Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Weigh In - Wednesday

NO, I don't plan to bore you to death with thoughts on weight loss - I joined a yahoo group with friends who are in the same boat as I, and don't mind my boring THEM. ::snort::

However, I've been thinking and praying a lot about this weight loss thing. I've done the Weigh Down and Thin Within route for nearly 10 years. I'm the type of person who follows these sorts of directions pretty much to the letter. I don't do so in any other area of my life (snort) but I tend to think that the weight loss experts have some secret that I'm unable to crack. When they said "don't eat unless you are hungry", I didn't eat until my stomach growled. I've been telling people I don't eat much and that I work out and I KNOW they thought I was deceiving myself. I wrote it all down for a month and saw the dietitian. You know this part. She said I wasn't eating enough. You know that too. I struggled with this whole "eat whether you're hungry or not, your body needs fuel" because for 10 years I've been led to think that to eat when you weren't stomach hungry was gluttony...and it may be....

Somewhere along the line, however, my body quit giving hunger signals. It did. I've known others who say that their bodies were hungry all the time so they couldn't do Weigh Down/Thin Within....but I think I'm the only one who I've heard say "I'm never hungry - that won't work"....because when they said not to eat until your stomach growled....I didn't. I easily went 2 - 3 days without food. I often had one meal a day and my portions were small.

However, since you hear repeatedly "If you aren't losing weight it's simply a matter of eating less and working out more", I continued to cut back on food and up the work outs...with no results. I was sure that my portions were the "right sizes". I know that many of share how "small a portion really is" but I've been surprised at how "big" a portion really is.

I was TERRIFIED to add 3 more eating times to my day.....because I've been so CAREFUL and have either gained weight (6 lbs in one week), lost huge amounts in one week or stayed the same for so long....even being very careful. I prayed about it. I decided I would try it for a month and see what happened.

After the first two days I realized that I simply COULDN'T add all that food at once. I was sick, bloated, and felt terrible. I am supposed to be getting 10 - 12 servings of produce a day, adding two snacks and breakfast (they can be produce). Debbie really stressed breakfast and said it could be a serving of fruit if that is all I could make myself eat. She shared that there ARE studies that show that there are cycles as to when YOUR body will handle food best. She shared that she can have a glass of OJ in the a.m. and her blood sugars are way off (diabetes) but if she has the same OJ in the afternoon her sugars remain stable. SO....she said I may not be a breakfast eater but I should at least be sure to get my water and fruit in. Since I couldn't make myself eat those snacks when I wasn't hungry, I decided to focus on the breakfast and be faithful with it. IF I do feel hungry or want a snack, I make it produce. (Except for the Chocolate Toffee Almond that is my nightly deployment surival reward).

The first week I stayed the same. I was thankful that I'd not gained a ton but was feeling like this was really not helping me and I may need to do it "my way". I continued praying and felt that I had committed to one month. Today was weigh in day again. I lost three pounds this week. I'm not hungry. I'm eating a LOT (by my way of thinking). I have more energy. Hmmm.....I'm guessing she was right and that you can't eat the way I was eating for an extended period of time without your body going into survival mode.

The Thyroid Diet book I'm reading really stresses the importance of speeding up my metabolism....because it's sluggish. I don't think I'll try all the supplements she mentions - I shy away from those. But the nutritional thoughts she shares match the things the dietitian said. I think I'm on to something....I'm optimistically hopeful to actually REACH my goal this year.

Fashion Sense

We dressed Stacia in a darling outfit...little fitted jacket with fur around the collar....

SHE stripped the jacket off and went for Arielle's jacket. ::snort:: Sort of washed her out, didn't I?

Cel-e-bra- tion time, C'Mon!!!!


Yay! They are DONE for another year! 2006 taxes are flying through cyberspace. I remembered the Children's AK PFD money at the last moment and had to fix that, but I think it is all done! I found enough deductions with the help of Turb Tax to get quite a healthy return. I've proposed to Mike that the $400 filing fee that several friends have been quoted should go to ME! I could buy a new grain mill and dehydrator....or I could go to a Wing Chaplain's conference with him I suppose.....though, oh yeah, I'd need to figure out what to do for the little ones....that's right...that's why I don't go with him on these business trips. LOL We had one blessed year when the older girls were still living at home, driving, and not minors....and we took advantage of it. LOL

Workout!

I usually wake up, do Bible Study, stagger into the kitchen and make the fabled "breakfast" that my children must have, and THEN...the older 3 begin school, Arielle and Nolan clean up the kitchen and Zander plays with Stacia...*I* go work out...either a bike ride or lately a video.

This a.m. I woke up with so much extra time that I decided to work out before breakfast. Zander and Stacia are the first ones up. Well...NO...Jamin is up writing but his writing time is sacred.

Against my better judgement I let Zander in to the room where I was "werking". He watched. Carefully. Then Stacia was pounding on the door. I let her in. She must be in the middle of things. I was avoiding her, still not babying my should so not doing arm movements, trying desperately not to step on Stacia instead of the step...you get the picture.

Zander cheered me on with encouraging comments such as, "Alright MOM - do the arms like this" and "Mom they are better than you are!"

I quit at 30 minutes today....I think I deserve some sort of credit for surviving that long with my audience. ::snort::

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

PAPERWORK!!!


I'm drowning in paperwork!

We DID manage school today.

I finished details on the trailer purchase.

I filled out Josiah's FAFSA...only to discover NOW that some of the info is wrong but I'm trusting all of you who say they'll give me a chance to amend it before hauling one of us off to prison!

I had to redo our taxes....funny thing...Turbo Tax agrees with me that we don't get the child credit...but then THEY give it back as an "additional" child tax credit. I would think the government could streamline this whole thing. This is so silly. I really like the idea of a set percentage for taxes...I can't imagine how nice it would be if we didn't have all these silly forms, exemptions etc. Just pay the percentage on your gross income and be done with it.....anyway - $1,000 per child under 17 is a chunk of change in our home....though I still don't get WHY they say "you don't qualify", and then turn around and give it back to you AFTER you fill out ANOTHER worksheet. I also am not sure why they think a 17 year old costs less to raise than an infant......I can guarantee my 17 yo costs more to feed than my 7 year old. ::snort:: I suppose it's one of those mysteries of the universe.

I fielded phone calls from the RV dealer. Mike let me know that I got the trailer at 8K below blue book - not bad. I didn't even play hard ball...I DID shamelessly set out to charm them even though they called me "little lady". I simply told them that my dh was deployed, pining away dreaming of camping in TX, and I'd like to let him know I had his dream trailer purchased. Then I asked for the bottom line price because I wasn't interested in bargaining. The dealership has been calling all day offering to throw in more free things they think I need. Maybe we'll have to try this next time we need to buy a vehicle. They are quite surprised that I told them I'd bring a check in and didn't want to mess with their financing.

I also dealt with calls and such for produce co-op.

Bible study tonight.....had fun visiting afterward but had NO idea what time it was. The clock in our room was missing. I'll need to take my own clock next time. I obviously can't tell when I've done an hour's worth of talking. ::snort::

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Rest of Monday!

We did get couch school done. Couch school consists of the things that I do with the children - most of which are done on the couch around here (history, science, read alouds, phonics)...

I took the 3 little ones and went to the RV dealer. They wanted to see a trailer like the one I bought, but it won't be here until Thursday. We left the dealer and went to Sam's Club. I picked up some chicken so I could cook tonight. I made oven fried chicken....oven fries...salad...fruit....

I had to leave before dinner was done to meet the Shop Natural truck. Our order was small this month - which was good as we met the truck later than normal. Adrienne and her children came over and helped inventory and sort.

