Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Busy Days

*The Lambs are mostly healthy so we're back to regular homeschool/therapy/and piano lessons this week.
*I'm exploring the Lambs doing track and field this spring.
*I'm still finishing some projects from cleaning out the schoolroom closet. There are boxes that were never gone through after moving. There are decisions to be made where to give things away and then deliver them.
*I had a coupon for a free Snapfish book. I am a loyal Snapfish customer because almost all of our photos since we first got a digital camera are uploaded there. I often see coupons for Shutterfly, but not as often for Snapfish. I used the free book to make a book to surprise Lamb 1 for his birthday. I tried to pick photos that he would be proud of and enjoy. So a picture of the birdhouse he built is in there but not the cute baby pictures that I like! Lamb 1 was able to meet 5 of his great grandparents so there are photos of that. The Snapfish site wasn't working correctly this weekend so I wasn't able to start until Sunday night. It was a major project to pick out just a few photos from 10 years. I wanted it to be a surprise so I only worked on it after Lamb 1 went to bed. I finished and ordered it last night. This morning I got another coupon for a free Snapfish book so I have to think how to use that one.
*I got together some homemade jam and other things to give to our preschool fundraiser. The preschool director was impressed with 6 different kinds of jam. (blueberry, strawberry, strawberry rhubarb, blackberry, peach, and raspberry) It wasn't difficult to make it last year a little at a time. I found some cute labels online for them too.
*I went to church yesterday and put away the costumes from the Christmas program. (Yes, in late February!) One project led to another and I was helping for a couple of hours. The weather was in the high 50s yesterday so the Lambs happily played outside while I worked.
*Now we have a couple of days to clean the house before the grandparents come to celebrate Lamb 1's birthday. I also have some planning to do for Lamb 1's birthday meals. The Lambs are busy making art store pictures before the grandparents come. They are putting great effort in the pictures hoping to sell them for higher prices than before.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Deals, Coupons, Rebates, and Blessings Part 2

Yesterday I blogged about some of our recent deals that were blessings to us. I will continue today hoping that some of you find this useful too.
*Ram and I think the Boise newspaper is really short and doesn't have much news as compared to the Twin Cities newspaper. Every once and a while I would buy a Sunday paper here hoping for coupons. Sometimes I would buy the paper but there weren't many coupons in them. Recently I received a postcard asking if I would be interested in getting the ads for free. I returned my postcard right away. I think the local stores pay for it. I was so happy the first time I got my bag of ads and coupons that are in Sunday papers. It is all delivered together so I can compare the different grocery store weekly ads without looking online at multiple sites. Plus I can see which manufacture coupons match up with the store ads. This has been perfect, the part of the newspaper that we want, and it is free. This began in January for us.
*I noticed in one of those ads that St. Chapelle huckleberry wine was on sale at the store plus there was a rebate plus if you bought 6 you got a discount. We bought 6 and we're waiting for our rebate check but we got a great deal. We had a bottle on Valentine's Day and the rest are in the pantry. I have done rebates for vodka for homemade vanilla, but this was a first for me to do a rebate for wine.
*When a store doesn't take American Express, they usually take Visa. We got a Visa card from AAA. Now that we live in the city more places take A.E. than when we lived in rural MN. We don't use it often, but we pay off the balance when we do. They send a coupon based on your purchases on the Visa to be used in the AAA office. For us that means paying for our yearly AAA membership. In MN we used it more often and we didn't pay anything for AAA each year. This year we had to pay $12, but the rest was paid with these "coupons".
*I purchased something from Memoria Press last year. At the end of the year they sent a $10 gift card to thank me for my business. In January there was a free shipping deal so I combined that with the gift card. I got a CD of Latin songs and prayers for less than $2. I will purchase from Memoria Press again instead of buying their products at Amazon or somewhere else. I'm also on their e-mail list so find out about their sales.

I do not consider myself a great couponer or great at finding the deals online. I know that often I end up buying something with a coupon that I may not have purchased without a coupon. I only use a few of the coupons that are now delivered to me on Sundays. But there are deals out there like I posted yesterday and today. Even if you can't get the specific deals that I blogged about, keep your eyes open. Check clearance sections and see if you can combine a coupon with them. Be patient with your coupons, wait to match them up with free shipping or with a store weekly deal. I don't do Facebook so I'm on store e-mail lists and I spend a few minutes daily looking at the deals and deleting the ones that I'm not interested in. See if your credit card will reward you with something you will use like paying for your Costco membership. I thank God for all these blessings of deals. It all ads up to stocking our pantry, office supplies, and lots of treats for our family at a very low cost or free plus some memberships that we will use all year.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Deals, Coupons, Rebates, and Blessings Part 1

