Sunday, January 30, 2011


The upstairs toilet overflowed and dripped water into the downstairs bathroom on Sunday morning.

I couldn't find my car keys and Ram didn't leave his keys on Sunday morning.

A big storm is predicted to come when we were supposed to travel to an installation service so we decided not to go.

Thankfully we did get to church on time and had a nice morning at Sunday School and church. This afternoon we will deal with the bathroom mess and get some rest after our trip to Mayo.

All of Ram's tests went well and his doctor said everything was normal for recovery after surgery. He will have checkups often to be sure everything continues to be normal. These checkups can be done locally so we won't have to go back to Mayo. We had a nice few days vacation at the hotel while Ram went to Mayo.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Family Update

I have a bunch of topics to blog about, but we've been busy and I can't blog about all of them now. Here's a little of what we have been doing recently.
*We're back to homeschooling all subjects. Last week we had school every day except Sunday. I'll have a big weekly homeschool report soon. I'm proud of the progress that Lamb 1 and 2 are making.
*I ordered some audio CDs of stories for the Lambs. They listen to these at bedtime. It doesn't seem so bad to go to bed when you get to listen to a story. We aren't far enough into technology to go beyond CDs in their room. We live too far away from the library to take advantage of that. I think this was a wise investment to get a few more CDs for our collection as they were tired of the ones we owned before. I like that they are getting a few more minutes of homeschool when they listen to these classic stories. The Lambs stay in their room for the whole CD because they don't want to miss a minute of the story while they go to the bathroom. They usually fall asleep by the end of the CD.
*Ram has a checkup at Mayo soon. Please pray for good results and a safe trip. We are praying that this is his last trip to Mayo and if he needs more tests or checkups they can be done locally. He will have a bunch of tests done and see his doctor that did the surgery.
*I got all my papers filed instead of in a big pile so I'm ready to get everything together to send to our tax lady.
*We made good headway on writing/making thank you notes last week. We still have more to do and I'm embarrassed that January is almost over and we haven't finished thank you notes for Christmas yet. The church members were very generous this year which is a good thing, but we have a ton of thank you notes to write. I'm having the Lambs write/make notes for each person that gave them a gift. Hopefully people will understand that it takes the Lambs a long time to make their notes so that is why it took so long.
*Ram took the Lambs to a library program last night about feet. They measured their feet, did an art project by tracing their foot and decorating it, ate foot long subs, and a whole bunch of other fun activities. It was wonderful for Ewe to have an evening alone to try to get things done at home.
*Ewe took the Lambs to a drop in play time at ECFE this morning. It was good to get the Lambs out to play with other kids, do art, and see the teachers. We took last semester off of ECFE. We're going to try to continue this play time in February. I had to laugh though, during play time the Lambs played together with the doll house almost the whole time-not with other toys, not with other kids.
*I've been trying a bunch of new recipes, most of them from . Last night I made chickpea tagine with carrots, cinnamon, and cumin and at first I didn't think that Ram liked it. Tonight he said he liked it and he was full after just one bowl. Everyone ate it except for Lamb 3 so it was more of a success than I thought it was at first.
*I'm going to try to get our paperwork together for taxes and finish thank you notes and put the Christmas decorations away (they're down, but on the guest room bed) so I'm going to concentrate on that and not blog much. Hopefully I'll be back soon when my projects are done.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Teaching Reading

When I was in college I was required to take one class on teaching reading to elementary students. When I taught in the classroom I took one semester of teaching reading. There seemed to be thousands of strategies of teaching reading.
When I taught first and second grade in the classroom we started out using typical reading books. Then we had a little training and taught Writing Road to Reading. Especially in first grade, we spent so much time working on phonograms and learning HOW to read, that I didn't get to see the results in reading in first grade. Of course there were a few above average students that could read well in first and second grade. I know that my work in first grade with the students was necessary and worth the time. The second and especially the third grade teachers got to see the students reading more difficult words and putting it all together in stories with more of a plot, not just really basic readers.
I began Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading with Lamb 1 when he was about 4 1/2. He learned the sounds quickly and we went on to the next part of OPGtTR-learning simple words and simple sentences. We would do about 10 lessons at a time and then it was like he hit a brick wall and couldn't do one more lesson or read one more word beyond those lessons that we had done before. We did this cycle several times in the last 2 1/2 years. We would do about 10 lessons in OPGtTR, then take a long break and work on other pre-reading and reading activities, after a few months go back and do another 10 lessons in OPGtTR and start the cycle again. I'm not even sure the highest lesson number he got up to in OPGtTR because we would go back and review the lessons he had done before and then do about 10 more lessons. I would estimate he got to about lesson 65 in this cycle. I was careful not to force him to do OPGtTR because I didn't want him to hate reading. We attempted to do at least half a lesson a day on the days he was willing to work on it. I do like teaching with OPGtTR so the problem was not the book.
Last fall I tried a few new things. He was very interested in learning how to spell so I taught some more phonograms from WRTR (the letters of the alphabet phonograms are very similar in both OPGtTR and WRTR) and we did spelling every day this way. I would give him 10 words from the WRTR list to spell with his magnet alphabet letters. Then he could choose 3 or 4 words that he wanted to learn how to spell. At first he wanted to know fish, castle (in his fish tank). A few days ago we did the Bible story of the Good Shepherd so he wanted to know how to spell shepherd, lambs, etc. I also had him read Dick and Jane out of a big book we had. I also had him read Bob books.
We took a break for Ram to recover from surgery. I didn't pay very close attention to his reading while Ram was recovering. Lamb 1 will be 7 in March. I will never know if it is his age, the new things I tried for reading, if he taught himself to read while Ram was recovering, but I suspect it was a combination of all of those.
Last week was our first week working on reading again after Ram recovered. It is AMAZING to me. Lamb 1 wants to do about 5 lessons a day in OPGtTR and it seems too easy for him. Lamb 1 got some paperback Dick and Jane books after Christmas. He wants to read those to Lamb 2 and 3 several times a day (they don't always want to listen to him read). He likes that they aren't as heavy as the big Dick and Jane book that we had. He wants to do more than 10 spelling words daily out of WRTR. I don't think at this pace we will finish OPGtTR this year, but we will make more progress in the next few months than we did in the last 2 1/2 years. We should also make good progress on the WRTR spelling list.
I'm excited for Lamb 1 because reading will open up a whole new world for him. He will be my first student to get beyond second grade (not counting the sixth graders I student taught). I'm learning better how to teach Lamb 2 and 3 after teaching Lamb 1. Lamb 2 began OPGtTR last week. I think after he learns his sounds I'm going to take a break with him for a year or two until he really wants to learn to read. I learned with Lamb 1 that teaching reading is a lot like potty training. We tried reading with Lamb 1 at age 4 1/2 but he wasn't ready. I will still do a lot of pre-reading, practice phonograms, and of course read aloud to Lamb 2. But once he gets to that brick wall like Lamb 1 did, we are going to take a LONG break from OPGtTR. Perhaps he won't get to that brick wall and we will go faster than Lamb 1 did.
I read blogs where children younger than Lamb 2 are reading. I used to wonder what we were doing wrong when neither Lamb 1 or 2 were reading. I've learned that there are big differences between children and especially between boys and girls. We'll continue to plug along daily and I'll try to be patient until all 3 Lambs can read well. I bet that day will come faster than I think it will. I'll also continue to pray for patience and try to make school fun until we get to that point.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My sister, Hannah