Heather came over to pick up her "stuff" and fixed my camera...again. Yippee! I would have missed THIS photo if she'd not stopped by....
Stacia climbed into a teeny, tiny box...it holds 12 boxes of mac and cheese...and got STUCK!!!! See the lollipop in her mouth? It's made from fruit juices....I thought I was buying a little bag for treats. It was 3 oz....I thought...but it must have been 3 lbs...because we got a huge canister of them. I plan to take them to Mike's office. He has a ceramic pig that is full of candy...I'll add these so there is something somewhat better for the children when they visit. I'll put some in the diaper bag....hmmmm....who knows because we don't really do lollipops...but STACIA DOES! ugh.

The younger 4 and I read some out of Jungle Book and they called it a day. Oh wait - my dear college sister friend called. She informed me that what may have happened with the credit card is that they suspended it because I made so many payments in one month. I made 3 payments...big ones....and umm.....since the patriot act that's a huge red flag for money laundering...so now I know. I guess one payment a month...and I'm not sure how having this account so that I could make the payment for local things from it will help. I certainly don't want them freezing the account every month I make more than one payment. ::snort::

My shoulder is feeling miraculously better. It still twinges and aches but I can move....I worked out today without the arms...which worked out well since I used the step and needed to focus on my two left feet! ::snort::

Jamin is creating a weight circuit for me to do. He's excited. I told him to remember I'm old. He wanted to know what areas I need to work on most. I told him to LOOK at me....maybe I should let him off the hook and tell which areas I want to work on. ::snort::

Tomorrow...taxes, school, FAFSA, loans....

TODAY

It's nearly 1:30 p.m. and we've not done couch school.

I have applied for two loans. I did deal with the credit card company again. This time they made MIKE call them....no comment. I've talked to the county courthouse and we are exempt from the sales tax on buying a trailer here. I'll have to look into HOW to register the trailer in AK next....but it can be done. I've checked on insurance for the trailer. I've talked to the salesman 3 times....we'll see what he finally nails down....I don't like "dealing". I have fielded several produce co-op phone calls. I've printed invoices for Shop Natural co-op tonight....and I'm going to go eat lunch, get Stacia down and do SCHOOL.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

SUNDAY

This has been a hard day. Not a bad day - but a hard day. HOWEVER....isn't it great that God sent me a little message? It came in the form of Yvonne's son. They emailed me the new blinkie in the sidebar - Choosing Joy. A Timely reminder....::snort::

Stacia jumped on my shoulder somehow last night and I can't lift my left shoulder. OUCH. I guess I need to not do arm movements when working out this week...maybe take some ibuprofen....I nearly threw up when I had to lift my arm to put on and take off my dress. TMI? {G}

Chapel was good. Everyone is telling me "not long now".....but for some reason today it feels like it may be forever. I simply need to choose joy and get out of the pit. LOL

I went and bought Turbo Tax. I looked at last year's return and Mike made MORE last year and we got 9K back...so something is not right in my figures. I really just needed figures to do the FAFSA...so I'll do what I can there and then if I need to change them later - I'll try. Hopefully they won't haul Josiah or I off to prison for turning in false financial aide info. ugh.

We made popcorn, turned off the lights, and watched "Mrs. Minerva". This is a GREAT movie. It shows the struggle of one English family during WW2. It was made in 1942. We were all moved to think that no one knew what was going to happen in the rest of the war when it was made. There were a couple "trailers" we watched. I was excited when one of my boys said, "Mom, this is an example of American propaganda isn't it?" We were able to discuss the possible good and bad uses of propaganda. This is something they'd been thinking about in school. Then Josiah (17) said that if he'd been alive back then and hadn't signed up yet...he would have signed up after watching the movie. This led us to wonder if the whole movie was propaganda. ::snort:: We loved it. We cried, we laughed...and it wasn't just me crying. The boys asked if they could put on a Hogan's Heroes to lighten the mood. They got Arielle out of bed (she was moved by the movie more than I expected) and are doing that now.

Really, it's not been a bad day...I'm simply emotional...and in pain....which may be why things felt glum today. BUT how can I ignore my blinkie....Choosing Joy.

OH Stacia got into flour today - everywhere. Jamin ran for the camera before remembering that it isn't working. I've got this family trained! ::snort:: Photo - THEN clean up!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

SATURDAY

ARGH I had a long post ready to go and blogger ATE it!!!!

**** I ATE 10 SERVINGS OF PRODUCE TODAY!!!!**** I'm quite sure I won't be able to do that daily. ::snort:: If I keep this up I'm sure to LOOK like say a Cantaloupe or Melon.

~Stacia woke up early. I put on Waltons and cuddled with her...before the show was over Nolan and Zander had climbed into bed too.

~The youngers watched Brady Bunch...in other words we got a late start. All but Josiah who had to go to work.

~I was in the shower when Mandy dropped by. LOL The younger boys love playing with her boys...and we had a nice visit as well.

~I worked on taxes. I made a shocking realization today. For the first time EVER our child deductions did not off-set Mike's income. He had taxable income this year! AND we no longer qualify for the EIC. We've worked ourselves into a new tax bracket. We'll get everything we paid in taxes back...but we are used to getting at least 5K in a "refund". Ah well.

~I did some more trailer shopping. Delvin said that the owner gave him a hard time for giving me a hard time yesterday. It seems the owner has the trailer we have and says it pulls well and my van won't have trouble at all. BUT we'll see. They said that I'd have trouble pulling it up Pike's Peak but they don't think I'll be doing that often and said any trailer would lug for that. ::snort:: Mike found another model he's looking at too. The 31' model is top of the line with all the amenities. The 28' one is a "great little trailer but no amenities" and it's only $2k LESS but 2K pounds less too. BTW, do any of you know the what dry camping is and how it compares with wet camping? My mind scrabbled back through our 20+ years of camping and I came up with some clues about wet camping but I was quite sure that they weren't right given the context of the discussion. Debbie, have you and Brian used that terminology? Mike? He's checking our credit number et al. I'm checking with the courthouse. I want to register and license it in AK...he isn't sure I can. We did this with the van when we bought it ....so either we should be able to or I should keep quiet because we shouldn't have been able to do it with the van either. ::snort:: The owner and now Delvin are sure that 1200 lbs is about what the average family hauls....and that we won't need all our camping gear (outside stove, sink, tent etc) any longer. We'll just need clothes, shoes, pots/pans, and food. I have no clue. Debbie, have you and Brian ever figured out how much weight you put into your trailer to go camping? I'm guessing a 5th wheel would be different or I'd ask Cindy - well Cindy - do you know how much weight you all take with you? Our van is rated for 8400 lbs. The trailer is 7200 empty.

~Went to the library to return books and look for the book Laura recommend. They don't have it.

~Looked around netflix and put the documentary Debbie recommend in my queue. Has anyone watched "The Long Road Home"? It's a documentary on the holocaust and the journey for the Jewish survivors to have a homeland in Israel. I know it would be too intense for the younger set from the preview. I'm wondering if it would be o.k. for the high school boys...possibly the 7th grader.

~Dinner - spanakopita and salad for Jamin and I. Tortellini and sauce for Jared. The youngers had oven baked fries, carrot sticks and such. Stacia ate it all.

Time to take care of showers, reading and bed time...Sunday School starts early.

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach pastry)

~Moosewood Cookbook (one of my favorites)

8 servings/ 375*

2 C crumbled feta cheese
5 eggs
2 T flour
3 T butter
1 C chopped onion
1 tsp basil
salt, pepper
2 C (1 lb) cottage or pot cheese
1/2 tsp oregano
2 lbs fresh spinach

1 lb defrosted filo dough
1/2 lb melted butter

Clean, stem and chop the spinach. Salt it lightly, and cook, adding no water, for 5 minutes.