Our personal finances were very tight in January. I blogged here about how paying bills then worked for us. My eyes were opened then to some of the good deals we have that we have taken for granted before. I was able to get some treats very cheap at a time that we didn't have $ for extras. I thought I would blog about a few of these as they may be helpful to you.
*When I began teaching I joined Children's Book of the Month Club. I would get my free books for joining, buy the books to fulfill the membership and then cancel. I did this a few times while I was teaching. When Lamb 1 was born I decided to remain a member even if I only bought a few times a year when they had a really good sale. They used to have a great sale at the end of the year but I didn't see that this year. I almost missed a coupon in their mailing for $20.14 off an order in January. It really did work and I got a free book just paying $1.20 for shipping.
*I got a teacher reward card at Staples as a homeschooler. They e-mail me deals several times a week. I think you could get on their e-mail list without having the teacher card. Recently they sent a coupon for free 5 pack of paper after the rebate. I have done this twice and donated all that to our church/preschool. It works this way-with your coupon you get a small discount at checkout but you do have to pay about $20 for the 5 pack. You mail or online the rebate and it comes back as a Visa prepaid card. The second time I paid for it with my Visa card from the first time. Or you can use a different coupon for just one pack of paper and it comes back as a check about $3.50. When I cleaned out the schoolroom we had about 10 packs of paper from doing this the last couple of years. You do have to wait about 6 weeks for the refund but it does end up just pay the sales tax. Plus I will get a rebate coupon as part of my teacher rewards.
*While I was in Staples getting paper, I always check out the clearance section. Today they had several clearance sections so I was glad I looked at all of them. They had some drawing books and some buckets of craft supplies for $2 each. Plus I had a coupon for 25% off my purchase so it brought them down to $1.50 each. When I cleaned out the schoolroom I noticed we could use some more craft supplies. I bought several and plan to give some as gifts. The Lambs divided up so all the same kind of craft supplies were together in baggies. They love little buckets and I'm sure they'll find a use for them. They can help themselves to popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners etc. now when they "need" them.
*I have blogged about this before but I thought I would mention it again since Fort Wayne, IN now has a Costco. We have had a Costco membership for about 10 years even when we only went to Costco a few times a year because we lived 4 hours away. We got their American Express card. We got this hoping to pay for our yearly Costco membership. It does end up paying for our membership plus more for us. Not every place takes A.E. but we use this card each time we buy at a place that does, not just Costco. We pay off the balance each month. If we are near Costco we buy gas there even if it isn't time to fill up yet and we rarely buy gas any where else. Their rebate is once a year a check to be used at Costco. Those 3%, 2%, and 1% add up. We just got this year's rebate and it was the biggest we have ever had, partly because we bought a refrigerator last year. Ram took the rebate and cashed it in for a Costco gift card. Then he shopped with my shopping list of food we were starting to run low on and also picked up some treats. We were able to stock our pantry for "free" this month. We still have over $100 on the gift card for another shopping trip.

I will continue this next time as we had so many blessings I can't fit it all in one post!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Sick Lambs-UPDATE

1. My last post had two comments. One problem with blogs is it is a one way conversation-the people reading it can't ask questions to clarify what the writer says. I know that working moms always do what is best for their children and family comes before job for them. I do agree with commenter #1 that some families rush their doctor for everything and other families watch and wait a little before taking them to the doctor. The families I was thinking of when I wrote that post are families that go to the doctor very often and they happen to be families where both parents work. I want to apologize for lumping working moms together.
2. Wednesday Lamb 2 had ear drops and took ibuprofen. Thursday the Lambs seemed a little better. Lamb 2 didn't complain about his ear until breakfast when he opened the fridge and saw the antibiotic. He closed the fridge and started complaining that his ear hurt. I told him I would look at his ear again after lunch time and make a decision on the antibiotic then. He began playing and never complained about his ear again the rest of the day. At bedtime I looked at it and it seemed to be getting better and I gave him more ear drops.
Lamb 3 still had a hoarse voice yesterday so I called to cancel speech therapy for him. I was indecisive about Lamb 2 going to speech therapy and OT as he seemed to be better. Then I decided that while Lamb 2 was run down was not the time to potentially expose him to more germs as there are tons of kids in and out of the center where he has therapy. Plus if he wasn't feeling 100% he wouldn't give 100% at therapy. Plus Ram had a funeral yesterday and couldn't take some Lambs while I stayed home with some Lambs. So no one went to speech or OT yesterday.
My friend Joelle planned a field trip to a pizza place yesterday afternoon. I was hoping that they would be better by then and we could go. Yesterday the Lambs were grouchy and didn't get along with each other. I couldn't let them go to the pizza place as a reward for their bad behavior. Plus the field trip would let them make their own pizza. The pizza place didn't want Lambs with runny noses making pizzas. Lamb 1 was really really disappointed. Perhaps we can plan our own field trip this summer.
3. This morning I looked in Lamb 2's ear and it looks better but not healed. I decided it was time to start antibiotics. We did give it time and as commenter #2 said, ear infections are nothing to mess with. We are all tired of being stuck inside and the Lambs being sick. I am really hoping they are better in time for church on Sunday. Ram and I have been taking Airborne in hopes that we don't get it too. I did finish cleaning out the school room closet and the schoolroom. It will be much better to work in when we return to homeschooling next week. I really did not want spring break from homeschool for the Lambs to be a sick break, but that is what happened. At least I wasn't sick and I was able to get a lot done during their sick break!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sick Lambs

I knew the Lambs were sick when two of them fell asleep as we made dinner on Valentine's Day. They get a runny nose a couple of times a year, but nothing to worry about. The last time I remember taking the Lambs to the doctor for sickness was in 2009.

Saturday we started out on some errands but the Lambs weren't feeling well so after one place we came home. Sunday they were worse so we didn't go to church. Monday and Tuesday Lamb 1 and 3 had it the worst. Lamb 2 acted better so I allowed him to go to Vision Therapy. He didn't have a fever and his runny nose and cough had improved. Ram took Lamb 2 to VT on Monday. On Tuesday I took him and stayed in the car with Lamb 1 and 3 so they didn't get anyone in the waiting room sick.

