Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday Recap

We did school.

Arielle, Nolan and Stacia had drama club. 12 May is the last day.

I had Nolan's ARD appointment. We are on schedule to have him dismissed from speech program. I met yet another lady whose dh had been stationed in Misawa years ago - "twice".

Picked up kids from drama.

Talked with Krista for a nice long time.

Did a bit of housework - and I mean a tiny bit.

Bible Study.

Stayed after to talk with several ladies. I'm going to miss "my ladies".

Starting lesson number 2 in Japanese. I'm STILL waiting to learn "excuse me, where's the bathroom?"

Got two boys and one girl down...Stacia is still fussing.

I rounded out the day with a few random phone calls, a trip to return a huge stack of overdue Passover and Japan books, conversations with kids and the gym.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Random Colonial Trivia

Log cabin Pictures, Images and Photos

The Swedish colonists of Delaware were the first to begin building LOG CABINS with stone fireplaces OUTSIDE of the cabin. This model spread throughout the colonies and into the western frontier. Most other colonies of the time had homes made of thatch that were prone to chimney fires.

{Hmmm....we're having so much fun sharing our random Japanese finds that we may make this a common blog feature - Random Homeschool Trivia. }

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Have You Heard?

We're Moving! And this is a post about STACIA'S MOVING BOOK!!

I have been kicking around an idea for a moving book but didn't find quite what I wanted at my normal free lapbook sites. We set out to make our own. I'm quite proud of this because...we found our own clip art, we made our own plan of what we wanted to include and I LET STACIA DO MUCH OF IT HERSELF!!!! For those who know of my aversion to mess and imperfection this signals God has done a great work in my heart. Honest.


I started by having Arielle take photos of the thing that everyone most wanted to be sure was packed for our upcoming move. I printed the photos out and laminated them.


Pretty representative: bookshelf, dolls, play kitchen, laptop, dinosaur collection, action figures, kayak...
Front cover - Stacia's moving on a plane...and there is also a map which shows our projected road trip.


We have a middle extension....this side has 4 monthly calendars that I printed at 50% normal from Organized Home. The hearts in May are Arielle's birthday/Jamin's Graduation. The circled date in June is when we expect to leave TX. The X in July is our report NLT date.


The other side shows a map of Japan and has a pocket for stickers. Stacia will either X each day or place a sticker on each day until we leave San Angelo, get on the plane etc. I think I need to go buy some smaller stickers to fit the calendars.


This is the open spread. The boxes, truck, boat and Misawa sign are all pockets. Note that Stacia cut up and glued the map on the right hand side "all by herself". She also pasted all sorts of red things with black writing all over in the book. She's proud.


We've talked about the move all afternoon. She's enjoyed moving the "things" from the "toy box" (which had to be improvised after she colored the top left hand toy box) through the various stages of the move. Here are our favorite things. First they'll go into a box. (Hmmm, I should probably get some photos of movers.)


Then they'll go into the truck.


Then our things will go on to a boat....


Then they'll arrive in Misawa. (Hmmm, I should add boxes at this end to unpack).


These last four photos are not accurate. That "laptop" used in the photos will never go into a box. It will go into a carry on, into the trailer and then on to the plane. ::snort:: We are not sure WHAT to do about Jared's kayak.
As Stacia and I worked on this this afternoon I realized how often I run to Office Depot for laminating stuff, folders, brads, colored paper....and realize I'm going to have to be much more organized based on comments I received from my question on Misawa Home Educators about office supplies. ::snort::

Liz A (Woot! A reader from Misawa) - click here (link is in sidebar too) for a handout I made of my favorite lapbook links. Homeschool Share - has lots of great, free, lapbooks to "prime the pump". You can find lapbooks that go along with children's books or topics...we used them for our Knight Books and our Viking Books earlier in the year. Stacia came up with her first lapbook all on her own.
You can see more of our lapbooks at Our Lapbooks Page.
Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

You Know it's a Peculiar Day When.....

...a man with a BIG badge shows up on your doorstep and asks to speak with Josiah or Jamin G. I was trying to remember WHERE I'd put the HSLDA phone number, because this guy sure looked official and I wasn't sure I wanted him in my house....but then I realized Josiah graduated 2 years ago so it couldn't be HSLDA.

It turns out a friend of theirs is applying for a very secret Intel clearance...in fact he's a student at the base. Shew.

We are slogging away on our studies of Colonial America.

We got everything out to work on our Japan book....



We got side-tracked by lunch.

Then Speech. Nolan took a test and they said he is making all the sounds correctly except "ar" in the ending position. I have an ARD meeting tomorrow and expect we'll agree to dismiss him from the program.

By the time I got home the kids really didn't want to do more school.

Arielle was working on a Princess lapbook.