Cook the onions in butter, salting lightly. When soft, combine with remaining ingredients and spinach.

To Assemble: Spread melted butter on a 9 x 13 baking pan. Place filo leaf in the pan - it will outsize the pan. Let the edges climb the sides) and brush generously with butter. Keep layers of dough coming, one on top of another, brushing each with butter. When you have a pile of 8 leaves, spread on half the filling. Continue with another stack of 8 or so leaves (don't skimp on the butter), then apply the remaining filling, spreading it to the edges. Fold the excess filo down along the edges, making little tidy corners (mine never are - I just stuff em).

Pile as many more layers of filo and butter as your baking pan will accommodate. Butter the top-most leaf and sprinkle with a Tablespoon of whole FENNEL seeds (this makes it great) if you have some on hand.

Bake uncovered, about 45 minutes - till golden.

This one is really pretty - I'll try to remember to make it again when the camera is working and add a photo. LOL

Better than Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing - from Heather

adapted from Top Secret Recipes

1/2 C mayonnaise or Vegennaise (I use the Vegannaise)

1/2 C buttermilk, plain yogurt or sour cream (I've been using vanilla yogurt but have some plain on the way LOL)

1/2 tsp of sea salt, parsley, dill weed, red wine or apple cider vinegar, lemon juice

1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper (I've just used pepper)

1 clove minced garlic (I've used 1 tsp dried)

1 T finely minced yellow onion (I've used dried - I grind this and the garlic in my coffee grinder because my younger ones wouldn't like chunks LOL)

~Even though I've taken short cuts and not had the correct yogurt to use, this is a hit. I double it and make it about every other day. LOL Double recipe will fit in one of those Tupperware salad dressing mixer things.... I thought some of you might enjoy this.

*Freedom: The Story of My Second Life* by Malika Oufkir


I found this book to be an easier read than Stolen Lives...quicker. However, I think Stolen Lives is great background to this book.

Freedom, chronicles Malika's attempts to adjust to freedom after living most her life without freedom, first in the palace and then 20 years imprisoned in the deserts of Morocco. I think this book would be a good read if you think you may have begun to take freedom for granted.

I found that many of her observations about the new things she found when she reentered the world, such as automatic faucets and supermarkets, paralleled my culture shock when moving from the Philippines to America. ::snort::

I could have done without the chapter on "love", which would be better titled "lust" or something....but all in all this was a good book.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Great School Books....

Before switching to Tapestry of Grace, we had used a literature based curriculum. We LOVE great, living books. We have shelves of living historical fiction. Tapestry uses lots of great books...but most of them are not fictionalized accounts. I missed the reading from our other curriculum, and added a few of our favorites in here and there.

Slowly I've come to realize that we DO have lots of GREAT books with Tapestry of Grace....most of them, however, are biographies or non-fiction....still living books...
I often hear others say TOG is not for young children...and I understand the thought. However, one of the strengths that I've come to cherish in TOG is the really GOOD picture books that they recommend for young children. This week we read two that illustrate my point.

"The Butterfly" by Patricia Polacco, is a true story set during WW2 in France. It follows the adventures of a young girl who discovers her mother is part of the resistance and hiding a Jewish family in her basement. In this book we follow the escape attempt of the Sevrine and her family and are even told about the life-long friendship that Monique and Sevrine enjoyed.

Another great non-fiction Children's book is "Passage to Freedom:The Sugihara Story", by Ken Mochizuki. This story is told from the perspective of 5 year old Hirokio Sugihara. Hirokio tells the story of how his father saved the lives of 10,000 Jews while he was serving as a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania in 1940. It's an amazing story. Night after night his father sat hand-writing visas for people who were trying to escape the Nazis - against the express orders of his own government. I would like to read more on this incident.

Anyway, I've been amazed at the wonderful, accurate, engaging PICTURE books Marcia has found for the younger children. Both of these books were in my local library. Of course, I want to BUY them both now. ::snort::

I CONFESS


In my search for sleep at a "decent hour", I've taken to watching The Waltons. What a GREAT show! Though I could swear I remember that they had a large family? What happened? It shrunk. ::snort::

I'm really enjoying watching these episodes. I'm thinking I may need to buy a season or two to balance off the boys' Hogan Heroes craze.

FRIDAY

~Disclaimer...I found the ticker last night doing a google search and I have no CLUE what Phen Forum is...so don't take it as an endorsement. LOL

~Today could be summed up concisely (though you know I won't LOL): Speech and Produce Co-op in the am, and Trailer shopping in the pm. There, that's the reader's digest version.

~For those who like to read.....Mike has been spending his dreaming time over yonder making plans to buy a road whale. He asked me to go gather some information and they've been closed when I went by. I decided to gather his info today. Have you ever dealt with car type salesman or mechanics as a female? Some of them can be a bit condescending. I went in. I told them the exact trailer I wanted. They asked what I drove. I told them. They laughed. I told them that I was sure it could haul a trailer. They continued to laugh. One even said, "Little lady, why don't you let us show you a smaller trailer?" LITTLE LADY????

OK...so I was tired, cold and missing Mike by this point....and I answered "Oh - will 9 children, 2 adults and a dog fit in the smaller one?" ::snort::

They showed me another one with bunks that was lighter. I asked them if there was a way we could check these numbers before I decided on the one they showed me because we REALLY want the other one. Deep sighs, smirks and such from men. I felt like saying "Don't mess with me! NEVER mess with a deployed spouse, buddy! I fixed a SINK yesterday!!!" But I smiled. In fact I was charming. I knew what was coming. ::snort:: One man went out to check the van because they were SURE "the little lady" was a tad bit confused (chuckle, smirk) and didn't have a v-10 engine in her van. I KEPT telling the salesman - we bought the biggest we could with an eye to hauling a trailer. He got out his Ford book. "Is it an Arrowstar?"

" NO - it's an EXTENDED 350...it's not a mini-van."

"Hmm...Expedition?"

"No, you'll find it under the trucks."

The other man came in....it's an E-350 XLT, Super - Extended.....

"Maam, is your van a 7 or 8 passenger van?" (I had told them this earlier ::snort::).

"It's a 15 passenger van."

" Maam, that has a v-10 engine, that will haul trailer!"

" Um...yeah!"::sigh::

They talked numbers with me. They talked extra features with me. I told them I'd want to leave it on the lot until Mike was home to DRIVE it somewhere. They told me they'd deliver it to my home....why would I need a boat like that in my yard???? Well it COULD be useful when the girls are home, come to think of it..... They told me they could defer payments until Mike is home. The man asked for my credit number. I have no clue and will need to figure that one out. The salesman then said he wouldn't feel right selling me anything (not that I was buying today anyway) until FORD told me how much the van can pull because um....well you know...Mike's gone and he didn't want me to buy the wrong thing. Fair enough. I got out the manual and asked him if these weren't the numbers he needed. He wanted me to go to FORD. I did. They sent me to another office. That man said they don't give computer printouts....and said, "Don't you have a manual?"

BUT he looked at numbers and vin numbers...and um helped me shut the hood on the van (long story). He highlighted the numbers in the book that I had shown the salesman earlier - so now I can go back with the manual and show him that those ARE the numbers. I still have to figure all the numbers Mike - so I'm not sure if you want to get the one you spotted online or look for another, but I'll send you those numbers.

I ran to Sam's to buy milk. Came home, ate, and will now go watch Tarzan 2.

I went to take a photo and the camera is doing the Flashing F thing again. No rhyme or reason....to why it does this and to why it works when it does.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thursday.....

