Thursday, June 30, 2011


Get up
2 hours of working hard-dishes, laundry, major packing up for the day, showers and get Lambs dressed
Make and eat lunch
Library story/crafts/pick prizes/check out books
Snack at local diner/ice cream place
Lamb 1 and 2 soccer/Lamb 3 play on playground and wish he could play soccer
Lamb 1 and 2 change clothes in car
Lamb 1 and 2 swim lessons-life jacket day-Lamb 2 didn't like it at all-he's scared of the deep end of the pool-Lamb 1 loved it because he floated in the life jacket/Lamb 3 play at playground and really wish he could be in the pool
Lambs change clothes in car
Tour of local hospital-Lambs enjoyed seeing ambulance garage, nursery for babies, helicopter pad
Supper from hospital-hamburgers/hot dogs, watermelon, chips, lemonade, ice cream bars
Thankful A/C was on and Ram was home after being gone 3 nights to Doxology
Short time for Lambs to see Ram, showers, and Lambs to bed
Ewe put her feet up on the ottoman and read a book

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


After I had taught for a few years one day I had an interesting day helping the headmaster and his wife. They had 4 boys and 3 of them were in soccer and the headmaster had to be out of town. I had offered to help if they ever needed help. So I took one boy to soccer and then brought him back to my house until his mom came after his brothers were done with their soccer games. 2 boys had soccer near each other, but the youngest one in soccer was on a totally different field. His mom couldn't be 3 places at once.
I thought this would be easy, but I had no brothers and no experience ever doing anything like this. It was late fall and quite a cool day. I was completely bundled up in winter clothes, the boy had on shorts and his soccer shirt. I felt bad and offered to look in the car if I had warmer clothes and he looked at me like I was crazy before he answered that he was fine. When we got there the rest of the kids were dressed the same so I didn't feel so bad. I tried to tolerate the weather and cheered loud for him since his mom couldn't be there. I was just glad that it was a sport that I knew a little about, even if my experience was limited to what I learned in P.E. class.
When we got back to my house I offered to make hot chocolate. Again he looked at me like I was crazy, but said he would take it. After hot chocolate his mom came to get him so I didn't have to figure out what to do with a 7 year old boy.
Last week Ram was able to take the Lambs to soccer. I managed to get out of taking them the days that I was supposed to take them because it was canceled because of rain. Yesterday was my first day to take them. The forecast was sunny and looked great-so much for getting out of taking them to soccer this week. As soon as we parked at soccer it started pouring! There were other kids there but when it started raining they ran for their cars and left. Two other boys stayed. It wasn't lightening so I told the boys to stay for a little while. The mom of the other two boys offered to let Lamb 3 and I sit in her car and get out of the rain. She had a 2 year old boy sleeping in her car. So Lamb 3 and I got in her car and we had about an hour to chat.
I was imagining watching another soccer practice like I had watched for my headmaster's son several years ago. Lamb 3 fell asleep soon after we got in her car. We had a very nice chat about all kinds of topics.
I had known her from our early childhood group, but I didn't know her well. She's a strong Catholic so we talked about our churches. There was talk about our pregnancies, deliveries, nursing, and babies. I don't have any local friends so it was kind of fun to tell each other our stories about how things have gone for the last 7 years of being moms. It was a special treat to talk to another mom with 3 boys similar in age to mine. I was fascinated to meet a mom with boys close to my age to mine that was 5 years older than me. It seems like all the moms around here are much younger than I am. Soccer practice wasn't as bad as I had expected. And there will be a friend for me to talk to for the rest of soccer this week. Sometimes I really wonder why God gave me boys. I felt like God remembered me yesterday when he sent a friend for me during soccer.
After soccer the rain stopped so the Lambs were able to have swim lessons. Lamb 2 was especially exhausted after an hour of soccer in the rain and then an hour of swim lessons.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Overheard the Lambs...

