Friday, April 27, 2007

Guilt and Grace

We all trekked to the courthouse early this morning for my angel's Conservatorship hearing. Praise in that all went quickly and smoothly and I was granted all the powers that were requested.

While we were in the halls waiting for our turn, though, we witnessed several men in chains being escorted through the courthouse. One of them struck me because he was not alone with the deputy. A woman I assumed to be his mother was walking along with him. A few minutes later she came walking back down the hall alone, visibly emotional, and hurried out the nearest exit. Then it occured to me that each of those men was a son, a grandson, a nephew, a brother, and maybe even a husband to someone who loved them and thought they were special. Someone who was worried about them. Someone who was hoping that they would be able to turn their lives around.

After we were home and having lunch, the children and I had a chance to talk about those men. In chains. Guarded and looked upon with suspicion. "Be sure your sin will find you out." Numbers 32:23

We talked about how they were someone's family. I told them that the world may look upon these men as guilty and worthy of being punished. The world may also look at us and think we are a nice family who does nice things. Innocent, if you will. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD." Isaiah 55:8

How would the LORD look at us? "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Genesis 6:5

In the eyes of the LORD, we are all guilty. All worthy of judgement and punishment and death. We, each of us, are walking around in chains. Except when we are seen through the blood that was shed for us. The blood of the sacrifice. The blood of the Lamb. Jesus Christ.

I am thankful that this issue of conservatorship for my son is behind me.

But my eyes fill with tears of joy as I am brought to my knees in gratitude and thanksgiving for something of much greater worth -- the salvation and grace I have received from the LORD my God.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Fun of Corking

Corking2 Now if you are at all like me, you'll read 'corking' and think, "Huh?"

That's what I thought when I first saw this book during my library seach for easy knitting projects. And as usual, if I want to know something, I go to my knowledgeable Uncle Google. And as usual, he gave me some great information as well as some really cool links and ideas!

Corking, also known as a knitting spool, knitting Nancy, or knitting knobby is simply knitting a tube using pegs and a blunt needle instead of knitting needles. So we got the book from the library - it's cool and fun and just FULL of crafts and projects and toys that you can make with your tubes - and daughter promptly discovered it and decided that she wanted to make a small spool, like the one on the cover, so she could make a rope. (She loves to tie things up!) Younger son saw us making hers and he decided he'd like one, too! By the time we were done making younger sons, middle son wanted in on all this knitting action as well.

They are pretty easy to make. All you need is something round and hollow, 1" cloth tape, finishing nails (they are straight with no heads to speak of), yarn and a yarn needle or smaller crochet hook.

We used a toilet paper tube, a 15 oz. can and an large yogurt container. For the toilet paper tube, you cut it along the side, roll it until it is doubled (till the cut sides are even when rolled double-thick - does that make sense?), and tape it closed with the cloth tape. Put a strip of the cloth tape sticky side out around the top of your spool, then you place the two nails together (as one peg) on the tape at 12 o'clock, 3 o'clock, 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock, having the nail heads 1/2" above the rim of your spool. Cover that strip with another strip of cloth tape. Then you seal the top edge, and secure the nails in place by cutting strips of the 1" tape in half lengthwise and taping in between each nail set. That's it!

The instructions for the larger containers are essentially the same, except in placing the nail sets around the rim you will space them 5/8" apart. You may also cover your corker with felt or fabric to make it more decorative, if you wish.

Corking1 This produces a really nice tube and each of the children are very excited about their progress. They all love how easy it is and have a plan for each of their projects. As I mentioned above, daughter plans to make a rope, younger son wants to make a snake (Yuck!), and middle son is planning on a pair of socks. :-)

The work you see here - each son is about halway down his tube in length, and daughter's is coming out the end - was done in the time since Dad came home from work. Not too bad. The best part about it for each of them is that they made it all themselves from things we have here (although I did have to run to the drugstore and get some more cloth tape!)

Here are a few links if you'd like to learn more or get started yourself in corking.

And of course, don't forget to look for this great book, Corking by Judy Ann Sadler, at your local library or bookstore!

Some extra information: If you don't knit, like me :-( then you can use this same principle to make a straight knitter, which is what I am going to do. History: I found some adorable specialty yarn on sale and had visions of knitting a cute something for daughter and granddaughter. Reality: It didn't work. At. All. But now I see that I can simply make a straight corker - a piece of 1x4 wood maybe 8" long with the nails/pegs evenly spaced along the top - and 'knit' some scarves that way. Yeah!! Besides, the children were telling me all evening to make my own because I kept asking them to let me try theirs "just for a minute" ;-)

I'll post a Tutorial on how to make the spool if anyone is interested or would like more information than the directions above.

Girl Finds Amazing Giant Dandelion!


Can you believe it?

This dandelion that daughter found in MY backyard yesterday is 19 inches long from base to tip!

I had NO idea that they could get that big.

Did you?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Malay Chicken Wings


Does the card above give you an indication of

  • A.) How long I've had this recipe?
  • B.) What a messy cook I am?
  • C.) That this is one of our all-time favorite recipes?

YES to all of the above! If you can read the recipe, you'll notice that it uses two pounds of chicken wings, the half tray (8x6??) It has been years since I've made that amount! I used to double it when the boys got a bit older, then I tripled the sauce because everyone wanted extra sauce to put on their rice. For the past six months or so, even that wasn't enough and at the end of the meal everyone complained it was gone, or husband would ask the next day "Aren't there any leftovers?" So tonight, I sixtupled it - which means two large four+ lb. trays with plenty of extra sauce!! (Yes, for those in the know, the misspelling of sixtupled is intentional.) Wow! Even all my hungry boys can't fnish that!