I printed out stuff for Stacia to make an Easter lapbook. I'll try to post resources later.

Stacia and I made a Moving Book.

The inspection on base began today. Prayers are welcome...for the base to shine as it is a GOOD base and they've worked very hard to portray their strengths.

Mike isn't home yet - but he said he'd be home early.....so....I think I'll go ahead and eat. ::snort::

{Intel - Intelligence career field in the military; ARD - Admission, Review and Dismissal review}

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

He's a Man Now

Yep, it's official. Each family is sure to have their own rites of passage...but last night Mike passed the torch to Josiah.


What? You can't tell what it is? It's a Patrick McManus Treasury. Mike has read these books to us around campfires and during winter evenings for the past 20 years. I ordered a set by "accident" on PBS and we immediately decided to give them to Josiah. It seems only RIGHT and he does seem bent on creating his own outdoor memories (judging by this weekend). ::snort:: Mike thinks that Josiah should get his boss a copy of "A Fine and Pleasant Misery".

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Blogging for Books

Would you like the chance to blog for books? If approved, WaterBrook/Multnomah/Random House Books will send you an advance copy to review on your blog. You usually have the opportunity to request 1 - 2 books to giveaway as well. You pay postage, most often, to mail books to your winners.

I've enjoyed my participation in this program. I've read many new books and authors that I would not have read otherwise. You do get to pick which genre you are interested in reviewing...and you are never sent a book to review unless you indicate that you want to review it.

Visit this link to find out more about the program. If you join - mention you heard about the program from this blog/URL .

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Blog Tour & Giveaway

Clutter-FREE Christianity - By Robert Jeffress
My Summary: I have not finished this book. I was hooked in the first pages as the author asks us to imagine we are moving to a foreign country and suggests ways we could prepare. ::snort:: I was TRYING to rush through this book so that I could review it....but this book is too good to rush. I sense that it has a lot to say to me.

Chapter titles include: Keeping Your Faith Clutter-Free, Connecting Your Heart to God's Power, Experiencing Heaven on Earth No, Clearing Away Anger, Bitterness and Emotional Knots, Saying Yes to the Impossible, Allowing Peace to Rule Your Life, Finding More in Less, Discovering the Key to Greatness, Communicating with the One Who Loves Your Most and Creating a Plan to Change Your Life.

Here's a quote that grabbed me.... "The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak." p 8. THIS is where I decided to stop rushing and settle into a slow, enjoyable read.

I have one copy of this book to giveaway. If you would like a copy simply leave a comment, with contact info (email or blog), in my comment section. International readers, APO/FPO addresses are encouraged to participate. We will pick a winner Friday a.m. You will have one week to respond with your address. If an address is not provided in a week, I pick a new winner. You can read more about the book here.

Publisher's Summary: When did the Christian life become so complicated?

Your greatest desire is to please God, but with each passing week, your spiritual to-do list grows longer. As you strive to fulfill a never-ending inventory of requirements for being a godly parent, spouse, voter, employee, and more, you feel increasingly disconnected from the God you’re trying to serve.

It’s time to cut through the clutter and get to the heart of what it means to please God. In this liberating look at the core principles of faith, Dr. Robert Jeffress reveals the truth about what God really wants from you–and what He wants to do for you.

Through solid biblical teaching and practical insights, Dr. Jeffress points you toward a revitalized faith centered on becoming more like Jesus in action, attitude, and affection. You’ll learn how to partner with God in the process of spiritual transformation as you choose to follow Christ in forgiveness, obedience, trust, contentment, service, and prayer.

Through a renewed focus on experiencing the kingdom of God right now, you’ll find your to-do list shrinking and your spiritual life deepening. It all comes with embracing Clutter-Free Christianity.

Includes a Bible study guide for personal growth and group discussion.

Author Bio: Dr. Robert Jeffress is the senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas, one of the most historic churches in the Southern Baptist Convention. The author of sixteen books, he is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition, live broadcasts of Dr. Jeffress’ weekly messages reach millions of listeners and viewers each week, while his daily sermon series airs on 1,100 television stations and cable systems nationwide. Dr. Jeffress and his wife, Amy, are the parents of two adult daughters.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Update on Phil

Phil is the name of our young friend who was wounded in theater last Saturday. Things have been happening so fast that I've not been sure what to update. Here's the latest happenings.

  • Phil made it safely to the East Coast and is being treated at the Navy Hospital - his family is very impressed with the care he (and they) are receiving. The Army is also doing a superb job of caring for his wife and parents.
  • The neurosurgeon is amazed at how quickly Phil is recovering. He said they did a good job at the field hospital.
  • Phil's sisters and brother are all on the East Coast now.
  • Please continue to pray that feeling and movement will return to Phil's left side.
  • Phil has been moved out of ICU today and this means he can see his nieces and nephew.
  • Phil would like to see the President...to make this happen has become the mission of his siblings.
  • Ev asks that we pray for those who were responsible for shooting Phil and his cell.
  • There are two young men who were heroes in getting Phil off the field.... Phil is working to make sure they are properly thanked - military style.
  • The near future looks like a couple of weeks in the hospital and then moving on to rehab.