She has brown eyes. I have hazel eyes.
She has light brown hair. I have blond hair.
She just turned 30. I'm older.
She is 6 feet tall. I'm shorter.
She loves to do this. I have no desire to ever do that!
I love you, Sissy! Glad you had a good vacation to Hawaii! We pray you have a safe trip back to South Korea.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Photos from Fargo

When we first got to the conference on Thursday, I took the Lambs around to the display tables to get free chocolate and other treats. While we were walking around Rev. Harrison came up and gave me a hug. I asked him if he was going home afterwards or going on to Fort Wayne or somewhere. He said he was going home so I told him I had something to give him. (crosses one of our members made and cookies I made for his boys) Then I took the Lambs back to the hotel room. I was not successful at getting the Lambs to take a nap. Since we don't have TV at home, they were thrilled to watch TV. I let them watch almost 3 hours of TV. Then we got dressed and went downstairs as they were ending their last session of the day. We stayed downstairs and chatted with friends for about an hour before the banquet began.

Ewe, Lamb 3, Lamb 2, Rev. Harrison

I took a lot of photos of the band at the banquet, but they didn't turn out well. I'm sure you've seen photos posted on other blogs. We took the Lambs to the banquet. There were other babies, but our Lambs were the only children there. They were really nice and got the boys kids meals. Lamb 3 fell asleep during the dinner and slept in my lap. He woke up and ate during the entertainment. During the entertainment, Lamb 1 and 2 played with their cars under the table. Ram had to go down there and tell them to not be so loud a couple of times. We were over to the side of the banquet hall and they weren't that loud. The next day the man in charge of meals told me they were well behaved at the banquet. That was a relief for me as I thought maybe they had been louder than I thought. I didn't take any photos, but we sat with Leah (college friend) and Allen.

Ewe, Lamb 3, DakotaPam, Elizabeth, Emily

Usually there are several moms and kids at conferences like this. I met Pam at a conference a few years ago. A few of our other homeschooling friends had planned to go, but either had a change of plans or had sickness in their family so the dads came without them. I was so glad that Pam came and I met the twins for the first time. Their birthday was Friday. I know it has been a difficult year for Pam with twins, but I was amazed at her. I saw her in the swimming pool at the hotel with her girls. About 15 minutes later she was out of the pool, dressed up and the girls were both dressed in their adorable Christmas dresses. She made the excuse that she had left her hair up in the pool and she didn't have many choices for dressing up, but that was incredible to me. We had a little time to chat, but the girls really keep her moving. I was amazed that she easily carried the girls (even carried two car seats) and especially that she got them arranged for this photo all by herself. I always had a difficult time with just one baby and she has truly become a pro with two in this year. Unfortunately she didn't get any sleep at the hotel as she didn't bring the pack n' play in order to save room in the car and then they got stuck in Fargo another night because of the weather, but she made the best of the situation and had a great weekend.
After the banquet then we took the Lambs swimming. Lamb 3 was brave enough to try swimming for the first time. Lamb 1 tried to really swim, much better than before he had swim lessons.

While the conference finished up on Friday then we got together with the E family in their hotel room. Lamb 1 was upset that he had to hang out with all these "strangers" so Ewe could talk to the other moms. Lamb 2 and 3 had a good time with the kids. Ram came in to tell us that the conference was about done. So we took our chance to take a photo. Lamb 3 wouldn't take it without Ram. Lamb 1 didn't want to take a photo at all. This was the best of several photos I took. I think that Lamb 2 has a young admirer!