This week has sped by and since Friday is always busy....whew! A few more weeks like this and March will be here.

We did school.

I got TWO work outs in today. A 40 minute Step into Fitness and a 30 minute walk....

I fixed the sink - I think.

We ran the boys to their Thursday ministry.

We met some friends at the park. We were visiting and watching children go down the big slide at the park. Yvonne, Adrienne and Tricia were at the park too. We watched....Cobe, Caeden, Zander, Nolan, Stacia....WHAT STACIA? Yep - she climbed to the top of the big slide and went down...and loved it. I was terrified she was going to pop over the side before I reached her. And....when I was pushing her in the swing, she slid under the chain....I guess I can add two sprints to my workout. ::snort::

I wrote the newsletter for Produce co-op. I went searching blogs for produce recipes...ya'll have disappointed me. ::snort:: C'mon, see if you can post lots of great and HEALTHY produce recipes before next Thursday, Ok?

We had a pasta extravaganza for dinner. Got my grains in...well 1 serving anyway. I did get 6 servings of produce in...had hoped to get 7 and begin working towards that 10 - 12 mark. At this point I may have to settle for 2 C salads at lunch and dinner and a fruit breakfast...because I continue to be nauseating stuffed!

I have decided to go ahead and attend the Weight Management class at the base (as of today anyway). It's 6 weeks. I figure even if I don't agree with everything the nutritional info is always good to hear....and the weekly class may help me to keep eating breakfast as I know Debbie wrote that down as a goal...eat MORE FOOD! ::snort:: I've stayed away from Weight Watchers etc because I don't have the TIME to go to a weekly meeting...but this has a short time period and if I find I can work it in...maybe I can look for something else when I'm done....and if it is as hectic as I expect, "it's only for 6 weeks"....and it's FREE. And Debbie is a R. D. or some such thing....and she likes omegas, whole grains and produce. LOL

Stacia's View of Parenting


First you Kiss Em...

Then you Swing Em...

PLUMBING UPDATE


Ok, I confess. I'm gullible. I thought Jodi was serious about the Duct Tape. I tried it and it didn't help at all. ::snort:: In my defense, we recently moved from Alaska where there are yearly stories of hunters/hikers taping themselves together after bear attacks. Duct tape can fix ANYTHING - except, evidently MY SINK!

However, the project is done and seems to be holding. I took it all apart and found the compression ring. The two pipes had come disconnected. I put the compression ring back in, tightened it as tight as I could, and then put Duct Tape on a small crack further down that I noticed while fixing the top section. All in all it saved $60. I've been to nervous to put things back under the sink...but it seems to be holding.

I have a sweet husband who called me long-distance and talked me through each step of the project!

Birthdays

How can I turn 43 and say I'm 44? It's my upbringing and it's given Mike no ends of headaches, because he doesn't like aging two years at once. LOL

In the Philippines (at least the barios we lived in in Southern Mindanao) you are "runnning" your age. On your first birthday you ARE one year old but it IS the start of your second year....and when asked you either say "2" or "running 2" - which means you are living or running your second year....and since the "running" is assumed...it's often shortened so when someone would say, "how old is your one year old?" Instead of running 2, you'd simply answer, "2."

I AM 43 - but this IS the start of my 44th year.... The trouble comes when I forget - as I usually do until about November (Mike's birthday) - and think I'm the bigger number. Mike is faithful to correct me everytime he hears me give out the wrong age. LOL

Also in the PI - on your birthday YOU throw the party in celebration and thankfulness of YOUR life - your friends come to your home but you give them gifts and you handle the expense etc. A bit less self centered than what I've observed in America...but I'm learning the American ways. ::snort::

They also often wake you in the a.m. singing outside your window.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

It's My Birthday!

Yes, I was keeping it low key, but it is...and many of you sent wonderful e-cards and notes. Thank you. I began the day on the scale. Would it be to much to ask to loose a lb on our birthday??? ::snort:: Ah well....it's bouncing between two numbers, so I suspect I lost .5 or maybe .3 of a lb this week. I may give in and get a digital scale with BIG numbers...because it is really, really hard for me to read those little lines early in the a.m.

OK to back up - I dreamed about toaster ovens last night. I'm resisting the temptation to go buy one - but the microwave is making ominous sounds. Who knows, maybe when it explodes, I'll replace it with a bright, shiny, BIG toaster oven. I wonder if they make self-timing toasters? Wouldn't it be wonderful to wake up with that yummy bread smell in the house, crisp toast ready to be slathered in butter and honey??? Hmmm...I must be grain deprived today - actually I TRIED to eat 10 - 12 servings of fruits/vegetables today...and I'm quite sure I'm both grain and protein deprived. Shoot - if I ever manage to eat that many servings of produce I won't be ABLE to eat anything else! I am STUFFED and I only managed 6 servings....tomorrow's another day. I was thinking the dietitian had to be wrong. Wouldn't you know I picked up an excerpt from Don Colbert's (md) new book "The 7 Pillars of Health" and he said that the USDA recommends 5 - 13 servings of produce a day! That seems to be a huge range to me.... OK now - obviously FOOD played a big part in my day - counting food. LOL I'm so stuffed I am not even going to be able to eat my chocolate covered almond - my treat for surviving each day....gotta have that dark chocolate! LOL

We got school done...in fact we started next week's.

I got phone calls from Mike, my folks, and the girls. The girls had all the Master's students sing happy birthday to me. It made me cry. I was glad to have someone sing to me. OH, Beverly (SHS) sent a hilarious birthday card....the cake was a big head of lettuce, turnips around the bottom and carrots for candles! Chris sent one with singing chins....::snort:: OK I'm not going to itemize each card - thanks ya'll....And um...the girls made my day by telling me they want to be like me....sort of...

Adrienne and Tricia came over with their children this afternoon. My children were in HEAVEN to be able to see their friends.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out where I'm supposed to put plumbing tape and wondering WHY there are no longer metal pipes...I really thought I needed to hit something with a wrench to make it all work....but nothing seems sturdy enough to give a good whack! ::snort::

Thus begins my 44th year!

Magic Bullet

Tricia and I played today. She had SEEN these before (because SHE watches TV ::snort::). It helped to have someone who knew what they do here to show me what to do.....

I'm thinking the Bosch will be best for making family smoothies and it is has a stronger motor...but this was GREAT for making a smoothie for Stacia and I this afternoon. Only thing I wasn't thrilled with was that they said to leave the leaves on the strawberries and I could TASTE them in that drink. We were going to make an energy drink for Adrienne (watermelon, pineapple, beet, CELERY and broccoli) but she showed up and told us she wasn't going to drink it. LOL

I tried to make some apple/grape juice but it made more of a sauce than juice..... Jen did you grind grain in this???? Because my mill is still being difficult and this may work until Mike gets home. Poor Mike, I'm going to have a wheelbarrow full of broken things for him to repair when he gets home....Maybe I'll make his homecoming real festive and wheel them all the airport. ::snort::

OK the photo below is TERRIBLE of me (didn't remember to SUCK IN...and all the junk in the background is usually under the sink that is now a flood zone...) but here you go proof that I am trying something NEW. LOL

PLUMBING UPDATE

ARGGGHHH!! I thought I had it fixed. The garbage disposal backed up, I turned it on, and stuff went EVERYWHERE.....flooded under there again.