1. Lamb 1's tattles have recently been like this. "Mama, Lamb 2 broke the 4th commandment!" "Mama, Lamb 3 broke the 8th commandment!" No details in the tattle other than that... How am I supposed to deal with those kinds of tattles without laughing?
2. The Lambs are playing cars and their play cars are going to the same town as Ram is going to a conference (Doxology).
3. We have been reading about insects for the past couple of months for our science study. The Lambs spend a lot of time playing with their plastic insects and other animals and looking for caterpillars etc. outside. They are allowed to choose a few toys to sleep with each night. Lamb 1 was upset the other night because he couldn't find the right insects for his plastic grasshopper to eat. They were supposed to be sleeping but Lamb 1 had his insects eat the other insects.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Freezer organization

After 8 years of living here, this year I began keeping a list of what is in my freezer. I intended to add to the list when I came home from the grocery and take off of the list when I used something. That didn't go so well. We usually are exhausted when we get home from the grocery run 1 1/2 hours away and hurry to get the cold stuff away and forget to add to the list. Also I had 2 lists, one upstairs freezer and one chest freezer in the basement. I think it would be easier to update if we only had one list. Sometimes I sent Lamb 1 down to get something that I knew was on the top of the freezer and he didn't cross off the list what he used. Sometimes I was in a hurry and grabbed something without crossing off the list. Friday night I cleaned out the freezer again and attempted to update the list after a couple of months. This was a good time to do that because we are hoping for a Costco run in July. It's also much easier to see what we need when the local grocery store has sales-I don't need any more chicken but some ribs to make borscht would be good. We don't buy much meat besides chicken and hamburger as our members are generous at Christmas time. So it was good to see what meat was left half way through the year for us to ration the pork chops and roasts until Christmas. Also to see what veggies we have left from the garden from last year that would be good to use before we get more from this year's garden-the zucchini and tomatoes are all gone, but we have a little yellow squash and corn left.
I found some turkey and turkey broth and yellow squash in the freezer. So when I was done with the organization, I brought those upstairs and dumped them in the crockpot and turned it on low. I added a little water and Ram was kind enough to cut up some onions and carrots and celery for the soup. It cooked on low while we slept and for lunch today we had delicious turkey soup. Picking the bones and making broth after Thanksgiving was worth it to have a meal made that was that simple today.
Being organized is really a necessary part of living rural, living frugally, and taking advantage of the blessings from our garden and our members. I am going to try again to keep the list up to date. I am just having one list this time and keeping the list upstairs. Hopefully I will do better at using what is in my freezer before we get more from our garden.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A thought

I just figured out that Lamb 1 will graduate from high school the same year as my 30th high school reunion. I'm still in the toddler/preschool stage and thinking of what year the Lambs were born, not what high school class year they are in.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sewing part 3

While my machine was out making pajama bottoms, I worked on another project. The Lambs all had matching denim shorts with a flag on them. Lamb 1 outgrew his. I bought a flag patch at Walmart. It was iron on but I was afraid it wouldn't stay on after a few washes. So I ironed it on and then sewed it on his shorts. Lamb 1 will have a little brighter flag than the other Lambs, but they can all wear these matching shorts for July 4. I asked Lamb 1 several times if he really wanted this or just plain shorts. He said he wanted a flag like his brothers. Hopefully he doesn't mind that it is not exactly like his brothers.
I have a few more projects that I hope to complete in the next few weeks.
*Sew velcro for capes to put on Superman t-shirts for Lamb 1 and 2. Lamb 3 has one but the other Lambs outgrew theirs. I am cheating and using the capes from their outgrown shirts and I bought plain Superman t-shirts at Walmart. So all I need to do is put velcro on the new t-shirts so they can use their old capes.
*I want to make a cover for my new MP3 player.
*My sewing machine has a plastic cover that is breaking. I found a pattern online and hope to sew a new one. It won't be fancy, but it will be cute material and hopefully keep the dust out of the machine.
After I complete these projects, I think the machine will go back in the closet for awhile so I can concentrate on some other projects this summer-scrapbooking, learning to use our new computer, cleaning out the Lambs outgrown toys/clothing/books/etc., some homeschool planning, and cleaning/organizing the whole house. But I did enjoy these sewing projects. It is so nice to accomplish something in a short amount of time. It's even better because it doesn't have to be done again in a few hours or days like dishes/laundry/cleaning does!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sewing part 2