After the conference then we got a bite to eat and did a little shopping. I was afraid we would have to stay another night in a hotel in Fargo because it was snowing. We decided to try to go home. Once we got out of Fargo it stopped snowing and the drive home was fine. We were all tired so we decided to stop for a bite to eat at a restaurant near our home. The Lambs were tired and it took a long time to get our food. We finally ate and got the Lambs to bed. It was a long but fun two day trip to Fargo.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Joint North Theological Conference

I was not able to attend the conference because I had to watch the Lambs, but I did go and hear brief portions from the back of the room and I also attended the banquet. MN N District and North Dakota District held this theological conference together in Fargo, ND on January 13-14, 2011. Pastor Scheer had a great summary of the conference here. I did want to add a couple of comments to his report.
Pastor Scheer talks about how Rev. Harrison laid on the table to depict Lazarus and used it to illustrate a point. Rev. Harrison did this exact same depiction in a regular Sunday morning Bible class when I was teaching at Zion, Fort Wayne. In fact, I think he did it a couple of times while I was teaching there during different Bible classes. This shows me that Rev. Harrison is still doing what he loves to do, teach and preach, even though now his membership list includes all LCMS members.
Rev. Harrison was kind enough to talk to my family (including the Lambs) during the break before the Thursday evening banquet. Lamb 2 told him that we had a good time at his "party" in September. Rev. Harrison said that he had a good time too. I know that I taught at the school that he was a pastor at so I knew him, but it means a lot to me that he took the time to talk to the Lambs too. Lamb 1 was very uncooperative, but he spoke to Lamb 2 for a little while and as much as you can talk to a 2 year old to talk to Lamb 3. We took a few photos which I hope to post soon and then he took our photo to show to his family. 
I was not able to attend the conference, but from what Ram has said, they "worked" and were serious during the conference, but then there was also a time for fun at the banquet. The conference was only Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. Rev. Harrison spoke about Witness and Mercy on Thursday and Life Together on Friday. Friday morning there was a long question and answer session.
I feel blessed that Rev. Harrison took time to come to Fargo, which is a short drive for us. I know it is worse for those who live on the coasts, but sometimes we feel forgotten up here where it is more than a day driving distance to either Fort Wayne or Saint Louis (well, without the Lambs it might be possible to go in a day, but that would be a really long day). The weather was terrible and some didn't make it on time because of the weather and some got stuck at a hotel for another night. It means a lot to me that laity were also invited to this conference too. There were several laity there.
The two days were not nearly enough time to catch up visiting with our friends from the two districts. The two days were fun. Please check out when Rev. Harrison is coming to your area of the country and make sure to attend.
Please keep Rev. Harrison and his family and his staff in your prayers. I'm sure the devil did not like almost 300 of us having a grand time singing A Mighty Fortress together on Thursday evening.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy Winnie the Pooh Day (Yesterday!)

My mom reminded me that January 18, 1882 is the date that A.A. Milne was born. I am a big Pooh fan. It is the first movie that I remember my parents taking me to go see in the theater. This was before VCRs and DVDs so it was a big deal when we went to see a movie. I was thrilled when the same classic movie came out on video so I could watch it at home. Here's a few photos of the Lambs in honor of Winnie the Pooh Day.

Disneyland October 2006
Ewe, Lamb 1, and Pooh

Disneyland October 2006
Ewe, Lamb 1, Pooh

Lamb 2 (Pooh)
Lamb 3 (Tigger)
Lamb 1 (Eeyore)
Halloween 2008

Lamb 1 (Eeyore)
Lamb 3 (Roo)
Lamb 2 (Pooh)
Halloween 2009


Lamb 2 (Pooh)
Lamb 3 (Roo)
Halloween 2009

Lamb 2 (Eeyore)
Lamb 3 (Tigger)
Halloween 2010

Monday, January 17, 2011

Full Day of School Today

After a few months break while Ram recovered, we had a full day of school today. This is what a full day of school for Lamb 1 and 2 looks like.
Morning Prayer, Memorize Psalm 121:8, Begin to memorize a new poem, Calendar, Breakfast, Get Dressed, Bible story-Resurrection of Jesus, Begin to memorize TLH 313 Oh Lord we Praise Thee, Review Commandments 1-2 (forgotten), Review Latin lesson 1-2 (good!), Review continent and ocean song, review planet song, Review math songs counting by 2's (good) and 3's (forgotten), Ewe teach MUS lesson to both Lambs (review for Lamb 1), Lamb 2 one page in MUS, Lamb 2 one dot to dot page, Lamb 1 one Saxon math lesson, also working on 1/2 of shapes, Lamb 1 spelling out of WRTR (good today), Lamb 2 one Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading lesson, Lamb 1-3 OPGtTR lessons, Lamb 1 read one Dick and Jane story to Lamb 3.
Ram took all 3 Lambs to the bank today so they could receive triple stamps for their savings accounts because it was a holiday. Lamb 3 also had a chiropractor adjustment because he's been acting like he has an ear infection. While they were gone Ewe prepared lunch-leftovers and pineapple/cranberry/aloe vera drink. The drink did not go over well because everyone wished Ewe would have made more chamomile lemonade instead. At lunch we had our family devotions, took our vitamins and cod liver oil.
Chore time-Lamb 1 spent 1/2 hour going through his papers. He actually put quite a bit in recycling and only kept a few. He has many days ahead of him doing this chore. When he complains I threaten to just throw the whole box away and not let him go through it. Buried in the box we found two of Lamb 2's shirts and one book. It was obvious this chore needs to be done more often!
Lamb 2 and 3 did a lot of miscellaneous chores during this time-empty trash cans, put silverware away, clean up living room, etc.
The Lambs played a Bible Go Fish card game and an Animal Bingo game.
Lamb 3 took a nap. Lamb 1 and 2 watched a video about birds.
Snack time-apples and dip (almond butter, maple syrup, cinnamon)
Lamb 1 and 2 practiced cutting paper.
We read about orchestras in Those Amazing Musical Instruments and listened to some of the CD-Rom that came with the book.
Lambs played until supper time.
Supper was clam chowder-everyone liked it and ate it-even Lamb 3.
While we were cleaning up the toys in the living room Lamb 2 acted really tired. We told him he could either help clean up or lie down in bed. He picked bed. He fell asleep. A whole day of school wore him out!
I didn't read aloud as much as I planned because I didn't want Lamb 2 to miss it. I read a few books to Lamb 1 and 3. Say prayers. Brush teeth. Get ready for bed. Listen to audio Little Bear stories while going to sleep.
Ewe worked on her once a month secretary job for church. It is 9pm and I'm tired, but not as exhausted as Lamb 2 was. I had wanted to blog more about our Fargo trip, but that's not happening tonight. I'm going to try to go to bed soon too so I'm ready for another full day of school again tomorrow. We are blessed with an entire week where we (not counting Ram) don't have anything on the calendar or any where to go. After a few day trips in the last few weeks I'm looking forward to getting a lot of homeschool in this week. We did enough review today that I know what we need to go back and do over again and what we can go on to something new.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ewe's Fun in Fargo video

