Saturday, January 31, 2009

Our new "Experiment"

Since this winter has been so much more pleasant this year, I thought I'd try giving the following experiment a go.

Turning the Tv...



We are summer girls. We love the sun, the warmth, the outsidey-ness that warm weather brings. So when cooler weather settles in, and we can no longer tolerate it out doors we turn to the tv for our main source of entertainment.

Now don't get it twisted. We have activities we do, we still do our schoolwork and our house work, but as soon as those things are over the old boob-tube clicks on.

This wasn't always the case. No. In fact back before I was a SAHM we didn't even have cable. We only used the tv to watch the occasional movie. We didn't suffer and we weren't weird. We did things

ahhh....Good times.

Sadly, when pregnancy #2 came along and Hubs told me I could leave my job and stay home with our little family, the tv came in. I was so sick. So sick. Tv was the only thing I could muster up the strength to do and it quickly became a habit. A bad habbit that we still have 6 years later.

Until now...(I hope.) I'm breaking the Tv habit. I've been feeling for quite a few months that we should return to our no tv days. I'd think about it while I was folding clothes or washing dishes. The thought kept creeping in for a month or more. Finally, last Saturday morning as my hands were deep in the sink full of sudsy water I broke down and talked to the kids about it.

We decided, the three of us, to take the tv out of our routine. The only time we will watch is when there is a favorite show on, and then we will only watch that show. The list was quite small. We all knew that the amount of time we spent watching the tv was taken up with watching stuff we didn't really enjoy.

So far this week we have done well. The tv has stayed off, except for an hour or so right before bedtime. This is something I'd like to eventually give up all together.

The house is running much more smoothly. The schoolwork is done without the rush of hurrying to get through. We have even been eating 3 hot meals a day. No cold cereal or cheese sandwiches for us. And we've spent so much more time out of the living room and in other rooms of the house.

It's crazy how much time a little light box can take up.

Week 1 is almost over, and it's been a success.


-photo by James Good

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Soup

11yo is a girl scout. Anyone with a scout knows that twice a year they do sales. The first one being QSP (candy, nuts, magazines) and the second one being cookies.

This year, instead of candy we bought magazines. Family Fun to be exact. It was cheap and I know quite a few people that subscribe and do neat little projects from the pages. Our first issue came this week. I flipped through quickly and the first thing to catch my eye was some soup recipes.

We love soup. There is something so warming and comforting about eating a nice steaming bowl of soup. Add a fresh loaf of bread and a salad and you have a complete meal.

One soup recipe stood out above the rest.

Lasagna soup.

I know, ewwwww. The first time I heard of it was a few days before I had seen the actual recipe and I said, "Ewww. Sounds gross." Spaghetti sauce and noodles didn't sound appetizing to me in a soup, but my mom, the person who had told me she had tasted this soup at a ladies tea, said it was actually quite good. It's lucky for me she had mentioned this soup before I saw the article, otherwise I would have passed right by and never given this recipe a try.

Last night we tried it. The verdict? Everyone loved it. It was so filling and full of yummy Italian-like flavors. Definitely one to try.

Lasagna Soup (from the Kitchen of Meredith Deeds)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage (bulk or with casings removed)
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves ("The Factory" spice cabinet didn't have these, and the soup was still good.)
8 ounces fusilli pasta
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
8 ounces ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and sauté, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is no longer pink, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain any excess fat from the pot. Add the onions and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and sauté until the paste turns a rusty brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the broth, and the bay leaves and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.

2. Add the pasta, then increase the heat to medium-high and boil the soup until the pasta is tender to the bite, following the time recommendations on the pasta package. Discard the bay leaves, then stir in the basil. If desired, season with salt and black pepper to taste.

3. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, the Parmesan, the 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the pinch of pepper. To serve, place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture in each bowl, sprinkle with some of the mozzarella, and ladle the soup on top. Makes about 13 cups.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Creating an Atmosphere

If you read around my blog much, you would see that my relationship with the Lord is the one thing I consistently write about. I can only think the reason for this is because He is the one constant in my life. Things around me change, people change, seasons change. He is the Unchangeable.

I try to cultivate this oneness of mind and heart in my children as well. I don't preach or lecture them, but rather I try to let my life be the example. He is so real to me that it's natural that I talk about Him, and want to be near Him. One of the things that helps me to keep Him at the forefront of our thoughts is to create an atmosphere of praise.

