Saturday, January 31, 2009

klondike saturday

i awoke this predawn morning to the alarm clock. not my alarm. :o) i was careful not to move or open my eyes lest mark would think i wanted to help with breakfast. i just sprawled to other side of the bed absorbing mark's warmth and listened as he got the boys up to go on their boy scout winter adventure. the sound of toast popping and cheerios musically filling bowls somehow made my bed feel all the more cozy. i smiled at the muffled voices discussing the weather and temperatures, gear, and some klondike joke which was lost on me. they hurriedly put on their 2 pair of socks, boots, coats, hats, and gloves and slammed the door as they left. (either they leave it open completely or slam it, can't they just shut the door?)

ahhh. a quiet house. i can sleep 'til 10 if i want! but, no. my mind is already moving on into the day. i know i will find the kitchen table decorated with crumbs, peanut butter knives, open jam jars, and soggy cereal bowls. but i smile anyway. i will relish the morning alone...until B wakes up. i'll read my Bible (it is the last day of january and i am still, remarkably, on track for my read-the-Bible-in-a-year schedule! amazing.) i'll peruse my cook books and actually make a meal plan this week. i'll work on my plan to warp my loom this year, supplies were delivered this week! oh the possibilities...

everyday gift: a saturday all to myself and my sidekick, B :o)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

exodus crackers

"Then Moses said to the people, "Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen with you,... You shall tell your son on that day, 'it is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.'" Exodus 13:3, 7, 8

we are studying the veritas press Bible card #20: the exodus. so i decided that for the occasion, we should bake some unleavened bread. i did a quick search of my cook books and the best i could come up with was a cracker recipe from the king arthur flour baker's companion. no jewish matzo, but the crackers used no leavening. we used a combination of flours that we had on hand: all purpose, whole wheat, and corn flour and seasoned them with garlic powder, thyme, and salt (kosher, of course!).

i do love the old testament full of such incredible events which give deeper meaning and insight into the new testament. i love how history sheds such prophetic light on Jesus, like the passover. it is nothing short of miraculous to find all of history, prophecy, and the complete Word of God woven together in such a seamless perfect story. i love knowing that i will never find the end of learning in God's Word. and it is an incredible privilege to share the wonder of it all with my children.

everyday gift: remembering how God has led me out of slavery, too.

Monday, January 26, 2009

aunt jessie's lemon sponge cups

aunt jessie's lemon sponge cups

tangy, refreshing lemon custard with a light cake top

2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons flour
dash salt
5 tablespoons lemon juice
grated rind of one lemon
3 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups milk

cream butter. add the sugar, flour, salt, lemon juice and rind. blend well. beat egg yolks with some of the milk. add the egg mixture and the rest of the milk to the lemon mixture. beat egg whites until stiff. fold into the lemon mixture. pour into 8 custard cups. set the cups in 9 x 13 pan with 1-2 inches of water. bake at 350* for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown on top. serve warm or chilled.

the other night we had fun celebrating my mom's birthday. i surprised her by fixing this favorite dessert. i guess you could call it an heirloom recipe. aunt jessie was married to my grandmother's brother jim henry or uncle jimmy, making her my mom's aunt and my great aunt. mom remembers her as a real southern lady. she can still hear her say in her southern drawl, "why, ahh declarah". she was a wonderful cook and this recipes is always attributed to her.

happy birthday, mom! your example of faith and love through out your life has been such a blessing to all you meet, especially to me. love you.

everyday gifts: celebrating mom's birthday, such a blessing in our lives!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

teeny weeny beanies

the flowering bean plant has actually begun to develop little beans! what a contrast this fresh green plant is against the frozen winter outside.
i think these little pods will not produce any red kidney beans inside them since there have not been any bees buzzing around to pollinate them. but aren't they cute?! it has been so encouraging watching S carefully cultivate his plants and seeing them grow on the kitchen window sill.

everyday gift: watching my young botanist

Friday, January 23, 2009

tracks in the snow

we have had snow cover for several weeks. it has given us a wonderful opportunity to observe animal tracks, which has gone nicely with our five in a row book Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.
several deer ran through our back pasture and lept the fence as though it wasn't even there! once again S is quick with the camera, he is my on the scene reporter.