The Lambs had pajamas that were camouflage material in the sizes 18 month, 2T, and 4T. There was a short time that all 3 wore them. The Lambs would wear these shirts on opening deer hunting day each year. Lamb 1 was very sad when he outgrew his. It was worse because Lamb 2 and 3 had some but he didn't. Cabelas sold shirts, but not pajama bottoms after the toddler size. I bought Lamb 1 a t-shirt in camouflage material last year. He liked it, but was sad he didn't have pajama bottoms. One day he suggested that I sew him some pajamas.
So I looked at the store and camouflage material is licensed so it is expensive, but I finally plunged into the project and bought a simple pattern and material. I bought it a couple of months ago and it sat here. I finally cut it out on Tuesday.
Then I got a little panicked about it-I hadn't used my grandma's machine since I was a child. I hadn't ever sewed without my mom in the same town. (Sewing in college doesn't count because I had a very simple machine and did very simple projects.) Even when I owned my own home, I could always run across town if I got stuck and ask her. I wasn't nervous about sewing, I was nervous about threading the bobbin and using the machine. We live 1 1/2 hours away from a sewing machine repair shop. What if it needed to be serviced? Lamb 1 was so excited about getting new pajamas. Could I really do this?
I was surprised that the memories of sewing on that machine came right back to me over 25 years later. I didn't even need to look at the book to thread the machine.
So I made the basic seams and then I put the Lambs to bed and put the elastic in and hemmed the bottom of the pants legs. The whole project was easy and didn't really take that long.

 He is wearing his old t-shirt. The pants turned out a little baggy in the thighs, but overall I was pleased with them. He should be able to wear these for awhile and not outgrow them right away. All pants that I buy for him are too big in the waist-this was better because we could make it exactly for his waist.
Lamb 1 wasn't thrilled with them, but I think he was just glad that I took the time to do something just for him. His first question was if he could wear them outside as he wants to pretend to be a hunter. The second question was where the tag was. The third question was if they were machine washable. He was sad that they are pajamas that he can't wear outside (although at the price of the material, maybe I should let him!). He was glad they are machine washable.
I always imagined myself sewing cute dresses in toddler sizes. Sewing for boys is fun too! I have a feeling that it won't be long before Lamb 2 and 3 are requesting their own camouflage pajama bottoms.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


My mom is a retired home economics teacher. She stayed home until I was in high school and she went back to the classroom. I couldn't wait until I was old enough for her to teach me how to sew. Our personalities clashed and I wanted to be treated like a daughter and she treated me like a student. Learning how to sew didn't go so well. I did sewing projects for 4-H for 3 years. There were many tears on my part and I'm sure my mom was ready to tear her hair out whenever something didn't go as I expected-and in sewing there are many times that you need to rip something out and do it over. Often my mom told me to take a break and I think after I went to bed she repaired some of my mistakes. I never put a zipper in without her sitting there coaching me step by step. I never put button holes in, she always did that part for me. I learned how to sew but I didn't enjoy sewing.
My favorite memories of sewing as a child were the few weeks of the summer that I went to my grandma's house. My mom would send me with my current sewing project, probably hoping that less tears would be at grandma's. My grandma had a nice new Kenmore and I still can't believe that she let me use it. I finished most of my sewing projects for 4-H at grandma's. I don't think she helped me with the project at all, she was just there to keep me company and help me if I didn't know how to do something on her machine. I think that is what I needed, to be on my own until I asked for help.
I had a friend at college that was good at sewing. She inspired me to borrow my aunt's very old simple sewing machine that was in great shape to take to college. I lived at college during the summer and I did a lot of sewing during college and the few years after college. Sewing was a great stress reliever while I was teaching. I never would have thought that if you would have asked me in 5th grade.
My last sewing projects were matching Hawaiian shirts for Ram and me to wear to a party that was planned but ended up never being held because of weather and schedules. Then I sewed and embroidered a red stole for Ram's ordination.
Then we moved here 8 years ago. My sewing machine sat in the closet. Then my aunt offered to send me my Grandma's old sewing machine. She had taken it when grandma sold her house and decided after a few years she wanted a different machine. I jumped at the chance to have my grandma's machine with those good sewing memories. So it was shipped to me and I gave my old machine to the Seminary for wives that made stoles. My grandma's machine sat in the closet until my mom used it to make matching aprons for the Lambs last summer.
I used my sewing machine last night! Photos and details of this project to be posted tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rain Rain Go Away-Updated daily

Come again another day.
Lamb 1 and 2 want to play.

