Thursday, February 28, 2008

In Honor of "Missing AK Season"

What is it?

It frightens Stacia!

We took the van in for a carwash. I think you have to survive a winter and break-up to understand why a carwash would be a nostalgic activity when missing AK. LOL

About once a month ,I lose a day to "chapel paperwork and such" in order to be able to continue to do "chapel ministry." Today was that day, but I was glad to get it all done.

I spent the afternoon canceling credit cards in MY name that I didn't know I had. How can a woman who has no income be given not one but FOUR credit cards with a total of $28K limit? They thought I was nuts when I called the bank that handles the Sam's Discover and said, "Please check and see if I have an account with you."

"Ma'am, what's your credit card number."

"I don't have a credit card - here's my social security number...."

Yep - I had one - wrong birthday but same address and my number. ARGH. I've been working on that all afternoon and will continue to work on it. I also called USAA, and they've got the best deal, bar none, for a new card. Funny thing - Discover, Visa, Mastercard, Pennies - they all offer you rock bottom when you want to close an account. Shoot one company told me that if you simply call and REQUEST a promotional rate they'll give it to you for 6 months, and I could request it every 6 months. ::snort:: I don't need cheap interest rates; I just need nice people to do business with - and SECURITY. LOL BUT USAA has the cheapest REAL rates yet...and no fees, and they'll not make my dh call from the middle east to find out the balance. LOL

Anyway - I have a migraine and one of the adult type children are going to take over while I go take one of the big gun pills.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Another day....

I have felt like a slug today. I've felt totally unmotivated. I've felt like I'm living on an adrenalin rush. I've proven once again that I can't trust my feelings - except for that heart-racing, adrenalin-rush thing.
We have already finished over 1 week of school - in all subjects including TOG.
We've finished several Chinese projects. Today I printed out all the directions for our Ancient Greece and Rome Kit.
I sent out info for our United co-op. I revised and sent out a newbie letter to our new co-op members. I put an order in for a lady without computer access.
I've been missing's only 4 days until the dogs race through downtown Anchorage...the Iditarod. Christmas lights come down when the last dog reaches Nome. We couldn't keep that tradition down here. ::snort:: I've been getting things ready for us to track the race.
Ah, the joys of having an older homeschooled brother - Jared made a Grecian sword and helmet for Zander.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

He's Home....

Mike's home, and I'm on the computer because Zander came in with tears in his eyes and said, "We're waiting for Dad". LOL Mike reads to them each night as they go to sleep - and they've been waiting for his return. What a great Dad - he got up (and he's DEAD tired) and went to read to them.
We baked today.....

We finished our Dragon Puppets and decided to move on to Greek projects now. We'll come back and do the projects from Tibet and Indonesia later.  The kids want to do some fun projects from Greece. I'll be pulling that together tomorrow.

Mike DID get home tonight. I was at Bible Study. When I got home, he pulled his suitcase into the living room and the kids gathered around. He always has gifts (mostly from Mom this time - they were a hit, Mom). It was hilarious when Zander pulled the piano stool up for a front row viewing.

That's a wrap on this day....surely they'll be done reading soon. OH - Mike brought home "Kerplunk" by Patrick McManus. He says it's for our next camping trip, but I bet we read it sooner. He also brought news that the girls have two weeks off in August, and they are planning on meeting us in CO for camping. I'm not 100% sure that the girls are thrilled with this plan - but it will be fun to have them on a camping trip again. ::snort:: Something to look forward to: August is only 6 months away - I can live 6 months without seeing my babies.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Perfect Homeschool Mom....

I woke up this a.m. determined to be the perfect homeschool mom. I needed to build some confidence as I'm saying a few words tonight at Mom's Night Out. If you read this before or between 7 - 9 p.m. TX time (what is that Eastern/Mountain time?), feel free to pray. Jamin says I need to FOCUS more....just what that means, I'm not sure. I plan to take a prop and focus on it. ::snort::
Anyway, I began the day with a work out. Stacia and Zander like to work out with me. As I was pulsing (lunging with my weights), STACIA dropped a weight on ZANDER'S tummy.
I went to make them a smoothie.  While I did that, the dynamic duo found a can of root beer in the depths of the pantry. I LET THEM DRINK IT! It WAS organic.
Then Zander decided to blow bubbles with his and make maps on the table - geography - who can pass that up?

As I was cleaning up soda....I heard a scream in the back yard....
What is an ARM doing in the dog kennel????
Ah - OK - a head too - it's only Nolan....STUCK FAST. He can't explain WHY he was in there - it seemed like a good thing to do. Another clear case of T-Poisoning.
Lower him GENTLY
Crawl out - he couldn't. I began to imagine Nolan having to drag the kennel along with him until Mike got back to town, while Jared helpfully offered to spray him down with water and someone else suggested Coconut Oil. We pried him out.
I remembered speech in the knick of time.
We made these Japanese dolls from our
Hands and Heart Ancient Far East history kit.Photobucket
We began work on dragon puppets.
We did finally start Greece. We got our reading done then Arielle and Nolan kept reading and reading...we're ahead.