some of the tracks we discovered have been a little bit disturbing. especially if you happen to be a certain lop eared bunny living in the backyard hutch!

hmm....wile e. coyote or foxy loxy?

what is he up too?

oh my. nellie, you had better stay in that hutch of yours,
safe and sound! do you see how that predator was digging at her fence?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

sharing read alouds

raspberry tea for two, fancy pirouette cookies, and few good books

currently we have 4 books going, a few more than usual: Tirzah, about a young jewish girl and the exodus from egypt; Marcella: A Raggedy Ann Story, a book from grammy; Little Women; and Black Beauty to go with our history of the horse unit study.

one of my favorite parts of being a mom and a home school teacher has been reading aloud to my kids. from the very beginning i read to them. yes, before C was even born, i read some sweet rhyming and rhythmic books aloud in the direction of my stomach. (well, studies show the babe in the womb can hear!) *smile* of course the ones that came after got plenty of reading time before birth as i was reading to their older brother daily.

i have such warm memories of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Good Night Moon. of course, we moved up in the literary world with Stellaluna and Miss Twiggly's Tree, and then graduated to chapter books. i can't tell you how many times i have read Charlotte's Web. for awhile i was on the look out for books of boy interest like The Mouse and Motorcycle, The Sign of the Beaver, and My Side of the Mountain (which i should mention, B also enjoyed heartily). now, with the boys at school and B my primary listener, i am all about girl books (and i should say, the boys sometimes listen in on those, too!). we have read The Princess and the Goblin, Little House in the the Big Woods, The Doll People, and Thimble Summer, just to name a few. i have shared favorites from my childhood, relishing the memories they brought. and i have met many new favorites that i missed as a child.

there is nothing quite like snuggling up on the couch with an exciting book and your kids scrambling for your lap or the best spot to see the illustrations. someday, i know, i will miss those voices begging for one more chapter...

everyday gift: sharing read alouds

Friday, January 16, 2009

quiet confidence

"Prayer rests in the quiet confidence in the nature of God - a holy longing and expectation that if you wait upon him, he will make my path straight. He does this by voicing his will to my heart and then extending faith to obey his leading."

i came across this quote in an email regarding prayer for a student ministry. it really spoke to me and i regret that i cannot give proper credit.

everyday gift: words to ponder

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

wordless (well, almost) wednesday

flowering bean plant, S's science project

everyday gift: something green in january

Sunday, January 11, 2009

dear old raggedy ann

i never really set out to collect dolls. it just sort of happened. i inherited my grandmother's dolls, some very rare and beautiful dolls from the early 1900's. and i have now acquired my mother's dolls because of her lack of storage in her condo. in a series of future posts i plan to display these special dolls since i have no place to display them in my home. but i do treasure them! there is something about a well loved doll that makes you believe she is alive and returns the same affection to the little girl who cared for her. it is easy to understand why such a theme runs through so many story books...and i just might believe it is true...

"Oh, Children!" Marcella cried, one day, as she came running into the nursery where all the dolls were sitting, "we are going to move, so you must all help me get ready. We must put all the doll clothes in the little trunk and pack everything nice and neat so nothing will get lost."

The dolls thought this would be great fun and they would have enjoyed jumping right up and helping, but Marcella did not know that dolls can run around and talk and do all sorts of things.

But, dear me, how the thoughts flew through their little heads and how they wished that Marcella really knew they were alive instead of just pretend. "Why!" thought Raggedy Ann, "wouldn't she be s'prised, if I should suddenly jump up and start packing our clothes in the little toy trunk?"

Marcella would have been surprised. Sometimes she did think that the dolls had moved around in the night after she had gone to bed. And, indeed, that is just what they always did...

from Marcella: A Raggedy Ann Story by johny gruelle

the inscription reads, "Judy Lynn, from Betty 1948"
what a sweet gift from a big sister

my mom's Raggedy Ann doll from the 1940's
a gift from her sister Betty

a hand-stitched treasure, given to my mom by her mom in 1949.

everyday gift: the special love between girls and dolls


the chickens have had a few unwelcome callers this month! after 4 years of keeping laying hens, this is the first intrusion we have encountered. so you can imagine mark's surprise when he tried to move a sitting hen out of the way to collect the eggs and found an opossum hissing at him instead! thankfully, he was not bitten and we are thankful that it was not B collecting the eggs as usual!