Possible soccer: 8
Soccer held: 5
Soccer is done, we skipped the last practice because of excessive heat. Two practices were canceled because of cold/rain.

Possible swim lessons: 9
Swim lessons held: 6
Swim lessons should be done but we have 3 lessons to make up. The first make up day was July 1, but it was canceled because of rain. Next week more rain is predicted so I don't know when they will make up those 3 lessons.

Lamb 1 is a grouch because his plans have been canceled and he can't go outside. He NEEDS outside time daily, preferably sunshine too. It has been so cool that our garden has not grown well. I haven't hung clothes on the line for several days. The weather forecast makes it doubtful that they will have any swim this week. Then we need to work with rescheduling swim in July. The whole reason we signed up for soccer and swim in June was so that we could have a restful July not going any where. Sigh.

*I'm blogging about this to remind myself when it is 100 degrees and not raining for days later this summer.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Family Update

I realized we didn't receive our Veritas Press catalog this year so I ordered one and we also received the new Rainbow Resource catalog recently. I spent several nights last week reading the catalogs from cover to cover, planning what we will study next year, checking the online library catalog for what is in our system, and dreaming of our homeschool studies next year. Rainbow Resource catalog is 1388 pages so it really was reading the catalogs! I made up a huge wish list if money wasn't a problem, then compared prices at several online sites. Then I got that huge wish list down to what I thought we could afford to get now from Rainbow Resource. Rainbow Resource is having a sale in June before their new prices take effect in July. We were given some unexpected money in May so I used that to get some materials for next year. They are not necessary for homeschooling, but they will be fun. Many were for our study of the Ancients in history next year. I got some listen to stories/poems and coloring book combinations. A few audiobooks on CDs. A few CDs to make some memory work easier-multiplication tables and states/capitals put to music. A few "toys" of Egyptian people. I spent a lot of time on this last week and I can't wait until the box arrives! Some things will be saved as rewards or Christmas presents. Some will be saved until we begin a new school year in the fall. But some will be put into use right away, as they don't seem like school, they seem like toys. That is the great part about homeschooling, much of school is their learning while they are playing. I'll let you know after we start using some of our new materials what I think.
Ram took Lamb 1 and 2 to VBS this week from Sunday-Thursday. Most nights I stayed home with Lamb 3. The Lambs were a little less afraid to go to VBS in a class of students they didn't know this year as compared to years before. They were in different grade classes, not together. It is at a neighboring church, not one of our tri-parish churches. They knew a few kids, but not most of their class. The last night there was a program for the parents telling what they learned all week and singing songs. Lamb 1 was too shy to go up front for this, but he sat in his seat and sang the songs and Lamb 2 wasn't afraid to go up front. They are going to donate their crafts to the local nursing home to brighten the hallways. They are also going to give out some of the crafts at the town parade this fall to invite people to church. So it was unusual that the Lambs didn't come home with a bunch of crafts, but I liked what they were doing with the crafts.
Since there was no VBS today we ended up with a free day that we didn't expect in our busy June schedule. The Lambs really needed a day free to play at home in the middle of our busy month. Ram stayed home with the Lambs and I went to the town 1 1/2 hours away and did some shopping. We could have made it until July by just shopping local, but I stocked up on some convenience foods for the next couple of weeks. Lamb 1 and 2 have soccer and I plan to pack them a lunch to eat after soccer before swim lessons. Then when we get home I need to make supper quickly and get them to bed on time. By convenience foods, I mean grapes, peanut butter, string cheese, individual applesauce, dried fruit, etc. to make a lunch for them to eat after soccer. I couldn't believe other grocery carts of moms with their kids along today-pop, chips, sugar cereal, cookies, etc.-nothing healthy in the cart. Sometimes I buy a little junk food, but my whole cart is not junk food! I don't know how they afford buying that kind of food nor how they can eat that way-the Lambs would be starving if that was all I fed them. Plus I wonder what they really do fix for supper? Anyway, the drive over there and doing all the shopping by myself (usually I give a list to Ram and we split the shopping up and get through the stores faster) ended up taking all day. It was nice to get away for a little while and even get a treat at Starbucks! Our stocked pantry will make the next couple of weeks a lot easier too.
Our garden is hanging in there even with the crazy weather we have had. I need to get out there and do some serious weeding soon. I bought some more herbs to replace ours that died. We have bought asparagus from our friends with a produce business the last few weeks. I bought more today and plan to freeze some of what I bought today. That is one nice thing about living rural-cheap produce in the summer even if our garden doesn't make it.
I've tried to get laundry on the line in between the rainy days.
My mom's uncle by marriage died. He was the last of my mom's aunts/uncles that I knew well. We are glad that he went the way that we all want to go, during our sleep without any suffering. But it is so sad that that generation is gone. This is a time that I hate living so far from home and missing seeing everyone at the funeral.
My mom has recovered nicely from her pacemaker surgery. She plans to go to the LWML convention in IL.
We had Lamb 2's interview over a glass of grape juice for his baptism birthday. I'll have to blog about that soon.
We are planning a nice Father's Day meal for our family. Grilling out steak for a treat, grilled asparagus, and a special dessert.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mental Math for Lamb 1