Jamin is working 40 hours this week (Stock Show/Rodeo) he's not doing "school." Jared asked what he should do. I told him to come up with a list of things he'd like to do that he hadn't been able to do yet (they are several weeks ahead of us and are done with Greece). He came up with a great list, hands-on projects, books.....on GREECE.

I need to do something about dinner and get presentable - AND make it to MNO on time...better hop to it.


You Be the Judge!!!

Have I lived in TX too long as my sons mercilessly claim? I stopped on our way home from dinner last night (with friends) to take this photo. THEY say they are scrawny trees, no mountains blah blah blah.....
I say they are "respectable beauty" - So....have I been in TX too long?



Experiencing the Resurrection by Henry and Melvin Blackaby

I will usually offer a book giveaway when I review the book for a blog tour. However, I'm supposed to post the review of this one during the week of 17 March. I would think someone may appreciate having this book BEFORE Easter.

If you would like this brand new copy of Experiencing the Resurrection, leave a comment. Be sure your blog url or email address is included so that I can reach you.

We will randomly draw a winner on Wed. I can't tell you more about the book - I'll begin reading it in the next day or two.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday - Tests, Swings and Other Such Things

I've obviously been writing book reviews. ::snort::

We cleaned the house this a.m.

Jared missed a CAP safety briefing a few weeks ago because Mike was out of town, and I had a dinner to attend. I needed him to watch the little ones. We tried every solution we could think of - and he was very understanding when none of them worked out. Because he missed that CAP meeting, he was not able to participate in today's stock show parade. We didn't realize that at the time. YEAH - the CAP took first place in the parade. Hurrah! The Sr. Leadership did allow him to come after the parade and do the PT tests. We ran up to base, and he did that. He passed them all and now has all the qualifications to promote to Senior Airman. You have to hit the dates just right for all the tests in order to promote - he was relieved to have passed the PT test, or he would have had to wait another month to promote. He's been waiting several weeks for a chance to take the PT tests.

While Jared tested, I took the younger ones to a swing set. I'd say "park,"  but we discovered we no longer have a public park on this base. They tore down the one and had made a nice new one, but it is behind a fence for the CDC's use. Maybe they aren't done building and the fence will come down in a few months. I had promised the youngers we'd play.  Thankfully, there is one play area that the After School program uses that isn't fenced so we swung on the swing set and made big tunnels in the sand. ::snort::

We grabbed lunch, went to the commissary, came home for dinner and movies, tucked kids into bed, studied for upcoming events this week, and now I'm waiting for the older boys to get home from work. They'll both be working long hours this week as this is the Stock Show and Rodeo week - they actually let kids out of school for this. Really.
I did get Mike's car home from the airport.

Sharing the Easter Faith with Children - Carolyn Brown

(pub by Abingdon Press - click photo for link)

Yes, I'm on a roll. This is another on my Ever-Changing 2008 Reading List.

Sharing the Easter Faith with Children is divided into 4 parts: Telling the Easter Story to Children, Keeping Lent and Easter with the Congregation and Family, Study Session for Parents, Teachers, and Worship Committees, and Easter Resources for Children and Their Adults.

This book is a treasure trove for ME - I think it may be for others, as well. I am excited about this book because it contains SERVICES for children - that can be used at home, in Sunday School, Children Worship or even at special celebrations. There are services for Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. These are services that I think would clearly communicate to CHILDREN. They are unique and fun from a Palm Sunday Parade (different stations and such) to several suggestions for a Tenebrae service. I plan to do several of these activities either at home or at the chapel.

The author began with explaining how Easter often is jumbled in a child's mind because parents aren't sure how to deal with topics such as betrayal, crucifixion, death and resurrection with their children. Many children hear the hoopla of Palm Sunday - and then Easter Sunday the excitement of Resurrection, but they know nothing of the Passion of Christ and are left wondering what all the excitement is about. This is just what I had been feeling was going on for our younger children.
A chart is presented that SHOWS which parts of the Easter story various ages can understand from Birth - 12. They idea is to share the Easter Season at each maturity level. For each age level, she suggests the heart of the Easter message for that age, the most significant Bible stories, themes and activities for that age, key Easter words to learn and meaningful activities for that age level. This will help parents who worry about over-exposing children to death at a young age. I found this chart to be helpful as I often tend to overwhelm our youngest two with info that our youth can understand. For instance at Stacia's age (18 - 36 months) the author suggests the heart of Easter would be "Jesus is Alive,"  most significant stories to focus on are Palm Sunday and Jesus is Alive, terms would be Easter, Hosanna, Alleluia, suggested activities are waving palm fronds, opening surprise eggs (Resurrection eggs), hearing Easter music and experiencing forgiveness. The authors' focus is in allowing our children to learn more each year - always keeping their age in mind as you share.
I'm also excited about the Devotional book that you can make for your children/students. Pages are included to copy along with items to purchase for the students to attach as the week goes by. We will do this at home and may do it at chapel too on Palm Sunday.
There are lessons to share with those who work with children - themes and suggestions on how to deal with difficult topics in a way that is age-appropriate.
There are also pages of book suggestions in the appendix. Some are from the early 90's, but I think most are available. I will take this list to the library with me next week.
At this point this is my favorite find.Photobucket

