UPDATE: Joy!! I found this!!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
UPDATE: Joy!! I found this!!
Monday, November 29, 2010
There had been all this chatter on my homeschool group about the possibility of grocery costs shooting up soon, so I went ahead and did some stocking up. Since we moved here 11 years ago, I have habitually worked on our ‘pantry’ of supplies. We lose power often. We regularly are unable to get to the store because of a single car and overtime. Then the pay cuts and threats of minimum wage serve as pretty good motivation to have some backup.
But sometimes those very reasons stand in the way of keeping the pantry stocked. So, we were dwindling, and there isn’t a lot of money right now. But I went ahead and got a stash of food. Now I feel ready for a party!! Well, it wouldn’t be a super cool party. We would serve orange juice, oatmeal and spaghetti, but I do have some delicious cocoa and cappuccino!
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
I had such a great day! We hosted, but didn’t make the turkey, and that may be one key to a brilliant holiday. We got the place presentable, made mashed potatoes, yams, pea salad, rolls and drinks. Our friends made the turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, pies, relish tray and drinks… Hmmm… I think they may’ve made more than that—gravy, for sure.
Oh, well…maybe the key is to make your friends do all the work! Try that. Maybe you will have the awesome Thanksgiving that I did! Don’t worry, I will feel guilty about writing that tomorrow. For now, I am full, tired, and wonderfully happy.
We played a couple of games, they give love to our kids and pups, we had conversations that range from eternal to ridiculously frivolous with seamless transitions.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord shine His face upon you and give you peace forever! Amen
This is one of my most favorite blessings. If flows from me so fluidly and automatically. It is simple and beautiful and I pray it for my family, friends and readers.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
When I heard these words come out of my mouth, even I knew it was a pretty lame defense against my older sister’s accusation that electronic appliances and I don’t get along.
My microwave was needing a clean, so I popped in some water with soap. After a minute or two, the stuff on the walls was still to hard. So, I set it for longer and turned my back on it to empty the dishwasher. I got distracted and forgot about the water. The next thing I know, there was this boom and water was everywhere! I stood frozen in shock for a moment, staring at the wide open microwave door. Next the filter at the bottom clattered onto the stove.
Holy cow! I ushered my curious son out into the snow, and tried to assess the situation. I slowly and carefully began mopping up water and called my sister to see if she knew whether my microwave was still safe to use.
I’d forgotten that my dad was visiting her. He is getting older, so really the only thing I got from him was repeated warnings about the ‘radiation shield’ that would be under the microwave and looks like metal mesh falling off. Honestly, I was a little disappointed.
So, I do have a history with kitchen appliances that is a little sketchy. But my sister got online and I am apparently not the only one whose blown open the microwave with super heated water. I have learned to include a wooden spoon when heating any liquid!
Everyday is an adventure!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I am thankful for my sister and how we get to play together.
I am thankful for Ava, and that Bailey and Ava have so much fun together.
I am thankful that Daddy doesn’t have to work overtime too often.
I am thankful for our toys. We may not have very much, but I am still thankful for them. (the stenographer is trying to not choke as she types here)
I’m thankful for our family and the time that we get to spend together during lunch time and school.
I’m thankful for a nice home.
I’m thankful for all the things that we have like my Legos and the snow gear that we have so that we can play outside in the snow.
For my amazing scrapbooking stuff.
That Madi does get to do all her creative girl stuff.
Well, I’m happy that I have three dances a week and also that we have such a happy and peaceful family and life.
Have I said dogs yet? Ok, Dogs.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Heehee! The snow is here! We went out for a snowball fight, snow angle making and we tried a snowman, but the snow wasn’t quite right for that. Both puppies were out with us, dodging poorly aimed snowballs and dipping their noses in the white stuff.
Then we came in for oatmeal and hot cocoa. Ain’t life grand?
Puppies and kids resting and cuddling with warm blankets and hot chocolate in snowmen mugs (for the two legged kids) before another foray outside.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
The first snow of the season is here!!! I just can’t NOT sing the fun song from White Christmas that begins with the title of this post. Such a great movie with terrific songs!
I truly do love the snow. I feel guilty about loving it because so many ladies up here suffer from near-depression symptoms because of it. It seems worse than insensitive to revel in the wonder of the season when I know others are gritting their teeth for a long couple of months.
But then, I survive wretched summer after summer. And it is good to celebrate the beauty we see. So, I will just revel here—privately, as the case may be.