So here is the basic recipe doubled, for those with the average family, because my husband could eat the single recipe by himself! But please know that you can halve it or even double this if your family is large enough!

Malay Chicken Wings

  • 1 pkg. chicken wings (about 4.5 lbs. )
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter - creamy or chunky, whichever you prefer
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 - 2 T. of curry powder
  • 1/2 t. ground cumin
  • 6 T each lime juice (or lemon) and soy sauce
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped (some grated ginger is also very good if you like ginger)

Cut chicken wings at the joints and discard tips. Rinse in strainer and set aside. In large bowl, mix all remaining ingredients until smooth. Stir in chicken to coat. At this point you can leave it to marinate in the fridge for overnight, for a few hours, or you may use it immediately.

To bake, set oven to broil. Spread chicken in large foil-lined pan (metal cookie sheet or baking pan) and broil chicken 4-6 inches from heat for 7-8 minutes, then turn chicken over and broil for 7-8 minutes more. Serve over rice and ENJOY!!


False Prophets: Yesterday and Today

Ezekiel 13: 1-16

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!

O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD.

They have seen vanity and lying, divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word. Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken?

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD. And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.

Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter: Say unto them which daub it with untempered morter, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it.

Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it? Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even rend it with a stormy wind in my fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it.

So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered morter, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered morter, and will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it; to wit, the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and which see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, saith the Lord GOD.

Get Real Monday: The Outfit

When Randi announced the subject of this weeks Get Real, I didn't think I would participate. I'd have to dig through the garage to find my old photo album and then scan whatever photos I found - and the new scanner husband bought last year still hasn't made nice with me.

But as I was doing my Bible reading this morning, it occured to me that I could participate and there was an outfit that I would be ashamed of being caught in. Actually, a few of them.

I would like to never been seen dressed in:

  • Impatience. The one that says "I'm busy" or "What do you want?" in that really ugly tone of voice, not only getting rid of the disturbance, but crushing the tender spirit in the process.
  • Selfishness/Frustration. This one is all too common, unfortunately. Selfishness puts my desires and present wants above anything else and Frustration is its closest companion when those wants are interrupted or interferred with.
  • Harshness. This is the harsh or grievous word that stirs up anger; the opposite of the "soft answer (that) turneth away wrath." Proverbs 15:1
  • A Critical and Complaining spirit. I can so easily find fault and pick at each little detail that was/is not done properly, why can I not just as easily praise and find those things that were done well? I know that when I am dressed like this I certainly am NOT being obedient to the word of God. "Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights of the world; Holding forth the word of life;" Philippians 2:14-16


I pray that I may always be clothed in "a word fitly spoken" (Pr. 25:11), and in "Charity (love) (that) suffereth long, and is kind; (that) envieth not; (that) vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, (that) doth not behave itself unseemly, (that) seeketh not her own, (that) is not easily provoked, (that) thinketh no evil; (that) rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; (that) beareth all things, (that) believeth all things, (that) hopeth all things and endureth all things." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Above all, may I be clothed in wisdom and understanding, which begins with the fear of the LORD.

Friday, April 20, 2007


The dictionary says that a conservator is "one who conserves or preserves from injury, violation, or infraction; protector. One who is responsible for the person and property of an incompetent." Wikipedia says that a conservator is "someone appointed by a court to manage the affairs or estate of a person who is deemed incapable due to reasons such as age or mental limitations."

A week from today I will go to court hoping that the judge will grant me Conservatorship over my oldest son, my angel. It's been a more emotional road than I thought it would be.

From the beginning I was his mother, he was my son, and I made all decisions concerning everything - that's that way it is and as his mother, that's the way it will always be, right? I was in La-La-Land. Nobody told me any different and so I kept believing that this was reality. Well, I was awakened one perfectly normal spring day last year. Nothing earth shattering. Nothing dramatic. Just a simple annual IEP. (Individualized Education Plan) All was going along as usual, each person presenting their report of my son and the areas they felt should be worked on for the year ahead. Then it came time to sign. A simple thing really. Just sign on the line, acknowledging that I, his mother, am in agreement with the IEP. Then it happened. The Director, a very sweet woman whom I had sat across from at every IEP for the past seven years, all of a sudden halts midway while handing me the pen. "Do you have Conservatorship of him?" "Umm . . . no," I answer with a puzzled look on my face. "Oh, then we'll need him to sign it." HUH?? They want my son to sign a legally binding document? My son, who although 19 at the time, has the mental capabilities of a 15 month old? You've got to be kidding me. Well, they weren't. So a pen is placed in his hand which he promptly tries to drop because he is tactile defensive. His arm is moved toward the paper, which is difficult because of his unexplainable, incredible strength. A mark is made. A mark which is now somehow proof that my son has given his legal consent and agreement to whatever happens to be written on these papers that he neither cares nothing for, nor can possibly understand. I was allowed to sign as a courtesy.

