Sunday, January 15, 2017

Mom's homemade food

My parents had a chili contest today as part of an event at their church. We attended with them. They had small bowls to write the number of each of 9 pots of chili, get a sample in each of your small bowls, and after trying then you voted for your favorite.

After getting my samples I sat down and tried them. After one bite of the first one I tried I said, "This tastes like my mom's chili! Did she bring a pot?" My dad answered yes, but he didn't know which pot was hers. I arrived after they set up and I did not know if my mom had entered the contest or just brought dessert. It turned out it was her chili! Unless she served chili when we visited on vacation, I don't think I had her chili in at least 13, probably closer to 15 years!

I think I know why I could recognize my mom's chili. My mom was frugal in her cooking during my childhood. Chili was served often. Her recipe had lots of beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and less hamburger. When I was teaching I asked her to make chili for a potato topping for a potato bar when the teachers served at a church supper. Her chili as a topping was so popular that we ran out. The recipe is not spicy, but I like it.

The next one I tried, I thought it tasted a lot like the chili that Ram's mom makes. She often served chili when we visited so I have had hers more recently. It turned out to be one of the pastors made it and I think it was Paleo or at least close to Paleo which made me think that it was like Ram's mom's chili. It was more spicy than my mom's chili, but also very good and won the contest today.

Lamb 2 ended up voting for the first sample he tried. It didn't seem special to me, was just a regular recipe for chili. I think he liked it because it was familiar. Lamb 3 is not a big chili eater and had said he was glad there was salad and dessert because he did not plan on trying all the chili. But when he saw the pot that looked like Cincinnati chili with spaghetti noodles, he wanted that and ate 2 helpings and voted for it!

Unfortunately Lamb 1 was not feeling well during church so we thought it was best if Ram took Lamb 1 home. We have a busy week planned and we hoped that if he rested he would be ready to participate in the rest of our plans this week. He was bummed to miss all this, but happy to stay home and "rest" by watching football. He seemed better tonight so I hope we can go to piano lessons as planned tomorrow.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Decluttering works!

The least favorite chore for me each year is to put away the Christmas decorations. When we lived in MN and I had babies, often it would be several months before the Christmas decorations were packed up and put away. They usually got stuck in the guest room and when we would have company spending the night I would finally get the job done.

This year Ram and the Lambs put the Christmas tree away and left the decorations for me to put away. Once again I dreaded this chore so I put it off for a week. We don't have a lot of room at our rental so I decided to finish the job today.

I was surprised how quickly the project went once I began! This was because I seriously decluttered before we moved. We still have a lot of Christmas decorations, but we gave away a lot before we moved. Everything was labeled and organized in plastic tubs before we moved. It was easy to put everything back in the correct tub today.

We also kept some of our Christmas decorations packed up this year as we are in a rental and didn't have room to get everything out. The Lambs chose their favorite ornaments for the tree and the rest stayed in the tubs. Of course we got out a few other decorations and stockings, but we didn't get out every Advent calendar that we owned. I didn't feel that we were missing anything because our favorites were out. When we finally purchase a house again, we will all rejoice to decorate for Christmas like we did in Idaho.

This motivates me to keep at the decluttering. Even though we gave lots away before we moved, there are several boxes left to really go through and decide what to keep. This reminded me that it is worth the time to declutter.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Successful Week

Just in case you haven't kept up with the Lambs progress, let me start with a review.

Lamb 1 is almost 13 and in 7th grade. We are considering sending him to our Lutheran high school in 9th grade. We may continue homeschooling. Either way, we are spending the next year and a half of homeschool getting him ready for high school. I am expecting more independent work from him this year. I consider myself to have been homeschooling since he was 3 years old. Homeschooling has been good for this firstborn that taught himself to read.

Lamb 2 is 10 1/2 and the right age for 5th grade. He did a year of vision therapy and occupational therapy in 2014. He is ahead of 5th grade in some subjects and behind in other subjects. We are continuing to work on learning to read this year. I learned a lot about how to teach a child with learning difficulties when homeschooling Lamb 2. I love that with homeschooling he is not kept behind in areas that he is capable of working ahead nor made fun of for being behind in other areas.