One of the biggest helps in creating this atmosphere of praise and thanksgiving is playing music throughout our day. Our favorite source for this is Elijah Streams Internet Radio. They not only play great music, but they also read scripture set to pleasant music. All this, and it's commercial free, too!
Live, streaming music works for me. For more of what works, hop on over to Rocks in my Dryer.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Listen to this

I happen to know the tenor (the one in the black suit is the guy singing up in the rafters). The video quality lets something to be desired, and the person recording it decided to sing along a few times, but still the group sounds GOOD.

Don't forget to press the stop button on the project playlist player in the right sidebar.

Happy listening.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tid bits

I've been trying to keep my nose to the grindstone this past week. This time of year is always great for getting a good amount accomplished in school.

Unfortunatly, this is also the time of year when the house looks it's worst. The days are cold, we don't go out as much, and we get to feeling kinda home-ish. You'd think that would be good but it isn't. Because we're home more, something happens to the messy level of everyone. Even I, who can't stand disorder, tend to get a little slack with my chores. I hate it, but something happens to my brain and I just let it slide. Things slide and I feel grouchy that's it's messy, but obviously not grouchy enough to crack down. Other years I've just chalked it up to the winter blues. This year I have not had even a touch of the winter blues. So it's not the winter blues. Instead it's just a good case of cold weather lazies? I dunno.

Speaking of winter blues....I am so thankful that despite circumstances that have surrounded us, I haven't had the slightest sympton. Is it all the vitamins I'm taking? or is the Lord just that good to me?

I'll give the Big Guy the credit. He deserves it.

So that's all. I have no witty antecdotes, no big philosophical type thoughts. Just an honest review of my housekeeping skills this past week or two and a glowing report of what an awesome, accomplished homeschooling mom I am.

Why can't I be both at the same time????

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


The Girls and I were watched the inauguration (hey, it's history) and discussed what we saw as it happened. As soon as he had taken his oath, I was reminded that while we don't have like our new president's politics we do have a major responsibility as Christians to pray for him. I felt the weight of that responsibility rest on my shoulders which is something I've never felt for a political leader before. How timely then, that I received the following message in my inbox. (paragraph separations inserted by me in order to make it more readable.)

Oh,.... and can I just say that I <3loved<3 the way Rick Warren not only prayed in the name of Jesus, but used His name in multiple languages!!!!!

From God TV

Father, according to Timothy 2, Paul exhorted that "supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and for all that are in authority that we may lead a quiet peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior".

In obedience to Your Word, we join together this day, January 20 2009, with our GOD TV family all across the United States of America and join in one heart and one mind in prayer and intercession for our new incoming President Barack Obama.

Father we ask this day that as Barack Obama is inaugurated here in Washington DC, that You would look down from Heaven and in Your great mercies upon America look down this day upon President Barack Obama and grant him exceeding wisdom in these crucial days ahead facing him and the new administration.

Oh mighty Father we pray as a united body to You, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that You may grant to Barack Obama the spirit of wisdom and revelation of the knowledge of Yourself this day. That the eyes of President Obama's understanding be enlightened that he may know what is the hope of his calling and the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of Your power to us-ward who believe and to himself, according to the working of Your mighty power which you wrought in Christ, when You raised Him from the dead.

Father we pray that the overshadowing fear of the Lord would start to rest upon this new administration. We pray for Your sovereign hand to guide the President and those in his cabinet. We release YOUR purposes, we release YOUR plan, we release YOUR strategies and YOUR wisdom, we release YOUR governance.

We pray for visitation in the President's night hours and revelation in his waking hours, that as he enters the pressures and the challenges of office in 2009 that he would be driven to trust in You as his mighty fortress, that he would find refuge and wisdom under Your wings, that he would seek Your face before he seeks man's wisdom and Father, that You would pour out word after word in season upon him from on high.

Father, we thank you that even as Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Jackson ruled in generations before Barack Obama, that You have placed upon President Barack Obama's shoulders a mantle to root out and tear up wickedness, thank you Father, that by Your sovereign mighty hand, You would imbue him with zealousness and righteousness to rout out evil men and sinister schemes.

Grant President Barack Obama the courage to rule with justice and the wisdom to rule under God. And Father, as the body of Christ that we commit to You to lift him up faithfully and fervently. That we may consistently petition Heaven on Barack Obama's behalf and petition President Barack Obama on YOUR behalf.

Father, we also ask that You minister to him in the night hours regarding the issue of abortion that he may know Your heart and Your mind on these issues so important to Heaven. And finally we ask divine protection and blessing over his family and upon his physical life. Preserve his life from being cut off prematurely, Father preserve him from sinister schemes and the schemes of wicked men.

Thank you that as President of the United States he will run the course that is laid out for him in this time and this season. Thank you for joining with us and our GOD TV teams all across America to pray for President Barack Obama today and in the months and years ahead. God Bless America!
With our love in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ,
Rory and Wendy Alec.