I had heard of conservatorship before, but only vaguely and usually as something adult children seek for their aging parents. Well, please believe that I went home and searched all over the internet to find out about Conservancies and Conservatorship. What I found and read made me even more upset. Appearantly, the usual time to start the process of a Conservatorship is when the child in question is 16-17 years old. This way all advance paperwork can be done and upon turning 18 the only thing left to do is simply go before the Judge for approval. If no Conservatorship is sought, and the disabled child/adult is a client of the Regional Center (for our state, this is the agency that oversees all disabled children and makes sure that they have whatever equipment or services are needed) then the Regional Center, by default, becomes the Conservator. My son has been a client of the Regional Center for over 18 years -- WHY has no one ever told me about this?

Long story a little shorter, I found an attorney who does nothing but Conservatorships for the disabled and after a short interview and a large check, the process of gaining Conservatorship over my son was begun. As I mentioned in My Angel, the process has not been hard, just emotionally draining.

First I had to deal with and get over what I saw as the stupidity of needing to prove that my son needed protecting. The state, California, presumes that anyone reaching the age of 18 years, regardless of a handicapping condition, is capable of exercising the rights of an adult. So, I need to go before a judge with evidence of my sons' inability to care for himself.

Another thing that caught me off guard were the reports on my son. Some reports, like the medical report from his doctor and the IEP from school, were full of all the technical lingo that is supposed to describe my son. Others, like the report from the Regional Center, brought me to tears because it affirmed everything I have done in mothering my special son and because of its recommendation that I be granted Conservatorship in every area: to decide his residence, to have access to all papers and records that concern him, to make all legal decisions for him, the right to decide if he may marry (a moot point, but one to have nonetheless), the right to authorize or withhold medical treatment, the right to control whom he comes in contact with, and to decide where and how he shall be educated. On the other hand, I realized that my tears were tears of frustration as well. If, as the report states, I am so very involved in his life and they recognize that all the decisions I've made have been in his best interest, then WHY do we need to go through all of this? My struggle is largely an internal one.

My_angel Will I feel differently next week? If/When I am granted Conservatorship, will it all be water under the bridge? Maybe. But I certainly know that once again my eyes have been opened to something that they never saw before - something I had never thought about. (Placing him in a care home was another experience that opened my eyes, but I'm not ready to share all of that yet.) I know that I am not as innocent anymore, not as trusting. I can no longer trust the institutions that are there to support my son or the people in those institutions to tell me what I need to know. I can no longer trust that I'm well-informed in all the issues that may involve or concern my son. Now, all things will be heard with a grain of salt until I can verify it for myself.

I have come out of La-La-Land.

In a way that is good, but in another way I think it is terribly sad.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Productive Visit

Wow! Nothing like a trip away from home, with your sewing machine, to get things done!

A day long visit with friends was not only lots of fun, but very productive,too. I set up my sewing machine and we chatted while the children all played and I worked on a few of my projects.

Done_dresses_2 Oskirt

*I was able to finish the last of the three dresses (pink one on right) as well as an extra dress (green) that I had started last spring along with this blue one! (see how bad I am?) I also got a tiered skirt finished for one of my grandaughters, the lovely Miss O!

Cookies1_2 Cookies2


And while all this sewing and chatting was going on, the little ones perched themselves up on this stepladder and made some cookies! Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. YUMM!

Cookies3_2 They look delicious, don't they? Well, when they came out of the oven, everyone couldn't wait to taste one!

We all took a bite and - - - ewww - - - what's that? They were really, and I mean really, salty!

The older boys took up the investigation into what happened and come to find out that the little ones added 1/4 cup of salt instead of 1/4 teaspoon!!

Oh well, a lesson learned. Luckily, friend and I had picked up a bag of new Strawberry Milkshake Oreos when we were at the store earlier so we had something to fall back on. ;-)

All in all, a very good day - spent with friends - What could be better?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Oh, the Simple Pleasures

We took a holiday from school because of Dad's new job promotion and here is a photographic account of where the day has taken us.

We started off at JoAnn's for their sale . . . . .


. . and got some fabric to make a few things for my granddaughter (the adorable butterflies will be a dress with a pink band at the bottom and a matching hat with pink lining, the green floral will be a dress with matching hat, with the green stripe for the lining, and the blue will be a tiered skirt with the light blue as a tiered top! see patterns below) . . . .


. . . . and they had patterns on sale, too! I might have been able to resist but they were only 99 cents!! You know, of course, of my weakness.

And - while we were over at that side of town, we might as well stop in at a few of the thrift shops and see if there's anything new!


I was soooooo happy to find a lovely pitcher and large covered candy dish to add to my collection. What a treat! I was also able to find a small cruet with stopper, a tumbler, and a relish tray. All had for under $15 total!!

Then went home for lunch and chores.


Son is replanting some of our garden - cucumbers, tomatoes and eggplants, I think.


And daughter came outside to finish the little counted cross stitch she started yesterday.


It's so sweet -- both of her brothers have commented on what a great job she's doing. This is her first time doing counted cross stitch and after I helped her how to find the middle and count outward, she did the rest totally on her own. She's very pleased and ready to tackle something a little bigger!


Our dog-girl wanted a picture,too! She's a Corgi-mix that we were thrilled to find at the animal shelter last year as a second dog & companion for our little dog-boy, who is a Russell Terrier/Dachsund mix (another shelter find!)

That's it. The rest of the day will be spent ironing and in cleaning up my kitchen table - AGAIN!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Just Some Stuff

It's just been a day, or a few days as the case may be, and I have an hundred thoughts going around my head -- none of which will be still long enough for me to put some coherent words together for posting! So, I'll just post some of my random thoughts and hope they make at least a bit of sense.