Snow is magical to me. I love how bright the night is because of all the reflected light. I get caught up in the falling flakes when I stand and look straight up. It is like being in a star-storm, with shooting stars all around. The softness with which snow falls is so very peaceful to me, too. White stuff can cover the land, and not make a sound. It makes the dusty tired brown landscape instantly clean and pure. Snow can simultaneously be vast in its scope—smoothing the land all the way to the mountains--while insulating and making cozy my small world.
I really delight in snow! But we can keep the depths of my joy secret for only here, ok?
Saturday, November 20, 2010
For the first time ever we left our kids home alone. I am not sure what the law says about this, but I used to watch my baby sister when I was in first and second grade. Not ideal, but I figure six and fourth graders can probably stay home a couple of hours with relative safety. I mean, their public school counterparts are likely coming home from school to empty houses, right?
Anyhow, we thought our kids would do pretty well, so my husband and I went on a much, much, much needed date. They did very well. They called several times, which I appreciated as evidence that they would ask for help if a problem arose. They got along and didn’t destroy anything, so I think we have success and a viable option for the occasional day-date when we need one.
I must confess that during the writing of this post, I had to go finish a puppy-poo clean-up that happened while we were out. I hadn’t realized that the fact that it is I who usually cleans would prevent my kids from knowing what it mean to clean up puppy-poo. They thought that you spray it, cover it with a towel and walk away. Then I guess the carpet would magically de-poo itself. Yeah, well, that would certainly be nice!
Maybe my kids would think I am pretty neat if they knew just what I do!
Friday, November 19, 2010
I am so proud of what my little sister can do! She just popped out a bunch of designs for our homeschool group. We have a store where you can purchase her works of art!
Run over to our store to see our new products and designs!! There are more designs in the works, too, so check back often. Remember that if you see a product you like or a design you like, we can put those together for you! Just email with the design and product description of your choice, and we will notify you when that item is ready for purchase.
When you shop at our store, we get a percentage of the profits. When you shop at our store through iGive, we get even more, at no cost to you!!
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Reading hasn’t come easily to my little girl. We have struggled with dyslexia, lack of interest and, most recently, headaches and fuzzy words. We got her into the optometrist and discovered she needs reading glasses. (I am trying and failing to suspect we could have picked some up at the drug store rather than pay the $100 the doctor charged.)
Anyhow, we picked up the glasses yesterday and she was just beside herself with excitement, showing anyone and everyone. When we got home, she was quick to grab a book with small print to test out the new specs. So far so good!
The neat thing happened this morning, when I came into the living room to see my girl reading a book! THAT has never happened before!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Each day we begin by praying. We pray for whomever may be on our hearts, but we also use a list of friends and family so that we pray for them regularly. Today we were praying for my mom and her family. It was nice because today is her late mom’s birthday and her brother’s birthday was a few days ago. I began by telling the kids it is my grandma’s birthday and I told them a little more about her. I said I wanted to thank God for her. Then I looked to the list and saw for whom we’d be praying and let the kids know how cool the timing was.
Because of my parents’ divorce and subsequent remarriages, my kids have three sets of grands. In order to clarify, my daughter said, ‘so we are praying for your old mom, right?’ What? I tried not to laugh as I asked questions to figure out her thinking. Finally I asked, “So, if Daddy leaves me and marries someone new, you would call me Old Mom??” We never talk about divorce, and I would not normally suggest such a possibility so blithely, but I felt the need to make this more concrete for her. Her answer? Yes. Yes!?
No! I will always be just Mom. My mom is my mom. Booger.
Monday, November 15, 2010
I am not intentionally doing sequential posts on sweets, but sometimes these things happen! Blessedly!
A while ago on Facebook my sister shared a link to Korean recipes. One was for hoddeok. It is basically a pan-fried whole doughnut with a brown sugar and cinnamon filling that melts during the frying into a syrup. Hooked yet? It was very easy to prepare. It just took a little planning, since you need to have the dough rise for about 1.5 hours.
Even though my darling husband loves so much of Korean food, he can’t seem to forgive the Kim Chee and Kojujang, so he is often wary of any new recipe. I made these and gave first to the kids and then asked if he would like to try one. He gamely agreed—but gamely, like he was doing me a favor. Thankfully the hoddeok passed muster, so its name was shouted to the rafters for about an hour. That is high praise—literally!
Hoddeok is a hit!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
We have been making great meals together for a while now. The kids have been choosing them and then following the recipes on their own. Yesterday was our final Australia day, and instead of lunch we made a traditional Australian dessert called Lamingtons. It is a spongy cake dipped in chocolate frosting and rolled in coconut. Since no one in this house does coconut, we skipped it and didn’t miss it!
