Friday, August 29, 2008


Think I'm going to try this one. She's always coming up with the most interesting things!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Got Rhubarb?

Rhubarb Crunch

2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup oats
2 cup brown sugar
1 cup melted butter
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups white sugar
4 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups water
8 cups rhubarb, chopped

Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon until crumbly. Set aside. In saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch, mix well. Add vanilla and water. Cook over low heat until thick and clear, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Line a 9x13 pan with part of the crumb mixture. Pour liquid with rhubarb over the crumb mixture in the pan. Top with remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

I made my husband stop eating so I could take this picture! :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Swim Suit Shenanigans

This is how it went down:

Macho Man: "Mom, where is my swim suit?"

Me: "On the clothes line."

Macho Man: "I need it right now."

Me: "You can go and get it down BUT if (using this word was my big mistake) you have to take other clothes off, don't just crumple them in to a laundry basket. Fold them and put them away." (It just so happened that I knew that it was at the end of the line and he'd have to put the whole load away.)


He comes back in wearing his swim suit.

Me: "Did you put the laundry away?"

Macho Man: "Nope. I climbed the tree."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


We are STILL working on this room.... school room. That needs to be done by the time school starts. Forget about curriculum or scheduling, this is what is keeping me up at night. We've sanded, puttied, primed, painted, caulked (my husband is a through kind of guy), painted over the caulk and now are trying to find something that will cover the four different spots near the ceiling where there has been water damage in the past. I can tell you that Dutch Boy Primer Sealer does not work. Sherwin Williams Pro Block? Nope. If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them.
I've been thinking a lot about how I want to re-organize this space. I have this loft that is in pieces in our basement:

I am considering putting it up and having a cozy reading area on the top and maybe an independent work and study area on the bottom.... or maybe the other way around?

But, it takes up a ton of space. And I have so many books!

Another thought that I've had is to just move all of the books downstairs to the basement area "library" that my husband has. All the books together sounds reasonable but I do want the children to have easy access to the books and it is pretty cold down there in the winter. I am afraid that having them out of sight would hinder them reading (really, not that I have to worry about my two older ones in this area at all. Macho Man often sneaks away from school/chores/anything he is supposed to be doing and is hidden away some where with a book).

So I read this post by Robyn about how she keeps her girls on task. She talks about using desks. You know, like at school? Made me really start thinking. I've been trying really hard to go against the Greek philosophies of schooling (you gotta read this book) and try to teach my children after the Biblical model. So no public school like anything for us. No siree.

I am constantly separating my children. As I have been writing my school schedule, everyone seems to be at a different table at a different time or even a different room if I am busy with another child. They just get too distracted and bug each other to no end. Especially certain combinations of children, if you know what I mean.

So guess what I bought at Goodwill two days after reading that post?

You can't blame me. I HAD to go there because I HAD to drop some stuff off. And, of course, they were a great deal... only $2.99 a piece. Do you think I should get a flag and a chalk board? :)
Anyway, the school room is still in the works. It will be a happy day when I can post pictures of the revamped space, stay tuned!

Oh The Simple Joys

of the

summer time!

My Five Month Old...

is now


Guess I'm not the only one blogging about this...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Quick Tip

Hey! Did you know that you can get FREE buckets at the grocery store? You know, like two and a half or five gallon buckets to make laundry detergent in, your homemade granola, the many products from your last Azure order?
Yes, at the grocery store. Next time you are there, stop over at the bakery. Ask the bakery manager to save you some of the buckets that icing comes in. If you ask really nicely, they will even save the snap on lids for you too. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fruitful Vines

Oh, did this ever speak to me.

Varicose veins, hormonal headaches, that whole pubic symphysis pain thing (if you don't know what that is, be ever so glad) and all the rest. Read here for a nice little refresher on pregnancy.

What a blessing.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Are your children tired of playing outside? Too many sunny, warm days in a row? Remind them that it will cold and dark out all too soon. Something that has helped my children to find the outdoors fresh and fun again is a little dish washing liquid and some imagination.
I know that bubbles are a toddler staple. But did you know that you can make them? And did you ever stop to think that those little wands aren't the only things that make bubbles????

