Monday, April 30, 2007

Spring Reading Thing Update

I finished Black Ice last night. It was good. I really like Linda Hall’s stuff. It is clean & Christian, but not sappy-preachy Christian. It is a murder mystery. I like that Christian authors are writing murder mysteries. I like a good intrigue, something smart and clever, but clean!

In the secular world it is hard to find a good mystery that is not trashy, so I quit trying. You need to read Dark Water first; it is the first in the series, and then read Black Ice. I recommend them. 4 stars!

Here is the link to the original Spring Reading Thing post. I have updated it with lots of reviews. Some, like Black Ice, needed its own post.
Now, I need to go get Coral Moon to finish off my murder mystery kick!

Menu Plan Monday

Here is my menu plan for this week.

We have a really busy week ahead of us. Many end of the year events, plays, co op open house. Also we have several end-of-the-year projects that are littered all over the house, some in the kitchen. I can’t wait till these are turned in, but that is another post. Yikes!

I am trying to plan reasonable things that will actually get cooked. If it requires too much time, we’ll end up eating out!

So, here goes…
Monday – (Evelyn’s play is tonight)
Leftover lasagna and whatever other things are in the fridge

Tuesday – (We’ll be home tonight)
Tip steak on the grill, green beans and tator tots

Wednesday – (We’ll be home tonight)
Enchiladas, corn bread and salad

Thursday – (Co op open house, I have to leave at 4 so it’s…
Whatever you can find night

Friday – (we’ll be home)
Lemon Pepper Chicken on the grill
Rice and salad

Saturday – (We’ll be home)
Grill cheese & tomato soup

Sunday – (Awana Closing Program)
Pizza at the church

Go to Laura's blog and see other meal plans.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Perfect Mom

Of all the haunting moments of motherhood, few rank with hearing your own words come out of your daughter's mouth. ~Victoria Secunda

God intended motherhood to be a relay race. Each generation would pass the baton on to the next. ~ Mary Pride

I have not posted in a while, my Mom’s been visiting. Her visit has really got me thinking. What kind of Mom will my kids describe me as when they are adults? Will they remember all the good times or only the bad?

Will they remember all the nights I read to them before bed, or the nights I was too tired or too busy.

Will they remember all the kind and uplifting words, all the I Love You’s or the times when I raised my voice in anger?

Will they remember all the things I taught them? Or all the things I didn’t know?

Will they have fond memories of all the things we did together, or only remember the times I went without them?

Will they remember the times I let them make a huge mess, cooking in my kitchen, or only think on the times I said no because I didn’t want the hassle?

Will they remember the times we all played games together, or the times when they had to play by themselves.

Will they remember all the times we curled up on the couch to read a great book, or the times I made them do their math?

Will they remember all the great and deep conversations we had, or only the lectures they occasionally had to endure?

I am a parent, I am a sinner, I am human, I will not be a perfect parent. How will my children choose to remember me when they have left the nest?

I know that no one can be the perfect parent. There is this constant tug between doing what feels right and doing what is right in this fallen world we live in. The more I focus on God the more doing what is right, is easier. But I’ll never get it perfectly right this side of eternity.

Even in homeschool, I feel the tug between idealism, and reality. I want to sit and talk and read and have deep spiritual discussions with my kids, and we do that some, but there is always the tyranny of the urgent. The math MUST get done; we MUST study writing more, the SAT’s are coming! We don’t have time to sit and talk about what my 8 year old wants to be when she grows up, we have phonics to cover, and haven’t even started History yet, and I have to go get Bryce from his Algebra tutor in 30 minutes! You get the point and have probably experienced the same struggle.

I know what I want my home and homeschool to look like, I know the Ideal that is in my head, but somehow reality falls far short of that ideal.

I think having my Mom here reminded me that this is not forever, this time I have to teach and influence my children is only a season, then they are on their own and I can’t go back and do or undo anything. I can’t go back and read Peter Pan to my 30 year olds, or pull them on my lap and ask them what they want to be when they grow up.

It’s kind of like the parable of the talents. God has given me these 4 talents for a time. One day He is going to ask me what I did with them. One day I’ll be held to account.

Some day soon this portion of my job will be done and I desperately want to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant” from my Father, and “You did a good job, Mom, I love you” from my kids.

No pressure or anything!

The above photo...
Enough and Room to Spare
by Frederick Morgan

Monday, April 23, 2007

Go Buy THIS book!

So, I thought it was time to update you on the Spring Reading Thing. I am including a link to the original post here. I have updated it with reviews for some of the books.