this one ventured into the garage and S snapped this picture. although i consider an opossum on the same level as a rat, they are rather fascinating. take a look at his interesting foot!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

leading a quiet life

i found another verse to go along with my word of the year:

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life,
to mind your own business
and to work with your hands...
I Thessalonians 4:11

ahh, the elusive "quiet life." it seems that i am always 3 errands, 2 loads of laundry, and a phone call away from the quiet life i am longing for. but i am working on saying "no" to non-essential things, making the reading of God's Word and prayer priorities over the dozens of daily "emergencies", and trying to find a quiet heart in the midst of a busy life.

"to mind your own business." this part made me laugh out loud! yes, i need to mind my own business. don't i have enough stress dealing with my own issues without taking on everyone else's?

"and to work with your hands." funny how i never noticed this verse before. but i know how being busy with a project can be like therapy. it can distract me from a problem i may be brooding over, it can calm emotions. and if i am focused my own project, how can i meddle in someone else's business? *smile*

i do like to be busy with my hands. these are some dishcloths i have knit over the past few months while reclaiming wasted time spent waiting...waiting for piano lessons to finish, waiting for soccer practice, waiting to pick up the kids after school...and instead of feeling impatient and rushed, i have enjoyed the time working my needles and yarn into something beautiful and useful.

B learning to knit, working her first project

to work with your hands

everyday gift: knitting with B

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

powdered sugar snow

this morning B looked out onto the deck and exclaimed, "powdered sugar!" and indeed, the light dusting of snow did look like the powdered sugar we sprinkled on our french toast! i thought the snow looked so pretty on our dinner bell, although the picture does not do it justice.

everyday gift: powdered sugar snow

Thursday, January 1, 2009

a fresh start

january 1st. a fresh start.

last year i choose a word for 2008, a word that would be a focal point, a goal, a theme of sorts and that word was listen. i must confess that half way through the year i was not thinking so much about my word. but now as i contemplate a new word, i have been thinking back, wondering if listen was in fact a good word to sum up the year. surprisingly, i see many ways that i have had to listen.

we, as a family, have faced some big changes and decisions and i have really needed to listen to the evolving needs of my kids. C has entered into his teen years and has begun to assert his independence in new ways. this can be a turbulent transition time, and we have seen our share of that, but i am learning to listen to C. i have tried to understand his feelings and needs so that i can adjust my parenting and help him to become the independent and responsible adult that he is learning to be. listening in this circumstance has indeed been a challenge for me when what i want to do is lecture and correct. ( moment of transparency. please be kind!)

S left our home school for the christian school for the first time this year. another big change. i have tried to listen to his needs so that i could offer encouragement as he faced his own challenges. leaving our home school with just one has meant a change for B and for me. this has enabled me to listen to B more than ever without the competition of her brothers around. it has been a very positive year for B to have me all to herself during school time for the first time ever. and a positive year for S as he confidently and successfully joined the 5th grade class.

mark and i listened to God's leading this past spring as we decided to leave a church for a new one. it was a decision that we have thought about for several years now. it was very difficult to leave the church we have been involved in for so many years but we have found confirmation in many ways at our new place of worship and fellowship.

so that leads me to my word for 2009. related to listen, it is quiet. as in quiet time. quiet heart. just quiet. in order to listen to God's voice and leading, to the needs of my family, and to the needs of others i need to quiet my heart and my mouth (*blush* another moment of transparency!) i am recommitting myself to spending time in God's Word each day. i need to quiet the fears and worries of my heart with trust and faith, i need to quiet my words and listen in my relationships. i want to quiet the noise around me and have a quiet spirit which blesses those around me.

i am pondering these verses which express my prayer and desire for spiritual growth in coming year...

a quiet inner beauty which will bless others:
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment,
such as braided hair and wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.
Instead, it should be that of your inner self,
the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which is of great worth in God's sight.
I Peter 3:3-4
a quietness which listens for the voice of God:
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
a quiet heart which trusts in God's love and protection:
The LORD your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with his love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

everyday gift: a fresh start