delicious Rice Pilaf.

A new one from Kim has arrived with a variety of new side ideas..

Here are some new recipes for you from Rosemary Cheesy Potatoes and Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

And ONE more for you for Cheesy Potato Casserole, Vegetable Medley, and Carrot coins with Thyme from Barbara H

Oh, and here's mine:

Parmesan Green Beans

3 cups frozen cut green beans
1 packet Good Seasonings Italian Dressing Dry Mix
2 T. olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Steam the green beans for about 5 minutes. Drain. Put them in a casserole dish and drizzle with olive oil and italian seasoning mix (you won't need the whole thing, using as much or as little as you like) Sprinkle on cheese. Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes or until hot.

I serve this at almost every holiday dinner and when I host church folk!



Fire up those keyboards ladies! I need your best SIDE DISHES for our round up tomorrow: veggies, grains, noodles, fruits, WHATEVER!



Because Elaine, the Northern Ireland blogger, asked, I present to you my official storytelling library St. Patrick's Day hat!





I've read stories at the library for the last three weeks to fill in for the lady who usually does it while she had knee surgery. Since Easter and St. Patrick's Day are so close together this year, I did a bunch of funny St. Paddy's Day books. I wore a big green felt hat and had a singing Leprechaun on the table with me. The books were cute and the kids laughed at the mischief those wee folk get into! So you might check out your library to have a little green celebration of your own next week!

I just ate 5 cookies worth of frozen peanut butter homemade cookie dough.

We made some of these a few years ago because we didn't care for the ones you can buy (and I knew I could make a set for each kid in my Sunday School class for the price of one set from Family Life). I'll just give you the link to the website I used to make them.


http://www.rainbowcastle.org/resurrectioneggs.html

Have fun!!

*reposted from March 22, 2007

I've still got a ways to go, but I've found some tricks that help me get to the Recreation Center where I work out:

My husband has a flexible schedule, but doesn't like to be bound by much of a routine. So I get up in the morning and I ask, "So when can I work out today?" Sometimes it's the morning, or late afternoon, or after dinner. I have just learned to be flexible because beggars can't be choosers!

Once he tells me when it would work for him, as it gets to be closer to that time I think of all the stuff I can get done that will enable me to get there. I get in my workout clothes with my running shoes! I begin some dinner preparations just in case I'm going in the late afternoon. If I get to go in the morning, then I wait to take my shower until I get home. I just immediately get in my workout clothes. If I go after dinner, I again get in my clothes and shoes before I serve everyone. Then I let my dinner settle as I wash all the dishes, and by then I'm ready to go. Have you noticed a pattern here? Right now, I get to go this afternoon sometime. I've taken a shower, but went ahead and put on my clothes. Oh, and make sure my iPod is ready to go, along with my water bottle and any reading material.

Go for at least 45 minutes. What's 15 more minutes when you're already there and sweating?

I tell myself, if I get tired, "I can do anything for ____ minutes!" "It's only ____ more minutes!" "I never regret working out when it's all done!"

Mix it up. Don't do the same thing all the time. I added the stair killer and it IS hard, but good. As soon as I'm not challenged at something, I up the pace, the incline, the level. I've worked up to the 12th level on the elliptical trainer. I can run at 5.0 now on the treadmill. I did NOT start that way. In fact, when I began I did something terrible to my knee because I went too fast.

Get some great shoes. The gal over at Finish the Race suggested going to a running store and getting a gait analysis. I did that over Thanksgiving and discovered that I overpronate, which was contributing to my knee problems. I got a shoe that gives me better support and the problem is solved!

As I think of more things that have helped me, I'll post about it.

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