However, THIS book needed its own post. I LOVED this book. Really, I love all the books by Kristen Billerbeck. Her books are so far away from my real world, that it is as close as I can come to taking a vacation from my personality, without someone wanting to send my to a shrink. I get to be someone entirely different when I read one of her books. Chick Lit can appear shallow on the outside, but Kristen Billerbeck's books are really are deep, okay, maybe deep is taking it too far, but they have meat, not just fluff. You get to really know & empathize with the characters.

The best thing about this book (and all her books for that matter) is that they are real, (people have issues in her books) and it is clean, but not sappy-unrealistic-clean, but best of all, this book is FUNNY. My kids kept coming into my room to see what was so funny, only to find me reading. I kept laughing out loud! People in the checkout line behind me at Wal-Mart must have thought I had a screw loose! (Yes I read in the line at Wal-Mart, it makes the line move faster, I’m convinced)

So, really, GO BUY THIS BOOK,seriously, I’m not getting any royalties for this advertisement, and I don’t even know Kristen Billerbeck IRL (proven by my referring to her by her full name). So you can trust me on this.

Need a good, clean laugh? Want to read a book and go ahhhhhhhhhh, at the end of it, instead of feeling like you need to go excise your mind of all the bad language (cursing and grammar included)? Then, really, GO BUY THIS BOOK!

Menu Plan Monday

I did okay last week, I did not use all my meals and we did eat out once, but this week I'll do better.

Here is this week's list.

Monday - Sausage and Cabbage (still haven't made this from last week :o( tonight is the night!

Tuesday - Beef Tip Steak on the grill, tator tots and salad

Wednesday - Chicken Breasts, Rice & Greed beans

Thursday - Spaghetti, Garlic bread, and salad

Friday - C.O.R.N. (Clean Out Fridge Night) or pizza

Go Check our Laura's blog for more menu plans

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Wedding

We had a lot of fun at the wedding. It was a beautiful service. It was very honoring to God. One thing they did that I thought was very nice, was take communion together. I think this is very nice for all the obvious reasons. But also, they did it while the soloist was singing. They stayed, kneeled down, facing each other while the singing was going on, but they were done with the communion. From my position, I could see my cousin’s face and she was smiling and she and her husband were whispering to each other. IT was really very sweet. I could tell that she was enjoying her wedding.

I, on the other had was a nervous wreck at my wedding, and can’t remember any of it. I think it was really neat that they got to have a minute during the service, to pause and enjoy their moment!

Here is the photo of me and my girls. They had so much fun at the wedding. I have to say I hope my 8yodd matures A LOT before she gets married She had some really scary suggestions like…

The bride should not wear white that is boring; she should wear purple or blue.

Why does the groom wear black that is depressing, he should wear red. Red is a happy color.

They should have fewer flowers and more balloons.

They should have cupcakes for everyone instead of two cakes they have to cut up, that takes too long.

There should be WAY more dancing and a LOT less talking at the reception.

The one thing she did approve of? The bride wore white, decorated flip flops at the reception under her big billowy skirt. It was really cute. Annika thought that was a great idea.

I am VERY scared of this girls wedding. DH is already trying to bribe them into eloping! Bad, bad, man!

Here is a photo of me and the boys, Gunnar was being a bit silly, but they were dressed up. They looked so nice. They even stayed tucked in for the whole wedding. The reception is another story though. :o)

What hansom men I have. Too bad dh had to run inside and work, he looked pretty good too. I did not get a good photo of him :o(

Friday, April 20, 2007

Too Much Information!


Today I went shopping. I hate shopping. I think I need my own tailor because I don’t fit properly into regular clothes. Big girl clothes are too big. They fit in the shoulders but then are too blousy everywhere else. Large clothes in regular stores are not big enough in the shoulders. I go from shop to shop to find something and end up with another shirt from Wal-mart, that shrinks in the dryer and can’t be worn anymore.

So I need an outfit for this wedding tomorrow. (Okay need is a bit of a stretch, but I’m getting tired of the same 3 dresses!)

Well, after finding a cute pair of denim shorts that don’t give TMI, or go down to my knees, and a nice t shirt that is long enough that I don’t have to worry about showing it all when I bend over; I had already spent my budget and still had no dress. Sigh, story of my life.