I'm on the last stage of daughter's last dress (the pink one). Waist seam and four buttons are all that's left. Hopefully it will be done before the weekend!

I've been working on a cute poncho for my younger granddaughter, when it's done I'll get pictures.

Laundry has been my shadow for almost the past week and I'll be glad when the sun can shine freely on my washing machine again! (there's a metaphor in there somewhere, or is it a simile?, but I can't find it right now ;-)

Invitation I'm giving my mother a 70th birthday party this June and so that has taken a lot of my thoughts recently. It's been a little more stressful than I thought it would be, but in general all is going well. She finally gave me the guest list which put me into action on making the invitations! This is a rough draft, if you please. It's made with the Roses in Winter set from Stampin' Up!, which is not only beautiful but extremely versatile. This is the design I'll be using - I think I like the color combinations and the weight of the three roses on the bottom. It will be mounted on the blue cardstock at the top.

Rsvp_photo I've already made the RSVP cards, which are just the opposite of the invitation, almost. I printed them on the green cardstock at the bottom of the picture and mounted them on white cardstock stamped with the roses. When I'm all finished with them, I'll get a photo for posterity!

Our little garden outside is doing well, and not so well. The corn is taking hold and growing, as are the radishes and carrots, in spite of the fact that the dogs think the planter boxes are there for them to practice their hurdle jumps on! My cabbage is coming up beautifully, and the squash and peppers are, too. We need to re-plant the beans, though, and probably the eggplant.

For school, we've been learning about colonial history both for this country and Australia. We read about Jamestown colony today. A few weeks ago, we also borrowed the PBS series Colonial House and Frontier House from the library and had a great time watching them and talking about if we would be able to do that! Colonial would be a bit harsh for me - don't think I could do that. But Frontier House was totally something that we could see ourselves at - even though it would be incredibly hard work from sunrise till sundown. Then as an off-shoot of that, I checked out some books on pioneer/frontier history. They are all letters written by women of the time, to friends and family, describing their experiences. I've started one and I'm looking forward to reading the others as well. Here are some of the books I've discovered: Letters of a Woman Homesteader, Apron Full of Gold, Covered Wagon Women (a Series of 9 books), and Bachelor Bess. On a side note: we've been trying to do without lights in the evening at least a few times a week. As the sun goes down, we get out the candles and will have dinner or do chores, or read by candlelight. It's amazing even to the children that after a while they feel tired and ready for bed. We're all learning how the artificial time created by electric lights really affects us. If the lights are on and we stay busy, it can be 10:00 pm or later before anyone thinks of bed, but with the candles glowing we're all ready to get in bed before 9:00pm! It's pretty interesting.

Babyk_2 Here's a picture of sweet little baby K that I made the blanket for. My niece sent it today, along with some great pictures taken with K's big brother! Isn't she irresistible?

I experimented this morning with our breakfast. I had lots of ripe bananas to use and was planning on Banana Bread, but have been having a hankering for Pumpkin Bread. What to do? Combine them of course! I compared the recipes and ended up doubling the Banana Bread recipe, except instead of using more bananas, I added an equal amount of pumpkin! There were some cranberries in the cupboard so they went in -- and husband doesn't think it's really a quick bread without nuts - in they went, too! What did we end up with? The most delicious Banana Pumpkin Cranberry Nut Bread!! Really! We all agreed that it was excellent - not too banana-y and not too pumkin-ny, either. The perfect blending of the two.

I think I've just gone over my allotted time --

Oh!! But I did want to point your attention up to the list on the right of Posts I've Enjoyed from other blogs. If you have a few minutes, check out some great writing and tips - at least ones that I found helpful for my own life.

May you be blessed today!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Blogging and Life

I'm thinking today about blogging and what it means to me, how it fits into my life, and how I think about the lovely blogs that I read for ideas, encouragement, and a smile.

A blog that I visit regularly, actually one of the first blogs I ever read when I discovered the "World of Blogs" and also the one that inspired me to start blogging, has had a bit of ugliness visit it recently. Not in the way you might think, either. It came in the guise of some regular visitors and commenters, the ones who coo and fawn over all the lovelies and praise the encouragement. It came from feeling as if they 'know' this particular blogging lady, from expectations they apparently have of her, possibly from a lack in their own lives, and maybe feeling as if she owes them something, too.

What could cause all of this? Something as simple as having a life outside of blogging and enjoying it! She took a break from blogging to tend to family needs, then was back for little bit, and as often happens, got caught up in daily life and enjoying her little ones and caring for her home and husband - a life that had nothing to do with the computer. Imagine! Upset by her absence, a few visitors took the opportunity to use her "chat box" and proceeded to use words such as rude and inconsiderate in describing this gentle lady whom only the week before they were praising and blessing. What is even sadder is that these are women who profess to be believers in Jesus Christ.

So how do we view blogs? Is it just fun? Something to do? A way to connect with others while caring for home and family? Or are there blogs that we expect certain things from? A post every day? One that usually is funny and today's post isn't? Or a blog that makes us think has suddenly put up something trivial? How do we get to the point of feeling like the blogger needs to inform us of every action and absence? How do we get to the point of feeling like the blogger needs to check with us before she goes off and lives her life? What do we expect from the blogs we read?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Grandma & John Muir

Grandma and her buddy, Miss L, came up on the train today for a visit. (Grandma doesn't like to have her picture taken, so most photos will be from the back ;-)


Waiting in the cold for the train to arrive . . . . .