Thanks so much for your prayers for Phil and for all of the troops in harm's way.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Young Love

Zander has his first crush. It's a doozy. He's picked a wonderful student at the base. His siblings have told him she's too old (19) ....doesn't matter. She sits with him at potlucks, smiles at him....he's smitten with Sara.

During a recent conversation he cracked us all up when he said.....

"The minute I saw her I did this.."


"Then I fell over,"...looks up and says, "Arielle and Nolan thought I had a stroke."


His taste is superb....can't wait to meet the young lady he brings home in 15 - 20 years. LOL

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

WooHOO!! Weekend Recap

airplane Pictures, Images and Photos

Another thing crossed off the check list. I made the girls' reservations to fly out for Jamin's graduation/Arielle's Birthday (same day). Bre will come out early and stay for a week.

Krista will fly in the day before the graduation. She plans to stay with us in San Angelo (jump out of a plane), and drive back west with us. One last PCS road trip.....

Cy made a 100% on a paper he turned in. He just got from a Chick Fil A manager team building weekend....where they had a auto accident, a boat motor quit, and had to push the boat back to shore. ::snort::

Jared and Mike fixed both our bath tubs and made great progress on the pond for the front yard.

I didn't get a LOT done yesterday...but Mike has been at chapel since 7:30 a.m.....so I got a lot done today! Tickets and Winter Gear.....

{Military Speak: PCS - Permanent Change of Station; MOVE}

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Success - Sort of

I spent 3 hours - THREE HOURS - shopping online. This takes a lot of time....when Internet Explorer went down...and I lost the shopping bag. Grrrrr....

THEN I went back and put it all back a second time. Goes much quicker the second time. I've ordered coats for all but Nolan and ski pants for all but Jared and I. I'm not sure where else to try for those last things.

I'm not sure I got the right size...but I measured everyone and went with their size charts...not at all the sizes I would have bought. LOL

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Roasted Asparagus with Onion

Chop two sweet onions and spread on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Add some garlic and sprinkle with Kosher salt.

Roast in oven 20 minutes.

I was baking chicken at the time so the temp was lower than I would normally favor for roasted veggies. 400 or 425 works best.

After the onions have softened a bit (turn over with fork), add fresh asparagus (woody ends snapped off). Drizzle (or spritz) with olive oil, sprinkle salt and fresh Rosemary. Bake for another 10 minutes. When asparagus is done to desired softness (I like mine crisp), take out and garnish with fresh Parmesan cheese.

I love roasted onions so I took the opportunity to cook them along with the asparagus. You’ll have to experiment with the baking time. I was working on pulling everything together for dinner and didn’t time the veggies very precisely. Okay, I barely timed them at all so I am not responsible for your under or over cooked veggies.

Roast at your own risk.

Visit the Recipe Index (linked in side bar) for more yummy eats. This recipe was shared on SHS by Kathy of Ducakbush Blog and has become a favorite.

{I'm making it a lot right now as I'm not sure I'll be able to easily get asparagus in Japan. Still posting favorites to Choosing Joy in the hopes of leaving cookbooks behind.}

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Check it out

My friend Debbie told me about an album she found that she thought would be great for me. I agree (but am committed to using all my Creative Memory albums first). While I was picking up stuff for PWOC today, I called Debbie and she directed me to the aisle where these babies are kept. These are made by Pebbles Inc.
You can slide your printed 4 x 6 photos right into the sleeves (No Time), or add a couple of journaling boxes (Some Time), or do what I've been doing with my digital, make a fancy 12 x 12 layout and slide it into a full page protector with the next page being plain (Creative Time). This seems to allow for digital scrapping pretties when wanted, ease of storing photos in a safe spot etc....not sure that I'd want to do this when I reach my digital photos.....as I plan to do most of that on whatever size, print it out and put them in an album....but who knows.
They ship FREE to military bases world wide....gotta love a company that puts their "military support" into discounts. ::snort:: It's standard shipping and I've been told that standard shipping to Japan can take a long time...but it IS an option.
Has anyone used these albums?
No, we didn't find winter gear...but surely Japanese children wear winter gear, boots, gloves etc for skiing etc???? I've heard from saver that the BX sells out quick and has cheap stuff that doesn't hold up. I've heard that you need to be petite to find clothes in Misawa and that there isn't much there actually....but don't you think that they'd have SOME winter gear either in local shops or at the base thrift shop? I can see stocking up for Jared, Mike and I - possibly Arielle but the boys and Stacia are young enough I would think there would be something! What do you think?