Lately our math program has had a line to write the 2 digit addition or subtraction problem horizontally. After the easy ones such as subtracting 10 from a number, I asked Lamb 1 to write the problem vertically in the space beside the problem. I expected him to do this and show his work so that if he made a mistake he could see his mistake easier than if it was written horizontally and the work was done in his head. He did what I asked and then erased his work done on the side of the page. I have asked him several times to show his work and he always erases it when he does. Slow Mama finally figured out that ALL the problems are easy to do in his head. He's embarrassed to have to show his work on the side. He always gets them right when he does them in his head so he doesn't understand my telling him to show his work in case he makes a mistake.
Today's math was to make a graph of when some real pennies were minted. We began by looking at each penny and making a tally mark for the year it was minted. When he was making these tally marks instead of saying out loud what year it was, he would say things like "the year that Mama was 24" or "5 years before I was born". I consider this some higher level mental math for a 7 year old! Not only did he not just answer the year, but he was subtracting 2 digit numbers like 97-73 and in a few cases he was even subtracting 2000's-1900's (which is something that I always have to think twice about to make sure that my mental math is correct). Plus when he was told once the year that our birthdays were, he never forgot. I always ask him how old family members are going to be when I'm writing out birthday cards, he knows how old his grandparents and great-grandparents are (or the ones in heaven how old they would be).
Age wise Lamb 1 will begin second grade in the fall. In math we have completed 2/3 of Saxon Math 2. I don't think we will finish Math 2 this summer, but we should have most of it done. So shortly after he begins second grade, he will begin 3rd grade math. Even working a year ahead in math, it is too easy for him. So what does he do? Makes it into a challenge instead of answering the year of the penny and answering a year relevant to our lives.  For reading and writing, he is just an average just finished first grader. But he does so well at math that it seems like he is behind to me in those other subjects. I have to remind myself that he is doing fine in those subjects.
When I taught in the classroom, there were a few students that I let work a year ahead in math. They pretty much worked on it on their own and I graded it. There were a few students that went to the next grade for reading class. But there is no way in the classroom to totally fit the student to the entire curriculum at which level they need to be. In homeschool Lamb 1 is a year ahead in math and right on schedule for reading and writing. We do spelling totally at his level-he works on the words that he needs to work on and skips the words that are easy for him.
Math is even easier for Lamb 2 so I'm not quite sure how he is going to make it into a challenge. Age wise he will begin kindergarten in the fall. He has already began a first grade math book. He wants to know how to read and he tries at simple books, but it hasn't clicked yet.
Lamb 1 and 2's abilities show me one more reason why I'm glad we homeschool.
Note: Lamb 1 is doing math this summer because we took off so much time for Ram's surgery last fall. We are doing a little other school this summer so they don't forget what they learned last year. We are also reading a lot of books. School time is very short this summer and then they have the rest of the day to play!
Note 2: This is not so much a brag post about the Lamb's math abilities, but I want to document this for my memory of Lamb 1's math ability at age 7.