This was my first attempt to use my camera to record a video and post it to my blog. I just had to post our Synodical President playing the banjo! I apologize for the poor quality and the shaky camera in the middle. Give me a break-I had to attend to one of the Lambs in the middle of this video plus this is my first attempt. In the front row is DakotaPam holding one of her baby girls who turned one on Friday. We also sang Happy Birthday to her daughters. The lady playing mandolin second from the right is a member of DakotaPam's church. There were almost 300 of us there that night. There was dinner, then Rev. Harrison spoke, then the entertainment. If Rev. Harrison is coming to speak near you, make sure to attend, it is worth it! We were blessed to have him in Fargo, ND with us last Thursday and Friday. It was a fun evening with great entertainment.

HT for Fun in Fargo title: Witness, Mercy, Life Together Blog

(Sorry the whole screen did not embed. Try this

Question for experienced bloggers

I took a little video of Rev. Harrison playing the banjo at Fargo with my camera. What is your advice to get that video on my blog? I tried just inserting a video into Blogger and it didn't work. I would really like to post this for those who were unable to go to Fargo. So should I do something like YouTube or what is the trick to doing it in Blogger?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Family Christmas Photos

On Sunday we took photos by our Christmas tree. As a reward for the Lambs, we went out to eat afterwards. We have found as the family of a pastor that this works better than trying to take photos during the busy Christmas season. We took our tree down on Monday. Ram helped, but the Lambs did most of the undecorating. Here are the best photos from Sunday. 

Lamb 2

Lamb 3

Lamb 1

(I'm sorry I had problems uploading these photos-the ones I wanted to post are here, but not in the order I wanted.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Week 11 and 12 School Report

I haven't blogged about homeschool for awhile so I thought I would try to catch up a little bit.
Bible: Memorized John 3:16, Isaiah 58:11, Romans 8:28, and Psalm 121:8. Read some books about the Biblical Christmas story.
Reading: We read aloud many books. Some of the books we read were about Christmas, books by Tomie De Paola, The Gift of the Magi, The Snowy Day, Wynken, Blynken and Nod, A House is a House for me, and many other books. We listened to a CD with Beatrix Potter nursery rhymes.
Lamb 1 read some short phonics readers and some new Dick and Jane.
Geography: We read Babar comes to America.
Science: We read the current issues of Your Big Backyard and National Geographic Little Kids. We read a science book about rainbows. We began a sticker activity book about Safari Animals.
Art: Joshua has been looking at pictures and drawing the flags of different countries in the world "just for fun". The Lambs did Play doh. Lamb 1 began an "I can cut" workbook-it is easy for him, but since he is homeschooled I'm not sure if he gets all the skills they do in kindergarten. We used stamps to make birthday cards and thank you notes.
Music: We sang lots of Christmas carols and Christmas songs. We read about the 12 Days of Christmas song. We read about and listened to the Nutcracker.
Math: Lamb 1 is continuing Saxon math. Lamb 1 finished a Pooh workbook on numbers. Lamb 1 finished his dot to dot to 100 book. Lamb 2 is doing a Sesame Street workbook on counting and numbers. Lamb 2 continues to work on his dot to dot to 50 book. Lamb 2 was very excited to finish his Kumon numbers book. He will begin Alpha MUS next week. Both Lambs worked with pattern blocks. We read a Berenstain Bears book about telling time. Lamb 1 made a ruler out of paper and went around the house measuring things "just for fun".
Other: The Lambs have shoveled. The Lambs have picked up their toys daily. The Lambs helped make molasses cookies. We caroled at some assisted living apartments where our oldest church member (105 years old) lives. The Lambs helped to undecorate the Christmas tree. We took off a few days of school for Ram and Ewe's anniversary, New Year's, and our trip to the Kantorei service.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kantorei Epiphany Lessons and Carols