Give this a try:

Bubble Recipe
1 cup Joy or Dawn dish washing liquid (you can do it with others but Joy is the best bubble maker!)
3 T glycerin (found at any drug store - you can make it without but the glycerin helps the bubbles hold up longer)
1 gallon of water

You can make this by the gallon using a clean, recycled gallon milk jug or you can make a little bigger quantities... what about the little wading pool? Make three gallons or so and pour it in.

Find some fun bubble paraphernalia. Anything with a hole or holes in it will do. Do you want to make little tiny bubbles? Try those green baskets that strawberries typically come in. Do you want great big bubbles? Take a couple of plastic hangers down from the closet and try those. The potato masher, paper cups with the bottom punched out, even string tied end to end will work.

Not only will even your big kids want to get involved in the fun, but everyone will think that you are a genius!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Gotta love 'em...

...those squishy, squeezy, smiley babies.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Don't you love it when stuff you already know is confirmed by professionals?

Eminent Psychiatrist Says Homosexuality is a Disorder that Can be Cured Says studies show 70-80 percent chance that child adopted by homosexuals will develop same tendencies

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

BUENOS AIRES, May 1, 2008 ( - The eminent Spanish psychiatrist Enrique Rojas gave a speech yesterday in Buenos Aires declaring that homosexuality is "a clinical process that has an etiology, pathogeny, treatment, and cure".

Speaking at the Buenos Aires International Book Fair about his book "Goodbye, Depression", Rojas characterized homosexual orientation as a "disorder" rather than an illness, and stated his opinion that 95% of cases are caused by environmental factors, according to the Spanish news service Terra.

The disorder, according to Rojas, is the result of an absent father, overweening mother, or sexual abuse in childhood.

Rojas blasted the homosexual movement for promoting the development of homosexual tendencies in young people, and particularly condemned the practice of allowing homosexual couples to adopt children.

The child is deprived of a right to grow up "in a normal environment, heterosexual, which is the standard" he said. "Heterosexuality is what is normal, the natural condition of human beings."

According to studies from the United States, Canada, and New Zealand, there is a 70-80 percent chance that a child adopted by homosexuals will develop the same tendencies, Rojas said.

Rojas is the author of various books on psychology, including "Who Are You?", "The Light Man" and "Remedies for Coldness".

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Menu Slump

I don't look forward to making a weekly menu for meals. I just don't like sitting there, racking my brain for inexpensive yet delightfully delicious meals. I guess I'm just not that creative. I do like Pamela's idea of writing down some meals that your family likes and having that list on hand, but even with that, this task is similar to climbing a mountain for me.

At the beginning of the summer I thought I might have THE answer. I decided that I'd make up a two week, rotating menu for each season. So I wrote down all of my best summer meals. Stuff like grilled hamburgers, chicken cesar salad and cool veggie pizza, anything that would be good for a hot summer day. It worked for a while. But it seemed like I was spending more $ at the grocery store than usual and honestly, I got really sick of making those things.

The last two or three weeks, ever since we got back from our trip in July, I have gone menuless. I was attempting to use up whatever we had to subsidise our extra spending while we were away. It worked well. I did go to the grocery store for milk, fruit and veggies but other than that, I just emptied out the back of the pantry.

So, on Friday, realizing that we couldn't go one more day without a shopping trip, I sat down with my little homemade, computer generated menu form and a sharpened pencil. And stared at it blankly. And sat and stared some more.

Then I called everyone together for a family meeting. I told them all that they had to each come up with some lunches and dinners if they wanted to eat for the next two weeks. It worked great! They were hurtling ideas at me faster than I could write them down. 'Course they aren't really what I would have thought of for this time of year (tater tot casserole?), but at this point I was just glad to have something on paper.

Here are some things that I ended up with:
chicken fajitas
meatloaf (make two and have the second as sandwiches a couple of days later)
taco salad
bean and cheese burritos
grilled chicken and rice
hummus and veggie pita pockets
farmer's breakfast
homemade pizza
taco rice
french toast

I might just do some menu planning this way again!