My aunt, who is so kindly paying for this new dress (she must be tired of the same 3 dresses too), forbid me to go to Wal-mart or Target. After A LOT of taking off and trying on things in various women’s shops I have decided something. Big girls must really like to show off their, um, assets, up top. I mean really, every dress I tried showed WAY to much up there. I know big girls are…well, bigger. But no one but my dh needs that much information about me. It is like wearing a sign that says, “Tricia’s boobs are here, the rest of her will be along shortly”.

I am not a must-be-to-the-neck person, but have some respect clothing designers! Can’t a girl get a nice dress, feel pretty, and not have to show the world what she’s all about!

So I settled for my standard church uniform; a skirt and top. The top is a sheer pink ¾ sleeve button down with a pink tank under it. The skirt is the typical twirly skirt that goes a little past my knees and even has about ½ inch of eyelet at the hem. It is white with small pink flowers.

I even went back to payless for the cute pink shoes to match. And while I was buying the dress I bought a necklace, bracelet and earrings to match. I thought of buying a nice pink purse to match it all, but I had to draw the line somewhere and my kids were home about to kill each other.

I think I have spent more $ on clothes and shoes this month than I have in the pervious 6 months! I may never shop again. I hate the numbers! The numbers on the clothing label keep going up and the number in my bank account keeps going down!

It is so much more fun to shop for my girls. I could have found two adorable, dresses, sandals,and hair bows for my girls at Wal-mart for the price I spent on my outfit today! Good thing I’m not paying for it.

Sigh, have I mentioned I hate shopping for clothes? Give me a good bookstore any day! I don’t have to try on the books and they don’t come in sizes that make me feel queasy.

I’ll try to snap a photo of my family all decked out in our expensive finery. Rarely are we all cleaned up and looking spiffy at the same time. It will really be a noteworthy event. Hopefully I won’t be to dumbstruck by my clean, good-looking family to snap a photo.

Turns out I was too dumbstruck by my beautiful family to snap a photo before we left. But when we came home I took one of me and the boys and me and the girls. Dh got paged while we were at the wedding so we had to leave early and he went straight into the house to work, so he was not there for the picture taking festivities.
So here is a photo of me and my outfit. It is not the nicest photo of me, it was hot and humid outside, but you can see the outfit. It took so long to find, I had to post it!
I'll post the ones of me and the girls tomorrow.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Wow. I have been nominated as a Thinker! Trust me when I tell you that I have been accused of a lot of things in my life, but being a thinker is not among them.

I am really surprised because I've only being doing this blogging thing since March, and I only started it really, because I was trying to spare my husband from having to listen to all my quirky thoughts. Really it works out better for everyone when I blog instead of talk AT dh. He nods and says mmmmm now and then, but we both know he is not really listening.

When I blog, I can imagine lots of people reading my high thoughts and laughing at my clever wit. Weather this is really happening or not, I'll never know.

So, now an award. People really are reading! Now I feel great responsibility to live up to my new title of "Thinking Blogger". Look out world, the great thoughts and wit of Tricia are about to be unleashed!!! I'm sure I have many more fascinating shoe posts in me! :o)

Seriously though, thank you Halfmoon Happenings for the honor. And, really it is an honor. It is nice to know people are not only reading but enjoying my blog.

Now I must think who I'm going to bestow this great honor on...check back later.

Now, for those of you nominated, here are some rules(don't worry, there aren't very many!):
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Church Shoes

Today I took my kids, ALL 4 of them, to Wal-mart. The boys needed church shoes. Not for church, they don’t wear church shoes to church anymore because I have experienced spiritual growth in this area and have decided to not care. If they want to look all raggedy in their cargo shorts and flip flops like all the other kids in the youth group, go right ahead, I don’t care anymore. Really, I don’t. Really.

However my cousin is getting married on Saturday and all my family will be there. Apparently I have not experienced as much spiritual growth as I had previously thought, because my boys are NOT wearing their raggedy old cargo shorts and flip flops to the wedding.

I am not worried about my girls; I think we have enough church dresses and pretty little paten lather shoes to dress a gaggle of girls. I am also not worried about my husband because while he hates to dress up and he does not do it often, he had some regional meetings this week that he had to do the whole suit coat and tie thing. He had to go out and buy a new outfit (do men call them outfits?) for the meetings. On a side note my wonderful husband and I are not quite the same size we were last year and sadly the number got bigger not smaller, but that is another post.

So back to the boys. I know they have nice attire to wear. They don’t really mind wearing a nice polo style shirt and khaki pants. What they do mind are the shoes. So off we went to Wal-Mart. My theory was that if we could find shoes we both like, maybe they’ll actually wear them again. I know, how naive, but it sounded good at the time. So there we are in Wal-Mart and my girls, being…well, girls, tried on every shoe in the store in their size and found about ten pair they just had to have. I did stand firm here ladies and gentlemen. NO new shoes for the girls until we go through aaaallllllll the old ones.