Then on to visit the John Muir National Historic Site. We've been there three times now. It's a lovely spot and interesting (and fun) to look through the house. Miss L hadn't been there before so we thought she would enjoy it.


We get to climb all the way to the top of the house and ring the bell in the bell tower!


Beautiful! We're walking across the grounds over to the Adobe House. Grandma, youngest son barely visible up ahead, Miss L and middle son. Daughter was hiding behind some trees on the right!


Sons having a bit of fun on the way back . . . .


. . . and daughter resting on an odd-shaped palm tree.


And a nice stroll along the shoreline after lunch, before it's time to catch the train home again.

It was a great day, if a bit windy. But then it's always a bit windy. BTW, Grandma and Miss L loved daughter's new dress.

Protecting Our Children's Hearts

Jmuir If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and desire His best for your family, then I would encourage you to click the link and read an excellent post about protecting our children's hearts & minds.

Protecting Our Children's Hearts by Country Diary Of A Twenty First Century Lady

A few excellent excerpts:

It is a dangerous thing to cave in to what others think and we must be on guard of our own personal pressures that we allow in or catering to our children's whims and whines. How many times parents have paid the price for giving in, even on a small scale to these emotions.

Many times the very thing their children think they need is the cause for future stumbling and destruction to their lives


Your child was given just for you to parent and not someone else. God places within your heart what He knows is best for your particular situation. No one else will understand like the Lord what is in the heart of your child. He gave you to be the parent to this particular one, not someone else who wasn't given the same instructions. What may seem overprotective to an outsider may be just what was needed to help your child overcome a weak area in their lives. Trust God, believe in His word and let the world teach their own children.

I hope you are challenged and blessed.

Diary of Three Dresses, part 5

Another one finished! Deadlines and special events spur me to action like nothing else. How about you?

Well, the special event that spurred this dress was a visit from Grandma. As I was getting everyone organized, bathed and ready for her visit tomorrow, Henrietta piped in that this would be a great time to finish the doggie dress that daughter has been wanting to wear for weeks. Thank you Hen! Into action we go!!


Fortunately, the skirt and bodice were complete, we just needed to gather & pin them together after sewing the buttonholes. Henrietta is quite the professional at this now and it was done in no time!


Collecting pins one by one by one as the seam is slowly and carefully sewn.


Now we're ready to sew on the buttons and finish hand sewing the inside sleeve band facing. Miss Hen is always prepared - needle, thread, scissors, buttons and our favorite thimble!


All Done! She's going to look great tomorrow (today!!) And please notice the pieced band around the bottom. What trouble we had when we got distracted while sewing that!! (Henrietta doesn't like to think of it ;-)


Now rest, Hen. Rest and dream. And thank you for your help and encouragement!

(I'll post pictures of daughter in her dress tomorrow!!)

Pseudo-Ripple Afghan

Over halfway through with it! (It's for middle son and I will probably enter it in the Fair.)


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Picture This! : Genesis

A little bit of history: Several years ago at a homeschool convention, a friend and I went to an Exhibitor session where you get to actually see what the product is and how it works. This one was for something called Picture This! Draw Your Way Through The Bible. We got to do one of the lessons, which was rushed because of time limits, but it was still a lot of fun! There was no way I could buy it though -- just not in the budget :-(

Fast Forward Two Years: I was browsing at one of my favorite used book stores, just kind of looking right and left as I walk through the aisles toward the register and something catches my eye. Huh? I turn and find the CD for Picture This! for only $5.00. FIVE dollars! WOW! I quickly grab it and purchase it before someone realizes that a mistake has been made! ;-) Note: the CD retails new for $75.00

We started at the beginning and are slowly and somewhat steadily working our way through the Bible, book by book. May I present Genesis, which was done last year, April of 2006.


This was done by daughter, 7 years old at the time. The idea of Picture This! is to tell the story of the book on one page. Obviously, some things will need to be left out or condensed, but it is a general overview to help you remember the theme, people, and events of the book. There are also symbols which are used throughout the Picture This! drawings - the first and most important one being the three-fold cloud which stands for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


This picture was drawn by youngest son at age 10. You can follow the events of creation, man in the Garden with the trees of Good/Evil and Life, the fall of satan and the temptation of Eve. Do you know Genesis 3:15? They were cast out, had many sons and daughters and time moved along until Noah, the Flood, the rainbow of Genesis 9:17, the increase of man, the Tower of Babel, the spread of man, and finally Abraham.


This was drawn by middle son at age 12. Continuing our story, God makes a promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:2,3, he and Lot separate, after he rescues Lot from his kidnapping he is blessed with gifts from Melchizedek (Do you know that we, as believers, are part of the preisthood after the order of Melchizedek along with Jesus? Read Hebrews!!). Later, Lot sins with his daughters and the Ammonites and Moabites are started. Abraham has had Ishmael, the father of the Arabs, with the handmaid Hagar and then Isaac, the promised child. His faith is tested - Genesis 22:8.


