Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday's Week in Review...

Highlights of our week:
  • On Monday I caused us to miss a field trip to the Southern Pines Police Station...just crazy and didn't check my calendar Sunday night (maybe I was too psyched about seeing Jack Ryan again?). We ran into friends who didn't forget the field trip at W*endy's for lunch, so that was a nice bonus...and when I remembered I had forgot. We finished our errands and our last minute Thanksgiving shopping for cream cheese, 1/2 n' 1/2 (well, not really for Thanksgiving, but you gotta have the cream w/the coffee!) and butter (Land o' Lakes on sale for $2!!) and 25 other things that weren't even on our list. Oh, and felt for cow spots...that's where Nate turned the cart over on himself by standing on the side in the craft department...and where I think I talked to B. (I'm still having PTS flashbacks from the moment the cart and Nate hit the floor!) When Joe came home...he suggested we eat out and check out the "F*urniture Liquid*ator" store I had discovered last week with 50% off prices (lost lease and going out of business) the Veggie soup was placed in the fridge and we set out for Sanford. We're sleeping on our furniture decision for the den furniture we truly need, but came home with matching bean bag chairs that will be useful for the kids.
  • On Tuesday, we had friends over to play and to share homemade veggie soup for lunch. This play date was for Nate (and his mom) and his new "buddy Jackson" (and his mom). They played pretty well together for three year olds (there was no body slamming or eye gouging involved). I think Emily felt a little left out, but honestly that's a life lesson she needs...Nate gets shut out often when the 'girls' are here.
  • On Wednesday, the "girls" were here. We had Covenant Kids Choir practice for our Christmas musical on December 7th @ 6pm (consider yourself invited!), just one quick run through for the kids with no/little speaking parts. I brought home costumes to finish up...angel robes to adjust, cows for felt spots additions...and coveralls for the cleaning crew characters that I'm just not sure I can make work...but maybe an idea will hit me. We brought S&S home with us, while my friend J went shopping for the very last things on both our lists for tomorrow's cooking (I needed allspice, poultry seasoning, splenda and milk...$2.99 a gallon at the Teeter*...woo-hoo!). There are many things to be thankful for...especially a friend who'll trade child care for Wal*marting!
  • I spent Wednesday evening procrastinating...blowing my getting-stuffier-by-the-minute nose...and trying to get my gumption up to go ahead and start the baking...I never did.
  • Thursday morning, I got up early, about 6 am and started on the list: Momma's/Tutor's Prune cake, sweet potato casserole, green beans, mashed potatoes, Loretta's Layered Salad (used to be 7-layer salad, but I've adjusted the recipe so's not even 7 layers anymore), Roasted Pecan Dressing, Cranberry-Orange Relish, splenda-sweetened tea, and getting the turkeys ready for Joe to marinate and deep fry...It was really a low stress day, I had things planned out and really enjoyed cooking. It was such a beautiful day and the kids were outside a lot. I did keep feeling like a scratchy throat was beginning to develop. Judi, Kayla and Granma came over around 3, bringing their contributions to our meal. In all fairness, when I developed our menu, there was a possibility of 5 more guests...but it was still over-kill ;) We ate together, laughed together, napped together, played games and planned our black Friday attack while watching Holiday movies piled up in the den.
  • Friday morning at 3 am...I rolled out of bed into clothes, glasses and shoes and heated up the car, gathered up the sales flyers and dragged myself over and picked my 15-year old niece up for a morning of BARGAINS!!! Just the two of us! As far as I know, we saved some money on some highly in demand electronics devices (ssshhhh!)...avoided a 5 am stampede in the electronics department of our local W*a*l*m*a*r*t (the clerk actually said into her walkie-talkie...."these people are goin' crazy back here!"...and were admonished by the security officer to "calm down people" I honestly got the giggles!)...we had a Starbucks for sustainment around 6 (and they weren't serving the Christmas/Holiday blend...what's up with that??? I was so looking forward to my first one of the season)...shopped some more and then ended up the morning with a breakfast burrito (sans green peppers) and chickn' minis at Chick-*fi-*la around 10 am. She slept the rest of the day...I tried to, but began to feel worse and worse and was getting the 'barky' cough of bronchitis by mid-afternoon and we cancelled plans with friends for Friday night..blah, blah, blah. By bedtime, I was looking for the Ny*quil...
  • I went to the medical clinic's Saturday morning walk-in clinic that they just started last month...just let me tell you, that should tell you how bad I a nurse I think it is my responsibility to visit doctors as little as possible, and especially not until you are at least near death...thank you PMC for your new Saturday clinic! It actually wasn't a bad wait...I just was so dizzy and my head was in a vise...and the cough caused people to physically step back... The Pharmacy, on the other hand, was a hour wait when I dropped prescriptions off at the drive-thru. That was okay, I could stretch errands to take up the time. When I went back, they let me know it would be another hour that things were backed up...anyhoo...I waited, visited with some folks from out of town getting scripts for a family member with a kidney stone (made me thankful for bronchitis and sinusitis!) a chair massage in one of those mizihitzu (whatever!) seats...and then visited with a nice lady whose husband is a diabetic and amputee and left his prosthesis at home (again...thankful!) and couldn't come inside...they had left to get lunch, but when she finally got meds, it had been three hours. So, I am reconsidering our pharmacy choices...I miss the local place that went out of business a few months ago...if there was that long of a wait, they would deliver! So I came home and lapsed into a drug-induced coma for a few hours....
  • So sadly, no church for me this morning, but Nate still woke me up at about 6 after being unsuccessful with Joe... "Daddy, I hungy...Daddy, I thusty". The kids stayed home too... Joe had to be there early for prayer with the other elders, so it seemed the best would have been a little chaotic I think. Nate's got his own issues with a cough and 'boogies'. Although, I am sad about missing the first Sunday of Advent (and the lighting of the Prophecy candle by B, T & baby E), the first time of the season singing "O come, O come Emmanuel"...a new deacon installation...some special music sung by a friend who said the song fit her life right now, I was prepared to cry!....and a sermon in Genesis. Okay, so I can get all that on the CD/MP3...but, still...okay, no more whining! I will be grateful for the day that I did have! And what I did do... I've spent the day reading blogs, being thankful for bloggy friends, and facebook friends, and friends who love me enough to send silly emails and sweet emails about how they're thankful for me (snub, snub)...reading a book, sipping hot tea and coffee, and trying to truly rest...Our Christmas tree was delivered by the folks from First Baptist church in So Pines thanks to my sis-n-love for her faithful gift to us for the last 5 years...Joe lit up the gas logs, so I not only got to sip hotness, but got my toes especially warm by the fire...Emily (and I) missed choir practice (the cow costumes must still be completed!)...and our small group Bible study is cancelled for the evening...(there I go's so easy to fall back to whining!).... I am spending some quiet time looking forward to next week...the first day of December...and Christmas decorations...and home-making some Christmas gifts...I tried to be an elf and briefly shopping on Amazon for the kids, until Emily got nosey (hum, the apple and the tree thing again).