Family Celebration at Easter - Ann Hibbard

(published by Baker Books - click photo for link)
I was blessed to get this book on Paperback Swap.

This book has 3 main sections and a few extras.

The first section contains Lenten Devotionals. These begin with a "real life" illustration, then have a Scripture, worship song, discussion questions and a prayer. There are little "ornaments" you can make for an Easter Tree that go along with each devotion. We've not used the devotions in this book because we liked the child's perspective in "A Family Journey with Jesus Through Lent" for our younger set (2 of which we are still training to sit through family circle).

The second section offers an Easter family worship service and directions for a "Holy Treasure Hunt." I had already gleaned this idea from Debbie when she shared how she uses the Resurrection eggs. The author also suggests setting up a table that is then filled with "treasures" as the season goes along. You fill it with various of thorns, cup, bread, stone, etc. I think that could be fun in future years, or maybe we'll still do it this year, but I've not gotten that far. I think if I took the snowmen down, I'd have room to set up a treasure table in our entry way.

The third section of the book explains Passover, preparation for a Seder, the Passover meal, and includes the script for a messianic Passover. At this point, we plan to use the haggadah from this book for our Passover. This was a very concise and yet meaningful explanation of Passover.

There are a few other extras in the book. There are directions and patterns for symbols to create an Easter Tree. Now that I see my Jesus Tree is a "kit," I may well go ahead and copy these, color them, laminate them, and use them on the pine trees that stay in my living room year round. I need to study them more. I need to explore how much meaning the symbols will have without the accompanying devotionals. The book also has the music and words to several hymns.

While I'm not using a lot of this book, I liked it well enough that I decided not to re-post it on PBS. ::snort::

Another on the ever-changing 2008 Reading List.

Stacia's Fashions

It's either dresses or....
Her brother's clothes!

Friday, February 22, 2008

WooHOO - It's Produce Friday!

Friday: Produce co-op. I bought a case of tangelos just for us this week. Produce co-op always means quick visits with lots of folks....power playdates for the night.

Nolan and Arielle had their first drama class today. They did this last spring and loved it. We've been debating all year about further classes. It's so hard to make the time on Fridays. This is an 8 week class on improv...She gives a great discount for siblings so we end up paying $6 per child per week for an hour of drama with a very top-notch professional. I guess that's good. I'll have to watch and listen to hear if Missoula Theater comes to town this summer.

Jared and I ran to the base gym and got 30 minutes of work-out in during drama class...then back to pick them up.

Jamin got called in to work. I need to go pick up Mike's car at the airport, but Josiah hasn't been home all day. I contemplated walking out to the airport, but Jamin and Jared both said it was too far to walk. I guess we'll do that tonight when Cy gets home "late" - "after mid-night". This is stock show/rodeo week in our town.

I did another 20 minutes of exercise. We made pizza.

Stacia in one of her new dresses - note the pretty hair ornament which she is determined to take out. This must be pay back for me torturing her with headbands and hats when she was too helpless to take them off. ::snort::
new dress

Our Jesus Tree *KIT* came today. Unfortunately, I hadn't focused on the fact that it is a kit! YIKES! I will NEVER get all these things cut out and assembled before Easter...and our next Ladies' Project Night at chapel isn't until 14 Mar. I may save this for next year, I think I used all my artsy-fartsy impulses on the wreath. LOL I must have been skimming by the time I got to the next to the last line, "The kit contains all of the felt, patterns and directions needed to make and use the Jesus Tree." ::Snort::Photobucket
Stacia and Zander had a collision. She's got a big red mark, a bit of swelling, and I suspect it's going to bruise. ugh.Photobucket

Someone asked where we hung our wreath. I tried the front door, but it was getting smashed with the storm door. I tried the pantry/coat closet door, but the door wouldn't shut with the wreath on it. I have it hung on the french doors that seperate the living room from the library (otherwise known as a family room). I think I like it there anyway as we see it more often during the day.