Soooo.....Jamin dragged himself away from his books (he asked me tonight if I thought 4 hours a day working on his biography of Churchill was enough? ::snort:: I suggested an hour a day from here on out), and gave the plumbing a shot. I thought he could get it tighter. He did....but it still leaks....though after I was done with it it was exploding and spraying. ::snort::

We found some tape but we aren't sure what we're supposed to tape. I called the home warranty spot and both the sink and the garbage disposal are covered. I really think it's the O ring thingy....guess I could try that tomorrow....anyway....both are covered under the home warranty and they'd love to send a plumber over.... Yeah - $60...and I'm sure I'll be able to fix this eventually! ::snort::

I thought it hilarious that Stacia had to get right in the middle of things and offer advice....notice the hand on the hip stance....

Preschoolers and Babies in School



I'm often asked, "What do you do with preschoolers and babies during homeschool?"

Mine most often wander in and out of our school sessions. Today they were both content to sit as we read about honey bees and white seals (Jungle Book). They hopped down and went to play while we finished up a few details. We heard CRYING....Stacia came running and her mouth, tongue, teeth were blue and black....Zander had no idea what happened.

"She was sitting in the blanket and started screaming."

We explored. Ah...nestled in the blanket was one of those "Color explosion" Crayola notebooks. AND the corners were soggy with dyes smeared and running everywhere. They are black and the kids etch out a design - colors show under the black....evidently it does NOT make a good teether. Unfortunately, we didn't think about snapping a photo until we'd figured out what was going on and by that time she'd managed to spit and wipe most the ink off.

I was thinking early this a.m., when I heard Stacia up and out of her bed, that it is proving IMPOSSIBLE to Stacia proof. As much as I child proof - she's STILL climbing to the top of the counters etc.

De the Plumber

In an ironic twist this is the first photo taken (by Arielle) since I fixed the camera....and it's me attempting to fix the plumbing. ::snort:: Arielle and I decided to go on a hunt for the camera manual. We checked the manual/warranty file...not there. We checked Mike's night stand...not there. I then went online. I had located the online spot for manuals for D-70's.....when Arielle found the manual - in the camera bag! ::snort:: It works.

I'm determined NOT to call a plumber. I can see what's wrong. I turned the little collar thing. Then somehow knocked it loose so there was water and gunk everywhere. I put it back together and turned the collar as hard as I can and it still is leaking. I'm letting it "rest" while I contemplate the next step. I will NOT call the plumber when I can SEE what needs to happen. I think I may take it apart this afternoon and go to Lowes. We'll see....

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tuesday

*Just caught that I had titled this Wed. as I went to publish it. That about sums up my day. ::snort::

~The day began with a few phone calls, pancakes and smoothies for the children and a workout. I used the video today and did all 3 sections of the step workout - soon I'll buy a step. When my heart rate dips below the range it should be in. ::snort::

~I GOT COUCH SCHOOL DONE TODAY!!!!

~The highlight of our day today was our twice a year visit to our dentist. After a rocky start with dentists in this town, we found one we love. Thanks Adrienne. I'd actually never seen the dentist until today, but he does seem nice. What makes this office great for us is Gena, the hygienist. She has a box of toys in her room and invites everyone to come play while she works on us. The office will let us all come in at once. She's very laid back. She talks with some children while she works on one. LOL She asked me if I'd had Zander's IQ tested. She also said she thinks he's going to be an engineer. Why? Because he had to touch every inch of the room, including the chair, the tools, the sinks etc. He also asked her repeatedly, "how does that work?" She kept asking if he would sit in her chair and he insisted he wouldn't. Stacia, meanwhile, climbed all over the chair. She was in that thing the minute one of the other children would step out. She even showed her teeth off to both Gena and Dr. S. She had no CLUE she was supposed to fear a dentist...just watched everyone else doing and figured she ought to as well. I was sad not to have the camera.....but maybe next time.

I asked for her not to give the children fluoride today. I'm not sure about the whole fluoride thing and want to research.....she said that I shouldn't have it because of my thyroid. I had my book with me. I'm amazed at the info that providers share when they see that you are interested. Fluoride used to be (may still be?) used to treat hyperthyroidism...it depresses the function of the thyroid. A person who is hypothyroid does not need this. NOW - I have no idea how MUCH fluoride you would need etc. but it was interesting to me...and I hate the stuff in my mouth anyway! ::snort::

I have a filling that will need replaced. Everyone else was fine. As we were getting ready to leave Zander said, "How bout you do me now?" I was SHOCKED. He climbed up and let Gena look at his teeth. She actually cleaned them. Then, did the polish - flavored but they had no other. They found a cavity on a back molar. She said that it will be a while before they want to try filling a cavity with him....really this is the FIRST time he's EVER opened his mouth. Last time he sat in the chair but wouldn't open his mouth. In AK he wouldn't even sit in the chair.... They want me to paint fluoride on his tooth every night.....with a q-tip. I'm a bit worried as the only fluoride they had was flavored.....but I guess if he doesn't swallow it, we may be o.k. We'll have to see what happens. I asked about ACT but 1. it's colored and 2. it's not as strong as what they gave me.....I need to pray this one through tonight.

~The "lowlight" of my day is that my kitchen sink is leaking. I will tackle plumbing 101 in the next day or two.

~Tonight in Bible Study we covered an entire book of the Bible. I told the ladies we are getting GOOD. We covered 2 John. LOL

Tortellini Chowder from Emily (adaptions by me LOL)

4 cups of chicken broth (if you've not made your own broth - try it - things taste SO much better!)

1 1/2 cups thick n chunky mild salsa

approx 18 ounces of refrigerated tortellini (4 - 5 cups)

dash salt

1 pound of frozen vegetable - Bird's Eye corn, broccoli and red pepper (I used about 5 cups of mixed, fresh veggies)

1 small can of evaporated milk (I used cream - because I don't have the other, would be less fat with different milk option - but it was GOOD! ::snort::)

parsley or cilantro for garnish

Combine broth and salsa. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in tortellini and vegetables. Cook over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until tortellini and vegetable are tender (takes a bit longer with fresh veggies). Stir in milk and salt. Cook 1 -2 minutes or just until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. DO NOT LET IT BOIL. Serve, garnish with parsley or cilantro.

My littles didn't eat this, but the olders and I liked it. I liked it well enough to have a mug of it for my "evening snack" though I was NOT hungry at all. {sigh}

For pictures visit Emily's blog and click recipes in the side bar (Maybe I should just steal photos of Emily's family until I get my Nikon fixed...nah ya'll might notice LOL)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Monday

*Big news - because this is long and ya'll may not read it all - according to BMI I am no longer OBESE! I'm now mid-range over-weight.....even taken into account the one inch in height I mysteriously lost.....::snort:: AND I fit into pants a size smaller....the scale doesn't read what it read in Aug before that fated vacation diet fiasco...but after 5 months I'm fitting into smaller sizes again...so something is happening.

~No couch school done at all today. The older boys got finished. Arielle and Nolan finished their independent work.

~I didn't get to sleep until 5 a.m. I slept in until 7.

~I went for a bike ride. I read the thermometer wrong and thought it was 37*. I was freezing. I kept telling myself doing that video inside for a week had made me soft. Then two hours after my ride I glanced at the thermometer and it was 27*! ::snort::

~Mike called! Always wonderful. I got more cards and letters today. I think I'm going to miss all the letters when you get home, Mike.

~I got off the phone with Mike and realized I needed to get lunch for children and head to my meeting with the dietitian.