I'm always indecisive about when to take the Lambs to the doctor. Does it just need time to heal or do they need antibiotics? We have a little more freedom on this since I am a SAHM and not in a hurry to get back to work. We pushed water and tea on the Lambs, used the cool mist humidifier every night, and gave them honey at bedtime instead of cough syrup.

I have to admit that I accomplished a lot this week while they were sick. I finished getting our info together to give to our tax lady. I have been cleaning out our schoolroom closet. (Joelle, next time you visit I'll allow you to look inside!) A whole lot went in recycling and some is going to be donated to a LCMS school. Some treasures for homeschooling were rediscovered. It was nice to not be allowed to go anywhere because they were sick, but I wasn't sick too.

Today at lunch time Lamb 2 complained of an earache. He has a very low pain tolerance compared to the other Lambs. I followed Susan's advice a few years ago and bought an otoscope. I bought mine at Walmart for about $10. Since the Lambs are never sick I had not used it before. I looked in his ear that he said was normal and then in the ear that he complained about. Wow, was there ever a difference! So that answered that it was time to go to the doctor.

Our family doctor has a clinic next door that you don't need an appointment. I took all 3 Lambs with me. The receptionist said our family doctor happened to have 2 openings so we could go there instead of the clinic. Lamb 2 did have an ear infection. Lamb 3 tested negative for strep. The doctor said if Lamb 3 had tested positive she would have treated all 3 Lambs. I did not have her look at Lamb 1 because he seemed to be getting better.

She called an ear drop prescription in to our pharmacy and gave me a paper prescription for antibiotics. She said to try to ear drops for a few days and if he was still sick then start the antibiotics. But she wasn't worried if he took the antibiotics because it had been 5 or 6 years since he took antibiotics. She couldn't do anything for Lamb 3 because he tested negative for strep.

Then I drove across the street to the pharmacy and went to drive up. I told them I had just been to the doctor and could they see if I could have it then or should I come back later? She answered that it should be simple to call the doctor if the order hadn't arrived yet and it shouldn't take long. I told her I had sick kids in the car and I didn't want to come in. Then the waiting began. I kept thinking they were almost done and I really didn't want to come back later. Lamb 2 cried the entire time we waited because his ear hurt. After 45 minutes she came back with it. Only she didn't just have the ear drops, she had the antibiotic too. It had taken so long because they couldn't figure out the antibiotic. She didn't ask or I would have told her that I had a paper prescription for that one. If I had only known. After all that waiting I decided to get the antibiotic too since it was ready. We have high deductible insurance and we haven't met our deductible yet. I have no idea how much the doctor visits for two will cost. When I got home I discovered that the ear drops were $11 and the antibiotic was $13. I wasn't even supposed to get the antibiotic today and it cost more than the ear drops.

Then it took forever to figure out our insurance, they had some previous info in the computer for our family that was incorrect. It took forever to get that info deleted and put in the right info. This pharmacy usually gives Dum Dums to the kids. But today they were out of Dum Dums. Seeing the doctor took about an hour. Getting the prescription took more than an hour. Then when I put the ear drops in Lamb 2's ear he screamed that it was cold and it hurt. He is not eager to put drops in again. All this makes me thankful that the Lambs rarely get sick. It will also make me even more indecisive about taking them to the doctor the next time they do get sick. It sure was a pain to find out that they don't have strep!

Monday, February 17, 2014


When I started my blog in 2008 Lamb 3 was a baby. It was a way to have a journal both for myself to remember and for sharing about the Lambs with our parents. I had no idea then that I would have several miscarriages and the blog would take another purpose. It has ended up being therapy for myself to think through my thoughts and record them here. Also I made several friends through the blog and have even met some of them in real life. I love to introduce myself as Ewe! Those friends have left encouraging comments when I had rough times.

My blog is quite the variety, whatever I am thinking about that day gets posted. Ram says that is why he likes it. My life is not focused to one activity and neither is my blog. I am not an expert seamstress or cook or photographer. But I do enjoy scrapbooking, taking photos of my family, doing basic sewing, doing basic decorating of my house, making jam, homeschooling, reading, volunteering at church, trying new recipes, and my list could go on and on. So whatever activity I'm involved in currently prompts blog posts.

Recently many of my friends have gone in a different direction than how they blogged before. Some only blog every couple of months now. Some quit writing on one blog and started a new one with a new purpose. Some made their blog private. I think part of the reason for this is Facebook. Also, many of my friends are finishing the diaper/toddler years and going into the elementary/middle school years with their children. They are entering a new chapter of their life and they want their blog to reflect that. They finally have a little time to have deeper thoughts to blog about than just the cute sayings of their children.

So today I spent some time deleting some blogs from my blog list of my friends that never post any more. This was difficult for me as it was admitting that I really have very little contact any more with these friends. I left a few on even though they haven't blogged for several months because I'm not sure if they are really done blogging. I left one on because it is a good way to get to other blogs that I enjoy reading. I also added some blogs I have discovered recently or I have read before but just never added them to my blog list. I updated some photos and info about me on my sidebar too. By doing all this updating I realized how my life has changed. I deleted some blogs from long time friends like one of my first babysitting jobs and one of my bridesmaids. But I added new friends that I have met at the He Remembers the Barren retreat and Loopers.