Last Friday we drove the 2 1/2 hours (in good weather) drive to Sioux Falls to go to the Kantorei Service. The drive there was terrible and we went very slow and careful. The other side of the interstate was closed because a truck was across the entire road. There were several cars in the ditch. When we got to Sioux Falls we did some shopping and ate a nice dinner before we went to the church. I knew the Lambs would be a mess after shopping all day so I brought nicer clothes for the Lambs to change into. While I was changing the Lambs, one of the members of the church talked to me. She was shocked that we would drive so far to go to the service.
I was disappointed in the attendance. The friends that we stayed with Friday night arrived at the church very early because they were concerned about getting a good seat for their family. They could have come on time and had a whole pew to their family. Yes there were many members of the host church that attended. Yes there were many pastors and friends like us that drove in for the concert. But Sioux Falls is a large enough town that that church should have been packed. Many people spoke to us about how they remembered the last time Kantorei came to this area, to Brookings, about 8 years ago. The weather was bad earlier in the day north of Sioux Falls, but it was fine in Sioux Falls, especially the night of the concert. We know of a few other families that drove close to an hour to be there.
I have a friend that said whenever she knows a group of Lutherans will be together with a chance for singing some good hymns within reasonable driving distance she won't miss it. Ram and I have never said that, but we agree with that statement.
The first few years we lived here we tried to go "home" to the CTS Symposia each January. When Lamb 2 was a baby we got stuck in a blizzard when we were driving to Symposia and Ram missed the first few days of Symposia. We also had tried flying to Symposia before that year and I hated flying that time of year, not knowing if the flight would be canceled, etc. Sadly after the year that we got stuck in a blizzard we decided that it was not going to work to go to Symposia while we lived here. The last time I heard Kantorei was about 5 years ago when we went to Symposia.
When you live in a city like Fort Wayne there are so many concerts and recitals and choirs that you take it for granted. I didn't attend even half of the concerts/services at the Seminary when I lived in Fort Wayne. I miss that terribly. Most of the people that attended on Friday will never get to Fort Wayne to hear the Kantorei. It was wonderful that the Seminary Kantorei came to us last Friday night.
It was wonderful to hear them process in to one of Ram's favorite hymns, Of the Father's Love Begotten. It was wonderful to participate in the liturgy together. I love that we went to Saint Louis for the installation service last fall and to Sioux Falls for the Kantorei service last Friday and we can easily participate in the service because it all has the same basic liturgy! The Lambs enjoyed singing "Alleluia" in Let our Gladness have no end.
We could tell the members were tired by the 8th tour stop and they still had 2 more stops before they could finally fly home. They had a concert every night, even the night that they flew into Kansas and two services on Sunday mornings. We could tell the ones that were married missed their families. Being part of a Kantorei tour is very different from the band tours I went on in high school and college.
Being in Kantorei must be a great experience for the members, but it's also lots of work, and they sacrifice a lot to be part of it. We really appreciated that they brought the Seminary music to us. Thank you Seminary Kantorei members, director, organist, and preacher. Thank you for being brave enough to go on tour to the Midwest in winter. We appreciate it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chamomile Lemonade

Long story how I got this recipe, but it is from On Saturday I bought 2 boxes of chamomile tea (98 cents each at Walmart) and 1 bag organic lemons ($4 at Walmart) and I already had some pure cane raw sugar in the cupboard (a recipe I was always going to try, but never did). I made a double batch on Saturday night and Ram and I drank it all before Sunday afternoon. I felt like I was getting a cold on Saturday afternoon and after drinking this I felt great by Sunday morning.
The recipe says that regular chamomile tea drinkers have elevated levels of hippurate, an antibacterial compound that can help fight infections brought on by colds. This recipe also delivers a healthful dose of vitamin C.

1/2 cup cane sugar
2 Tbs. grated lemon zest
6 chamomile tea bags
3/4 cup lemon juice
lemon slices for garnish

Combine sugar, lemon zest, and 2 cups water in saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, add chamomile. Cool.
Strain chamomile mixture into a 2 qt. pitcher. Stir in lemon juice and 3 cups water. Serve over ice with lemon slices, or store covered in refrigerator up to 5 days. (I bet you can't keep it in the house for 5 days-we couldn't even keep a double batch in the house for 24 hours!)

I made a double batch on Saturday night and everyone was sad until I made a quadruple batch on Monday night. The Lambs begged to try it. I'll definitely have to ration it until we get into town to a store on Friday to get stocked up on sugar, chamomile tea, and lemons again. I also gave one batch to a friend who has been sick the last few weeks.

This is tart and refreshing at the same time. This will definitely be on the list to make several times a week during cold and sickness season in the winter and perhaps make once a week during the summer as a treat at our house.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Make new friends and keep the old

We went to the Kantorei Epiphany Vespers last Friday night. I still want to blog about the service, but first I need to introduce you to my "new" friends. I wanted to blog this while they were still gone on tour so their family could see photos of them, but I was just too tired to post them before tonight!
Rev. Peter Gregory, Ewe, Lamb 3

Rev. Gregory is one of the pastors at my parent's church, St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, IN. I introduced myself and he had a little confused look on his face at first. It had been a long tour for them and at first he didn't realize that we were just 2 1/2 hours away from Sioux Falls. He realized we were way up in MN, but forgot how far he had come on tour that we weren't that far from that tour stop. He filled in for my dad's Bible class while my dad filled in while Ram recovered. After a few minutes he made the connection of who I was and we had a nice chat downstairs while the Lambs ate a whole bunch of sugar  treats. I'm sure it was difficult for him to be away from his wife and baby girl for tour. He was the officiant and preacher for the Kantorei tour. My parents talk about the Gregory family often and I had sent them a few cards, but I had never met them in person. Hopefully next time we are in Fort Wayne I will meet his wife too.

Melanie (Looper), Keaton, Ewe

Keaton's mom is also a Looper and she told the Loopers where all the tour stops were and that we should all go hear Kantorei and give Keaton a hug from her when we saw him. Melanie gave him a hug before I did, but I gave him homemade molasses cookies and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Ram told Keaton that he could share with the rest of the guys on tour but he didn't have to share if he didn't want to. Melanie seemed to know everyone at the service that night so we had a hard time getting all three of us together for a photo. We saw many other friends, some from when Ram was at Seminary. We finally wrapped up the visiting, gathered up the Lambs, and headed back to Melanie's to spend the night.

Ewe, Lamb 3, I think child 4, Lucy, Rev. B.

Right before we left, I was cleaning up the spot where the Lambs ate and I made a comment to Lucy. I said it was nice to see other kids in church. Something in her answer helped me make the connection that she was Lucy B.! We are on an e-list together and I had e-mailed her a few times about a year ago, but I had never met her in person. I was so glad that I spoke to her and we made the connection. So then we needed to chat for a few minutes and it made it even longer until we left the church. I must add that all her children stayed for the entire service and did a great job-and they are all 5 years and under. Ram took Lamb 2 and 3 out for some of the service, where he could still hear, but they didn't have to stay seated for the whole service after a long day with no nap and so close to bedtime. Maybe now that we've made the connection we can try to get our children together and do something in Sioux Falls together. It was so neat to meet someone at the service that I only knew from cyber space before. Rev. B. graduated not too long ago so he still knew several of the men in the Kantorei so they had several people to chat with too. 