While the girls are in shoe heaven, the boys are in…well you get the idea. No shoes in the place were acceptable. After a while my oldest found a pair he said would do. What this means is that he was willing to wear the pair of awful shoes he found to one wedding, if it meant we could STOP shopping and go home. We both knew, no matter what he said, these shoes would never grace his cute little size 11 feet again after their maiden and mandatory voyage to the wedding. At this point, I was willing too. So he bought those and we went to the car.

My wonderful son #2 has wide feet. Really wide feet. So no shoes in all of Wal-Mart were able to accommodate the bricks that are attached to the bottom of his legs. So, as if Wal-Mart with all 4 was not bad enough, we went to Payless. In Payless the lovely salesperson offered to measure his feet. I accepted. Size 8 and ½ . Regular. What? NO way. His feet are wide, I tell her. Hummmm. The thingy must be rigged. So off we go to the size 8 and ½ section. I’ll tell you right here and now ladies and gentleman. His feet are a solid 10. NOT 8 and ½ . So after trying on every “tolerable” shoe in the sizes 8 through 10 we come upon a pair he can live with. O Happy Day!

I go to find my girls who have now tried on every shoe in Payless that is their size and added about 10 more pairs to their must-have list, I say “no, no, no we are not getting anymore shoes, remember?” about 10 times and we get in line. When it is finally our turn, the salesperson asks me if I’m sure I’d not like to get another pair, it is buy one get one half off. Well, NOW you tell me. As my girls (BOTH of them) stare up at me pleadingly, I say NO, because, hay, I’m not about to start world war 3 between my girls, and really I just wanted to go home.

So she gives me the total. $40! Yes, you read that right $40 at Payless. For shoes for a 12yob. Shoes that we all know, no matter how much we try to delude ourselves, he will never wear again. What is a girl to do? I simply CAN’T shop with these kids anymore. I CAN’T do it again tomorrow, and I CAN’T buy my 12yo destructo son shoes costing $40!!

The people behind me are starting to groan. My kids are wishing the ground would open up and swallow them up, as I ask the sales lady, IN THE NICEST VOICE I CAN MUSTER, why these shoes at Payless were so expensive. She gives me a blank stare. How in the world would she know? She is only there from 8 to 1 to pay for her college classes. She has no idea, nor does she care. (All this I am surmising from the blank stare.)

So after more groaning and appalled looks from my children, I bought the shoes. All forty-stinking-dollars of them.

Want to see what $40 will get you at payless? Here you go.

I think you will probably be able to find some, just like this, cheap on Ebay real soon!

Well Drained Mind

I posted today over at The Well Drained Mind about how to refill!

Go check it out...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Okay ladies (and gentleman if there are any gentleman out of the 10 of you that read my blog daily)

I have had a shocking realization. Really, shocking. Do you know how much an AVERAGE wedding costs? And remember, this is AVERAGE. Get ready, sit down if you swoon easily… $ 20,000 - $ 25,000 based on one google site that had it’s numbers based on 2003 figures. Another site I went to had more current info and specific to my area.

That site was $6,000 to $11,000 MORE!

Here is the info from the second site… On average, couples will spend $31,010 for their wedding in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington TX . This does not include cost for products and services listed in the Addtional Items section. Results based on our research and responses from other married users of this site.

What is in the additional section, you ask?

On average, couples will spend $310,497 on Additional Items in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington TX . These items include New or Used Car, Engagement Ring, Financial Services, Furniture & Household Items, New Home, Honeymoon, Bridal Consultant or Wedding Planner, and Insurance.

OMYGOSH!!! I have 4 children. And if you think just because I have 2 boys I’ll be getting off scott free at their weddings, you have another thing coming. Guess who paid for MY wedding? My in-laws, that’s who; the parents of the son. Why? Well that is another post entirely.

So I started thinking about this because I’ll be going to my cousin’s wedding this Sat, and I found out yesterday that my sons algebra tutor (God bless that woman) makes wedding, and special occasion cakes in her spare time. For approximately $400 a piece!!!!!! Okay, I am not saying that her cakes are not worth $400, or that she is not a wonderful cake maker. She is, I saw some of her work. She is really amazing. But $400! I had NO IDEA a cake cost that much. JUST A CAKE for the wedding cost $400.