~The meeting with the dietitian was SUPERB! Yes, my cholesterol is 50 pts high - 250. BUT my HDL has risen a LOT in the last year - it's 30 pts higher than average. Unfortunately, the LDL is up too....BUT she said that as I keep eating the way I am, using the oils I am, and loosing weight, the LDL will go down and the HDL will continue to rise. My cholesterol ratio is 4 now....and at 4 and under they don't medicate. She went over the lists of what I'd been eating and said that we're eating GREAT. She checked it all and said that 6 lbs weight gain one week and 4 lb weight loss the next had to be a thyroid blurp because there was NO WAY I should be gaining weight working out 5 - 6 times a week and eating what I eat. She said that I need to eat more and she is concerned that I've been eating so little. I told her I don't want to gain 6 lbs a week!!! She assures me that if I'll eat some sort of breakfast and then add two snacks in I WON'T gain weight. I explained I'm full all the time. She explained "to bad" and told me to eat because I have three factors for a sluggish metabolism (age, thyroid and new baby) and that I've killed my metabolism by not eating......but all these years of Weigh Down and Thin Within make it very hard for me to eat if I'm not hungry. Oh yes....and the new recommendation for fruit/veggie consumption? 10 - 12 servings a day! I really won't be able to eat anything else...and I think that's the point! ::snort::

~The base will be offering a free weight loss class for the next six weeks. They'd like me to attend. 1. it would be good for me to move thoughts of nutrition to the forefront of my mind, 2. They'd like me in the class to share the changes I made in our diet, and probably 3. She can keep saying "eat 3 meals a day and 2 snacks" to try to indoctrinate me. It's Friday from 12:00 - 12:45. I may do it. I'm thinking. The weekly focus might be good....might help motivate me....and they have an exercise trainer too but it will be a LONG time before I let him pinch my fat. LOL

~I made Emily's tortellini chowder tonight. Emily - do you want me to link to your web for the recipe or post it? Let me know. I adapted....but it was yummy. I didn't have frozen veggies and used 4 C of broccoli, red peppers, carrots and corn....and I didn't have evaporated milk and used a cup of cream. Yeah - I KNOW! BUT the dietitian agreed I could have small amounts of the REAL thing! LOL

~Tricia called right when I'd begun dinner and reminded me about Mom's Night Out at our homeschool support group! I remembered earlier in the day - I think - but I'd totally forgotten by evening.

~My OB/GYN's husband was one of the speakers tonight. He runs a fitness program here in the community. They also had a lady who is offering drama and voice lessons. And oh yeah - I KNOW what I forgot to sign up for - missions trip for homeschool youth and/or families.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sunday

Too tired to think of a title...maybe I'll think of one before tomorrow. LOL

~Sunday School - good. Zander even went and played with the class, though he didn't attend the whole class.

~Lunch with Steve, Debbie and boys. Arielle felt sick when we left. She got better in a couple of hours. Strange....

~Zander, Arielle and Jamin wanted an outing. I took them to the mall. We discovered you could pay $25 and get in a cage with baby lions, tigers and jaguars. Zander was SURE I had money for this, I was sure I didn't.

~Mandy came over, after dropping her eldest son at youth group. We had a good visit and I introduced her to Red Tea.....her boys Malin and Martin were great fun for Nolan and Zander. I couldn't believe I forgot to offer her tea...thanks for asking about putting the kettle on, Mandy. It surprises me how much Mandy and I have in common. She's from England, I'm from the United States....but we both attended boarding schools, we both are married to chaplains, we both have children, both our husbands are currently on expense paid vacations...there must be more....anyway it was fun to visit with her.

~A note about the counters....I couldn't decide what to do. I didn't want to leave anyone out....but if I wait until the first one is done, the next doesn't get much air time...so there you have it....I almost said "boys birthday month" but they deserve their own countdown. LOL

That's all folks...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Semi- Studious/Semi-Silly SATURDAY

~Jamin studied all day.

~Josiah worked all day.

~I did my 5th Step Workout of the Week! WooHoo! Made that goal!

~I talked with Bank of America again today - 3 agents. I had two merchants they had denied (recurring payments as I've not been using the card). I had to call the merchants and tell them to try again (our local paper and netflix). They insist it is all taken care of now....but I asked them to explain WHY I continue to have trouble. Evidently, this is one of the mysteries of the modern age. ::snort::

~I worked on my personal Shop Natural order. I also helped two women get their orders together. I still need to compile the monthly group order and get it sent in.

~Arielle went to play with Ashley.

~I took Jamin to the library....and found some new books for myself, while he looked for Winston Churchill books.

~More letters, cards and a package from Mike today.

~We went to the mall to see a magic show. The magician's message is about believing in yourself (or in magic), saying no to drugs and alcohol and bullies. We had good seats from Chick Fil A....until the boy next to us threw up - he was maybe 2 and had drunk an ENTIRE Strawberry shake by himself. Josiah was manager on duty and got to clean it up! UGH....see all that time cleaning carpets around here during flu season has taken him to great heights. ::snort:: At the magic show there were skunks, rabbits, birds and a baby Siberian tiger. Nolan insisted on staying to pet them all.

That's it for today. I'm not going to try to load many photos as blogger is loading each of my images about 100 times and then I have to delete them all. LOL

Tea Thoughts


I've thought I needed to lay off drinking tea to be "healthy". I really do not care for herb teas....though with some stevia or agave nectar and a bit of cream, maybe they wouldn't be to bad...LOL Anyway, I've been trying not to drink black tea. I've been hearing that my Red Tea (Rooibos) was good but wasn't sure why. I took some time today to find some info and I'm THRILLED. It seems black tea is good for reducing cholesterol and Red Tea is really good. I found this info from several tea sites (::snort::) Bigelo, Celestial Seasonings, Republic of Tea, English Tea Store and wikipedia etc. In case anyone else has wondered, I thought I'd share.


Researchers from several countries have presented evidence that suggests that black teas, green teas and oolong teas, have a protective capability against oral, lung, colon and other cancers. Green teas especially, with more than thirty polyphenols, has a unique beneficial effect on the human system. These polyphenols are also found in fruits and vegetables and act as antioxidants like vitamin C, E, and beta carotene and may reduce serum cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and stroke.

~Tea is reported to aid digestion, strengthen the immune system, and reduce the risk of heart disease, all of which play a role in healthy aging

~ By inhibiting the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract, tea helps prevent the formation of unwanted clots which may cause a heart attack or stroke.

~Black, green and oolong teas contain some caffeine. Green tea, has about one-third the caffeine per cup of black tea. Oolong has about half as much caffeine as black tea. Coffee by contrast, has about twice as much caffeine as black tea.

Black tea consumption may lower bad cholesterol levels and could one day be used to help reduce the chance of heart disease for those at risk, U.S. researchers said Tuesday. ( MSNBC )

~Why Red Tea?

Red Tea has all the benefits of green tea, but is completely caffeine-free so that you can enjoy unlimited cups, multiplying the benefits from all its healthful properties without overdoing the caffeine.

Red Tea can be of benefit in common infant ailments like colic and stomach cramps.

Red Tea is completely pure, natural and contains no additives, preservatives or colorants.

Red Tea contains no caffeine and has a soothing effect on the central nervous system.

Red Tea has anti-spasmotic properties which help to relieve stomach and digestive problems like nausea, vomiting, heartburn and stomach ulcers.

Red Tea benefits the management of allergies like hay fever, asthma, and eczema.

Red Tea has a soothing effect when applied directly to the skin as a tincture or can relieve itching, rashes and sunburn when added to a bath.

Red Tea has antioxidants which limit the effects of free-radicals in the process of aging and the declining immune system.

Red Tea supplements the daily amounts of calcium, manganese and especially fluoride, needed for the development of strong teeth and bones.

Red Tea contains zinc and alapa-hydroxy acid, which promote healthy skin, and magnesium, which is necessary for a healthy nervous system.