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Photo Albums ???

I've been thinking as I transfer photos from boxes to CM safe albums (naked albums). I'm now at June 9, 1985 - the day Bre entered the world...so 23 1/2 years to go...... Hey that means I've finished 22 years. ::snort::

I want to use up all my CM albums but then I'm thinking of changing.....

Keep the naked CM albums until I run out (probably about when we switched to digital photos)

At that point I planned on switching to a hybrid/digital scrapping style. Those I can work on in Japan....BUT I got to wondering.....do you think I'll find a place to PRINT 12 x 12 digital layouts in Japan? I may go to 8 x 11....

I saw Lois' albums and she has them in page protectors and nice notebooks....certainly cheaper than buying CM albums....and easy to print at home or at any photo shop.... Of course they wouldn't all be the same then...naked albums until 1990's, a few years of highly decorated scrapbooks, more naked albums, then 8 x 11 digital albums. I don't know if I can handle that....I'm the one with 28 matching, 3 ring magnetic albums....it always must match. What is God doing? First my curriculum being 1/2 classic and 1/2 redesign and now my albums....

OK - off to search for winter wear on clearance....and work on more photos....and go through a few more closets...

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Garage Sales

We are contemplating a garage sale. There is not a Craig's List in our city. I checked.

Should we aim for next Saturday? Just Between Friends or Just Friends something is having their big sale on Saturday. Would that make it a bad day for a garage sale? Should I put it off another week?

I'd love ANY garage sale tips you pros have. I really don't like garage sales....I don't like my private life displayed in the yard. ::Snort:: We have camping things (stove, showers, potty, etc), sports things, homeschooling kits and books, weight set, bike trailer....enough that I don't want to simply donate it all to charity - which we usually do. WHY? Because we need $ for things like the move, home repairs, bringing children over to see us. ::snort::

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Peanut Butter - Honey Fudge


1 cup natural peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until the chocolate chips are melted and blended in (about 30 seconds).

Spread fudge into an 8×8 inch pan. Refrigerate until solid. Cut into 1 inch squares.

{We love fudge. The problem is that Mike like's the old-fashioned grainy kind. ::snort:: I cheat. The verdict is out on this recipe. It's good, quick....but it was sort of chewy....and tasted a LOT like honey. I didn't have a stove and did it in the microwave, but I doubt that would make a difference. I didn't measure (as typical) and so I'm going to try this again and measure. I suspect I used more than 3/4 C honey. BTW - I used raw honey, organic peanut butter with one ingredient - Peanuts, and organic chocolate chips. So BACK OFF y'all, they're sort of healthy. ::snort:: How does Heather label her recipes? "HealthIER Fudge - that's what it is. ::snort::}

I found this recipe at Heavenly Homemakers. I am making a real effort to get favorite recipes HERE because several times my favorite recipes have gone away when blogs and websites disappear.

Visit my Recipe Index for more yummy eats.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Friday, March 27, 2009


This has been an incredibly exhausting week.....at home, at work, at chapel....

Today I took Jared to the doctor - Pink Eye. Prayers that it is contained are welcome.

Multi-tasking even with Pink Eye (draining one batch of pasta, stirring the other)


We did some school. I posted a Titus 2 Tidbit on the regional PWOC blog, posted some things on the local PWOC blog, sent out all the info to remove myself as United co-op coordinator. Well....posts below detail the day.

I've now listened to the first 30 min Japanese lesson twice. I think I can say, "excuse me", "Do you understand English", "I don't understand Japanese", "yes" and "no". LOL

We ate. Mike got home and now we're going to watch Jerry Lewis in Geisha Boy.
Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Random Trivia from Japan - Chopsticks

chopsticks Pictures, Images and Photos

  • Chopsticks come in all sizes.

  • Chopsticks are made from various types of wood and even ivory and plastic.

  • Some chopsticks are used for cooking (just like Americans have cooking spoons, tea spoons and tablespoons).

  • You can serve yourself from the communal dish with the broad end of your chopstick.

  • It is rude to point with your chopsticks.

  • It is rude to stab your food with your chopsticks.

  • It is rude to hold your chopsticks in a fist.

  • Most food is cooked in bite-size pieces so you can easily pick them up with chopsticks.

Our friends, Doug and Deja, showed me these cool chopsticks one day. Fearing we'd starve in Tokyo before we reached the base in the north, I bought some for our carry-on bags. ::silly me:: They arrived today.....and the children couldn't wait to try them out at dinner. Do you see where this is going????


This is FRIDAY night - PIZZA night!


This little girl is not exhibiting the proper way to use chopsticks.