My son made the cake while I made lunch (rice, peas and pot stickers, baby!). We cut the cooked cake into 16 or so squares and let it cool while we played Scotland Yard—a fun board game where five of London’s finest chase a suspect Mr. X through the city. After it cooled, my daughter made the frosting and coated the cakes.
We let them set—isn’t that the hardest part? Then we dove in! No complaints here!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Schooling has become something really positive this year. It took longer than I wanted to find our groove, but I do believe we have found one! We are playing board games over lunch, making the most of the Adventures assigned by the Eastern Hemisphere Explorer, loving the stories and making our meals together. I am even relaxing—a little—about the mess that springs up as a result of all the ‘fun’ we have.
See the insanity?? Laundry, blankets to fight the morning chill, K’nex, counting bears, more math manipulatives, buckets… It is crazy. But the atmosphere in our home is joyful, productive and cooperative. That is worth having to choose your steps carefully, right? That, and that the kids have become expert cleaners and can clear the living room in ten minutes.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Happy Veteran’s Day! KidsROCK is in the parade this year, so please come out to give a wave and catch some candy.
May the Lord bless and keep all those who sacrifice themselves to preserve the freedom to choose how we will live—freedom to praise the Lord, freedom to homeschool, freedom to speak our thoughts and freedom to forgive!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Oh, I don’t know what I dislike more than asking others for things, especially money. When I used to sell Pampered Chef, I lost so much money because I gave gifts, discounts and whatever else I could to my customers. Even our garage sales had me giving more and charging less! When I go out to eat, I give large tips to even the worst examples of service. I pray that they will feel loved and blessed and will be nicer to their future customers—that may be me! I am fortunate to live in a society with set prices for food and clothes or I would break my family bending over backwards overpaying for everything.
It isn’t because I have the money to burn. I don’t. At all. I just feel this compulsion to give. I’m totally sick!
The compulsion to give doesn’t exactly mesh very well with the need to ask. In fact, it puts me into some serious Psych 101 cognitive dissonance. I get the shakes, man!
Because of my nature, all of our homeschool group’s fundraisers have been designed to save me from having to ask for money. Did I mention I am a little sick? Well, I also happen to be the reluctant treasurer for this poor group. Now we have had to restructure our finances in order to reflect the true costs of running a homeschool support and enrichment group. Charges for members are going up significantly, and we wanted to offer a means by which they can continue participating in all the activities they choose without breaking their personal budgets.
Whew, I took a long time to get here, didn’t I? We are now running a traditional fundraiser—collecting money and orders for cookie dough. I am pleased with the program that we found. Customers are actually buying an eCoupon card—like a gift card—that they redeem online or over the phone for cookie dough to be delivered directly to their homes. This expands our customer base beyond traditional geographical bounds. And the eCoupon does double duty by working as a discount card to several major stores!
So, if you are so inclined, I would be blessed beyond measure if you would head over to our website to order some cookie dough. We have a PayPal option, or you can mail your check before November 30. The fundraiser ends December 2. All the information is there, including the six yummy-sounding flavors. You can type in my name, Kalbach, or you can leave the field blank or type in KidsROCK and the money will go to either of those accounts.
Thanks! I am going to go take some deep breaths.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I love to play games. Board games, party games, computer games, murder party games, card games…I love at least a few from every style of game play out there. There was a long stretch of time when we had a monthly game night with friends in the guise of a Pampered Chef Party. I had a yahoogroups for people who were interested, and I would shoot out an email to let them know the date, theme and sales of the next party. I would toss the catalogs on a side table, cover the kitchen table in delicious food, kick the kids to my backyard—which had lawn at the time—and the grown-ups would play another round or two of the game du jour. Awesome! And we had a crowd, too; seven to 10 families showed up every month with the no show crying on the yahoogroup emails about having to miss.
Then it stopped. I started playing with new friends from my homeschooling circle. It was nice for a while, but began petering out. Not everyone likes to play games, or only likes a certain type of game. Kids got bigger and needed more supervision--which I know is true from experience, but the fact still blows my mind. I mean, why can 15 to 20 kids under the age of seven all play happily and get along, but even fewer of kids between the ages of six and twelve have so many problems? I don’t get it. Anyhow, games aren’t as fun when you have to continually be ready to put out the latest fire.
Aging kids does offer another solution, though. At least on a small scale, I have discovered that I enjoy playing with mine! They are getting old enough to play by the rules, be capable of winning by those rules, but not mind losing and be able to keep up the general pace. So cool! I made my own playmates!!! Ok, well, God played His part, too, I suppose. But the point is that I may have some lifelong friends who’ll play with me!
Monday, November 8, 2010
Don’t think about elephants!