Lamb 3 is 8 1/2 and the right age for 3rd grade. He is also ahead of 3rd grade in some subjects and behind in other subjects. I have learned a lot about schooling boys when homeschooling Lamb 3. This is the first year he has been interested in learning how to read. We are continuing to work on learning to read this year. Lamb 3 attended our church preschool and we considered sending him to the church for kindergarten, but he wanted to be homeschooled. Homeschooling has been good for him to listen in on lessons for his brothers and to be challenged to keep up with them too.

We got a late start to our school year after moving, but we have completed 71 days of homeschool in Indiana. We added all subjects back in this week after a break this fall from Latin and poetry memorization and subjects like that. This week we began listening to the audio version of Story of the World volume 1. We began reading this together a few years ago but never finished. I am hoping we will be more disciplined to daily listen to the audio version. We began listening to DVDs of Leonard Bernstein Young People concerts. We began listening to Moody Science DVDs. We began Apologia Exploring Creation with Botany. We worked on memorizing the commandments and Lamb 1 worked on memorizing the meanings for the commandments this week.  We are reading about Mozart. Lamb 1 read The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth Speare.

I plan to blog more about what we are doing in homeschool this semester in future posts. I am trying a lot of new curriculum for language arts and I especially want to go into more detail for that.

The Lambs were a little frustrated that school took more time than when we didn't do as many school subjects. But we all kept on and they did well. When I gave them a break this afternoon after working hard all week, they acted like they missed the structure of a longer school day!

I am very pleased with our first intense homeschooling week of 2017. Next week we have some friends coming to visit so we won't have quite so long of school days. Hopefully because we got off to a good start this week we can continue to make good progress.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

New jeans

About 5 years ago my sister recommended Levi jeans. I usually used coupons at Kohls and bought myself a new pair of Levis when I needed them.

When we moved I had lots of old jeans. The ladies at church used them for crafts so I had lots to donate. I noticed that several old pairs had holes in the crotch and it seemed so weird to get holes there before the knees. I decided then to not buy any more Levis since I kept having the same problem. I also gave away all my jeans that were too big-which was a problem after all the exercise we got getting our house ready to sell.

I moved here with one pair of jeans that fit and one pair that was a little large. In December the one that fit got a hole in the same place as the other ones. The pair that was a little large in August was very large after my thyroidectomy. This was all a good problem to have, but I felt I needed at least one pair of good jeans.

I used a coupon at Kroger to get $5 off an Old Navy gift card. I used Giving Assistant to get a couple more dollars off my Old Navy order. I ordered exactly enough to get free shipping. I probably could have waited for a sale, but I was happy with that savings so I could get new jeans now. I have never owned or tried on Old Navy jeans, so I took a chance ordering a size smaller than I used to wear. I ordered size tall.

2 pairs of jeans arrived this week. I tried them on and they both fit perfectly. They are the same size, but different styles and one was too long. I don't ever remember owning a pair of jeans that was too long! I decided immediately to keep both pairs-even if I have to roll one pair up, it will make me smile each time I wear them!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

January update

Here is a glimpse into our life right now. Hopefully I can blog about these in more detail soon.