$400 is alot of money, but isin't that such a pretty cake?

Okay…so…they can’t have a car…they can’t go to college..and dh and I can’t go to the tropical island of my dreams for our 20th anniversary…but we can afford to marry them off. Hummm?

I’ll tell you right her and now that MY wedding did not cost $310,497. I know it was almost 17 years ago, but really. I think we pulled off my wedding for under $1000. Now, it was at my in-laws house, but they have a beautiful house, and I know a friend made the wedding cake for free…and I think the pastor did it for free…but really $310,497! I think I’m going to swoon!

Now I understand why my FIL told all his boys he’d pay them $500 to elope! My MIL did not appreciate this, but I think that is a great idea. Elope, I’ll pay them $500, just let me come to the elopement! :o)

Because after yesterday, I just need a laugh...

In case you can't read the above comic, The boy is saying "Mommy, where would we do our homework if we were homeschooled?"

Monday, April 16, 2007

Virginia Tech Campus Reels From Shooting That Leaves at Least 33 Dead

When I hear about stuff like this I not only want to homeschool my kids through college, but perhaps for their entire lives. In fact, I don’t want to let anyone I love leave my sight.

This is just so terribly sad. I can’t imagine being one of those parents who are hundreds of miles away and don’t know where their precious children are. They are in my prayers. Everyone touched by this situation is in my prayers.

The only thing that gives me hope is… In this world, you will have trouble, but fear not, for I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

Meal Plan Monday

Go visti Laura for more Meal Plan Monday lists.

Monday – This was really yummy. Everyone liked it and went back for more!
Goulash and rolls

Tuesday – Lemon Honey Chicken (thanks to Karen)
Brussels Sprouts
Homemade bread

Wednesday – Veggie and Chicken Pot Pie

Thursday – Sausage & Cabbage

Friday – Pork Chops, Tator Tots & carrots

Here is the recipe for my pot pie. It is super easy and everyone around here loves it.

Simple chicken pot pie

1 can chicken (next to tuna)
2 cans mixed vegetables ( I buy the kind without lima beans, but with potatoes)
1 can cream of chicken soup
3 dashes sage
salt and pepper to taste
2 deep dish frozen pie crusts

Drain chicken and vegetables. In a large bowl, mix the first five ingredients.
Place mixture into pie crust and top with second.

Crimp edges together. Make 2 or 3 slits in top crust and bake according to pie shell directions. (I cook it at 350 for about 45 min)

I add frozen cauliflower and broccoli and some grated cheese to the mixture. I usually double this because my family will eat 2, but if your family will only eat one, the other will freeze well.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Flip the dumb switch!

Today is Sunday. On a normal Sunday, you’d find us at Church. But not this Sunday. My boys and dh are off on a grand adventure with their Motorbikes and some good friends. This is not normally something they would be doing on a Sunday morning. I am up in my bed, with my robe and pj’s on, and I might stay here all day. Evelyn is downstairs watching whatever they have on PBS on Sunday mornings and Annika is still sleeping, at 9am!

If you knew my Annika, you’d know how unusual this is. She is usually the first face I see in the morning, this lovely face is often singing or talking, or doing something equally difficult to continue sleeping through. So the fact that she is still asleep should tell you something. WE HAVE BEEN TOO BUSY!

My dh and his 3 brothers and their wives all threw an anniversary party for their parents yesterday. 45 years! WOW! That is along time. Dave said “I wonder what we’ll be like after we’ve been married for 45 years” I responded “Yeah, and I wonder if our kids will have any nice things to say about us then?”

It was nice to see all the brothers honoring their parents. They all love each other and the Lord. It really is a gift to be in this family. They are a hoot! But in today’s society, it is just unheard of for an entire family to all LIKE each other. We like to be together. We argue or have misunderstandings from time to time but we get over it, and we like each other.

So due to all the Easter festivities, the anniversary party and, oh, yeah, homeschooling, we’re pretty tired. My room looks like a stuff-bomb went off, and I can feel every muscle in my body (gotta love fibromyalgia) so today we’re taking a mental health day. My boys take a mental health day by getting up early and riding their motorbikes. The girls and I take a mental health by doing…well, as little as possible!

We will play, paint, crochet, watch movies, eat, really whatever we want. Now THAT is a mental health day.