Happy Thanksgiving y'all!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nate's funny...

Friday night, while Emily and I were away at the Girlscout Swap-a-thon, Nate and Daddy were alone...some not so good things have happened when they've been left alone (like Nate sticking a key into an electrical outlet...) but I digress.

This particular story lets us find Nate playing trains in the den floor, he's gotten quite good at putting the track together and playing independently with this toy. He was lining his trains up and said, "Daddy, I need Gordon" (for those of you NOT in the know, Gordon is a pal of Thomas the Train...Nate currently has Toby, Emily, James, Scarlouey...thankfully for parents they have their names on the bottom of the trains).
Daddy said, "Well, go to your bedroom and get Gordon...". To which Nate replied...
"Gordon not in my woom...he's at Wal-mart..."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Recipe

This is my fav...and I've made it for several events, including Holly's 2nd baby shower (for Evan). Joe thinks it's too garlicky if I put both cloves of garlic in, so sometimes I bland it down for him...I usually go ahead and double the recipe ;)

Easy Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1/3 cup tahini (sesame seed butter-harris teeter)
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup roasted red sweet peppers
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
Dash salt
Dash pepper

In an electric food processor, combine garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, and lemon juice. Process until the mixture is smooth. Add roasted peppers and basil; process until the peppers are finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer hummus to small bowl, cover and chill until you are ready to serve.

I've also made it with other beans (Black, White kidney beans...lots of calcuim...) To make Sun-dried Tomato Hummus, just replace peppers with tomatoes. I've also replaced the lemon juice with lime juice, or even in a pinch water if that's all I have. The BEST I've ever made, I roasted my own red peppers in the oven...YES, I felt just like Martha Stewart!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

W*al-m*art Christmas Catalog

 came in the mail today, the long awaited toy catalog...wasn't from Sears, wasn't from JC Penny' was from Wal*mart who seems to be stealing some marketing ideas this season. The kids poured over it, fought over it, said things like, "Wow"...."Momma, yook".
It comes down to the basics, Nate wants a spider man bike that he can 'wide on the wode, wite now' and Emily's too overwhelmed with choices to want anything...but really would just like a pair of roller skates that weren't even in the catalog. She understands, though, that Christmas is still over a month away. Nate, however, wants us to leave for Wal*mart "wite now!". It may be a long month.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's's finally over