I didn't take a photo, but another "old" friends we saw at the service were the pastor and his wife of the host congregation. When we first moved here he was a pastor at an area LCMS church. Shortly after we moved here he took a Call to Sioux Falls. Their church hosted the Kantorei. They did a great job feeding and housing the members of Kantorei and hosting the concert with a reception afterwards. I had a nice chat with his wife, she is a Lutheran school teacher. It's clear that LCMS schools are declining all over the USA when she talked about the decline in Sioux Falls and I know about the decline in Fort Wayne. It's so sad that even our "big LCMS towns" aren't holding onto their precious schools any more. I thank God for the schools that are still making it under tough conditions.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Busy Weekend

Friday we drove to hear the Kantorei Epiphany Vespers. The drive was terrible there, the other side of the interstate was closed where a truck was blocking the entire road. We saw several cars in the ditch. We just took it slow and were careful and we made it to Sioux Falls fine. We did some shopping before the service. I'll post more about the Kantorei later this week. Then we drove to Brookings and stayed with Looper friends. The adults stayed up way too late, but we enjoyed some time to chat. We were up fairly early and planned to drive back for a party with the area pastors. Ram called to say that we were going to be a little late and they told us the party was canceled because of sickness. It was a good thing that we called or we would have gone to their house.
So we spent a little more time in Brookings doing things we never have time to do-going to Goodwill, a used bookstore, and a consignment shop with lots of kids books and clothes. I bought several books to give my sister to have easy readers in English for her Korean students. Of course I had to keep some for myself and couldn't send them all to her because they won't all fit in the box! I bought Lamb 1 some pants as he has quickly outgrown his pants recently.
We arrived home in the afternoon and Ram found out that late service was canceled tomorrow because they are painting the inside of the church and it wasn't done as soon as they expected. We did have church and Sunday school at the country church. After church Ram was able to stay to help undecorate the church and take the tree down-normally he would have been at late service.
Tonight we took photos of the Lambs by our Christmas tree and then our reward was to go out to eat at a restaurant we like about a 1/2 hour away. It was snowing but we were careful. Even Lamb 3 said the name of the restaurant several times today. They Lambs didn't eat that well but it was free ice cream sundae night so they had that. Lamb 1 didn't even finish his sundae though. Lamb 1 and 2 both fell asleep on the way home. We had a nice coupon that was going to expire soon plus Christmas money so it wasn't too bad to go out tonight.
Tonight I worked to try to get the boxes together to send to my sister. Ram will pick up some flat rate boxes at the post office tomorrow. Then we'll have the game of "how much can I fit in one box without breaking anything?". We also need to take down our Christmas tree and write a lot of thank you notes this week.

Friday, January 7, 2011

12 Days of Christmas for the Lambs

My parents started this tradition while I was growing up. Some years my parents were able to do more, but we usually got one practical gift (clothes or one year we all got our own bath towel) on Christmas and then small gifts in our stocking for each of the 12 days of Christmas with a big present on Epiphany (like a purse). We loved this tradition. I think my mom was still doing it for my sister last year...
Many of the things my mom put in our stocking won't work for our boys. I think my mom had it easy to have two girls. Lamb 1 has caps on his teeth so gum is out. Obviously hair bows and trinkets like that are out. We try to limit candy since they have had plenty since Halloween.
I tried doing this for the Lambs a few years ago and they were too young to really get it. This year was the first year that we did it for all 12 days. Lamb 3 was a little young for some of the days that we gave, but we gave him the same thing as his brothers. See yesterday's post if you want to know why my counting of the 12 days of Christmas is a day off. Here's what we came up with this year:
Christmas-Lamb 1 and 2 received some construction equipment people and signs-about as close to a "dollhouse" as you can get for boys-thanks Ram's parents!
Lamb 3 received some plastic bugs. He calls all bugs "bees" so we're working on saying the correct names.
Ram received a Linus mug.
Ewe received some wall hangings that were Pooh quotes.
Day 1- Lambs each received their own box of crayons.
Day 2-Lambs each received their own box of coconut water-Ewe's mom got them started on this treat.
Day 3- Lambs each received their own roll of Scotch tape-some Lambs have "needed" it so much that their roll is almost gone.
Day 4- A coupon that each person was allowed to get their own drink at the coffee shop when we went to the town 3 hours away for Ram and Ewe's anniversary. The Lambs were thrilled to each get their own iced tea. Ram and Ewe decided their coupons had no limit so Ewe had a few mochas that day.
Day 5-Each Lamb got their own new toothpaste. Ram's mom had given them toothpaste with Christmas symbols on the outside. Lamb 3 got mint real toothpaste, not toddler toothpaste. Lamb 3 can't stand it . He goes in the bathroom and says "I not like this" when it is time to brush teeth. Lamb 1 and 2 like theirs but it makes a mess on the counter. Now I know why we usually buy plain toothpaste.
Day 6- Each Lamb got their own glue stick.
Day 7-Everyone got their own biscotti. We used to buy biscotti as treats when we went to Costco, but we stopped when we had problems with the Lambs hoarding them and I would find half eaten ones hidden in the living room. After many months of no biscotti this was a big treat.
Day 8-Reeses peanut butter trees for everyone.
Day 9-Coupon that the Lambs could play play doh. I hate the mess and how some Lambs want to do it for hours and some for minutes so we haven't done play doh for a while. While they liked playing play doh, I don't think the Lambs liked this was their stocking present. Lamb 1 couldn't read all the words on the coupon by himself so he had to wait for a parent to get up and read it to him. Plus it wasn't something to eat or use right away.
Day 10-New chapstick for all the Lambs-just in time for chapped lips season.
Day 11-New toothbrushes for all the Lambs-Pooh for Lamb 1, Tigger for Lamb 2 and 3.
Epiphany-Lamb 1 and 2 each got a new Lego set. Lamb 3 got a wolf to add to the plastic animal collection.
I'll try to post photos of the Epiphany presents soon.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy Epiphany Day!