Friday, January 19, 2007

FABULOUS FRIDAY

Yay! It's Friday again! It looks like we are heading into another icy weekend. Unfortunately, Netflix hasn't sent any movies...we could sure use them if we get iced in again.

Josiah has been going out to work each night. He says he's the only one on the roads on the way home. WooHOO! Great news for our base....Josiah's boss won a contract and will be putting a Chick Fil A trailer in the BX parking lot from Wed - Sat....still not a real restaurant but hey - it's something besides Burger King. LOL Josiah was surprised at how freaked out some of the employees were at having to go on BASE to work. ::snort::

We were able to go to speech today because the roads were fine this a.m. We did some extra school reading this morning, as we didn't have co-op.

We went to a friend's this afternoon.

Pizza tonight and it was yummy. I was mindful of my cholesterol and only had a tiny piece of pizza and then a big salad....with very little dressing.

*Swiss Family Robinson* just started...we have a zillion old movies we can watch while waiting for the ice to leave and/or Netflix to arrive. {G}

Drink Up, Stacia!



WEATHER & SMALL BASES

It's warmed up and raining....but we have a 90% chance of freezing rain tonight and tomorrow. Sunday is supposed to be nice. Snow again on Monday. Who would have guessed?

I received a phone call from the clinic about my labs. This is ALWAYS bad news because they don't call if things are o.k. They didn't say a word about the GTT so I'm assuming I don't have diabetes for another year. They said my thyroid is 2.3 which is mid-range; so I'm keeping my dose for another year. I need to read up more on the numbers and figure this out.

Then they said my cholesterol is high. Shoot! I talked to them about my high good cholesterol but even taking that into account I'm still 60 points above maximum. This goes up and down with my thyroid. However, I have a history of heart problems in the family and so...they referred me to the "Health and Wellness Center". The clinic said to expect a call. Less than 30 minutes later I got a call. He told me that they do the heart classes once a month and when it was. I can't make it. He then said that they'll do a one on one meeting with me and the dietitian on Monday. This is good as I know last time I was on the "the program" they advocated lots of fake food as the solution - and I won't do that this time. I explained, ::snort:: "I don't plan on spending real money on fake food. "When I asked where their building was he said, "Ma'am the same parking lot your husband uses. How's he doing over there?" Small bases are a hoot! I can't get away with anything around here. I sometimes wonder if Mike told the clinic to make sure I did what I was told while he was gone.....

Birthday Funny

Nolan and Zander were talking last night. Nolan explained I had a birthday coming up. He asked how old I would be and I told him 43.

He said, "Wow - you don't look THAT old!" I thanked him.

Zander, not to be outdone, said, "Yeah - Mom - you just look 69!"

This reminds me that I should get a birthday countdown up for the boys....

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thankful Thursday

~I still didn't dare to go biking.... thankful that I still have an old step video...I'm actually finding it fun to think that the last time I really used this video my 13 yo was the baby around my ankles. ::snort::

~I received TWO cards from Mike today. I love getting his letters and cards. This is the THIRD birthday card you've sent, Mike...are you hinting at something???? LOL

~I had to cancel produce co-op for the week. 1. HEB hadn't had a produce truck because of the ice, and 2. I didn't want to HAVE to leave home tomorrow as we are expecting another ice storm tonight. I was thankful that all were so understanding.

~I'm thankful that my friend, Adrienne, and her children did not stand us up today! ::snort:: Since we were not having produce co-op tomorrow she had to come to this side of town today to buy some produce. She called to see if I needed anything at the grocery store. I'm thankful I did not have to bundle everyone up to go buy milk and produce. What a friend! She also brought her grain mill over so that I could grind a week's worth of wheat. I'm thankful I didn't have to buy flour. ::Snort::

~I'm thankful I lost a lb last week - despite the yummy organic no bake cookies.

~I'm thankful Stacia's last "i" tooth is in....o.k. is it eye teeth, i tooth, canine tooth - whatever - it's popping through!

~I'm thankful we ate all our celery last week and there will be NO celery this week - because I'm sure not buying it! ::snort::

Unusual TX Sighting - snowman


*Note it took ALL the snow in the yard to make this little guy! LOL

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

PRAYER REQUEST

The girls have a big school assembly in Spokane tomorrow. They've asked we pray.

Sweet Compliment

I have mentioned that Mike taped the Narnia series and sent it back for the younger ones to enjoy. He'd been reading the series to them when he deployed. Each night I can hear two different chapters/books from the younger boys/girls room.

Tonight as they got ready for bed, Arielle said she isn't sure what she likes best, "hearing the story or hearing Dad's voice". Ah....

Arielle and Stacia are listening to "The Last Battle" over and over...because OF COURSE they fall asleep and have to start over. Nolan and Zander are listening to Sliver Chair.

Yes - we still have books on TAPE, TAPE recorders and school TAPES. {sigh} We are slowly converting to CD/DVD/MP3 type stuff....

WACKY WEDNESDAY

~Made breakfast burritos, hash browns and smoothies for the children for breakfast.

~Snow, snow, snow - enough that we still have some tonight but hardly any by AK standards.

~Teeny, tiny snowman building contest (no photos - ugh)

~School

~Got to talk to Mike today - 2 more months to go. We are looking at mid-March rather than early March now....maybe April.

~Made co-op phone calls

~Tried to track down Mike's w-2 when I realized that I can't file for Josiah's financial aide until we do our income taxes....but the base was closed at 2:00 p.m. Which explains why our friends dh didn't want her driving and we were stood up for a play date!

~Encore Presentation for dinner

~Housebound due to weather for 5 days now....enjoying the down time....lots of reading, snuggling and game playing.....

~Praying the roads are clear by Friday a.m. when I have to be out early.

*Corrie Ten Boom: Keeper of the Angels' Den* by Janet and Geoff Benge


This was a book listed for Dialectic students to read in Year 4 of Tapestry of Grace. It was also listed as a supplement for Upper Grammar. I decided to give it a try for the younger ones (2nd, 3rd). We loved it. In fact Zander (nearly 5) sat and listened to many of the chapters with us. Jared (7th) read it as well. I do NOT plan to list every book we read in a school year. This one, however, deserves special mention.

I've long been a Corrie Ten Boom fan. I've read *Hiding Place* and *Tramp for the Lord*. I was skeptical when I saw this book. I expected a very watered down version of Corrie's life. I was WRONG. This book is written in a way that it is engaging and appropriate for young readers; but it does not in any way water down the power, the impact, or the message of the Ten Boom family.

Corrie's love for family, fellow human beings, and the Lord shines through in this book. The message of hope in the darkest situations is clearly portrayed. The message of forgiveness is simply amazing. I love that this book follows Corrie to the end of her life.

This is the first book *I'VE* read in the "Christian Heroes: Then and Now" series. I plan to find more titles from this series to use during our evening family reading times. These are the types of heroes I want my children to know and love. This book is a good introduction for young children. As an adult, who knew the story, I still found that the book held my interest. I have another biography series written for children that is fictionalized and it's sometimes hard for me to sort fact from fiction. I also have some "Heroes of the Faith" titles, but we found the writing in this book to be much more engaging. My older boys did note that they all begin by "giving the plot away". I wouldn't know, as this is the first one I've read. I sometimes worry about reading great books with the young ones - that they won't have the joy of reading them o their own...but honestly....there are so many good books on any given topic that I doubt that's a real problem to fret about. ::snort::

TX Snow?


Snow Wear?