Joe has accepted a new job in Hamlet...his third position to hold in a year. Amazingly, this has been a phenomenon I hope is not repeated, ever. To say that this has been stressful, is an understatement. It is, of course, only a 30 minute drive and what sounds like an exciting opportunity and fun co-workers (he knows a few people that work there already). I won't bore you with all the enginerding details...but he'll be a project manager at a chemical facility.
He's excited about the change, excited about the challenge and excited about the shorter drive.
I'm relieved...ready for whatever's next...whether that be across town or right here on this corner lot.
And sure that even through the moments I struggled in my human heart, He has known the plans that He had for us and and that it has been for good and not for disaster, to give us a future and a hope. (Jer 29:11 NLT).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Uncle Richard's Sage Advice

Joe's uncle, Richard "Dick" Miller, ran a good race for the Kansas State House of Representatives. We have mixed emotions; in that since he lost, he might have time in the next year to hop in the RV and head to the Carolina's for a visit. Kansas State's loss is our gain. He was found too conservative to garner the support of the local media...but fought a good door to door fight getting out and getting to know people! I have enjoyed "living" his campaign experiences. I am quoting his weekly article to the Manhattan newspaper...a column entitled "Thoughts from the Prairie". I am so thankful he is a part of my children's legacy!

Thoughts from the Prairie
by Dick Miller
Now What?

The view out of my window as I reminisce and write about the past five months is very similar to that at the last house I visited last night on the campaign trail. The sun was just setting in a splash of color as I rang the last doorbell. After a warm greeting, we chatted briefly about the peaceful view of the prairie in front of her house. I asked for her vote, she wished me luck and I turned and closed the book on another campaign. I was sharing that moment with another resident who reminded me of another difference between my opponent and me. “We saw his face on the billboards; we saw your face at our front door,” he said. That would have made a good campaign ad don’t you think? By the time you read this you will know which method was more effective.
Speaking of hindsight, it seems to me the ultimate reason for the Governor’s veto of the Kansas Energy plan is now obvious in light of the recent disclosure of Obama’s verdict on coal-fired power plants in a statement he made in January 2008: “If someone wants to build a coal-fired plant, they can. Its just that it will bankrupt them,” Obama told a reported. With Governor Sebelius’s eyes focused on a possible VP selection, she could not allow a coal-fired plant to be built in Kansas, now could she? I better be careful, I could become another “Joe the plumber!”
The liberal agenda espoused during this campaign looks to me as if its crafter read William J. H. Boetcker’s “The Ten Cannots” and did the exact opposite. Boetcker (1873-1962), an immigrant from Germany, became an eloquent motivational speaker, and is often regarded as the forerunner of contemporary "success coaches." The Ten Cannots phamplet was published in 1916 and quoted by Presidents Linclon and Reagan. I thought it might be worthwhile to recite them again.
“You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatreds. You cannot establish security on borrowed money. You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”

These Ten Cannots describe the essence of a constitutional republican system of government and a free enterprise, capitalistic business environment replete with personal freedom, the antitheses of the Obama doctrine.
Well, excuse me while I go to Republican headquarters to see if I am going to the OK Coral or to visit our grandchildren…..

It is now 11 PM election night. I am back at the ranch and our grandchildren say they are really anxious for us to get there. At this point I don’t know the final score, but it was far enough along for me to call your representative and congratulate him. Jenny and I thank all who worked so diligently so we could give you a clear choice. We have no regrets and believe we accomplished our mission. Other than being confirmed as ‘being too conservative” for the local media endorsement team, the next best part of the campaign was praying for God to “bless your house and keep it safe” as I approached your house then meeting so many of you as you welcomed me at your front door. You cannot imagine how delightful that was and it sustained me during six and sometime eight hours on the trail.
Now it is time to get back to what we were doing in June, get our personal affairs in order and brace for the socialistic tsunami if a liberal majority controls all three branches of government. Unfortunately, we are all in the same boat and the narcissistic liberals are so preoccupied with illusionary hope and change that we are about to crash on the breakers of realism because, as
James Madison predicted, "Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm." But as all good soldiers, we shall rest and heal and then rise to rejoin the fray. Let Freedom Ring-Again!
and well, that's probably all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Kingdom Coming Download

Curriculum Evaluation

Well, here we are about 9 weeks into the school year and I am trying to decide what's working, what's not, and where I need to realign my priorities...