{Remember, these are "facts" from books....Yes, we are making a chopstick book for our Japan Lapbook. ::snort::}

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Stylin in the Exam Room

The "work" week began with my yearly exam and ended with a mammogram. My word - does it get much better than this? ::snort::

Monday began with quite a conversation with the nurse on base about the number of pregnancies I've had (17) and the number of children I have (9) and the fact that she wants to have a large family....and of course wondered if I had any tips on how to find a good man. ::snort::

I'll be discreet (as I know some men out there do read - if only my dh and sons)...but it HAS to be a man who designed the exam gowns used by the Air Force.

"Take all your clothes off and put this on, open in front."

This should have been EASY. I AM 45. I've done this a few times....I slipped it on.



There were no holes for my head or arms...though they did remember to split it up the front.... it looked like some sort of deranged burqa. There was no way I was sitting on the table in a gown that covered my head and opened....well picture the problem yourself.

Who would have guessed? Is it too much work to pay someone to cut out a neckline and armholes????? I've sense realized that maybe this gown was a defective one from the top of the box? I checked for a photo like it and can't find one....Oh well....I tore and ripped...and must say that when I was done I had nice lapels and tucks at the waist. I even doodled on the lapels. It was art. The doc and nurse loved it. I thought of whipping out my camera and taking a photo...but decided against it.

The AF has specific time lines for preventative maintenance tests. I have family history. I have little children. I'm responsible. I began mammograms ahead of the timeline, so to speak. I asked on Monday if I would ever reach a point where they say, "OK, we have a library of films on her...we can relax...come back next year..." but NOOOOO....off they sent me to schedule a mammogram. I had one within the week. I'm really praying they don't call me for a recheck....which is what they usually do. Probably because I'm so much fun in an exam room.

ANYWAY....at the local imaging center, The gown was CLOTH and had real snaps, a hemmed neckline and armholes....is this the way all civilian offices are? I am truly impressed. I'll spare you the details of the test itself. For those who have not had one, it's not as terrible as you hear...sort of like all those labor stories women like to share. ::snort:: My test was slightly better than this one.

I did think it strange that as I was fully disclosed the x-ray tech began to ask me for parenting advice. Of course, she'd seen the numbers of children et al.

Having a mammogram is always emotional for me. It's silly, I know. Having a mammogram makes me think of my grandmother and my aunt...and it makes me sad...though I know they are both happy in heaven. For all the joking in the exam room, I always cry in the parking lot...and more than that I thank God for the godly legacy of Kathryn and Virginia T.

Since Mike ended up working on his day off today, I did NOT have to do immunizations and for that I AM thankful. ::snort:: Since I was emotional anyway, I came home and sent out an, "I'm no longer your United co-op leader" email and cried to think that we are leaving HERE......and remembered that a few short years ago I didn't think San Angelo would ever be HOME. LOL

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How Do You Say....

We finally whimpered, "Uncle." The MP3 player is not working for us. We can't get to the right spot, random phrases come whizzing at us at lightening speed, but nothing that seems REALLY helpful.

One of "my PWOC ladies" spent a few years in Japan with her husband. They taught English as a Second Language and worked with a church. She stopped by with 4 books. Kana Can Be Easy, Japanese for Busy People, Basic Kanji Book, and the Random House: Japanese- English Enlgih-Japanese Dictionary. Stephanie said this was the best of 8 dictionaries they tried. She thought I should get one for each of us....I don't know about that...but I'll order one tonight. It's all a bit overwhelming... Arielle is pouring over the Kana book. I quickly checked out the dictionary and pieced together, "where bathroom," the problem is that I'm not sure we are READING it right...i's are e's, u's are oo's.....I decided it was time to order a Japanese language program of our very own. One that would help us HEAR the right way to say things....

I found a $10 special on the first 4 cd's of the Pimsleur Language Program. It's advertised as BEGINNER. I decided it would be worth it. I also began to look for Rosetta Stone. I think that may be the easiest way for us to learn before we arrive in Japan. I'm a very visual learner (as are one or two of our children) and these phrases zipping at us are confusing. We KNOW we won't know much but it would be nice to be able to say simple things like...."Thank You," "Please," "Where is the bathroom, please?" Rosetta Stone is $500+....YIKES. I've talked to Jared and told him that I think switching from German to Japanese would make sense. He can get credit, we can count time out at the ramen stands as "Japanese"... ::snort:: He's considering. IF he goes that way then I wouldn't feel quite so bad scrounging the $ for Rosetta Stone. Maybe this would be a worthy goal for our garage sale.

Stephanie thought that military could get RS free. At this point, all I've found is a program where you can get it if you are working toward a special degree or in special training...and it's for CGO and Mike is an FGO. I'm still looking. I decided to return the MP3 player and a couple of books on base. I used the opportunity to see if they had RS Japanese, they didn't. They DID have Pimsleur. I got that and we listened to the first lesson on the way home.