I have no plans to make my blog professional or spend a lot more time on it than I currently do. I've never worried about how many followers I have. That is not the purpose for my blogging. I am not planning on joining Facebook soon. I do not make the time to blog daily but I plan to continue blogging at least a few times a week on this blog. Thank you to those of you that do take the time to read it. Thank you to those of you that continue to blog regularly as I do enjoy reading other blogs.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Valentine's Day Dinner

I considered a menu and decided I wanted something different than we usually have, that most of us would like, and not too expensive. I looked through my Paleo cookbooks and found a recipe for pulled pork that looked good. I made the menu last week. Then on Sunday we went to a pastor's installation in the area and their menu included pulled pork. I decided to keep my original menu and make homemade BBQ sauce. I shopped for a few ingredients on Thursday.
Ram put some pork in the crockpot first thing in the morning on Friday. He stuffed it with garlic and it smelled delicious while it was cooking. I ran some errands that afternoon and when I got home Ram and I finished cooking the meal. I made homemade BBQ sauce and cole slaw. Ram made sweet potato fries and used some truffle oil that has been in our pantry for awhile to cook them. The Lambs had blueberry juice and Ram and I had huckleberry wine. We purchased this wine in January because with a rebate it was cheap and we really like it.
The problem was that some of the Lambs were beginning to get sick. Lamb 2 and 3 fell asleep while we were making dinner. So we ate our dinner in shifts of when people were awake. None of the Lambs ate very well because they didn't feel well. We decided to postpone the planned dessert until the next night. It was not the family Valentine's Dinner that I had planned.
Lamb 1 was very confused the whole day because we weren't doing things like we have always done them according to his memory. We didn't go help with the preschool party. I didn't make chocolate pie with raspberries for dessert. We tried new recipes for the main dish instead of using family favorites. With sick Lambs we decided to just have store bought gluten free cookies for dessert.
I had bought lots of strawberries and had planned to make chocolate fondue for dessert. I didn't want to postpone dessert for too long because the strawberries would go bad. So we made it for dessert after supper on Saturday. Lamb 2 and 3 did not eat very much as they still didn't feel well. But Ram, Ewe, and Lamb 1 ate several strawberries and gluten free shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate!
We decided that we are definitely going to make this pulled pork again and possibly do it with other meats like chicken and turkey. It was so easy to cook all day and be ready for supper. We want to make the sweet potato fries in truffle oil again. The Paleo chocolate fondue was easy and good. It was disappointing that the Lambs were sick and dinner did not go as planned, but those of us that were healthy enjoyed everything.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Homeschool Valentine's Day

One of the reasons why I wanted to homeschool is Valentine's Day. In 7th grade I was the new girl in a Lutheran School for the first time, previously I had attended public school. One of the boys gave me a Valentine that said, "To my sexy girlfriend". I will admit this boy was cute but he was shorter than me. I don't know if he gave it to me or someone else did and signed his name. But either way soon the whole class knew and both of us were teased and laughed at for several months after that. Experiences like that made me realize how horrible middle school girls are to each other, even in the parochial schools. I thought it was a girl problem but Ram said it was also bad for boys in middle school. We may send our boys to high school, but we plan to do everything possible to homeschool the Lambs at least until they are done with middle school.

When I taught at a classical Lutheran school, the headmaster required us to have class parties like Valentine's Day during recess and not during educational time. His point was that if you add up all the class parties through the year then the students were missing out on valuable educational time. That got me to thinking about my bad experience in 7th grade. We shouldn't have spent any class time exchanging Valentines by the time we were in middle school. If you would add up all the time I wasted worrying about what the other kids in middle school thought about me, I could have read several books during that time.

The last couple of years we helped with our church preschool Valentine's Day parties. This year Lamb 3 is at home for homeschool so we didn't need to help the preschool. I do want the Lambs to grow up with good memories of holidays like Valentine's Day. I do want their memories to be fun and centered around the family. This is important to me since they won't have memories of class parties on Valentine's Day.

So the Lambs woke up to these treats at their place at the table:
(I don't know which they liked better-the candy or the paper airplane Valentine that they could make! Also, the Lambs love candy canes so it was more than just using leftovers from Christmas.)
Lamb 1-Pirate Valentine

Lamb 2-John Deere Valentine
(Lamb 1 tried telling me he needed a drink in the middle of the night so he could go peek at the surprise, but I woke up enough to realize his trick and told him to go back to bed and he was not allowed to go downstairs. I knew what he was up to after Christmas stockings!)

Lamb 3-Pooh Valentine

After breakfast I planned a fun activity before we began our school work. When I taught in the classroom we did this math activity with candy hearts. We counted how many were in a box and graphed them by color. In 6 years of teaching I never had so many problems/questions as I did with the Lambs. Ram says it is because they aren't trained to sit in a seat and do their work without asking questions. I think it is because Lamb 1 is 2 years older than my students in the classroom but I don't know what was wrong with the other two. I wasn't sure we were going to complete this activity that was supposed to be fun!

Lamb 1 refused to use crayons because he thought they were babyish.

Lamb 2 complained that he didn't get any yellow hearts-I can't help there weren't yellow ones in his box! I can think of a few students in the classroom that would have done this too.

Lamb 3 did his work without complaining until he realized one of his green hearts was deformed.