Monday, June 13, 2011

MN Authors

I never read Betsy and Tacy books when I was little. I checked a few out of the library (our library didn't have any so I had to interlibrary loan them!) and have been enjoying some quick reads. I'm not sure about the Lambs enjoying these girl books. I may read at least the first book to them because the author's hometown is Mankato, MN. Then while I was searching for info about hours to tour the Betsy and Tacy houses, then I discovered that Wanda Gag is from New Ulm, MN, which is not far from Mankato. I read Wanda Gag's books to my students in the classroom and our boys have almost worn our ABC Bunny book out.
Last year I was able to go to Walnut Grove and see the Laura Ingalls Wilder sites there. I still want to get to DeSmet, SD and see those Laura Ingalls Wilder sites.
We are very busy in June, but perhaps in July we can take a few days to go some of these places. It is always a possibility that Ram will receive a Call somewhere else. I don't want to regret not going to some of these places when they were just a few hours away now. Perhaps the Lambs are too young to really enjoy or understand these author's homes, but maybe just the memory and photos of going there now will be enough if we aren't able to go again when they are older.
Do you know any other historical sites in MN that our family shouldn't miss? I think it is interesting that all these authors are from southern MN. That there has been money to restore their homes and give tours is even better!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Our summer schedule

This is not a serious reason why we homeschool, but one reason why I'm glad we do. VBS began tonight. Lamb 3 is too young to go so I planned to stay home with him while Ram took Lamb 1 and 2. We got a late start to making supper. They should have left the house about 5:30pm in order to make it to VBS by 6pm. The oven timer went off for supper about 5:45pm and it wasn't even close to done. Ram had put it on the bottom rack of the oven and my oven doesn't heat well... So we had a mad dash to make hot dogs and the boys to wolf down a hot dog and they left the house after 6pm with the promise that they could eat supper when they get home (about 9pm). If I can't even get 2 of them fed and out the door by 5:30pm, how could I do that to meet the bus at 7am?

This is our schedule for June and I have no one to blame for this schedule besides myself because I signed the Lambs up for this.
This week Lamb 1-2 go to VBS. One night we are skipping VBS to go to something else we committed to. Ram volunteered to help with VBS but no one ever got back to him. Perhaps when he gets there they will put him to work. One night we have 3 places to be at the same time so I'm taking Lamb 3 one place, Ram is taking the Lambs to VBS and will be late to his meeting before I rush over to VBS to pick up the Lambs.
Then we have 2 weeks of soccer and then about an hour break before swim lessons for Lamb 1 and 2. Ram plans to take them most of the first week and I'll stay home with Lamb 3 because he's not old enough. Then Ram is going to Doxology so I'll have to entertain Lamb 3 while I take Lamb 1 and 2 to soccer/swim.  I'm not quite sure how to fit summer library reading program in there because Lamb 1 moved up to the next age group so his is at a different time and I don't really want to take the Lambs to two sessions at the library, plus it is at the same time as soccer/swim. We may miss a few weeks of summer library program. Add in that Lamb 1 still has math to complete this summer and other various appointments and of course Ram has to be a pastor!
It's not so much the driving to this that I'm worried about. It's the getting out the door on time, if I have to take all 3 it will mess up Lamb 3's nap time, making snacks to eat between soccer and swim, coming home to make supper when everyone will be starving when we've been gone for the afternoon, and getting the Lambs to bed on time so we can do the same schedule the next day. I'm worried because we had nothing this afternoon (and I took the Lambs to early church so we had nothing after 9am!) and we couldn't even get to VBS on time. It should work well if he takes the Lambs and I stay home and make supper. It's the days that Ram is not available to take them that I will need to plan/organize.
The Lambs are going to love all this. If I can survive June, perhaps we'll take a few days in July to go to places in the area for a little day away as a family. And I will enjoy the time with Lamb 3 alone on the days that Ram can take the Lambs to their activities.
I give a lot of credit to you moms that send your kids to school, I don't know how you do it every day. Maybe it gets easier as they get older and get more independent, but right now I totally understand why Ram's mom insisted that her boys were in AFTERNOON kindergarten!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

More Gene Stratton-Porter

I read At the Foot of the Rainbow. This has been my least favorite book by Stratton-Porter. What bothered me the most was the breaking of the 6th commandment and then everything turned out well at the end of the book for the main characters. Thoughts are as bad as acts as far as the 6th commandment goes. I did finish the book. I also had a difficult time reading the dialect in the book. Perhaps it would have been better to listen to this book instead of read it for that reason. I grew up in Southern Indiana so I had (and still have some parts) of that Southern twang, but this book had an uneducated country boy talk. There were a few words that I never did figure out what word they really meant (if it would have been spelled like the English word instead of the dialect in the book). Reading a book for enjoyment should not make me have to go back and reread a sentence several times to figure out what is meant there! I have come to love Stratton-Porter books, but I would not recommend this one. This surprised me because At the Foot of the Rainbow is said to be one of her strongest pieces of fiction.