This is my picture - you don't need to know how old I am ;-) Isaac marries and has twin sons Esau and Jacob. Esau sells his birthright, marries foreign women and becomes the father of the Edomites. Jacob, later re-named Israel, the son of the covenant, marries the sisters Leah and Rachel and has 12 sons which will later become the 12 tribes of Israel. Joseph, the 11th son and the favorite, is sold into slavery by his older brothers and taken to Egypt. He serves each of his masters faithfully and rises to a position of power where he is then able to help his family who come to Egypt seeking food during the time of famine - all in the masterful hands of the LORD. Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers and the whole family come to live in the land of Goshen in Egypt under the protection of Joseph and the Pharaoh. Time passes, Israel dies, Joseph dies, and time keeps moving on. To Be Continued . . . .

Monday, April 9, 2007

Visions of Purple


I've been slowly, quietly working on the Three Dresses and was spurred to finish this purple one for Easter!

These lovely sisters, the daughters of a good homeschooling friend, are just as pretty as can be in their coordinating dresses. I made the dress for big sister, and Mom made the sweet jumper for little sister.

Note: These are also the girls for whom this jumper and dress were made.

If you are interested in some personalized sewing for your daughter/s, then please contact me and I would be happy to work with you.


Acid Test

This school year is the first time I've ever used any Sonlight Curriculum - I purchased Intro to World Cultures and Science for level K. We've really enjoyed it and the reading has been just what I wanted - something just for daughter and I to snuggle up with, me reading to her and she reading to me, as well as talking and sharing and doing really fun stuff like . . . .

Today daughter and I had great fun (her brothers watched eagerly from the sidelines) testing for the presence of acids in various items. One of the books that we've been using is Usborne Science in the Kitchen, which is what guided us today.

Science1 We started out by cutting up some red cabbage and boiling it in a saucepan full of water. After it cooled (while we were gone for piano lessons ;-) , then we strained it, poured it into several plastic cups and added various liquids to see if they were acids or not. If the cabbage water stays the same deep blue color, then there is no acid present. Any color change, especially to red or purple, indicates the presence of an acid.

Do you want to see our results? Well, Okay -


From left to right, we tested: red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, milk, fresh lemon juice, plain natural yogurt, soda pop, salt and sugar. (The salt cup is behind the soda and sugar cups.)

It was Very Cool watching the colors change before our eyes, and to see the different shades indicating more or less acids. The milk hardly changed at all, the salt and sugar stayed just the same. The lemon juice was the most extreme reaction, along with the vinegars. The yogurt was interesting - I didn't think it would change that much, and the cola changed slightly to a deep muave-ish-purple.

We are enjoying science so much that we may just do Sonlight Science next year, too. The best part of it is watching the great Discover & Do DVD that is made just for Sonlight (in John & Sarita's kitchen, no less!!) Each DVD segment demonstrates the little lessons being taught in the Usborne Science books (Science in the Kitchen, Science with Plants, and Science with Air). Sometimes we just put the DVD in and we all watch it just for fun!

Get Real Monday: Favorites

Randi's theme for this Get Real Monday is favorite things. At first I was overwhelmed at the possibilities. How can I choose my favorite things? There are so many of them! Then as I was reading over some others favorites, it hit me - and I knew what my true favorite things are.

But I first need to explain that really my favorite things are not things at all. The more I thought about those things that I hold most dear, I envisioned faces and times and memories and hopes. The things that are my favorite are the things that have value both now and for all eternity.

  1. Bible My Bible, in the King James Version. It is the word of God preserved through the centuries; my source of encouragement, strength, peace, comfort, and wisdom, and a tool that the Holy Spirit uses to mold me and refine me as I read, read, read from Genesis through Revelation and back again. It is kept under my pillow and is the first thing I read in the morning and the last thing I read before turning off the light at bedtime.
  2. My husband! He works for us, provides abundantly for us, makes us laugh and keeps us in line. When times are rough, he's there with strength and a solution. He's the calm in the storm and I am so thankful for him.
  3. My Children! As hard as it can be sometimes, I am blessed to have three incredible sons and one amazing daughter. I love their laughter, their hugs, even their tears. I love hearing their ideas and seeing their eyes light up when they have a plan! There are so many times when I sit back and am absolutely astonished at being blessed with these four souls. Being responsible for training them and leading them in the straight and narrow path which leads to life is overwhelming and yet so abundantly rewarding.
  4. Homeschooling! I'm even more blessed in that the LORD led us to keep them home for schooling in order to not only protect them from the world and to educate them to the very best of their abilities, but to truly bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the LORD. Ephesians 6 Homeschooling has been the anvil that I have been forged upon in a way unlike anything else. While at times it is my greatest trial, it is also one of the things I love the most.
  5. Our time reading the Bible as a family. We each read a chapter out loud, going slowly, explaining as needed. When they gain a new understanding, see something they never noticed or paid attention to before, or remember something similar from another chapter or book, it's wonderful to see the workings of their minds, the visible "click" of knowledge gained, and the excitement they have for the word of Life.
  6. Hymns! I'm so thankful for the dear and faithful believers of ages past who were led by the Holy Spirit to compose songs of joy and praise to the LORD. Who, during times of intense suffering, wrote lines of such intense beauty that you cannot help but be drawn closer to God. One of my favorite times is when before and after our Bible reading, we sing hymns as a family. The children take turns choosing which ones we sing - and yes, there are some that we sing over and over and over. ;-)
  7. Books! In the same vein with hymns, I am grateful for believers who have taken the time to write and share their knowledge and wisdom. The Holy Spirit has opened my eyes through the writings of several faithful brothers and sisters in Christ - as regards music, clothing, training children, being a wife and mother, Bible versions, friendships, hospitality and more! I consider them the older women or fathers in the faith teaching and training me. I need to add here that I used to just read for the sake of reading. No longer. I now carefully choose the books I read, and if it is claiming to be teaching something Christian, I make sure that it agrees with the whole counsel of God (the Whole Bible, not just a verse or chapter or book.) Sadly, much of what is written today is simply the fluff of the world re-written and re-packaged for 'itching ears.'
  8. Uplifting Ministries. Several years ago as I was doing some reading on the history of the Bible, how different versions came to be, and all the different preserved texts used, I started thinking about all of the ministries that I really benefitted from. I was surprised to find that they all had one thing in common - they all used the King James Version of the Bible. These are a few of the ministries that I have gained eternal wisdom and encouragement from: Titus2 (The Maxwell Family), No Greater Joy, Keepers of the Faith (look at their Articles section for some great, thought-provoking reading), Mantle Ministries, and Answers In Genesis.