When I taught in the classroom then I had them write sentences using some of the words on their candy hearts and adding in a few words to make a complete sentence. I started to help Lamb 2 do this but they were all so done with this activity that was supposed to be fun. We quit then and we'll try the sentences next year. I did buy boxes of candy hearts on clearance today so I'm prepared for next year.

I'll blog about our Valentine's Day dinner as a family next time.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Lego Movie

We took the Lambs to one of the first showings of the Lego Movie on Friday. I was pleased that it was not a 1 1/2 hour commercial to buy more Legos. The Lambs would like to purchase the movie when it is released so they can see it again, but they aren't asking for Legos after seeing it. I was mildly concerned about the theology after seeing previews talking about a prophecy. That part turned out different than the previews showed but I can't say more or I would spoil the movie for those of you who have not seen it yet. I thought there were great themes of team work, hard work, and creativity. The song that stuck in our head afterwards says, "Everything is awesome". The only thing the Lambs have repeated this past week that I didn't like was a line that says "dang it" as we don't allow our Lambs to say that. I know there could be a lot worse lines to repeat.

One of the Loopers alerted me to this article by Mollie Hemingway. Her review was exactly what I saw in the movie.

Lamb 3's review of the movie today for his speech teacher was very interesting for me. He talked about which Lego people and kinds of Legos he recognized in the movie. He talked about going to the movie theater for the first time. He didn't talk about the plot or what happened in the movie at all. Perhaps the movie writers should interview the 5 year olds to see what they think before they write another script.

Have you taken your children to the Lego Movie yet?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Job offer

Yesterday I was offered a teaching job. It didn't matter that my teaching license is expired nor that I never had an ID license. I was told that I'm rare in that my degree is from one of those Concordias and especially that I am LCMS. Add in that I have experience teaching at a classical Lutheran school and I'm really really rare. I do admit that it feels good to be wanted as a teacher after living in the Midwest where there were more Lutheran teachers than there were teaching jobs.

I didn't even have to think about it to answer. No thank you, you can try to ask me again in 10 years. I tell people I retired from teaching in the classroom in 2003. If financially I ever need to go back to work, I don't know what I'll do but I don't expect to go back to the classroom. I'll write the resumes and figure it out when I need to, but I'm hoping that isn't until the Lambs are close to high school graduation.

Teaching at a Lutheran school is hard. You try to please the headmaster or principal, the parents, the congregation members, and be a good teacher for the students. It is impossible to please every one. It was one thing to teach when I was single and then for a few years before I had children. I put everything into my students as they were my "children". It would be totally different to do it with a family. Some of the teachers I taught with were really good at juggling teaching and family. I don't think I am one of those people-it would either end up being unfair to my time spent for my students or the time spent for my family.

The person that offered the job said it's so simple-the kids go to school and you have the same holidays. Most of the other pastor wives here work and many of them are teachers. It seems ideal to have the same schedule. But there is so much more to teaching than 180 school days and the time required to be at school.

Some of my friends have gone back to work after a few years off to raise the kids. They are happy to be adding to the family income and get their family running on a nice routine now that they are back to work. I am happy for them that they are happy working again. I'm glad that as women we have freedom to do what makes us happy.

I think one difference that I have is I was 28 when I got married. I had plenty of time as a single woman to be a teacher and travel-I went to conferences all over the United States. Then Ram and I were a couple for 2 more years before we were blessed with children. I taught for more years than I was in college. I didn't get married before I graduated from college. I didn't have children right away.

If I were to teach at a Lutheran School I'm sure it would end up costing us a lot more money than I were to make. Taxes, driving 1/2 hour to the school where the job offer is, putting the Lambs in school, and spending $ for classroom supplies would be the majority of the costs. But even more would be the costs for me to not be at home-we would eat out more, I wouldn't have time to shop wisely or use coupons, I wouldn't make jam to give as gifts, and I honestly don't know when the housework would get done.

I don't know because we never tried the Lambs in school, but I expect that all our Lambs would have a really difficult time in the classroom. I spend a lot of time each day working with Lamb 2 especially. If I went back to teaching, none of the Lambs would have that time with me. I can't even imagine dealing with their problems in the classroom and teaching at the same time. Ram is too busy as a pastor to deal with that either.

Also my time volunteering at church would be cut way back. I know the pastor's wife shouldn't do everything at church. But I would miss being involved in what I do at church. I would especially miss being able to go help in the middle of a school day when needed, like helping clean up after a funeral dinner.

The one way that I would consider going back to teaching is if Ram was going to be the stay at home dad. It would be really hard for me to give up so many of my tasks to Ram, but it would be necessary. Ram has a full time Call to our church now so that is not a possibility.

The real reason I didn't blink when I said no is a cost that is not measured in money. I wouldn't be happy. If Mama isn't happy then no one is happy. I know the Lambs would adjust to a new routine. I also know that Ram would not be happy. You can't measure the little things I do for Ram and the Lambs. Lamb 1 is almost 10. Those 10 years have gone so quickly that I imagine 10 more years will go quickly too. I don't want to give up that time with my family.