It is not as easy as it sounds and yet I know I tend to over analyze each element of our schooling...because, well,'m pretty scared I'm going to get this wrong and our children's academic experience will slide into the gutter. I'm worried that she'll be a Latin speaking child who won't be able to add....or that she'll have the states and capitols memorized but won't be able to write a paragraph. Sometimes in my quest for the best education for her...I lose sight of some simple priorities....reading, writing and arithmetic.

So, here's what we've been trying (unsuccessfully) to accomplish every day:
  1. Chores (appropriate for seven year old: emptying dishwasher, picking up toys, making bed, swiping mirrors, dusting)
  2. Bible (using Veritas Press Bible Cards: Genesis -Joshua; memorize facts & activities & test Friday)
  3. History (One-year condensed World History- Sonlight Curriculum Read text book and discuss: A Child's History of the World by Hillyer, the Usborne Book of World History w/internet links)
  4. Geography (Sonlight- Geography Songs: Sing Around the World by Troxel for memory work, coloring/activity pages, social studies reading from Window to the World by Spraggett)
  5. Reading w/map work and language arts tie-ins

Sonlight Second grade intermediate readers:

Clara and the Bookwagon

The Long Way to a New Land

The Long Way Westward

Prairie School

Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie

Riding the Pony Express

The Secret Valley

Third-Grade Detectives #1: The Clue of the Left-Handed Envelope (we're currently on this one)

The Chalk Box Kid

The Paint Brush Kid

The Littles

Third-Grade Detectives #2: The Puzzle of the Pretty Pink Handkerchief

Viking Adventure

The House on Walenska Street

Cora Frear

Tippy Lemmey

A Question of Yams

Third-Grade Detectives #4: The Cobweb Confession

Third-Grade Detectives #10: The Mystery of the Stolen Statue

The Last Little Cat


Jake Drake: Bully Buster

6. Math-U-See, Beta (Lesson on DVD, work with manipulatives, worksheet and weekly test)

7. Spelling and Phonics (spelling word list and phonics work from Modern Curriculum Press Plaid Phonics workbook with spelling rules and worksheets).

  1. Handwriting (worksheet from Classically Cursive workbook, daily practice)
  2. Read Alouds with Cultural Literacy & comprehension questions:

The Aesop for Children

A Child's Garden of Verses

Red Sails to Capri

Ginger Pye

Gladys Aylward (starting this week)

Little Pear

Strawberry Girl

Detectives in Togas

The Cricket in Times Square

The Door in the Wall

White Stallion of Lipizza

The Twenty-one Balloons

The Apprentice

The Little Riders

A Little Princess

And the Word Came with Power

  1. Fun reading-student choice for 20 min per day (Emily can choose any books she likes and so far she is devouring the Magic Treehouse series, the Boxcar Children series, the Cul-de-sac Kids series, American Girl Doll Books, Nate the Great series, The Disney Fairy series...)
  2. Language Arts (grammar) Monday and Tuesday
  3. Expressive Writing Wed, Thurs, and sometimes Friday
  4. Life Science with the texts:The Usborne Book of Knowledge, The Great Dinosaur Mystery and the Bible, Magic School Bus: Inside the Earth, Science Activities, Volume 3, Living World Encyclopedia, The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System, Marie Curie & the Discovery of Radium, Science Experiement DVD; includes worksheets, keeping a journal, experiments weekly)
  5. Art (treat as a "special"; read from our text/do activity once a week) using texts as a guide: How Artists See Feelings, How Artists See the Elements.
  6. Music (in the car, CD series with bio story and music of famous composers...may restart handbell choir after January)
  7. PE (not structured other than sports: cheerleading, gymnastics, and soccer)
  8. Latin: Sing School Latin Curriculum with audio CD, worksheets/activity (also treat this as a special...once a week)
  9. Vocabulary Building Activity (Wordly Wise Workbook- once a week)
  10. Field trips, bi-weekly trip to Library, Fun gym for PE occasionally on Fridays, Girl scouts every other Wednesday and Cheer leading twice weekly

So, beginning this week with a new scaled down focus...

Creative writing, language arts, and math to be my primary focus...oh, and well history and geography are important too...and well, we have this neat Latin curriculum, it really doesn't take that long...and she loves doing the science experiments...and well, she has to be active, so we've GOT to do some sort of PE...maybe we can throw in some art and music enrichment once a week...and she has to read, read, read...and well, she has to learn about God and do daily devotions anyway, might as well make them productive, and we have to develop her vocabulary...she'll take those darn achievement tests and I'll , er...I mean she'll fail if we haven't developed her vocabulary...and where was I, oh yeah, scaling back to just the basics! ((sigh))...