Tippy Tuesday

My tip for the week may seem like a no-brainer to many of you, but I gotta tell ya, it's a lesson I learned the hard way.

When defrosting meat from the freezer be sure to place it in a bowl (or other solid type container) before placing in the fridge to defrost. Don't forget to place that bowl of defrosting meat on the bottom most shelf of your fridge.

If you don't heed my hard learned advice the following scenario may (and will eventually) take place:
You place that carefully wrapped piece of meat in your fridge in it's package that it was frozen in. You figure to yourself, "Hey, it kept it from being freezer burnt, should be okay." Two days later when you are ready to prep that said piece of beef, chicken, pork etc. for the next day's crock pot meal, you will discover that the "fail proof" packaging had a very small tear in it which has allowed all that gross, GROSS blood that has leached out of your defrosted meat to leak all over the bottom (or top) of your fridge. When you go to pick it up so you can mop it up, and disinfect the area, you will realize that it has dripped down into the drip pan section of your fridge( or worse yet, all your shelves that house food). You will then have to remove every item from the infected (and affected) shelf/shelves and clean your fridge right before bedtime. Not only will you find yourself wiping up the shelves, but you will find yourself dipping all your lemons (that you just bought and haphazardly placed into the fridge) into a solution of bleach water. The idea of throwing those beauties in the trash will make you cringe.

Please, just save yourself the trouble, and put that defrosting meat into a bowl, and place that bowl on the bottom shelf. (I'm thankful I at least had enough autopiloted sense to put the meat on the bottom shelf!)

For more tips visit Tammy's Recipes

Monday, January 19, 2009

A family tradition

There you go, Unc. I thought of you....

Give me a Hand

...Cause I am one handy chick to have around. There's nothing I can't (learn) to do!

That's right. I went there.

With the temperatures dipping well below zero I thought my home's plumbing may have been in danger. It crossed my mind the other night when I went to bed that it was a possibility they could freeze. But then thought "'s already taken care of."

They froze last year. The heat tape that was wrapped around the main line had failed (-0 temps.) Hubs freaked out. He didn't know what to do. And this from a man that was in construction before he came to the states!

When I woke up Saturday morning the thought of frozen pipes had fled far from my mind. It wasn't until around 11:30 am when I went to flush the toilet did the thought return. I flushed and the toilet made an odd noise. So I tried again, thinking maybe one of the kids had clogged it somehow. I then thought I'd wait a bit for it to fill up and try again. As I reached to turn on the faucet to wash my hands the reality hit me. The pipes had likely frozen again!

Sure enough, non of the faucets in the house worked. I wasn't even stressed out a bit. Nope. After all, it was me that took care of them LAST YEAR! Super-Wifey to the rescue!!!!!

Yeah, I know. You'd think having a man around the house would mean I wouldn't have to be the one to figure out how to defrost the main water line into the house. Wrong. Last year I told hubs to make sure the tape got wrapped further down.

Guess what? That few inch gap that lacked heat tape cause he didn't re-wrap it after I reminded him??? ( and I didn't double check cause I didn't want to hover.) Yeah, that was the part that was frozen. So there I was, at noon on Saturday crawling under the house to defrost the waterline. In about a half hour everything was fine. I even took care of that tiny section of pipe. Hopefully there won't be any more problems.

Oh, he's a handy man to have in the kitchen, but when it comes to things like frozen pipes, dead batteries, or caulking a seam, it's up to me.

I am, indeed, a good catch and handy to have around. ( I like to imagine those
"old flames" smacking themselves on the forehead and wondering how they ever let me get away! Ha!!!!)

Thursday, January 15, 2009


We're having a cold snap. An artic cold snap. Tempertures not rising, isn't surprising, it's certainly Jan-Jan- uary. (fifty points if you know the correct lyrics to the song.)

Temperatures here this week have been a balmy 10 degrees. Tomorrows high is supposed to be around 4. Oddly enough, instead of feeling irritated that it's so cold, I feel rather refreshed and invigorated. There's something about those super cold clear days that clear my mind. The sunshine is bright. The skies are blue and it's positively beautiful. We've had snow off and on all week too. Not those big record dumps-just a few inches throughout the day.

Instead of complaining that I'm cold (which I am) I feel grateful. On these cold icy days I'm reminded that spring is not far away. Summer days will soon follow. We will have rain and mudpuddles and days of earthy sunshine that sinks into every part of me. Days like we're having now make the days I dream about that much more enjoyable. Life is the same way. If we never had the sad or difficult times we would never fully appreciate those moments of joy.