 This door is right behind my computer chair. I caught him heading out to play in the snow....he remembered pants (sort of PJ's) this time...and a shirt....he even put socks on his hands (we don't have any gloves)....but he forgot the coat, socks and shoes. It's funny he told you Mom that he was from AK and not afraid of the snow....I'm guessing he doesn't remember COLD. ::snort::

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Thinking of Josiah

OH! THE PLACES YOU'LL GO!
You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

TERRIFICALLY COLD TUESDAY

~Yes - it IS cold. 27* counts as cold. It's also snowing - photos below. I'm hoping for enough snow to get a hand print photo like Cindy took. That would be cool. Maybe impossible around here though.

~The day began with the grain mill seizing up AGAIN - I had just enough flour to make biscuits and gravy - Jamin's request.

~I braved the elements and wild drivers to drive to Bank of America and hand deliver a check. That rascally payment should be credited by tomorrow a.m.

~I made a ton of phone calls: netflix (wanting to know why the credit card won't work), Nenana School district, NARHS, all Bible Study ladies, Adrienne, (Heather called me twice - does that count???), AK USA, BreAnne...

~We did school. I cried when Betsy told Corrie there was no pit deep enough that God's love couldn't reach....and then she died.

~Meatloaf, oven baked fries (loving that french fry slicer), and potato/cauliflower soup for dinner

~Stacia didn't nap today; I'm looking for an early evening for her.

~Plan to read Jungle Book and then see how I spend my quiet hours....maybe reading, maybe read some blogs, maybe study, maybe catch an old movie.....

Debbie's Chuckle of the Day

Stacia finds GUM...which I didn't even realize was in the house....

Michael's Transportation

Meanwhile.....the rest of our family enjoys something a bit warmer than snow....LOL

Sling Time

Every few days Stacia will bring me her sling. She's cute. I was surprised to round the corner today and find this....

Stacia meets S*N*O*W*

hmmm.....it's a bit cold out here


What is THIS???Arielle & Zander introduce Stacia to snow...



Proper Winter Attire???




These little two have no clue whatsoever about snow.....we've got big, fat, lazy flakes now as opposed to teeny, tiny ones yesterday. They are saying we'll get 2 - 4 inches tonight. I cancelled Bible Study. All ya'all Northerners - I've finally figured it out - and I've been in YOUR shoes remember I'm recently from AK - it makes SENSE to cancel things and highways shut down when we get a bit of ice and snow.....BECAUSE....none of us have studded tires, winter tires....no one is sanding the roads, and believe me many down here don't know HOW to drive in this stuff. We had 76 accidents yesterday. I cancelled study - I'm not taking a chance of getting clobbered from behind when I slow for a stop sign. ::snort::

Monday, January 15, 2007

MARVELOUS MONDAY

~I woke up and it was cold and icy. . . and raining. Jamin thought that it was a BAD idea to go biking - and I agreed. However, I will not let my CWLS friends down...and so I dug out an OLD Becky Tirabassi Step video.

~Yes, I did *Thoroughly Fit*. A few months ago I got rid of all my workout videos because I really HATE using videos and it's hard to do with little ones hanging on your ankles.BUT this a.m. it worked GREAT (maybe because I was so grateful to have an option that kept me INSIDE!). I was glad I'd not parted with this one. I holed up in my room, hooked it all up, and was done before the littles woke up. Now - if I can continue to do THAT I could make the exercise video thing work. I do not have a step these days....but I managed to be-bop around enough to get my heart rate up to the maximum for my age. What a HOOT! The last time I did this I was in the 20-30 age range. ::snort:: AND then I knew all the moves... and could SEE the screen to tell what I was supposed to be doing. This video has a warm up, 3 different aerobic segments and toning at the end. I tried to use a box for a step but ended up squashing the box. ::snort:: ::gasp:: ::chuckle::

~We did school. I cried again reading Corrie Ten Boom - this time when Bessie and Corrie see each other again. Ah.

~We tried to stay warm. I began reading a new book. Arielle began a new book. The boys continued on books. The little boys raged around.

~Arielle and I made no-bake cookies - I used rapadura this time and I was MUCH happier than I was with honey.

~I made MORE of Heather's Better than Hidden Valley Ranch dressing....thank ya, Stacia.

~I made Chicken Pot Pie for dinner.

~Cy, the two little boys and I ran to Sam's club for milk and eggs.

~We read about 40 pages in Jungle Book and all agreed that they'd rather stick with THIS version - original and lose the "Great Illustrated Children's Classic" version. I did edit the thees and thous on the fly.

~Josiah had the day off and we all LOVE having him home. We miss him at dinner a lot! He received a call from Pastor Nate - the director of Master's Commission in Spokane. He's grown up so quickly.

SNACK CENTER



This was a GREAT idea that Anita, one of our produce members, shared. This is our snack center and the children know that they can eat from it as much and as often as they'd like. I also pull it out at lunch and dinner time. The cauliflower isn't going anywhere but I've had to refill the other slots a couple of times.....oh and the celery...well *I* grab a piece every time I grab something else...

Ranch Bath?

Can you tell what is going on here? Thank goodness she had stripped her clothes off before THIS. Yes, that's the ranch dressing in her hand....and all over the floor...and she was LAUGHING and crying at the same time.

First time *WE'VE* seen this in TX

...though others tell me they get snow here "often"

The Organo-Fastfood Civilwar

March 21, 2006 was a day of horror. Organicism took a grip on this household. A grip that would last for awhile; still there are few who pray for a saving army.

But I’m putting the cart before the horse. Organicism showed its intentions on conquering the household food supply in a book known as “Mien Kompf” that’s not its real name; but to the Food and Freedom fighters it was just as menacing. The book’s real name was, “Why Can’t My Child Behave,” by Dr. Ben Feingold. The book preached all levels of Organicism. The battle cry of the Organcis became familiar around our house, “We don’t spend real money on fake food!”

On February 23, 2006, nearly a month before the actual Civil War started, the Organics suddenly made a surprising and aggressive attack on the free food countries. All food with coloring, BHT, artificial flavors, and worst of all bacon, was gathered and sent to Prisoner of War camps. Even though the declaration of war hadn’t been signed, yet.

The Food and Freedom fighters were reluctant to act upon this aggressive move. Hence Organicism tightened its grip on the food supply.
Tension continued to build until the fatal day of March.

I awoke on the morning of March 21, I knew that the tension was just too strong and it would explode into Civil War. The Food and Freedom fighters went about their day, unaware of what was about to happen.

No doubt the Organics had planned this day for that purpose. The now contraband food that had been gathered in February hadn’t been shipped out yet. The battle raged on long and fiercely. Organics Vs Foodist (not to be confused with Buddhist).

I was stuck between the love for food and the insanity of war.
By early evening the guns on both sides were silenced. The Foodist flag (a cheese colored flag with a milkshake in the middle) was taken down and the Organics flag rose.

Oh cry beloved country! Woe is me! But it was a fair battle, and we lost fair and square.

Josiah's New Uniform



*The funny thing about these photos is that I had to make him sit down because I couldn't get the perspective right with him standing...he's too much taller than I. He's got to be 6'3" or 6'4" by now...I need to measure him.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Surprising Sunday

~It's cold.....and we've had freezing rain, ice, and snow....that certainly counts for surprising.

~Mike called - which is surprising and we were thrilled. He reports he has now ridden a camel. Mike, Zander wanted to know "how many humps" when we told him. I hadn't thought to ask.

~A friend, Margie, stopped by and surprised me with a beautiful calendar.....She said it reminded her of me: Teapot & Tea Calendar. Each month features a tea pot, with tidbits about pots, teas and such in the side bar, and quotes sprinkled here and there. Another fun thing to check out are all the scrumptious looking tea treats. (photo won't load)

~We've simply set around and read, played games, watched Gilligan's Island and Hogan's Heroes....nothing very surprising about that. LOL