*Ram will begin classes for his degree next week. Our family really needed the down time for the last few months to get ready for this next chapter of our lives. We are all excited that he will now begin classes.
*Ram preached at our new church once in December and did pulpit supply (substitute preach) at a church a little south of us on New Year's Day. It was strange to be the pastor's family again for these. I am so glad he had a chance to use his talent for these before he begins classes.
*Our health insurance ended at the end of the year and we are trying Samaritan Ministries this year. I will blog about this as we get more experienced with our new "insurance".
*I was determined to return to more homeschool subjects and accomplish more in homeschooling than we did last fall after moving. I did some serious planning over Christmas vacation with the goal of getting Lamb 1 ready for high school whether we put him in high school or continue to homeschool. I plan to blog more about what we are doing in homeschool this semester.
*We are getting settled into activities at our new church and continuing to meet people there. We are going to have all the Lambs sit in on confirmation class this spring with the goal of confirmation for Lamb 1 and first communion for Lamb 2 and Lamb 3 in May.
*The Lambs are continuing piano lessons. I love that their piano teacher assigns Lamb 1 LSB hymns to practice. They also enjoy going to a weekly program at the library. They want to do more activities, especially sports, and we are still working on what will be a good fit for the Lambs and will work with our schedule (working around church activities and Ram's classes).
*The Seminary Symposia is next week. We are looking forward to seeing many friends, some of whom we have not seen for several years. Ram begins classes for his program next week so he is unable to attend Symposia, but we will still see friends. Our rental house does not have room for visitors so I look forward to getting our own place when Ram graduates so we can host for times like this.
*Recently I spent some time reading some of my old blog posts. I am determined to blog more often in 2017. It is interesting to go back 6 months or a year and reminisce both the good and bad times. So much that happened in 2016 was not recorded due to our move. I also hope to go back and blog about some more of 2016.
*We are still getting settled in our rental home. This is a slow progress, but it is progress. We are waiting for a few more repairs to be done by our landlord.
*We took the Christmas tree down the day after Epiphany, but there are still Christmas decorations to organize and pack away.
*We have had some car repairs recently. I am thankful for a husband that takes care of scheduling all that so that all I have to do is drop him off or pick him up if it is going to take more than a day.
*I am getting used to grocery shopping here. Today I was pleased that a raincheck and a digital coupon worked together. I am learning how to use my smartphone at the grocery. Our pantry is gradually getting stocked when items we use frequently are on sale. This makes life so much easier.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Just like Pizza Hut!

Today for lunch I had each Lamb make their own mini pizza. I had some pizza toppings to use up and they each like different toppings with no cheese for Lamb 1. While they were baking, Lamb 3 said, "This is just like Book-it!" It really was because I used to read to the Lambs while we waited to be served at Pizza Hut and we read today while we waited for our pizza to bake. Due to Lamb 1 outgrowing Book-it and our move, we took this year off of Book-it. Maybe we can continue the tradition at home now.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

5 year update of 2011 post

December 29, 2001
1 Ram + 1 Ewe 
+ Ram changing from student to pastor
and back to student
+Ram 2 Calls to 4 different churches
+1 major surgery
+First laptop
+Ewe changing from classroom teacher
to Mama to homeschool teacher
+Ewe thyroid removed
+Ewe's first cell phone
+Ewe's first smartphone
+First iPad

+ 3 Boy Lambs (2004, 2006, 2008)
+ Surviving MSPI with Lamb 1 as a baby
+ Completing a year of vision therapy with Lamb 2
+1 Minor surgery for Lamb 2
+ Lamb 2 and 3 graduating from speech therapy
+ 3 Lambs getting involved in many different kinds of activities
+Several vacations to IN, ID, CA, SC, AL, MO, etc.
+ Making many new friends from many different parts 
of the country and a few that live overseas

+1 Brother-in-law
+ 5 year anniversary for Eric and Hannah


- 11 miscarried Lambs,
- 1 brother (Tim), 

- 3 Grandmas, -2 Grandpas, 
-7 Great Aunts and Great Uncles, 
and -several family friends going to join the saints in the Church Triumphant

+ 1 Saturn - 2 Saturns
+ 1 Blazer - 2 Blazers
+ 1 Toyota Camry
+ 2 Minivans -2 Minivans
+ 1 Toyota Sienna

+Living in 5 houses in 3 different parts of the country
+ Bought 1 house
- Sold 2 houses
+renting for our first time
+ plus being crazy enough to rent a second time
+3 major moves to live in 3 different states
+Moving from living in the same city as Ewe's parents to live in the same state as Ram's parents and then coming back to live in the same city as Ewe's parents again
+living in a big city
+living in a town of 113,
+living in a growing city of a suburb of the state capital
+back to living in a big city again


15 years of holy matrimony for Ram and Ewe!


We thank Christ for being the center of our marriage and being with us through all these changes. We know He will continue to be with us in future years and future changes.


*Baker family, you continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. This is a bittersweet day on the calendar. May we all continue to look forward to the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.