Ram recently purchased an MP3 player for me (that's a whole different post) and the first thing he downloaded for me was A Daughter of the Land by Gene Stratton-Porter. I only began reading her books a few months ago and I really like her stories so it is difficult to pick a favorite, but A Daughter of the Land is probably my favorite that I read so far. I liked that the entire book was unpredictable. Unfortunately for the main character it seemed like every time she turned around something bad happened to her. As the book went on I kept thinking that nothing else bad could possibly happen. This was not the typical fairy tale where girl has difficult life and then the prince comes to rescue her. Even though it was fiction, it was more of a real life story where the main character's entire life was difficult. The ending was unpredictable but a good ending. A Daughter of the Land was one of the books that I did not purchase at Hyde Brothers last fall. It was a whole different experience to listen to the book on the MP3 player-I couldn't peek ahead in the book!
It is interesting to me what I pay attention to as I read these "children's books" today as a mother. I was very interested in what the book said about the main character having twins and how she nursed them. She worked very hard doing housewife all of her life. I found what her housework was and also when it described meals, I found what they served for meals interesting. Someone commented on my blog once that they find reading Laura Ingalls Wilder very different as an adult-they feel sorry for Ma and all her work as a mother now. I didn't read A Daughter of the Land before, but if I would have it would have been like that blog comment, I would have picked very different details out to pay attention to as a mother. I would highly recommend A Daughter of the Land.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mr. Widenhofer, fallen asleep in Jesus

David B. Widenhofer served as Executive Director of Concordia Lutheran High School for 16 years, retiring in June 2008. His 40-year career in Lutheran high school education began at Martin Luther High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1968. In 1985 he began serving seven years as Principal of Lutheran High School Northwest in Rochester Hills, Michigan. He came to Concordia Lutheran High School in Fort Wayne in 1992 as Principal and later was named Executive Director.

After a long struggle with cancer, Dave went to be with his Lord on June 8, 2011. Surviving him are his wife, Mary; sons Steve, Jeff and Jeremy; and six grandchildren. "He will be much missed by everyone in the Concordia family."

Funeral Service: Saturday, June 11 at 11 a.m. Holy Cross Lutheran Church Fort Wayne, IN

When I was a senior in high school, there was much talk about this new principal that was coming next year. While I never had Mr. Widenhofer as a principal, my sister did. His wife was the most helpful Lutheran school teacher in Fort Wayne to me during my difficult first year of teaching. She taught the same grade as I did at another school. I was cleaning out some files last year and I ran across a note that she had written me then. It meant a lot to me that she took time out of her extremely busy schedule to remember a question I asked at an inservice day, find what she thought would help me, and then mail it to me with a note that she was praying for me and my students. The Widenhofers impacted so many students in their classrooms, the parents of their students, the other teachers they worked with daily, and people like me that they took the time to help. Widenhofer family, we are praying for you during this difficult time.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I recently had some Blogger problems, especially commenting on other blogs, so I decided to just not blog for a few days. It seems to be better now. Hopefully I can remember where I wanted to comment and go back and do that soon!
Our parsonage has a big rhubarb patch which I think was planted by the last pastor's wife. When we first moved in I made several strawberry rhubarb pies which we enjoyed. Then when Lamb 1 had to give up dairy, I quit making rhubarb pie because it just seemed wrong to eat that without ice cream on top. When he was allowed to have ice cream again, we had quit eating recipes with massive amounts of sugar. So the last few years we have cut the rhubarb and put it in the compost pile, not to eat. I couldn't find any recipes for rhubarb that didn't have a ton of sugar in them. I felt bad wasting the rhubarb that I'm sure others would love to have.
Ram's mom got us a copy of this magazine, the June issue. I couldn't find this recipe online there, maybe they don't put the recipes online for the current issue. But I was thrilled to find a recipe to use rhubarb without any sugar in it. We made this tonight and all 3 Lambs liked it and ate it, even my very picky eater, Lamb 3. It is a little like dal, but it is sweet from the raisins and sour from the rhubarb too. Lamb 3 said, "Yum!". Believe it or not, everything in this recipe is usually in our pantry except for the golden raisins and the fresh spinach. We served it over brown rice, but you could also serve it over quinoa or eat it plain.