It's all about prespective. Some states are havng temperatures in the -20's. Imagine. I just can't. Woh.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Obsess Much?

It is 1 am. Guess what I am doing?

I'll give you a minute.....

okay give up?


Yeah I know. I just could not help myself. It did not get done last weekend (we were away with family due to the sudden passing of our Chester.) It did not get done earlier today because we were away with scouts. My house had gotten not just kinda messy. Nope. It's dirty. The kitchen needs mopped, living room needs vacuuming, toilets need scrubbed, and mirrors need wiped. It feels yucky.

I got a late start. Usually I try to not do much after dinner time. If I do I find it's difficult to stop in time for me to wind down for bed. I need at least a solid 2 hours of stillness and relative quiet. (something I learned when I battled insomnia about 8 years ago.)

Around 8 o'clock I was helping 5yo finish her bath and I took a look around. There was no where to turn that wasn't affected by the ewwww. Not even my bedroom. Now I must confess that my bedroom has been a sore point for a few weeks. Since around Christmas. My closet was overflowing with rooted through summer clothes, folding chairs, extra kitchen equipment that I rarely use, suitcases, blankets, sewing machine...THE WORKS!

Here's where I need to interject a few things:
1. Have you forgotten I live with a few Messies? (hubs and girls)
2. Have I ever mentioned that my kids have fallen into the routine of sleeping in my room while my husband is away? I guess we all like the company. But the floor sometimes gets over run with their blankets!
3. Have I mentioned that once I start something, I have trouble stopping?

Okay, now you get a better picture. I'll continue...

As I'm drying 5yo I'm obsessing over the closet. The girls are the culprits...again. They were looking for something which I then took up which then turned into me getting really frustrated with mess and pulling it all out followed by just shoving it all back in so I wouldn't have to look at it anymore. So I'm thinking about the closet...and I just break.

I had to clean it right then. It could not possibly wait another second.


I pulled everything out of the closet (but not before I decided to change the sheets because one can't clean the closet without fresh sheets!)

Pause one more second...have I ever mentioned I vacuum the bed before I put on fresh sheets...gotta keep down the dustmites...

Anyway, I got the closet back in order and started to dust the dressers but then I thought about just taking the vacuum around the backside of the bed. I didn't remember the last time it was done. WOH! dust. I then had to dig everything out from under the bed. From there I ended up pulling out the largest dresser (which really is a 2 person job, but hey, I was on a mission). Upon doing that I decided that the broken vcr that was hooked up to the tv really ought to finally be disconnected but first I had to test everything. Turns out the dvd player works.

I dusted, moved furniture, went through dressers, cleaned under the bed, cleared the closet, untangled some jewelry (after I sorted and rearranged the jewelry box). No stone was left unturned. I spent at least 4 hours in there. I think maybe more, but I hate to admit it. When I walked out of the bedroom and looked around I went into shock. The state of the house hadn't really sunk in until I got one of the rooms back into the order I like. Now it's late and I just wanna keep going.

How will I ever get up for church? Worse, how will I get my children up? Yeah, forgot to mention that while I was losing track of time the kids were helping and running amuck. I told them since they had so much energy they could sweep the kitchen and hallway. No joke. They did it, but have since gone to bed. They are awake. (which brings me to ...have I ever mentioned they are night owls?)

My room is clean. It feels good. And a bonus is that I turned on my actual stereo to listen to the radio and realized the local oldies station is now some sort of mix station that I <3 heart<3. Currently playing: Elton John's "Tiny Dancer."
I know, not very spiritual, but fun.

I need a shower. I can't lay down in clean sheets feeling dusty. I'm fighting the urge to mop the kitchen, too.

EDITED TO ADD: No need to worry about sleeping through church. It was canceled due to weather.

Friday, January 9, 2009


The full reality of the past week has finally hit me. I know it's good and right to grieve, but it doesn't make it any easier to go through.

I miss him, and I know I'll keep on missing him. Despite the fact that I know he is truly in a better place. He was a good, quietly steady and strong man. I loved him.

I decided I needed to get out of the house for the evening. I needed the distraction for a few hours. I drove to another nearby college town to visit a few places. The Asian market was the real goal and destination and I wanted to check out the House of Prayer that they have running at a local church. I was quite curious to see if it is anything like the one at KC.

I decided to call my friend that lives over there. I hadn't seen them for a few weeks. She and her kids agreed to meet us for dinner. My girls and I chose Korean since we'd been wanting to try it and it's something different. My friend is married to a Korean and lived in Korea for quite a few years. I was glad she decided to come along. She had never been to the restaurant before though.