Be sure to click on the Get Real link above to find out what other favorite things are out there!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

What NOT to Wear


Exploring a favorite, but seldom visited site, and I found this gem.

"What Not To Wear" from Creative Ladies Ministry from a link at Welcome Home.

Are you well dressed?

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Recipes & Menu Plans & Schedules & Tips & Resources

Schedules and I have never really gotten along. We've tried to get past simply nodding an acknowledgement when we see each other, but it never works for long. The schedule looks so nice across the room, it's organized squares all neatly filled in and ready for each and every hour. The closer I get to it, though, the more my self balks at following orders. It is a struggle I deal with all the time.

My real struggle is within myself. You see, I WANT a schedule. I NEED a schedule. But when it comes to having one in front of me, I'm fine for a day or two and then I rebel. Actually my lazy self takes over and starts questioning, "Do we really need to do that today?" "I don't feel like doing that right now. Let's do it later." ( and you know how seldom "later" comes around.) Or I just pretend that the schedule isn't even there - don't pull it out, don't look at it, don't think about it.

I've made schedules before. FLYLady has incredible lists and plans for keeping your home clean on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. MOTH - Managers Of Their Homes - by Terri Maxwell, is a great resource for any mom, but especially for homeschooling moms. With this tool you can plan everything from cleaning chores, mealtimes, schoolwork, playtime, individual time with Mom, and more. I've also given OAMC - Once A Month Cooking a try. All of these are wonderful and when I've done them, I've felt better and reaped the benefits of following The Plan.

Hawaii1 Proverbs speaks very clearly to all of my selfish delaying and ignoring:

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man. 6:6-11

The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked. He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame. 10: 3-5

He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding. 12:11, 28:19

The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat. 13:4

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. 14:12, 16:25

In all labor there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury. 14:23

He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster. 18:9

Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger. 19:15

Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread. 20:13

He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich. 21:17

Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. 24:3-4

I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man. 24:30-34

Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens. 27:23-27

And among the Proverbs 31 Woman's many accomplishments, these are the ones I will apply to this point:

She worketh willingly with her hands . . . She riseth while it is yet night . . . with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard . . . She is not afraid of the snow for her household . . . She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

Hawaii2 Very sobering words. The LORD is very clear about the differences between the wise and diligent man (woman) and the slothful fool and the rewards each will reap. I KNOW the benefits of a schedule, or at the very least a regular routine. So, with wisdom and grace, I am taking small steps to add order to our days.

One of the first ways I've been doing this is making a weekly school assignment sheet for each of the children. The basic idea for this came again from Terri Maxwell at If you'll take some time to explore the site, you will find a treasure trove of ideas for just about everything. (I was blown away when I first saw examples of other families chore charts and the regular tasks that three-year-olds were doing when I thought my five-year-old was too young. ) Here is where I saw examples of assignment sheets. We don't always follow the assignments exactly, and the children are free to work ahead in any area they'd like to, but it is a guide for our day and the children's time. We've been using this for over a year now, sometimes loosely and sometimes more structured to fit the situation, with pretty good success.

I've also been working slowly and steadily at cleaning and organizing the most used corners of our home. These are the corners where everything gets set down and it takes constant vigilance to keep picked up and clean. There is no trick to this. It simply takes plain old-fashioned diligence. FLYLady's site has a lot of great helps for decluttering your home, basic routines for cleaning, and encouragements, too. As she always says, "You can do anything for 15 minutes!"

What I'm currently working on is planning at least a weekly menu for our meals. In the past I've excitedly written out the plan and gone shopping for necessary ingredients, only to get busy or off track and cook two or three of the six planned meals. My other problem is that when I sit down to plan, my mind gets fuddled and I can only remember about 7 meals that we like and eat regularly. So, in order to be realistic and have a better foundation for planning, I've been using Crystal's really cute Menu Planning Calendars for the past few months to keep track of what we eat, how often we end up eating out, have leftovers, etc. It has been a great tool and an eye-opener, too. Looking over the past two months it is very interesting to see that we have spaghetti every other week, and always on Monday. Hmm . . . Now, honestly, I haven't been totally diligent, and there are some nights where nothing is written because by the time I thought about it - usually four or five days later - I could only remember the last few meals and not what we had four nights ago! I'm trying a lot of new recipes this month also and so my plan is to keep track of what we eat for the rest of this month and then in May try my hand at actually planning breakfasts and dinners with enough leftovers for lunch the next day.