Friday, August 15, 2008

How many home schoolers does it take to change a light bulb?

First, mom checks three books on electricity out of the library, then the kids make models of light bulbs, read a biography of Thomas Edison and do a skit based on his life. Next, everyone studies the history of lighting methods, wrapping up with dipping their own candles. Next, everyone takes a trip to the store where they compare types of light bulbs as well as prices and figure out how much change they'll get if they buy two bulbs for $1.99 and pay with a five-dollar bill. On the way home, a discussion develops over the history of money and also Abraham Lincoln, as his picture is on the five-dollar bill. Finally, after building a homemade ladder out of branches dragged from the woods, the light bulb is installed. And there is light.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Homemade Mayo Recipe

When it's hot out, we tend to go through mayonnaise like crazy. Chicken salad, macaroni salad, potato salad, sandwiches and on and on. I finally got smart and quit buying it because it is so easy to make!

Blender Mayonnaise Recipe (makes about 1 1/4 cups)

1 large egg
1 T vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp paprika
dash red pepper
1 cup oil
1 T lemon juice

Combine the first six ingredients in the blender container. Cover, blend about 5 seconds. With blender running slowly, gradually add 1/2 cup oil (use a rubber spatula to scrape down sides when you need to). Add lemon juice and then pour the other 1/2 cup of oil in while the blender runs slowly. Store for up to 4 weeks in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator.

We like to double this recipe and it turns out well.

There you have it, cheap and easy mayo!

(A big thanks to my fab daughter who actually did all the work, aren't those the best pictures of mayonnaise that have ever been taken? :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Don't You Know What Causes That?

Ever heard that comment by someone who undoubtedly thought they were the were being incredibly clever and witty?

We just sigh, try to smile and remind ourselves that we are ambassadors for the One True God and move on.

Who are we? The men and women that go against the grain of our society and uphold the Biblical value of life.

Do you realize what is going on in our country or have you been so steeped in our culture that you didn't even stop to think about what is wrong with the picture? We all know that one in five pregnancies end due to induced abortion. Some of you have even done the research to find out that oral contraceptives doesn't just stop a woman from ovulating, it can stop the fertilized egg from implanting. Even beyond this, many will use barrier methods, "natural family planning" or even altering their bodies through sterilization, to stop what God has clearly called a blessing. (Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them... Psalms 127 3-5)

What has gone wrong with our thinking? I can not agree more with this now famous quote from Doug Phillips, "The Bible calls debt a curse and children a blessing. But in our culture we apply for a curse and reject blessings. Something is wrong with this picture."

I guess we can expect this from the blind, the ones that don't know or understand. But the Christians!? The saved and sanctified ones? They are following right along with the world. Frankly, I am surprised.

Yes, having lots of children is a challenge. Yes, you will have to (gasp!) get your mind off of yourself and lay down your life to serve someone else. Yes, having many causes you to lean on the Lord for so much. Yes, you will look different than your unsaved neighbors. Yes, it will single you out. Let me ask you, how can you claim to be salt and light when you are doing the exact same things as the world!?

Do we plan to have more children? My answer is this, we plan to continue to serve the Lord, however He sees fit. If that is having more children, so be it. Not my will, but His.

Monday, August 11, 2008

School Schedule

Before we know it, school will be in full swing again. In preparation, we are re-vamping our school room and I'm planning the school year schedule again.

I know it's a little much for some people, but I really like to have it broken down by half hour for everyone in the family. It helps me to think ahead to where everyone will be when. This way, I am assured that each child is being productive and not getting in to trouble. It's also helpful to have different activities planned so that they don't overlap or interfere with others. For example, so we aren't attempting to have instrument practice during the baby's nap time or two children using the same equipment, like the computer, at once.

I love Managers of Their Homes by the Maxwells. It's a wonderful book and has helped me for years, ever since baby #3 came along. In my opinion, it's a necessity for a mom with many children. On the Maxwell's site, you can download a great, free worksheet to make your own schedule.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Quick Tip

I have a lot of little teeth to brush every day around here, so you can imagine that I have to buy a lot of tooth brushes.