So I remain the weird pastor's wife here that not only is a SAHM, but I also homeschool. I love it and won't even consider the job offer.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Our Weekend

We were able to go to the Lego movie on Friday. You reserve your seats when you buy your tickets at our new movie theater. We went over a little early and bought our tickets to reserve our seats. We were able to buy tickets where we wanted to sit. The theater was crowded at one of the first showings on Friday. We went to the regular show, not the 3-D. Lamb 2's vision therapist was glad to hear that.
Since we had our tickets and some time to spare we walked over to get frozen yogurt for a treat before the movie. The employee at the shop was surprised that the Lego movie was out already and that we could reserve our seats ahead of time. As we walked back to the movie theater, the local news station was there filming all the kids out of school that went to the movies. We watched the news later that night and they showed some girls ahead of us, but not us.
I had not really wanted to go to the Lego movie but since it was the first time the Lambs ever went to the theater we thought there should be 2 adults in case someone had to go to the bathroom or if someone got afraid. I'm used to going to Hobbit length movies now and I was surprised how short it was. It ended up fine and Ram could have taken them alone. I was surprised that I did enjoy the movie and there were some funny lines. The Lambs are looking forward to it being out on DVD to watch it again. They bragged to the neighborhood kids a little asking if they also went to it on Friday.
After the movie I decided we should run a few errands. Unfortunately Lamb 2 was exhausted and grouchy after the movie, I think it was visually too much for him. First we went to 3 stores before we found sleds. We threw out our toddler sled when we moved. We haven't really had enough snow here since we moved to justify buying sleds for the Lambs. I decided we had enough snow on Friday. Shopko and Target didn't have any sleds left, just swimsuits and sunglasses. We went to a Sporting Goods store and found them. We bought 2 orange and 1 blue-BSU colors. Then we stopped at the library to pick up a movie and ran into my friend Joelle and her children. It was a crazy snow day because no one stayed home, the roads were not bad at all.
Ram had a meeting at church that ended up lasting a few hours. I was on my own to cook supper and watch the Olympics with the Lambs. I made tacos for dinner. We also had hot chocolate and popcorn during the Olympics. The Lambs don't remember watching the Olympics before so it was fun to watch the opening ceremony together.
Lamb 2 lost a front top tooth so the tooth fairy came.

Saturday we had lots of plans but ended up not doing any of them. There was freezing rain all day so I didn't want to drive far from home which ruled out going to the teacher store near the mall to do crafts and also it ruled out going to the zoo. We went sledding at a local park and had a great time. I may need to get my own sled for next time! We came home to dry off and rest. Lamb 1 was miserable because the weather meant he really couldn't play outside, the rain was starting to melt his snow fort, and we weren't going anywhere and doing any of our prior plans. We finally decided to go out to eat near our home. We had a couple of coupons for free kids meals at Mongolian Grill plus we were there during their lunch serving hours so it ended up not being too expensive. Everyone in our family likes eating there.
Ram's parents called us and we figured out our plans for Lamb 1's birthday. I trimmed hair for Ram and the Lambs.

Sunday we had church and a potluck breakfast afterwards and then a Voter's Meeting. We came home and rested for a little and that evening we went to an installation of a pastor to our circuit. The service was beautiful and it is great to get Lutherans sing together. I was surprised in the 2 years we have been here that I knew several people-one from college, a few of our members, a few of the pastor's wives, and a few other people. Lamb 1 and 2 took off as soon as the service was over to eat. Poor Lamb 3 had to stay with me to meet the adopted baby of one of the pastors. We ended up towards the end of the line to eat. They had pork sandwiches, baked beans, salad, and cake. After they served the first cake they got out cheesecake that Ram and I had and pumpkin pie that Lamb 3 had. So it wasn't so bad to be at the end of the line! It was great to eat at church and not cook all day.

I was afraid that no one would want to get up for vision therapy after our busy weekend but we did. Lamb 2 had an excellent vision therapy session. It was very foggy due to inversion but we made it safely there and home. I'm looking forward to hopefully the next weekend being a little less activity and hope to get my info ready to send in to the tax lady before then.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


When we had a TV, my dad often watched The Tonight Show when I was little. Sometimes I would watch it with him. Leno began The Tonight Show a few days before I graduated from high school. I preferred to watch Letterman because he was from Indiana.

I didn't watch The Tonight Show often, but once and awhile I would tune in. Then we were blessed with Lamb 1 and with MSPI he never slept. I started tuning into The Tonight Show to watch something while I was up late with Lamb 1. Then when our next Lambs were born they often stayed up late and I hoped that they would sleep as long as possible before their next feeding. (That is a whole different post about how little our Lambs slept and how strange a schedule it seemed that they were on as compared to other babies.)

Last month when I scrapbooked I put this photo in Lamb 2's album.
Lamb 2 was about 8 months old here.

When Lamb 3 was a baby we decided to give up TV. One of the reasons why we gave up TV was I wanted to break our bad habit of staying up too late watching shows like The Tonight Show. Thankfully when we got TV again last year we did not go back to that habit of watching The Tonight Show. I told Ram that I wanted to watch Leno's farewell show the other night. Ram was surprised that I was interested and he was not. 

Ram and I began watching the farewell show together. When the celebrities started giving their farewells it got bad and Ram turned it off. After a few minutes I asked him to turn it back on. I was doing some paperwork at the same time and not paying complete attention but had it on. Ram decided to go to bed about 10 minutes before the end. 

In the Back to the Future movie there were some jokes like people from the past couldn't believe that Reagan was President of the USA instead of an actor. A few of the jokes told  on the farewell show reminded me of that, how things have changed in the last 22 years. It really is amazing when you think of the changes in technology, politics, etc. from the last 20 years.