So, what are some of the new recipes we've tried? Well, again, Crystal, a homeschooling, homesteading mother of 8 and grandmother to 1 sweet granddaughter, has just the greatest site and the best information on all kinds of things (I'd like to be her when I grow up!) In her Homestead Kitchen, she has a wide variety of nutrition information and wonderful recipes. We've been cooking with beans this week.

Now the first thing you need to do is soak your beans in water overnight, or at least set them to soak in the morning for use that night. The reason for this is that legumes (beans), grains, nuts and seeds naturally have phytic acid. Phytic Acid is called an antinutrient because it binds to calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. Essentially, it is a magnet for these minerals and will either attract them from the foods you are eating or will draw them from your own body. NOT a good thing. Soaking helps to remove the phytic acid as well as making the other nutrients more available for you to digest. Beans can simply soak in water but grains will need to soak in water with whey, yogurt or buttermilk which have lactic acid to help break down the grain and increase the nutrients available for you to digest. Good thing! What does all this take? Advance planning! What am I working on? Advance planning and eating healthier! A Perfect Fit!!

(Note: Brown Rice or any other similar grain is soaked using the amount of water needed for cooking PLUS 2 Tablespoons of whey, plain yogurt with live cultures, or cultured buttermilk. Soak at least 7 hours and then cook for normal cooking time. Beans are soaked in lots of water - cover and double. Drain water after soaking overnight or all day, then add fresh water for cooking. As beans cook, skim off foam that comes to surface and add more water if needed. Beans will need to cook for two hours or until tender. Both of these are easily cooked the day before and saved in the refrigerator for use the next day for quick and nutritious easy meals.)

Okay - Okay - Recipes! We started off our week with Crystal's recipe for Sloppy Joe's. These were Great! Healthy soaked black beans and all natural ingredients and full of flavor. I had the last of the leftovers of this two days later and it was even better than the first night. Definitely a recipe that will be added to our list of favorites. Next we had Red Beans & Rice. I had soaked and cooked the beans and the rice the day before, so this went together really easily for our lunch. For me, it was alright but what surprised me is that son and husband - one of which doesn't like brown rice and the other who likes neither brown rice nor beans - both really enjoyed this! Wow! Maybe we won't have it as often, but certainly one to keep in our recipe box. Refried Beans and Refried Bean Soup are planned for next week, and son wants to try the Bean Burgers (with brown rice.)

Great! I've covered recipes, menu planning, scheduling, and lots of priceless resources. Let me give you one more resource and a tip to finish off with.

If you are interested in feeding healthy foods to your family and haven't read Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, then I would encourage you to check it out. I found it at my local library and so was able to look through it to decide if it was worth purchasing. It Is! I don't agree with everything she has in the book, but WOW! What an abundance of history and information about all the ways people ate for centuries without the diseases and cancers we face on an almost daily basis in our current culture of "instant food."

Hawaii3 Tip: Toothpaste!! Did you know that you can clean things, besides your teeth, with toothpaste?

Use plain white toothpaste 1/2 and 1/2 with petroleum jelly to clean wooden instruments such as guitars and violins.

White toothpaste will remove Kool-Aid or juice stains from little faces - and big faces, too! ;-)

Use toothpaste with flouride to clean silver flatware.

Use toothbrush and toothpaste to clean your jewelry. It polishes beautifully! (I tried it this morning and my wedding ring is glistening today!)

You had no idea, did you? ;-)

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Overheard Funnies

Upon seeing a dog wandering down the street,

daughter asks, "Is it a stray?"

Son answers, "No, I think it's a Lab."


Cleaning up in the backyard, daughter finds a bulb.

daughter says, "What's it good for?"

Mom says, "It's a bulb. A gopher would love it."

Daughter says, "What's a gopher? Is that a guy who goes golfing?"

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Last Remnants of Childhood

My little one is turning 9 this year.

School1 As she gets older, the trappings of childhood are falling away. I so want to preserve every moment and cherish it. Like how she lays on the floor and does her schoolwork with the dogs settled around her. Or her sweet voice reading out loud to me, sounding out the new words, making sense of the different phonograms, and finding success! Pictures of she and her chicken all over the backyard, laying in the sun, the chicken in the sling, and her total confidence and gentleness in handling this very spoiled bird. Her tenderness as she cuddles up with me, making sure we are both covered with the blanket. How she uses every basket and box and container as a place to hold or put her many beanie babies to bed. The way she still seeks my lap and the warmth of my arms around her first thing in the morning. Her laughter. Her sense of fun and humor. Her wonderful creativity and even her dramas. How she says "Brefkast" and I don't want to correct her because it is so cute and the only thing she mis-pronounces anymore. She will say breakfast the right way for the rest of her life. These are the things I hold on to.

How will she change as the years keep going by? I pray that she would grow not only in grace and stature, but would seek after gentleness and the beauty of a quiet spirit that can weather whatever life may have in store. I pray that she would seek after quiet places, those things of value, lasting value, eternal value, and not be enticed or diverted by the way of the multitude. I pray that I can be the example she needs me to be.

School I don't know what the future holds for her, or for any of us. I don't even know what will happen tomorrow. All I am responsible for is today, this hour, this moment. Please LORD, may I always be aware of my thoughts and the tone of my voice. May I always have a ready smile on my face for these precious treasures you've given us. May I remember how fleeting time is. And may I continually seek after you.

Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way. Stablish thy word into thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear. Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good. Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness. Psalm 119:33-40