Now, I'm no stranger to "foreign food." Not at all. I'm just not familiar with Korean. I ordered a rice bowl with BBQ beef ribs.( I don't remember the name of it exactly though.) Yum. The whole meal was delicious. But I gotta say, the kimchi and other banchan were the highlight of the meal. I just love fermented and pickled foods! mmmm.

I did go to the market, but didnt' find the things I was looking for. I guess we'll have to make a trip to Hubs' city for those things.

The last stop was the HOP. I was later than I wanted to be due to meeting my friend. We had to wait a bit on her. We got there at the end of a set. There were quite a few people in that group. It seemed good, but was over about as soon as we sat down. The next guy up was just solo on a guitar and joined by another female voice. It was good, but...ehhh. It was very difficult to enter in. I wondered if they were having the same difficutly. We only stayed a little over an hour. I'd have to attend another few times before I could comment any further.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


When the day of trouble comes what kind of person will you be? Will you be one that waves your fist in the air and ask God,"Why?" or will you lift your hands in the air in surrender and say, "Blessed be the name of the Lord!"

Sadly, I have done both. Fortunately, the first one was not recently. Guess what? God was not moved. He did not change. He was not surprised. He stayed faithful and true and taught me some very valuable lessons. One of them is echoed in the words of Job:
"the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."
-Job 1:21

and another beautifully said by the psalmist:
"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth."
-Psalms 121:1,2

These past few days I find my heart overflowing with praise. Truly, I lift my eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help, blessed be the name of the Lord.

When trials, temptations and sorrows come, will you be led away from the Lord, or run to Him?

I entreat you, run hard after Him. There is no peace like His peace. No love, like His love. Die to self. Surrender your life, and in losing it, you will find it. It's one of the greatest mysteries. His yoke is easy and His burden so light. These things seem to contradict one another. How is it then that they are so true?

"Great is Thy faithfulness, oh God, my Father. There is no shadow of turning with thee. Thou changest not. Thy compassions fail not. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bless the Lord

Even when my body is tired, my thoughts are scattered, and things around me seem unsteady something deep within me cries, still I will praise Him, Bless the Lord!

These past few days have seemed dreamlike. I have yet to have a good old fashioned cry-the kind I've found so healing. I don't think I've given myself the permission yet. It'll come: the permission I mean. Sometimes these things take time.

And here's a bit of randomness-just the way my brain is thinking. The song, "He stopped loving her today" has been going through my mind off and on.

And isn't the Lord good? I mean, really, really good. He is so faithful! I've proven this verse to be so true:
"The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in Him."
-Nahum 1:7

Monday, January 5, 2009


When we got to the hospital Chester had already passed. We just missed it. My grandmother had already left. She didn't know we were on our way. It was a long drive through mountainous roads and cell phone dead zones.

They asked if we wanted to see him. I said yes. I thought it would be much easier to see him still warm and lifelike, resting in a bed. He looked asleep. Pink and soft resting with his mouth slightly open. I noticed his messy hair. He would never have gone for that. He was so particular about his hair. But Chester was not longer in the room. Despite the pink color and the warm body it was easy to see it was just a hollow shell. His former home. His peaceful face showed the relief he must have felt when he slipped out of the prison his body had so quickly become. Imagine the rapture he felt as he entered into his rest.

My mother said it best. "You were a good man. I love you."

I don't need a veiwing or funeral. I've seen him. We shared our moment. But onward we'll press like good little soldiers, painting on our tin faces so that others may have theirs.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Be on your guard

stand fast in the faith,
be brave,
be strong.
Let all that you do be done with love"
-1 Corinthians 16:13, 14

Friday, January 2, 2009

WIth the sweet

....comes bitter.

I've been revelling in such a bright outlook for the new year: loving life and praising God for His faithfulness to see me through.

Wednesday we got a message from my Grandma that she had called the ambulance for our Chester (legally a step-grandfather). He was vomiting and unable to move. They took him to the hospital and decided that the amount of heart medicine they had placed him on shortly after Thanksgiving was too high. By Wednesday night we heard that he had an episode in the MRI machine. Yesterday we learned he was on a ventilator, running a temp, and on antibiotics. Today, he has slipped into a coma.

He's been so strong and robust even in his old age. It's hard to hear of him being struck down like this: and at the hand of medicine! Too much "rat poison" made his brain bleed. They did to him what we do to the unwanted in our homes and barns. I feel sick and angry at the whole idea.

Today we'll drive to see him. Maybe utter our last goodbyes. And I feel angry. Angry at death. Angry at sickness. Angry that we are but dust.

And longing for the day the He'll return back to earth and death will no more rear it's ugly head.

Come quickly Lord, Jesus!