I decided to watch it until the end. In my opinion, the only part worth watching was the farewell speech. If I would have known that I would have just watched that part online. In fact I did watch it on Hulu again the next morning. In about 4 minutes he said some things I expected him to say and some that I didn't expect. Leno did The Tonight Show since my high school graduation. No matter what you think of Leno, he was good at what he did and he did it for a long time. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Snow Days

In 2000 when I was teaching we had 2 full weeks off of school after Christmas break. There were a couple of days in there that were supposed to be delays and the teachers came in to school but by the time school would have started they ended up calling off the whole day. I was single and one snow day led to another and with dial up Internet I honestly lost track of what day of the week it was!
This year Fort Wayne has set records for snow. They have missed so many school days that I've lost track. When they have school it is often delayed. It is also confusing between the public schools canceling some days and the Lutheran schools only having a 2 hour delay. I'm praying they don't have floods in the spring after all this snow. I feel sorry for teachers trying to plan lessons with this routine and parents trying to arrange childcare for this crazy routine. Plus they have a lot of school days to make up in June.
Here they very rarely cancel school, once a year or less. In January inversion caused thick fog all day every day for weeks. It was bad when I did drive in it. School was never delayed for that. The Lambs complain when public schools cancel that we still have homeschool and they miss out on time to play in the snow with their neighborhood friends.
The plan for today was that we would go to one of the first showings of the Lego movie. I figured the Lambs have worked so hard on therapy, exercises, and homeschool, that a benefit of homeschooling would be we could go to a movie during the school day. It would also reinforce the idea for the Lambs that we really do not go according to the public school schedule. We may have some homeschool during the summer and on public school holidays and snow days. But we are also free to go to a movie during the school day or go on vacation during the school year. The Lambs have never been to a movie at the theater before so this was to be an extra special treat.
But guess what happened? Today the public schools here have a snow day. I expect the movie theater to be packed both because this is the opening day and the roads don't look that bad so people will go to the movies. We have a very busy schedule the next couple of weeks in addition to therapy and homeschool. I don't really know when we can go to the movie if we don't go today. Ram has a meeting late this afternoon for church so we need to go to one of the first showings. It may turn out that the big event today is watching the Olympics at home tonight. The best laid plans...sigh.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Lutheran Detectives

I discussed the latest news story about the violin theft in Milwaukee with the Lambs at supper last night. I was careful to present the story so they wouldn't be afraid of theft, especially if we go to Milwaukee to visit friends. I thought it was a current event story that they would be interested in. Real life detectives are trying to find real answers to the mystery of this theft. Just like we are doing with our Highlights Top Secret Adventures, detectives are trying to figure out who did it, where the violin is now, and how they did it.

The conversation did not quite go how I expected though. After I told them what was happening, they immediately started naming all the commandments that the bad guys broke.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Ram found a deal that we could try audible.com for 3 months at 95 cents each month. We figured it was worth a try for that price. Normally there is a fee each month (I think $14.95) and you get one credit for a book each month. Credits can carry over to the next month. If you would like more books then there is a fee for extra books.

Before we tried this I had planned on getting several easy to read books for the Lambs. I figured we would use this wisely and get as much possible during this 3 month deal. I saw that was not going to work on this plan. Then I saw that Our Island Story was available. It is a children's history of England. It was quite expensive if it would be an extra, but our one credit in January covered it. I was planning to read this aloud soon to the Lambs but it was even better to listen to it.

Each night we have been listening to a couple of chapters. I am learning a lot about the history of England. Lamb 1 doesn't like it basically because it is long. We allow the Lambs to play quietly/do crafts while they listen.

We still have a February credit to use and soon we will get a March credit. What audiobooks do you recommend we use our credits on next?

We may not do this every month, but we may ask the grandparents if they would be willing to sponsor one month as birthday presents. I was glad to try it for a few months and we will be able to make a better decision if we want to continue. Do any of you do audible.com?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


The last couple of months we have had some changes, I'm not sure I would call them big changes, but combined I have had a difficult time keeping up. Here are a few examples:

  • Lamb 2 began Vision Therapy twice a week and this has made a new daily routine for all of us. Lamb 2 is exhausted at the end of VT days so we now NEED to get to bed on time every single night. We have more trips to therapy and exercises to do at home. I'm even going to notify grandparents and tell them that we need to celebrate birthdays over the lunch hour instead of over the supper hour like we have done since we moved here. VT has changed our entire schedule even though it is just 1 hour a week. I know this will get better, but it feels like we are back in the toddler years of early bedtimes that can't be interrupted no matter what.
  • Our health insurance changed the way the Be Well Serve Well rewards program works. Ram and I haven't had time to really look over the changes and decide if we are going to participate any more. We need to get started soon if we are going to participate. In the past it wasn't much work and we always had Amazon credit in our account. I became used to buying school books, piano books, treats for us, and even groceries with this "free" money. If we don't participate any more it will also mean that I need to majorly change my shopping habits.
  • Creative Memories went bankrupt. I scrapbooked with CM since 1998. I have a lot of supplies stocked up but I need to start thinking about what to do when my supplies do run out. I'm trying hard to picture myself being involved with the new company and the new way of doing things, but I'm finding I scrapbooked for so long the old way that I'm not eager to change.
  • Like many Americans our family budget is tighter this year. We changed the way we did some things with our H S A and I'm hoping this eases our budget concerns. We've been blessed that in our entire marriage this is the first time we've really had to watch our budget and expenses. (Well not counting the few months that neither of us were employed.) But that makes changes for the way I shop and the way the Lambs receive both necessities and treats. I know in the long run this will be good for all of us, but it definitely involves growing pains right now. Plus it takes more time to keep track of all of this.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Our church family