So my tip? Buy those toothbrushes at the dollar store. Buy the multi-pack, Dollar Tree will often have a four pack. For 25 cents each, I don't even get mad when I hear, "Mom!!! I just dropped ANOTHER toothbrush in the toilet!"

Hey, and while you're there stock up on pregnancy tests too. For a dollar, you can take three or four just to be sure!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Thrifty Schooling

I just love looking through school supply catalogs. I can spend a lot of time filling out the order form of a Discount School Supply, Kaplan or Lakeshore catalog. I never do send them in, though. I just like to think about what I would buy with an unlimited budget.

Sometimes I can get great ideas from all the gizmos and gadgets that they offer. I often will make file folder games for the children using an idea from one of these catalogs or from a Mailbox magazine (these are often at your library, grade specific, lots of good ideas!). File folder games are cheap and easy to store. If you have lots of children to go through each level, you know you'll use them often.

Or, I get ideas for activities by some of the pictures of children using the materials in the catalogs. I saw a child using counters sold there (you can use beans or cheerios) along with magnetic numbers. I had some of those so I put them together in a little container and now have an easy activity for my preschoolers while I'm working with an older child.

Toys in these catalogs were often made by teachers for years and years before they were offered for sale anywhere. Take the classic shape sorter for example. Someone's grandma took a cardboard oatmeal container, cut the top in to shapes and gave a child little corresponding blocks for wood to push through the holes. With a few minutes and a sharp knife, those little blocks floating around your house will have a new and exciting use. Did you know that Mr. Potato Head used to be used with real potatoes? Now we just store plastic potato-like thing for our children to play with? You can make all sorts of things at home as long as long as you are creative (or cheat like I do and use ideas from catalogs!)

And then, of course, there is always the thrift store, garage sales or buying second hand from a friend. I am always on the look out for good materials to use for school. Just last week I bought a book from another homeschooling mom online about using Cuisenaire Rods for multiplication and division. I didn't have the rods but have been looking for them for some time.

Yesterday Hubby, Sweetie Pie and I didn't get out to do any garage saleing but did stop by Value Village on our way home, we hadn't been there in a long while. And, can you guess what they had?

A full set of Cuisenaire Rods for $2.99, a set of parquetry blocks for $1.99 and a big set of Brio builders for $6.99 that was the half off color, making it $3.50. Granted, I spent and hour and a half combing the store for these good finds but, to me, it's entertainment!
What are your thrifty school ideas? Leave me a comment and let me know. Are you blogging about it? I'd love to link to your ideas here.

Friday, August 8, 2008


I've been tagged by the ever beautiful and intelligent Miss Serenity. So here goes:

32 Question, One Answer Quiz

1. Where is your cell phone? don't have one
2. Where is your significant other? on the phone, in the chair on the other side of this desk

3. Your Hair? long, brown, falling out like mad since I had Sweetie Pie three months ago

4: Your Mother? a super shopper

5. Your Father? always laughing

6. Your favorite thing? sweet children

7. Your dream last night? that I could spend as much $$$ as I wanted on educational toys.... or was that a recent day dream?

8. Your dream/goal? That all my children serve the Lord

9. The room you're in? the office

10. Your Fear? 2 Timothy 1:7

11. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Continuing my service as a keeper at home

12. Where were you last night? Went to dinner with my husband

13. You're not? liberal

14. Muffins? My nick name when I was a cheerleader (heh heh) What else can I say about muffins?

15. One of your wish list items? A log cabin on 20 acres of woods with a little stream running through it

16. Where you grew up? Hawaii, New Jersey, California, Alaska, Washington

17. Last thing you did? Ate my left over Mexican food from last night

18. What are you wearing? pink flowered button up shirt and brown skirt

19. Your TV? in the basement

20. Your pet(s)? I refuse to have one more thing to clean up after - especially anything that poops!!!

21. Your computer? is slow

22. Your Life? busy!

23. Your mood? :)

24. Missing Someone? nope

25. Your car/truck? is a 15 passenger van

26. Something you're not wearing? nail polish

27. Your summer? has been enjoyable

28. Love Someone? yes

29. Your favorite color? purple

30. When is the last time you laughed? at question #14

31. Last time you cried? not sure

32. What time is it? 8:46

***Disclaimer*** My rule-following daughter has informed me that I can't have more than one word answers... hence the name, 32 Question, One Answer Quiz. But, of course, you know, I've got a lot to say.