I was off a day in my days of Christmas on my blog. I thought that December 25 was Christmas and then we started counting first day of (after) Christmas on Dec. 26. I thought this because I know of a church that has a Twelfth Night party on Epiphany, so I thought Epiphany was the twelfth day. Many of my friends blogged by counting correctly and I still thought I was right. Then I paid attention to the counting in our devotion book and I realized that I was wrong. I counted incorrectly when I was teaching too. Next year I'll try to count correctly but after years of the wrong way, it will be difficult for me. Either way, the Lambs will still get stocking gifts for 12 days of Christmas and a big present on Epiphany. I'll try to blog soon about what they got in their stockings this year.

Our Christmas ornaments part 12
My sister made these ornaments. She made me an ornament almost every year, but I'll spare her the embarrassment by showing all the grade school age art projects ornaments that she made. While she was underemployed the last few years she went into her own business of custom making these ornaments for friends. She started with different colors of the ones shown and then branched into making the colors of favorite sport teams, school colors and mascots and symbols, etc. Each ornament takes several hours to cross stitch and then put together-even longer if she is making a new pattern. She was so busy making these for her business that it took her a long time to give me one. I was glad when I finally received these two.

I'm glad I showed you several of our Christmas ornaments. I took photos of more, but I ran out of time to show them all. I'll have to do it next year for the 12 days of Christmas.

I wanted to post this song for all of Christmas but I was too busy doing the Christmas quizzes and showing our ornaments. My second year of teaching the teachers "performed" this song at the annual Christmas assembly. I can still hear the children laughing when our headmaster came in and lip synced his part. Good times and good memories!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Eleventh Day of Christmas

If you have not read my post on the ninth day of Christmas, please read that first.

How Well do you know the Biblical Christmas Story? ANSWERS

1 Genesis 3:15 4,000 BC First Promise of a Savior

2 Isaiah 7:14 725 BC Promise of a virgin birth
3 Jeremiah 31:15 586 BC Rachel wept over deportation

This chart assumes that Herod died in 4 BC. Some historians suggest that Herod may have lived until 1 BC. See First Christmas by Paul Maier, Harper & Row, 1971.
Jesus may have been born as early as 7 BC in which case the dates on this chart would be advanced by two years.
4 Luke 1:5-23 6 BC John's birth announcement
5 Luke 1:26-38 6 BC Jesus' birth announcement
6 Matthew 1:21 6 BC Jesus named
7 6 BC Mary tells Joseph that she is pregnant
8 Matthew 1:20 6 BC An angel came to Joseph in a dream a first time
9 Luke 1:31 6 BC Jesus named
10 Luke 1:39-45 6 BC Mary's visit to Elizabeth
11 Luke 1:57-66 5 BC John born
12 Luke 2:4 5 BC Trip from Nazareth
13 Luke 2:7 5 BC Jesus born
14 Luke 2:9 5 BC Angel comes to shepherds
15 Luke 2:13 5 BC Angels sing
16 Luke 2:16 5 BC Shepherds came to manger
17 Luke 2:21 8 days after birth Jesus circumcised
18 Luke 2:22 40 days after birth Jesus is presented at Temple
19 Luke 2:22 40 days after birth Mary purified
20 Luke 2:25-38 40 days after birth Simeon & Anna meet Jesus
21 Matthew 2:7, 16 between 40 days & 15 months after birth Magi came to Jerusalem
22 Matthew 2:9 same or next day Magi came to Bethlehem
23 Matthew 2:12 same day Magi left Bethlehem
24 Matthew 2:13 next night An angel came to Joseph in a dream a second time
25 Matthew 2:14 same night Trip to Egypt
26 Matthew 2:15 same Reenactment of Israel's call out of Egypt
27 Matthew 2:16 next morning Herod sends troops to kill babies
28 Matthew 2:18 same day Rachel wept over Holy Innocents
29 4 BC Death of Herod
30 Matthew 2:19 4 BC An angel came to Joseph in a dream a third time
31 Matthew 2:22 soon after Joseph dreamed for the fourth time
32 Matthew 2:23 soon after Trip to Nazareth

Thank you to Joelle and any others that did these Christmas quizzes on my blog!

Our Christmas Ornaments part 11
I'm sure my high school and college friends and my family are surprised that I haven't featured any penguins in my ornaments yet. When I was two years old, my dad's vicarage was in Brookings, SD. When my mom heard that was where they were going she joked that it was so cold that they were going to where penguins lived. The congregation had a great time with that joke. One of the big snowfalls a member painted gourds like penguins and set them on the sidewalk next to my parent's apartment. Many gifts for me from the church members were stuffed penguins and toys that were penguins. That joke stuck and penguins became my favorite stuffed animals. It was the most crazy in high school where many of my clothes had penguins on them, I had a penguin shower curtain, and on band tour we went to a store that sold nothing but penguin merchandise. These ornaments are a small sample of the penguin ornaments I have. When I was in middle school I had a small Christmas tree with only penguins on it. After college I moved on from penguins and started collecting Pooh stuff.

The first ornament in the back row is from my college roommate, Stacy. The last two in the back row were from my Sunday School teacher maybe about 4th grade. The front row was from Avon. My mom sold Avon so I was happy when these came out in the book. I don't know where the other ones came from, but I've had them nearly as long as the penguins from Avon, so since grade school.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tenth Day of Christmas

Are you working on yesterday's Christmas quiz? Answers will be posted tomorrow.

Answers to Ewe's ornaments yesterday: Springfield, IL and Fort Wayne, IN.