This has been a tough school year for me. There is no reason for it, either, which has made my struggle all the more galling. I have been eagerly anticipating our study subject (Eastern Hemisphere, using Sonlight’s Core 5), and have spent more time planning the delivery of lessons than I ever have before. I knew the level at which we would be working would be more difficult for my daughter, so I had planned fun, fun, fun to be sure lessons would have the best chance possible at taking root.
What about those elephants? Have you heard of that phenomenon? Your told to not think about it, so it becomes all you can think about? You do the opposite of what you are told. I think I did that to myself with this year. I think I said over and over to myself, ‘We are going to have fun!!’ *Sigh* I have not been having so much fun. Everything is great, and I can’t seem to relax.
Well, praise the Lord for the Lord, right? He is there whenever we need Him, and He is alongside me now. I have prayed, and cried and talked with trusted people in my life, trying to sort out the problem. And I have relaxed…
Today my husband called me to let me know he was going to be working overtime. We were in the middle of science and we were laughing and teasing. I heard myself, as though I weren’t me, and heard that I was laughing. The realization hit me almost physically. As I was processing it, my husband said, “I wish I were home. You all sound like you are having so much fun!” We were! We were having fun!
I think I finally stopped worrying about making things fun and just started being, then the fun found us. I feel like I can take a full breath again after a long chest cold. God is good.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
My daughter started a new level in math the other day and on the cover of her book there is a spot to write her name and school information. She asked if she could fill it out, and I said, “Sure.” Out loud, she said, “Name.”
I said, “Falula Phalanges.” She looked at me and calmly informed me that that was not her name. I said that it almost had been, because we considered choosing that as her name. She quietly considered this for a while and then replied, “I could like that!”
Saturday, November 6, 2010
I earned a reputation when I was young for being a danger in the kitchen. If I wasn’t breaking appliances, I was spoiling meals. The reputation followed me when I became a young married woman. All the fiascos with burned dinners, and frozen Thanksgiving turkeys worked together to make me very unsure of myself. I was blessed to be married to a man made just for me. He championed my every effort and had a cast iron stomach!
Since then, I have actually developed an actual cache of recipes that are hits for family and guests. I can sometimes believe that I can cook.
But I recently had a night that had me worried. It all began when I couldn’t find the green onions sitting right in front of me in the fridge. Before I went on my 15 minute hunt for them, I had set out a cutting board. When I finally found the onions, the cutting board was lost. I was preparing a marinade and couldn’t remember what container to use. I almost used a 2 cup measuring cup, and upgraded—if you can call it that—to a round cooking stone. It was too big for the meat to be submerged, so I had to double the recipe. Only after the meat was in did I remember that we use baggies.
I was marinating thinly sliced beef that was supposed to be thinly sliced. I got frustrated trying to stand the meat it up on its side to make it thinner when my husband took over, trying not to laugh at me. So I got to work on the rice. After I washed it and began to add the water, I couldn’t remember how many cups of rice I’d put in, so I had to just guess. When I tried to put the container of rice away, I got frustrated because the container wouldn’t fit in the cupboard. It took me a minute to remember I’ve always kept the rice in my garage (my make-shift pantry).
Next I cooked the bean sprouts. Only a few lapses in concentration allowed for them to cook without mishap. But then I pulled out the colander so I could rinse them out. I was absolutely shocked when I had the colander sitting on the counter and I poured the beans into them. I shouted, ‘there are holes!’ as water spilled everywhere. I could see genuine concern growing my husband’s face at that point, so I hastened to assure him that I really did know it was a colander and I chose it on purpose so I could rinse the sprouts. I had just forgotten that the water would come out. I don’t think I helped my case.
My daughter came in while I was cutting zucchini, carrots and spinach to stir-fry and asked for someone to come see her fort in her bedroom. I knew I was in trouble when Daddy said, ‘I can’t really leave the kitchen right now.’ It hadn’t occurred to me up until then that NO ONE keeps me company in our tiny kitchen. He wasn’t keeping me company. He was making sure I didn’t get hurt!
Thankfully, all the absentmindedness had no effect on the taste of dinner. Who knows? Maybe it helped, because the meal was inhaled. Now I better go look for that cutting board!
Friday, November 5, 2010
Today we found out what it would be like if our fingers were taped together. And I hated it. I pulled away from Mommy while she tried to tape my fingers together. When she was able to do it anyway. I slapped and threw a tantrum. She taped them too tightly and cut off my circulation.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
So, here we are, six months after my frantic calls to the eye doctor for contact lenses. What has happened in that time? Well, in the beginning nothing! Since I called in late April and didn’t get in until mid July, I spent a lot of time doing nothing. After the appointment in July, however, I tried out lenses designed to fix my astigmatism. Those attempts at better vision either busted in the office, because the contacts didn’t fit, or left me wishing I’d never taken them out of the office, because they gave me agonizing migraines (hmm…is that a redundant term?).