Yesterday the hymns chosen for distribution during communion were short so there was a long time to think/meditate. I try not to be distracted, but yesterday I really got to thinking about some of the people's "stories" while they were up at the rail. I thought about:

  • That couple is older and has a more difficult time getting around. 
  • Her husband got a job on the other side of the country and she is still here trying to sell the house waiting to join him. We will miss them when the house does sell.
  • They are married each for the second time with his and her children trying to make it work this time. 
  • His wife and son live in another country and they only see each other for a few precious weeks of the year. 
  • She is a widow. 
  • She is grieving for her adult son that she buried. 
  • Her mom is in the hospital and no one knows what the next step is when she gets released-nursing home? 
  • Her daughter is a freshman in college. 
  • They are in the rough preschool/toddler years with their children.
  • Her sons are in the military. 
  • Those boys are finishing their last semester of high school and preparing to go to college next year.

And my list could go on and on and I bet as the pastor Ram's list would be even longer as he knows more of people's "stories" than I do. It is amazing to me in just a little over 2 years how close we can get to our church family and even though I don't know every member's story, I know a lot of them.

Then I went to Bible study and we were finishing the last chapter in Katie Schuermann's book, Pew Sisters. Due to commitments with Sunday School I was unable to attend many of the sessions of this Bible study, but I do plan to go back and read the chapters I missed. I thought of the list I had made in my head during communion. This is exactly what Katie was getting at-every one in the pew has a story to share of God's faithfulness in their life. We can build up the faith and encourage our Christian family at church. And when we think of each of their "stories" we can pray more specifically for them. It was a good reminder to not only keep my family in my prayers, but also each of my church family that I know. And when I don't know the specifics of their stories, I can just pray Lord Have Mercy for them.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Hoppin' John

Several years ago my Grandma invited us over to her house for a meal on New Year's Day. She lived in TX for many years so she served black eyed peas. My sister and I were not very happy with the meal she served, it was just too different from what we normally ate. I thought of all of Grandma's other recipes that I liked better. But of course I ate a whole helping and said thank you and didn't ask for seconds, just got ready for yummy dessert. I don't remember if my sister ate it or just tried it.

Early in our marriage I decided we should have black eyed peas on New Year's Day and revive the tradition from Grandma. Ram found an excellent Hoppin' John recipe in one of our cookbooks. We have made that same recipe on New Year's Day most of the last 12 years. It was even allowed when we had to eat dairy free for Lamb 1.

This year we were at Ram's parents house on New Year's Day. I cleaned out the pantry recently and found some black eyed peas and thought we should make Hoppin' John since we didn't have it this year. We made it on Thursday for supper.

On Friday at lunch while we were eating leftover Hoppin' John I told the Lambs about this tradition that my Grandma started. I said that usually we had it on New Year's Day but since we were at Ram's parents we were having it a few weeks later. Right away Lamb 1 and 2 said that it was Chinese New Year. I planned this better than I thought!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Copying Glenda's recipe

My friend Glenda posted this recipe in October. I didn't even go to Germany and I wanted to try this. It was not Paleo but healthy and close to Paleo. I started thinking about how I would make this recipe as soon as she posted it.

In December lamb was on sale at the local grocery store so I bought some and put it in the freezer. We were just too busy to experiment with this recipe over the holidays. I felt so uneducated buying lamb in the store for the first time, but it ended up ok. I'm sure with this sale our meal was cheaper than if I would have bought a nice cut of beef. And now I know how to buy lamb for next time.

Then a friend began selling Wildtree and I wanted to help her out so I ordered some tzaztiki seasoning. It came in last Sunday so we were ready to try the recipe. I got the lamb out of the freezer to thaw in the middle of the week and we put it in to marinate overnight on Thursday. Thursday I stocked up on veggies at the store. The local store had lots of veggies on sale for the Superbowl to make a veggie tray so it ended up that the most expensive veggie I bought was red cabbage. Friday afternoon we made the sauce, cut up some veggies, and Ram cooked the lamb. It was done in time for me to eat it before I went to scrapbooking last night.

Lamb 1 refused to try the sauce because it had dairy in it but had several helpings of lamb and veggies without any sauce on them. He asked if there were leftovers for lunch today. Lamb 2 tried everything, but mostly ate veggies. Lamb 3 ate a bowl of plain yogurt, not even the sauce or anything else. Sometimes I think he is hopeless to try new foods besides his favorites. Of course Ram and I ate everything. Lamb 1 complained that the house smelled like a meal with pita bread and of course I hadn't planned on serving pita bread with this. He requested pita bread if we make this again, but I think we'll keep the meal gluten free.

I don't think I would do anything differently to make this recipe again. I'll be watching the grocery store flyers for a lamb sale again. There are some advantages to living in ID (even if we can't get local Midwestern foods!) We do have some leftover veggies and sauce to snack on during the Superbowl.

Thanks, Glenda, for experimenting and posting this recipe on your blog!
I can't tell you how difficult it was to type lamb instead of Lamb for this blog post-hopefully this Lamb Mama caught all the typos!