Mike and the girls are together. They are soon going to be joining with more family. I made some homemade chocolate popcorn and plan to shamelessly eat some while we watch "The Patsy." We like Jerry Lewis.

In the Air Again (Not to be Confused with On the Road Again)

Mike left this a.m. to fly to Oregon. He will be speaking twice Sunday at the church that my parents attend, the church where I was dedicated, and where we were married.
Monday he will speak at Eugene Bible College - which is where we met and where Mike earned his bachelor's degree. He'll be preaching "real" messages, but also representing the chaplaincy.
The girls are driving down from Spokane to be able to see Mike. (I'm over my pouting jealousy, BTW). Mike's parents are driving up from California to see him. One of his sisters lives in Eugene as well as my brothers and parents. He'll be juggling for sure. ::snort::
If you are so led here are some specific things you can pray about: God's word to clearly be spoken and heard in all services, if there are some meant to be military chaplains that they will clearly hear and heed that call, family time for Mike, good father/daughter time.
Thanks all!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I'm excited about this for two reasons. 1, I am NOT crafty, and 2 ,we made it. I thought of taking the black ribbon to Veronica (our Catholic RE Coordinator) on Sunday because SHE makes gorgeous bows, but this worked, and 2. It is serving its purpose. Zander walked by the wreath 3 minutes after we hung it and said, "Why are there coins on that wreath?" I explained that Judas betrayed Jesus. He said, "But did God give His Son life again?" - YES! Thanks, Michelle, for sharing this idea.
I am also happy that we were able to use our spike from Valdez, our thorns from our TX walk, our little bag from Mike's hometown....
Below are the symbols used on the wreath and their meaning. I did ad-lib a bit (is anyone surprised?). We talked about each symbol and read the verses as we made the wreath. I'll spare you the ad-lib - you can tell the story in your own words. I KNOW YOU CAN!
Souvenirs of Jesus' Last Week/ Tokens of Jesus' Identity
vine/fruit/branchesVine & Branch; Grapes - reminds us of the Lord's Last Supper (and Maundy Thursday). John 15:5, "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."
palm branches/peace Palm Branch - Triumphant entry to Jerusalem (Palm Sunday). (Yes, ours are exotic fern because we couldn't find palm fronds). Eph 2:14-16 "He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall...." Michelle used Micah 5:5 "He will be their peace..." I just had to use Ephesians as I'm currently immersed in the book.
wheat Wheat Stalks - Lord's Supper - Bread of Life. John 6:35, "Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst."
30 pieces of silver 30 Pieces of Silver - Judas was paid to betray Jesus. Matt 26:14 - 16, "...What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?" And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him." Michelle used Zechariah 11. The bag held pretty stones we bought in Crescent City, CA - we didn't use the stones but thought the bag would work for a money bag.
thorns Thorns - Crown of thorns fashioned by the soldiers. Matt. 27:29, "And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand, and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!"
cross Cross - Crucifixion. John 3:14-15, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life."
nail Nails - Crucifixion. Colossians 2:13 - 14, "When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which were hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
mourning Black Ribbon - Death and Mourning - Good Friday. Luke 23:27, 46, "And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him....And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, 'Father into your hands I commit My spirit.' Having said this, He breathed His last."
linen Linen Ribbon - Grave Clothes. I added Matthew 27:59, "And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth...." and Michelle had Rev 1:18 - great verse - "I am the Livng One, and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades." I bought muslin and tore it.
stones Stone - rolled in front of the tomb and sealed. Rolled AWAY from the tomb on Resurrection Day. Matt. 27:60 - "....and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away." Matt 28:2 - " angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it." (preceding were my ad-libs and here is Michelle's verse which we also used). Matt. 21:42-44, "Jesus said to them, Did you never read in the Scriptures, the stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief cornerstone; this came about from the Lord and it is marvelous in our eyes; therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust."
lilies Lily - Dogwood bloom/ Resurrection. Isaiah 35:1-2, "The wilderness and the desert will be glad, and the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it will blossom profusely and rejoice with rejoicing and shouts of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the Lord, the Majesty of our God."

butterflies *Butterflies - New Life in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:16-19, "....Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation...."

*I know - I know. My wreath can't be a true Lent wreath can it? I know that the season is somber, but when we were shopping, Nolan and I HAD to get the butterflies and the whole time we were making the wreath I debated if we'd use them...but these verses in 2 Corinthians - some of my favorites - kept ringing in my spirit....His suffering bought my metamorphosis - my new life IN Christ, and as I abide, I am like those grapes.  This was a great project.

PhotobucketTools of the trade...Mike had taken the glue gun away from me years ago as I always burned myself and glued things that would be better fixed in other manners. I found the glue gun.

We had a plan - would it come together?
Nolan at work
Our finished wreath