We all dutifully repeated pick up lines all the way home. ::snort:: The kids didn't realize that is what they were learning....and they are useful phrases...just funny that it's an American man and a Japanese woman on the tape....

We stepped out of the van....all of us practicing saying, "Excuse me, I don't understand Japanese." Zander went to pet our neighbor's dog. This dog excels at anti-social behavior. She took up barking and lunging at him. Zander said, "MOM, how do you say, "Sumimasen...I want to ring your neck," in Japan. ::snort::

Learning about another culture is hard work...


We read a few Japanese folk tales today. We read more from Dangerous Journey. We had piano lessons. I worked on photos during the lesson. I talked with the speech pathologist again. They are really working hard to get Nolan dis-enrolled. I have really enjoyed the dealings I've had with this school district.

{Military Speak: NCO- Non-commissioned Officer (sgts), CGO = Company Grade Officer (Leuts, Capt); FGO= Field Grade Officer (Majors et al, I think there MUST be one more for Generals but not sure what it would be)}

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

True Sign of an Impending PCS


I have thrown out my treasured collection of toilet paper rolls. My guess is we won't get around to making that Greek Temple. It was painful. The good thing is that I can easily replenish the supply if needed. ::snort::

{PCS - Permanent Change of Station; MOVE in military speak}

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Everyone's a Preformer


Rare Sighting


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Random Trivia from Japan - Rice

The average Japanese citizen eats 1/2 a lb of rice a day. Rice is served breakfast (with tea poured over it?), lunch (in a bento box) and dinner. Rice is so liked that the American equivalent to "Dinn - er!" - "Gohan desu" literally means "let's eat rice". I think this phrase may prove more useful than "Is that Mt Fuji" - which I'm guessing we can figure out anyway. ::snort::

According to our book the favored rice in Japan is short and white???? Rice balls look yummy. Of course, I'm wondering if "rice cake" will take on a new meaning once we arrive in Japan.

The children had lots of questions today about HOW to eat rice with chopsticks....but I've got that covered. More to follow.

Please note that our random trivia is taken from books and not real life.....I'm very interested to see which facts are accurate and which are outdated. ::snort::

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Who Needs Dancing with the Stars????

When you have these two?


I washed walls today. We did school. We are working on some fun lapbooks. We are reading Dangerous Journey and the kids are all enjoying it. Zander even asks me to read more chapters...this is good.

I talked with the Speech Pathologist at the school where Nolan receives therapy. She has decided to try to rush an ARD through the system. Nolan will be tested - then she, the therapist, the district supervisor and myself will meet. She anticipates all agreeing to the carry over plan that the therapist and I have put in place. This means that Nolan will finally be released from speech. Long time blog readers will remember that W TX Rehab had released him and the school refused to sign off on it last year. I'm thrilled at this possibility. He's worked hard. NOW the question will be if we turn in form 2000897857083048 to the Air Force with the "currently receiving special ed" box checked....or wait two weeks so she can fill it out "has no need of special ed". We are in the process of getting medical, educational and dental releases so we can go to Japan. They will flag Nolan's when they see the box as marked today...but that is the truth as of today. BUT if we wait two weeks to put it in that makes orders (and scheduling tickets, packers, listing our house etc) two more weeks down the line. I suspect we'll turn it in, they'll ask for documentation and by then we'll have the release from the school district.

The kids and I celebrated with big smiles and cheers. Yes, something else may come up...but as far as WE could tell this was the only thing that might disqualify us for an overseas assignment.

The kids wanted to hit the Japan books with renewed vigor this afternoon/evening. LOL

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.


What could be in this box????

Ah - a Boken - wooden martial arts sword.....I don't ask. ::snort:: Jared's gift to Jamin finally arrived.
BTW, the photo looks perfetly fine in MS photos AND on PB...but there you have it....I'm too tired to mess with it any longer. My bloggy time budget is flitting away.
Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Random Misawa Trivia - Milk


Remember my joy at Albertson's 10/$10 sale on milk? Here's a few random facts on milk in Japan.

Kim reports from Tokyo
  • milk on the economy in Tokyo sells for $1.50 - $2.00 per liter (quart)...
  • $6 - $8 per gal

Renee reports from the Misawa Commissary

  • milk is not sold by the gal.
  • it is ultra-pasteurized (ugh)
  • $2.05+ for 1/2 a gal.
  • $4.10+ per gal

De'Etta's Conclusions

  • This is one instance where the commissary is a real blessing.
  • This takes me further from my goal of certified raw or raw/pasteurized milk.
  • We drink 2 gal a day around here....though we are down to about 1 1/2 gals....
  • This will be $43 - $57.40 per week at the current rate of consumption....look for changes...but viva la COLA (Cost of Living Allowance).