Let me tell you how I know I needed a mental health day. For about 4 days the lamp and the clock in my room have not been working. I keep wondering why they were not working. Strange that the light bulb would blow at the same time the clock died. Hummm. (By the way, I did check to see that they were plugged it, I’m not a total moron) Then I plugged in my computer this morning so I could begin my mental health day by surfing the internet from my bed, (gotta love the laptop) Odd, my computer was saying it was on battery, weird because I plugged it in. Humm, to the same surge protector thing the lamp and the clock are plugged into. It must be broken. I got down there on the floor and un plugged it and plugged it back in…nothing. Well, I guess the surge protector is dead. Well, better that than the clock I guess. But wait…do you notice something in this photo??? A big red switch, perhaps? Okay, so I am a total moron.

After I flipped the dumb switch, I had light, I had the time, and I had my computer! If only there were a switch to flip that would clean up this room…

Friday, April 13, 2007

NASCAR people

I have to say, I don’t get NASCAR. I really don’t. My son’s and dh are also not big fans.

What is the draw? They just go round and round and round a big track at high rates of speed. I am not against all motorized sports. My kids love motorcross and I have been to some races. They go up and over, and there are woops and berms and various other jumpy-things I can’t remember the names of. (Really though, how do they think they’re going to get any respect when people have to use words like woop and berm when describing the track, I sound like a two year old!) but it is interesting to watch.

Then there is rally racing. It is not big here in the US but is popular over in Europe. I know this because in all the videos of rally races the kids watch with their dad, the man calling out the speed of the turns usually has a British accent. Rally racing is fun to watch, they are driving in real streets that have twists and turns. Exciting!

But in NASCAR they go round, and round, and round…you get my point.
So I am sitting in my bedroom watching the news and they are showing me radar images of this big, bad, scary storm that is coming my way. Giant red and pink blobs are coming in from the west. Batten down the hatches, the rains-a-coming. 80 mile per hour winds, hail, possible tornados, you know the typical Texas spring storm.

So then the image in my screen changes to a campground of sorts. It is at Texas Motor Speedway. Apparently this is a big NASCAR weekend. One man they interviewed traveled 400 miles to be here. 400 MILES PEOPLE! They are not packing up their campers; they are not scurrying around to get out fast. NO they are going to ride out the storm, IN A CAMPER! I have a camper; we are a big camping family. You do not want to be in a camper with 80 MPH winds! Who are these crazy people! The giant red and pink blobs are coming! WHY ARE YOU NOT SCARED???

Oh, right, NASCAR people.

I don’t get NASCAR.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Fish Heads, Fish Heads, Rolly-Polly Fish Heads.

Have you ever seen a more disgusted look on anyone's face before?

We were camping last weekend and one of the kids with us caught a fish. A real fish. Not one of those measly things you have to put back in the water. This was a real catfish at least "this" big.

So, naturally the boys’ dad cut it up to cook. This was a certified cookable fish after all.

Well, all the girls screamed at the first show of guts. Not only screamed, but ran away screaming. Not my Annika, no she stayed for the whole sorted thing. She never once screamed. I did hear many exclamations like "eeeeew", "gross", "disgusting", and "revolting". She really has quite a vocabulary when it comes to exclamations of disgust.

But she stayed. The whole time. She did not scream. She did not run away. She did not cry. What a girl I have!

I only know these things because she told me. I was running away and screaming.

Because, seriously, it was gross!

Another reason I homeschool

I remembered last night as I watched the news, why I homeschool.

As I was sitting discussing with my dh what we were going to do with our kids and their unkindness to one another, a news story came on the TV. We stopped talking to watch. You can read about it here, it is a very short article. Or you can watch the video here.

I don’t know what I think about it. I don’t know if it was a wise decision on the teachers and administrators part. I don’t know how I would feel if I were a parent of one of the “Jews” but here is what I did think…

WHAT KINDS OF KIDS ARE WE RAISING IN THIS COUNTRY???? These 9th graders could not even get a simulation of the holocaust without causing a mini holocaust to happen in their little world. Does anyone else see the irony here? It was PRETEND; a learning experience for the kids, and it turned into the same kind of behavior and attitudes that lead to the holocaust in the first place. It is a simple attitude of intolerance, an attitude, which turns into a small action by one person, then two, then ten, then an entire generation.

I can’t help but think that this is the result of raising our kids in packs. We have entire generations that were raised in packs, in daycares and in classrooms with 30 or more kids. We have an entire generation of kids who didn’t get the benefit of moms at home when they were preschoolers, and moms at home to greet them when they came home from school. They start in daycare, then go to overcrowded classrooms, then to afterschool activities, then home to stare at the TV or computer, then to bed only to start the process all over the next day. There is no place for individuality, no place for personal conviction. It is a lifestyle of go with the pack or be devoured. We have raised them in packs and are astounded when the act like wolves.