Indian-Spiced Lentils with Spinach and Rhubarb
2 Tbs. olive oil divided
2 Tbs. yellow mustard seeds
2 1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds (we just used ground cumin and added it later in the recipe)
3 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic minced
1 medium red onion, chopped (we used yellow onion)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cup brown lentils rinsed and drained
3 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1/2 lb fresh rhubarb cut into 1/4 inch slices or 1/2 lb frozen sliced rhubarb thawed (we used 1 cup because first time making this not sure if Lambs would like it, next time we will use 2 cups)
6 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Add mustard and cumin seeds. Cover skillet and cook 2 minutes or until seeds begin to pop. Cook 1-2 minutes more or until popping stops shaking skillet often. Remove from heat, stir in ginger and garlic and season with salt and pepper if desired. Cover and set aside.
2. Heat remaining oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and raisins, saute 10 minutes, or until onions begin to brown. Stir in lentils and 3 cups broth, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer 25 minutes. Stir in rhubarb and remaining 1/2 cup broth, cook 6 minutes. Add spinach, cover and cook mixture 6 minutes more. Stir mixture to incorporate rhubarb and spinach leaves, then stir in spice mixture. Serve garnished with cilantro.

We liked this recipe so I cut some more rhubarb today and plan to freeze it to make this recipe again after rhubarb season is over. Since some rhubarb is cut, I think I'll have to make a strawberry rhubarb pie too for a once a year treat!

Recipe from Vegetarian Times June 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

Stuart Little

We just completed our first chapter book read aloud as a family. We read Stuart Little. All the Lambs were finally old enough to pay attention to a few chapters a day and remember what we read before on the next day. Ram did the reading and Lamb 1 could have listened to the whole book in one sitting, Lamb 2 listened well too as long as we only read one or two chapters, and Lamb 3 did ok listening for a 3 year old.
I remembered seeing the movie in the theatre about 10 years ago and all I remembered was the movie was one of the rare movies that I thought was better than the book. I also remembered that the movie was very different from the book.
This afternoon we had a movie afternoon. We turned on the air conditioner, popped popcorn, put root beer in cups that wouldn't spill on the living room carpet, and popped in Stuart Little DVD. The Lambs were so excited to hear the popcorn popper. We did this in the afternoon in the hopes of putting the Lambs to bed on time if not early.
Lamb 1 was glued to the TV for the entire movie. Lamb 3 got bored, but laid on the sofa and made it through the whole movie. Wow was there a difference between seeing the movie in the theatre before kids and seeing it in my home with my kids! Lamb 2 got completely freaked out and cried through some of the movie. He was so afraid that Stuart (a mouse) would be eaten by the cats. I continually told him that Stuart would be ok and Ram held him for most of the movie and we made it through.
I asked them afterwards and Lamb 1 liked the movie best. Lamb 2 and 3 liked the book best. Hopefully they have memories of a fun afternoon as a family watching a movie with pop and popcorn instead of memories of being freaked out by the movie!
1. We hope to continue chapter books read aloud as a family.
2. Perhaps our next book choice should be one that I don't know is made into a movie.
3. The next movie that we watch as a family, will be previewed by Ram or Ewe before the Lambs get to watch it.
Lambs enjoying root beer and popcorn while watching
Stuart Little at our home theatre.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Need a good laugh?

Buy some bok choy at the grocery and go to the checkout lane with a high school boy at the register. It's even better if you live in a rural area. (This happened at the "big" grocery 1 1/2 hours away.)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Oh my goodness!

Lamb 2 at bedtime tonight, said with shock and amazement:

"Oh my goodness! I wore these pajamas last night and they were washed and put in the drawer today! Wow, Mama!"

Yes, Lamb 2, Mama really does do the laundry and put it away in the same day once and awhile! I was working while you were playing today.