Another example of the sort of current and insightful reporting you've come to expect on this blog. ::snort::

Milk Pictures, Images and Photos

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Everything to Me

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Why I LOVE Home Educating....


Really read this question....

Classic answer dictated by Zander.

Yes....we got a lot of school done today. We're home from drama and motivated to do a bit more. BUT the above was classic and I wanted to remember to have it saved in the "family conversation".

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Jamin's Writing

Jamin has a new devotional here.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Random Thoughts on Japan

*Every year there are about 1,500 small earthquakes, or tremors, all over the country. This will feel familiar after living in Alaska.

*Japanese Children learn two alphabets...and they need to learn about 2,000 characters!!!!! (That laminated card seems like a better idea all the time).

*There are a LOT of Japanese celebrations.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Rocks! Big and Bigger?

I'm taking time to quickly post what I did today - to remind myself that I DID ACCOMPLISH my Bigger Rocks - though a couple Big Rocks didn't get handled as well as I'd like to see (school, photos, decluttering).

5:00 a.m. ~ Tryst

6:00 - 7:00 ~ Gym

7:30 - 8:00 ~ Shower, dress, leave for base

8:00 - 9:00 ~ Yearly visit at the Women's Health Center on base (joy)

9:00 - 9:30 ~ Tricare, Referral to off base service

9:30 - 10:20 ~ Visit with Col. about forms that I need signed....he called the district and got me the name of a person to see.

10:30 - 11:00 ~ Dentist 1; cleared up bill, picked up x-rays, clearance for 4 of us

11:00 - 11:30 ~ Dropped off educational release for Nolan with the Speech Therapist.

11:30 - noon ~ Dentist 2; dropped off forms for clearance for Zander and Stacia

12:00 - 1:45 ~ Lunch, checked email, updated prayer request, returned phone calls, did a bit of couch school. (Kids worked on table school while I ran errands).

1:50 - 2:30 ~ Speech Therapy - Therapist informs Nolan we have 70 days before we leave town. ACK....

2:30 - 3:45 ~ SAISD - I went to the top and had a great discussion too. I got 4 children released...and I have personal cards to attach to all 5 so if anyone has questions about Nolan they can contact her. We went to the library but they were closed and we couldn't leave all our materials in the drop box. We went to Dentist 2 and picked up the clearance for the younger two.

4:00 - 6:00 ~ Read books on Japan, did a bit more couch school, EXHAUSTED....

I decided to stay home from Mom's Night Out Tonight. Mike came home at 6 p.m., rather than working late. He also has been working the list. He's begun talking to the base about where they will let us fly from. The choices seem to be Dallas or LA - neither are great choices with our plan to take leave and go visit family in the Pacific NW before we fly to Japan. We want to fly out of Anchorage.

Mike began planning. The computer on the left has KOA maps, the middle one has Google maps for distances, the far right computer has the itenerary with numbers, miles, addresses as he plans.... I think he's stuck in Springfield, as they don't have campgrounds for the trailer...at least none we've found.


We had our Lent devotions. Mike read to the boys....Arielle and Stacia and I are working through "Raising Maidens of Virtue."

Did you catch what got done today? Mike began talking with TMO about weight and tickets. He got his dental and medical clearance. I got 4 of 5/ educational releases. I got 5 dental releases....we're making some progress.

I can see some areas where we'll be asked to provide more documenation. My soon-to-be-retired dentist has been telling me NOT to fix my tooth that NEEDS fixing.....we are "watching" it...but today said that I have ongoing dental needs that must be dealt with. ::snort:: I had made an appointment last week with a well-loved dentist in town to begin the process on 1 April.

Nolan's speech will take some processing...but the therapist has pulled his evals and IEP...so we're getting our ducks in a row...and we're believing that if God wants us in Japan the Air Force red tape won't stop us. Right?

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Update on our "young friend"

He is recovering remarkably fast. He is now in a neutral country. Here are some specific ares for prayer.

  • Swelling in the next 24 – 48 hours is common
  • Phil will be flying tomorrow – long flight – this can be dangerous due to the fact that he does not have a breathing tube and the nature of his injuries. No FEAR - JUST PRAY!
  • Phil would like to see his wife and “all the family” when he lands…pray as family tries to make this happen. The Army will pay for his wife and parents to fly in.
  • Long term recovery

Here's a few examples of how God has positioned warriors to intercede for our friend..... We received the call and I sent out the request immediately. One of our local PWOC ladies is on the ground and praying...cool to know that God had her THERE. Because the incident was on Sat. churches across the nation began praying and prayer chains were activated. It turns out that another military man from the same small hometown was there....and able to talk to the chaplain and get word for family. The first responders are Christians and all prayed as he was immediately treated. The Doctor is a Christian and prayed as he treated our friend. There is no doubt that God has our back - but it is always amazing when we can so clearly see His hand at work on our behalf.