Don’t get me wrong, my kids have attended various Mother’s Day Out programs, they have been in Sunday school classes with their peers. I know we have generations before us that went through the public school system and did okay, but honestly I think this is the first generation that has been raised, from infancy on, in a group. Many come home to an empty home or stay at school for after school programs. There is no one there to help them think through behaviors and think individually.

I know this is controversial, and I have probably offended many, but I just can help but be scared for my children’s generation when I read news articles like that one.
It is time to go and spend some time in prayer and Bible study with my kids about how to treat one another. Thank you Jesus that I have the freedom, privilege and time to train my kids to follow Him, not the pack.

Monday, April 9, 2007


Things about 15yods, to help me have perspective…
He loves to ride motorbikes – he does not watch much TV, none in prime time.

He would rather play soccer with his friends than “hang out”.

When he ran into the word sex in a book, he brought it to me and asked if it was appropriate. (The book was referring to someone of the female sex.)

He is failing Physical Science – He studies the Bible without prompting, because he wants to.

He did not study for his math test and failed – He has been apologizing on his own when he knows he has done wrong, and says he will work harder.

He loves to read and reads well, many adult level books – He hates math.

He has a tendency to be lazy and not try as hard as he should – He has never done drugs, nor does he even know what many of them are.

He is not as kind to his siblings as I would like – He does know how to behave, all the adults that spend any time with him think he hung the moon.

He tends to show more attitude than I like – He actually likes to hang out with his dad, uncles, and his dad’s friends.

While I’m sure he knows about the birds and the bees, (he and his dad had the talk years ago) he has no first hand experience!

He is not interested the female sex, or dating much, he is more interested in his soccer ball than I would like, and has no interest at all in science or math.

He is more interested in soccer and his motorbike than taking drivers ED!!!

He does not seem to have much drive, he thinks things are fine the way they are – contentment is a good thing, right?

He is happy to wear clothes from Wal-Mart and could not tell you the difference between a store brand and a name brand – he has no desire to work hard to earn $.

He only works just enough to keep his motorbike running, and that is all.

I know this list seems random, but I am trying to gain some perspective when it comes to my almost 16 year old son. He will be doing math and science all summer because he has not really worked at it this year. He is in highschool now; this is not a game anymore. But he does not want to put forth the extra effort doing school well is going to require. I feel like I am a total failure at this homeschool thing because my son failed his algebra test and will be doing science this summer because of his shoddy work. I feel like maybe if he had been in school all this time he would not be in this pickle. I feel like if he had been in school all this time he would know how to study better. I feel like I have devoted my life to homeschooling my kids well, and if they are failing something, then by default, so am I.
I need to gain some perspective. He is not getting girls pregnant, smoking pot, or creating general mayhem in the community. But is this really the stick by which I want to measure my kids? Of course it could be worse, much worse in fact. But it could also be so much better. In the grand scheme of things, failing highschool physical science and algebra 1 are not on par with ax murdering. I just want to see greatness in my kids. I know it is in there. How do I get it out?

Sigh…tomorrow is another day. I need to go talk to the Lord about all this.

Menu Monday

Okay, It's time. Like Karen over at Growing in Grace, I too have fallen off the wagon of good health. I am tired of coming up with good nutritious meals for my family.

I can't have eggs, my dd has a FATAL allergy to ALL dairy and my dh feels like if it does not have ALOT of meat in it, it's not a meal. So meal planning has become a chore and no longer fun.

On a positive note, my kids are not picky. They love most any food, and eat A LOT of it. If I did not have all these dietary restrictions, feeding this family would be fun. Brussels Sprouts are one of their favorite veggies for goodness sake!

So instead of waiting till 5 and digging through the fridge for yet another version of the sandwich, I'll plan this weeks meals in advance and shop for the ingredients today! I WILL be organized! I WILL!! I WILL!!

So here goes...

MONDAY - Mac & Cheese (noodles and fake butter for dd)
Fish Sticks
Fresh Brussels Sprouts

TUESDAY - Spaghetti
Garlic Bread

WEDNESDAY - Tacos & Tostadas

THURSDAY - Grill cheese (ham for dd) sandwiches
Chips & grapes (no meat in sight, not a good night for DH)

FRIDAY - C.O.R.N (clean out fridge night)
Or if there are no leftovers - Pizza

By the way, I realize these are not the most healthy of meals, and some of them are not really cooking, but I'm trying to use up what I have. When I plan for next week I'll include more homemade healthy meals.