I went in after that week of pain to say that I just wanted the normal lenses I have had, with color, since I lost the clear trial lenses several times—once while the lens was on my thumb. After nothing for several weeks, I got a call letting me know my contacts were in. Great! I went down to pick them up only to find that there were no contacts ready for me. They could hand me my prescription and order lenses for me, if I would like. I explained that I was here because I had received a call to come in. She said they must have gotten the wrong number. What? They called my number, and said my name and told me my contacts were in… OK.
So, how many contacts will my insurance cover? One box. Because all the trials each cost money. Of course. I should have known. So, here I am. Six lovely months later with a prescription dated 4 months ago, and a box of clear lenses in my original power. Thank God for online lens distributers! And thank God my problems are only about dumb contacts and difficult doctors!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Yesterday was voting day. We all went down as a family and the ladies hosting our area were so very sweet. Somehow my husband got on a mail-only voting list, so initially it looked like he was out of luck. But the awesome ladies did the extra paperwork to get things squared away for him. We each took a kid into the voting booth with us and explained how things worked. It was a nice civics lesson for them that is worth repeating each time we get to vote.
I find myself voting in a way that leaves me both at peace and at odds with myself. When I don’t vote for one of the major parties, I often feel as though I am throwing my vote away. Today I voted for one democrat and one republican. The rest of my votes went to people in other parties. I feel positive that I voted for the person with whom I most agree and who I think would handle the job well. I don’t want to vote for someone who will, in my opinion, do a bad job.
But there is a strong sense that if one isn’t voting for candidates who are either democratic or republican, one’s vote is pretty pointless. Perhaps I am naive, but I hope that it still matters. I hope a message is received, even when the big names win. I know I sleep better when I cast my worthless vote that speaks my truth. I am thankful I have the right to be on the fringe, hoping for change, even if it doesn’t come tomorrow. I am thankful I live in a bitty town that allows our children to experience voting firsthand. I pray that our freedoms to speak out, to vote and to choose remain so that my own kids will not take this gift of democracy for granted.
Hope y’all were able to get out and speak your hearts with your ballots!
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
We had our Club PALS today. It was really great, but so very intense! We tested food for both protein and starch in different foods. It felt so far out of my comfort zone, but really wasn’t so bad when we got into it. But then…it was. Eleven kids ranging from 2 to 14 in age trying to make charts and watch the contents of test tubes change colors is a bit much. But it worked and it was good.
Then we made tin lanterns. The kids drew designs on little tin pails and then nailed holes in them so a light inside the pail would shine the design. It turns out the pails were pretty cheap, so the nail did more denting than hole making. Oh my!
We also worked on Chinese-style calligraphy. The kids just ate it up! But, in case you haven’t taken an up-close look at Chinese-style calligraphy, it is incredibly intricate! It took so long for them to make their own names. But they were having so much fun.
Finally, PE actually had three games. All needed some explanation, then time to play it…
Once all was said and done, we took more than an extra hour for class time. I am so thankful for such flexible moms in my group! They are the tops!
Monday, November 1, 2010
I’ve been knocked down enough times in this life to know how dangerous it is to be content in my own abilities. Pride is a big pitfall of mine, and I know that I simply must stand guard against it every day. Even so, I still get caught by surprised sometimes by my own arrogance.
I thought that the choices we have made for our kids would naturally preclude us from certain typical issues in life. I get slapped in the face when I am faced with the fact that we are decidedly normal. Then, of course, begins the spiral of dealing with not only the fact that I am flawed, but the guilt for forgetting it in the first place.
I am thankful that I get to stay home with my kids. I am exceedingly thankful that I get to homeschool. But that sure doesn’t mean that raising my kids is the cakewalk I expected. I thought that saving them from peer pressure and the socialization so many feel is a needed part of development would allow us to skip attitudes like sullenness and rebellion.
How easily I forget that those are traits inherited from Adam, not Animal Farm or Lord of the Flies scenarios. It is actually natural. That is our deadly state that leads us to need Christ’s salvation.
So, we are in for a battle and I don’t feel equipped. I relied on falsehoods that lead me to complacency. But family is work. It is more about daily choice than DNA. And I need the strength to choose every day to dig in and give, even in the face of bored or resentful eyes. To love.
Lord, help me!