Thanks all! Keep praying. Friends and family appreciate it. (Yes, he has a name... but until I know he's safely home, I'd feel better not posting it on a public forum like this).

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Prayer Update!

Our friend (whose name I'm going to continue to withhold just in case) is recovering remarkably faster than expected. Thank you so much for the prayers.

It was expected that he'd have a breathing tube until he was medevac'd out of theater, but they were able to remove the breathing tube before he was transported. He's been able to talk to his wife. I guess his first words were, ""I'm OK. I don't want anybody to worry." Gotta love it - though a bit late for THAT sentiment. ::wink::

He should be en route out of theater and to a new country....then his wife and parents will be flying over - or maybe he'll continue to recover so quickly that he'll fly on home to America.

Again, thanks so much for your prayers. This family and their children are very special to our family....

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Random Misawa Trivia

McDonalds in Japan Pictures, Images and Photos

A quick search reveals that McDonalds has spread to Japan - arriving in 1971 - one of those shops is in Misawa. Zander will be happy....though we really don't like to eat there. ::snort:: The one in Misawa has a playground!!! That will be WONDERFUL in the winter, especially if we are living in an apartment.

McDonalds has had a bit of a rocky history in Japan but is set to be the first restaurant chain in Japan to top 500 billion yen in one year of sales...2008.

Kim tells me that a Whopper meal (or maybe it was the quarter pounder) in Tokyo is about 700 yen....$7 - 8 depending on if the rate is 1:88 or 1:98.

I've been remiss in posting random trivia - I must remember to do that...helps me remember why I'm running around like a nut. ::snort::

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Switcheroo Sunday

Strange.....switched....but FUN.

Today was a Unity Service at our base chapel. We do this every so often. All our Protestant services combine for one big service. We move the time to whichever service is hosting...and have a potluck afterwards. Tonight was the 1800 service.....

I had a whole day stretching out before me. Mike went to the office.

Jamin had graduation photos and hung out for a bit with some of the upcoming graduates.

Jared went to visit with Cy.

The youngers and I began the process of going through things.

Jamin and Jared think we can pull off a garage sale this weekend....I'm doubtful but there is a splendid mess shaping up as everyone gets into the spirit of the thing. ::snort:: I need to have the house clean and ready for the realtor on Friday...something is not clicking. LOL

I began the process of untangling myself from more commitments and such.

I put another year of photos into albums. Heather suggested I have a "scrapping open house"...get a bunch of women to come over, help take things out of magnetic albums, put them into plain albums...hmmm....I wonder.

I posted photos to the blog.

I took many deep breaths.

I'll feel much less overwhelmed when orders are actually cut....then there will be set dates and such....not having answers to so many questions is starting to wear...but then I KNOW who has all the answers and time lines in control. That's right.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Dinnnn ER!

If anyone local needs someone for a children's party.....go to Double Dave's and ask for the magician. He was really good. He made balloon animals...here he kept grabbing it away from Stacia at the last minute.



He also did tricks with balls and cards.


In one of those strange twists that you get used to in a military town.....he spent 8 years in Misawa during his teen years. He had lots of stories to share and loved the fact that we were all going.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.



If it weren't for Jared (9th grade), I think we'd quit school now. This is a good breaking spot. We're studying from the Fall or Rome - American Revolution this year. We are about 3 weeks into unit 3 - Colonies....we could quit. Oh well.....we'll blow through it, catch it more in-depth in 4 years....and be sure we are studying fun things in Japan for the next few years....I know we cover Commodore Perry and WW 2 - in the next couple of years..... We'll keep plowing away.

The above are mini-books we made to go along with Zoology this week.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Saturday's Projects

No, I'm not 100% sure what was wrong with stove. All I know is it didn't work last week. Jared took this part of the wall apart...Mike went to the store...they hammered, sawed, cut and now I have a stove.
Meanwhile the younger ones and I worked in the yard.

Mike and Jared continued work on a pond that Mike began work on earlier. It's been one of those back burner projects that has bugged him. The worked on it a bit more yesterday.

Jared "supervised" - I guess this goes along with training for his political future?

The girls took a bit of a break. ::snort::
Nolan - tries out some leaf blowing techniques with Mike's air compressor....
Then he goes after the "FIRE ANTS!!!"
I did some laundry, housework, photos, entered receipts and worked on bills. I had the most dangerous job of all.
Where did HE come from? Ah.....

Found under a pile of leaves. ::snort:: Poor Arielle was worn out.
Mike took us all to Double Dave's. It was a late dinner.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.