And thanks to Lauren for helping me get organized!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

I LOVE Easter!


Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff'ring and shame;
And I love that old cross, where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it someday for a crown.
Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.
In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died
To pardon and sanctify me.
To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He'll call me someday to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I'll share.

Have a wonderful EASTER.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

It's Spring..

Yes, that is what you think it is. A mosquito. The dreaded beasts have invaded my home. This is how I know it's spring...not because I see one of these, but because it is in the house. Truth be told, I saw one in January, this is TX after all. But not in the house.
See in the spring for a few days (literally) I can open the windows. There are a very few days down here, where the weather is not too hot or too cold or too humid to have the windows open. There are only a few days like this, some in the spring and some in the fall. They are magical days where I can have the nice fresh breeze blowing through my house; hear the kids out playing, see the neighbors walk by and wave at them. It is so 1950's. I love it.
Most of the time I am locked away with the front window curtains drawn to not let in the abominable Texas summer heat in the afternoons. But for these few days, I imagine myself in some temperate climate, where people live with their windows open, not hiding in the shadows of their homes.
However there is a price...the mosquito. I have never figured out how they get in. We do have screens and none of them have holes that I could find. I think these little pestilent can shrink to half their size to enter my house, and bite ME. Not my children, not my husband, ME. And they leave me nice nickle size welts that itch for a week or more.
I want you to know that this little bugger met his death just as soon as I snapped this photo. He was a little guy, but I know his bigger meaner family is on it's way. That is the way of things here in the south! That is how I know it's Spring.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Easter Story Cookies


To be made the evening before Easter

You need:

1 cup whole pecans
1 tsp. vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch salt
1 cup sugar
zipper baggie
wooden spoon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees (this is important-don't wait until you're half done with the recipe)!

Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3.

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.

So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16.

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isa. 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matt. 27:57-60.

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.

Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matt. 27:65-66.

GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.

Read John 16:20 and 22.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matt. 28:1-9

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Tuesday's Truths

1 Pet 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Matt 28 - 30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

2 Cor 12.9-10 God said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Ps 55.22 Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

“A Letter from Jesus Christ to the Soul that Really Loves Him.”
By John of Landsberg, 1555

One thing I have to warn you of especially is your constant tendency to grow fainthearted under the weight of your faults and oversights and an inclination almost to despair when a sudden lack of confidence reduces your firm decisions to nothing. I know those moods when you sit there utterly alone, eaten up with unhappiness, in a pure state of grief. You don’t move towards me but desperately imagine that everything you have ever done has been utterly lost and forgotten. This near-despair and self-pity are actually a form of pride. What you think was a state of absolute security from which you’ve fallen was really trusting too much in your own strength and ability. Profound depression and perplexity of mind often follow a loss of hope, when what really ails you is that things simply haven’t happened as you expected and wanted. In fact, I don’t want you to rely on your own strength and abilities and plans, but to distrust them and to distrust yourself, and to trust me and no one and nothing else. As long as you rely on yourself you are bound to come to grief. You still have a most important lesson to learn: Your own strength will no more help you stand upright than dropping yourself on a broken reed. You must not despair of me. You must hope and trust in me absolutely. My mercy is infinite…

This is some of what we read last night in Bible study. I have to say this is a hard one for me. I understand it in my head, casting all my cares upon him. I get that I need to do this, that I need to not rely on my own strength but His. But what does this really look like? How does one turn this from an ethereal ideal, to reality? Honestly I'm not sure. We are really struggling with our 9th grader and his Physical Science this year. What does it look like to cast this on God and not try to do this in my own strength? God does not come sit in my kitchen and teach my son science. Physically, it is my body sitting next to my sons body, reading the book. What does it look like to cast this on God?

The letter from Jesus by John of Landsberg could have been written straight to me. That first sentence hits me squarely between the eyes...One thing I have to warn you of especially is your constant tendency to grow fainthearted under the weight of your faults and oversights and an inclination almost to despair when a sudden lack of confidence reduces your firm decisions to nothing. This is Pride. Self Pity is pride. Ouch. I don't want either. I know I am not perfect, and yet I'm horrified when I fail.

Today's Tuesday's Truths doesn't have many answers. I am praying this week that God will SHOW me in the everyday what it looks like to cast my cares on Him, to hope and trust in Him absolutely. To not despair when a sudden lack of confidence reduces all my firm decisions to nothing...