Our Christmas Ornaments Part 10
My mom made this ornament when I was about 4 years old. She made some as gifts and I begged her to make me one. She simply took a napkin and glued it to the Styrofoam and sprinkled lots of glitter on top of the glue. I also have one that was my Grandma's that was a Christmas napkin glued to a Styrofoam ball. My mom made some as gifts that were a circle shape to hang on the wall with the napkin from a baby shower too.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ninth Day of Christmas

If you have not read my post on the first day of Christmas, please read that first.

How well do you know the Biblical Christmas Story?

My dad just created this part of the Christmas quiz and suggested that I put it on the blog. It is more difficult so I will wait until the eleventh day of Christmas to give the answers. The references are from the entire Bible, not just the Christmas story of my other Christmas quiz posts.

Put the following events in order and specify the time each event occurred:

a. Magi came to Bethlehem
b. Jesus circumcised
c. Angels sing
d. Death of Herod
e. Angel came to Joseph second time
f. Jesus is presented at Temple
g. Shepherds came to manger
h. Simeon & Anna meet Jesus
i. Rachel wept over Holy Innocents
j. Promise of virgin birth
k. Magi left Bethlehem
l. First Promise of a Savior
m. Jesus born
n. Rachel wept over deportation
o. Angel came to Joseph first time
p. Magi came to Jerusalem
q. Jesus named [twice]
r. Herod sends troops to kill babies
s. Trip to Nazareth
t. Reenactment of Israel’s call out of Egypt
u. Mary purified
v. Angel comes to shepherds
w. Trip from Nazareth
x. Trip to Egypt
y. John born
z. Mary tells Joseph that she is pregnant
aa. Jesus’ birth announcement
bb. John’s birth announcement
cc. Mary’s visit to Elizabeth
dd. Angel came to Joseph in a dream a third time
ee. Joseph dreamed for a fourth time

Our Christmas ornaments part 9
Top row is for Ewe: First ornament is from the Lincoln Museum to represent both Ewe's birth place and her home town. Can you guess the two towns? Big hint: Ewe's dad is a pastor. Answer will be given tomorrow. Second ornament is from Ewe's high school, CLHS. Third is from Ewe's college, CUW.
Bottom row is for Ram: First ornament represents near his home town in ID. Second ornament represents his college, Utah State. Third ornament represents Concordia Theological Seminary. Last ornament represents his vicarage near New Orleans, LA.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Eighth Day of Christmas

If you have not read my post on the First Day of Christmas, please read that first.

Christmas Quiz part 4 ANSWERS: How well do you know the Biblical Christmas story?

Where are you, a Gentile, explicitly mentioned in the Christmas story?

Luke 2:10 (Angel to Shepherds) & Luke 2:31-32 (Simeon's song)

Our Christmas Ornaments part 8

Today's ornaments are featured for Helpful Teacher as she liked the idea of Christmas ornaments that tie in with Easter. I made the two on the left when I was in college. One art course was required and it was probably my most difficult course in college! It wasn't my worst grade in college because I worked very hard. I can not draw, but I can do things that are crafty. Our class was in charge of decorating a Christmas tree in the community, I can't remember if it was for a charity or what. So I made several of these eggs for that and I kept a few for myself. Some were just painted with decorations glued on. Others took much longer but looked prettier-glue small pieces of fabric all over the blown out egg. My grandma made the eggs at Easter time so I took the idea for the Christmas tree. We also folded Christmas wrapping paper like a fan and tied it with a pipe cleaner for a butterfly with antenna. The butterflies just sat on the branches, we didn't hang them. Others in the class made other ornaments, but the butterflies and eggs made out of red and green were the theme of the tree. The eggs would be pretty difficult for your children at their ages yet, Helpful Teacher, but they could make the butterflies.
The last egg in the picture was one that Ram got in England. It is not meant to be a Christmas ornament, but I like to hang it on the tree. Ram did not get very many souvenirs when he was in England (besides BOOKS), so I like that we have something to hang on the tree from his time there. We have all these egg ornaments packed up because they are all too breakable for the Lambs now.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Seventh Day of Christmas

If you have not read my post on the First Day of Christmas, please read that first.
Christmas Quiz part 4: How well do you know the Biblical Christmas story?

Where are you, a Gentile, explicitly mentioned in the Christmas story?

Our Christmas Ornaments part 7
I went to Israel with a group from my college in 1995. These are some of the ornaments from that trip. The Coke bottle is not an ornament, but I hang it on the tree. My favorite is the bell with the Holy Family inside. The last one is not an ornament, but it sits on the shelf. I thought I got a great deal to barter on the street for it for $5. When I got back on the bus another person from our group had done a better job bartering than I did. They paid $3.
As part of this trip one lunch was paid for by a store-we ate chicken. Then afterwards they gave us time to shop at their store where they had lots of souvenirs and things made from olive wood. I understood this would be our only real shopping time so I spent a lot of money in that store. Then a few days later we went to another site and some nuns ran a store with homemade souvenirs. My friend Stacy had not spent very much money in the first store so she was able to buy much nicer souvenirs in the second store. I did buy a few things in the second store. The second store was more expensive, but much nicer quality. Plus the second store helped support a much better cause than the first store. The professor that led our group bought a very nice stole there. The two ornaments in the middle were from the second store. I did buy enough ornaments at the first store that I was able to give all my students in my first class that I taught an ornament. I wonder if any of them still hang that ornament on their tree? I hope so. The other ornaments that I purchased on this trip, mostly at the first store, are featured in this post.
I had worked very hard during the summers to save money for this trip. When I finally went, I hadn't thought about what kind of souvenirs I wanted to buy. I would give advice to anyone traveling to the Holy Land (actually anyone traveling overseas) to think a little about what kind of souvenirs and who you want to buy for before you go. Are you going to just buy a few nice gifts for yourself or many smaller gifts for your family and friends too? Of course I would buy very differently now that I have a family than when I was a college student, but I'm glad that I have many ornaments from that trip to hang on the tree each year.