Something's Missing

Creative Genius has lost his first tooth!


Due to our swimming lessons the last four days, I feel like I am behind at home. So, today, my normal morning "off" I stayed home to get some of mount laundry conquered. I was surprised to have to pull some laundry off the line quickly because of a thunder storm... so I decided that the reprieve from the heat was the perfect time to make some jam with the last of last week's farmer's market fruit.

This is my first batch this year. I never got around to making cherry jam in time, everyone ate them too fast! I hope to make several other flavors before the month's end.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Best Friends

Encouraging my children to be friends with one another is one of the most important jobs that I have. Parents have a lot of influence in this area. I am continually telling each child how much the others like them and that they are best friends. When they are having fun together I try to remember to point out how much they enjoy each other.
I once read an article about relationships. The author pointed out that your siblings are the only ones that you start out with and end with. Your parents will eventually die, you don't get married or have children until you are an adult. Your siblings are there for the duration of the experience.
A great book that I read to the children about sibling friendships is by the Mally children, Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends. It really gaves us all hope that it was possible.

In reading a book recently called Buried Treasure (which I HIGHLY recommend!) Rabbi Lapin explained that you grow closer to someone that you do things for. Sure, children love their parents.. But, it's us, the parents that would do anything for our children - we've spent years serving, caring for and teaching them. It is the act of love that makes us have deep, protective feeling for them. That's a new spin on loving your neighbor for me.

I really thought about this concept relating to my children's relationships with one another. Since reading that I've been encouraging more care between them. The older ones helping the younger but also the younger ones giving to the older. I do see the benefits.

One day I will be gone. I hope that my children will have strong, lasting relationships. I hope that they will be there to support each other through life's hardships and struggles as well as rejoice together in all of the happy moments.

Monday, August 4, 2008


I buy organic milk. We don't drink it but mostly, I just make a lot of yogurt. Or... um... the occasional pudding pop.

Thought I was doing something good.

Not according to Tara, check out what she says about the subject. I sure was interested.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

New Lighting!

When we moved in to our 1914 house, these two light fixtures were up in the living room. I have hated their unmatched ugliness from the beginning.

Last Friday I came home and found that my husband had a little surprise, he put these up!

I just love them. They go well with the walls that we painted red. In some of the pictures you might notice that some of the other walls are just primed (which had wallpaper on them at one time that we took off to find blue walls underneath). We are still discussing what color to paint those!
The ceiling fan got a fresh coat of white paint this afternoon. I'm going to see how it works in the kitchen.
Thanks for getting to that, honey. I really appreciate it!!!
Today, while my daughter was shop, shop, shopping at Ross, I was wading through the housewares there. I found a beautifully framed floral print. I finally used my birthday $$$ my mom gave me last March to buy it. I haven't had anything above the fireplace because I was waiting for the right thing. I'll share it here soon.
Seems like lots of things, house-wise have come together recently. I still have so much to do, though. Stay tuned for our school room rehab.

Really Fresh Fruit

You just can't beat really fresh fruit. Not the kind you buy at the grocery store (incidentally, do you know that the fruit sold at Fred Meyer, here in our little town, is shipped from here, to the warehouse in Portland and then back?) but the kind that comes straight off the tree in to your hand.

Today Sissy and I scored big at the farmer's market. I know that's not as good as picking it yourself but you often place the money in to the hands that actually did. Anyway, I spent a lot of time there today looking for peaches. Everything was $1.69. I finally found one farmer with nectarines for $1.50 a pound and was able to bargain this 30 pound tote of nectarines down to $20.00.

And I have to tell you, these are some of the best I've ever eaten. The juice drips down your elbow. Mmmm.... really fresh fruit.