Friday, October 31, 2008

Reformation Day/Remembrance Day

October 31st is the day many Protestants have on their calendars. Reformation Day is a time to look back at God's Providence in our history and to remember some of the saints that went before us. Tonight, our church will be having a German themed feast and we'll be discussing the German Reformation. I'm bringing "Chicken in Riesling." I didn't even read the full recipe before choosing it - it had me at the word "Riesling."

I'll post pictures and more comments about this tomorrow.

But for my family this will also be a remembrance day of sorts. It's been one year since my grandfather passed away. I actually got the call at our Reformation dinner last year. It's been a tough year for my mom and grandmother. I don't know if next year will be any easier, but I know right now is especially hard for them.

I miss him too. He was always fun, had a great sense of humor. He could make jokes about his bald head all day. He loved to talk to all the grandkids, play card games all evening. He was a carpenter by trade, and knew how to build anything.

One of the things I've been thinking about today was his voice. He had a very raspy voice, or rather, what was left of his voice. Throat cancer and resultant surgeries had done permanent damage to his vocal chords. I don't really remember his singing voice before this, but I know afterward, it was hard for him to sing, but he loved doing it. He loved hymns.

So today, as we celebrate the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us, I'll be thinking of my Granddad, singing for the past year before the throne of God. I hope he has the voice he wished he'd had here on earth. Because while on earth he could wholeheartedly sing:

Come thou fount of ev'ry blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above;
praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
mount of God's unchanging love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I've come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wand'ring from the fold of God:
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be;
let that grace now, like a fetter,
bind my wand'ring heart to thee.
Prone to wander - Lord, I feel it -
prone to leave the God I love:
here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.

"Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" by Robert Robinson, 1758

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We have lift off!

Last night I was working on the closet in the two youngest's room, and look what happened!
In case you can't tell, Ashlynn pulled up to a standing position using the clothing bin, and I snapped just before she fell and landed on her well-padded tushie. She spent today pulling up on everything she can get her hands on, literally.

I also wanted to post pictures for those nay-sayers who think my house never gets messy. :-)

And as of tonight I am done with the clothing switch! Now I just have to go buy a few things that are listed on my handy dandy chart. For instance, evidently no one has more than one pair of jeans in this house. Can't quite figure that one out...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Swimming in Clothing

I can't stay in denial any longer. I have put off pulling out the kids' fall clothing as long as possible. After all, we live in south Texas, where sandals are a year round shoe. However, it has finally starting cooling off enough that pants are getting to be needed on occasion. Soon it will be long sleeves, and maybe even boots! Don't get me wrong, I love fall! My favorite season, actually. But I dread the great switch out of all the clothes. Especially in fall, it takes several hours to see who has pants that fit, etc.

So I spent this afternoon pulling out the bins of winter clothes for the oldest two girls, putting away most of their summer clothing (I can't put it all away, since it is very likely to be in the 80s next week), surveying what fits, and making a list of what is lacking. This evening I'll tackle the clothes for the youngest two. Tomorrow, the middle two. That's the plan anyway.

Last year when I did this, I wrote quite a lengthy post about how I manage all the clothing. If you are interested you can read it here. One thing that really helps me is a chart I drew up on Excel. This helps me keep straight what I still need to acquire for each girl. Of course, I need to add Ashlynn now, but I doubt she'll need too much of anything.

Monday, October 27, 2008

She Cracks Me Up

Last night, Lauryn brings me the saddle off of her play horse.

Lauryn: Mama, something happened to it!

Me: Yes, it's broken.

L: I know. If you want to buy me a new one, then, well...
(a sigh of long-suffering) fine.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Homeschool Science: Pulleys

This was actually a couple of weeks ago. Kora was studying simple machines: inclined planes, levers, pulleys, wheels and axles, etc. This project is an oldie but a goodie. And the younger kids were so excited to get to participate in Kora's science project.

The rope wrapped around the broomstick handles acts as a pulley with every wrap. Aubrey and Brynna are trying to hold the broom sticks apart and Kora is pulling on the rope trying to pull them together.
With some effort, Kora was able to pull them together.
Now we wrapped the rope to create two more pulleys. Kora nearly pulled them over, it was so much easier this time.
I couldn't get a picture of it, but then we let Hailey try to pull the brooms together with Kora and I (the two strongest people in the house at the time - Kelly was at work) holding them apart. Hailey could pull us together with 5 pulleys though not with three.

They really had fun with this, being able to be stronger than Kora and I. Sad thing is they probably will all be taller and stronger than I am when they grow up!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

How to Feed Breakfast to a Crowd for Cheap

Bake one complete bag of frozen hashbrowns ($1. 87 at my Walmart) in oven on 450 for about 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile brown a pound of breakfast sausage ($2 at Walmart) with some diced onion in a skillet, breaking it up into small pieces. Drain and set aside.

Scramble 18 eggs (just under $2) in butter. Break up into small pieces.

When hashbrowns are done, dump all three into a crockpot and set on low until ready to serve.

Warm up about 30-40 tortillas ($3-4) - this depends largely on how full the crowd fills them. At church*, there are usually about 30 tortillas missing. (When I take this to church, I put the filling in my 6 qt. crockpot and the tortillas wrapped in foil in my 4 qt. crockpot. I keep them both on low all during church and they are hot and ready to serve after service.)

Serve with hot sauce and shredded cheese. (I buy in bulk, so I estimate I spend less than $3 on this).

Serves about 30 breakfast tacos for a total of $12, or about $0.40 per taco.

* The last time I took this to church for our after worship meal, one of the teenage boys told me that these tacos were the reason he got up that morning.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Black & White

In the last year or two I have developed a real love of black and white photos. Not sure why. It really came to full fruition when we got the picture at the top of my blog. Somehow it speaks to me of timelessness. It also seems to take the emphasis off imperfections and brings out the eyes.

I even let one sepia image in.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


A couple of weeks ago, I took the girls to get pictures taken. We had some group shots, and some of 6 month old Ashlynn. The fall birthday girls (Hailey, Aubrey, and Lauryn) also had shots taken. here are some highlights.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Six Months Old!

I can't believe it, but Ashlynn was 6 months old yesterday!

We celebrated by eating some cereal.

Hope she like her first birthday cake better than she did this stuff!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Most of the people who know me now might not believe this, but I minored in Political Science in college (major in history). I took as many constitutional law classes as I could; I just ate that stuff up. I was also much more idealistic then.

As I've gotten older, I have to admit that I have grown much more cynical. Not that I consider that a good thing. I really don't. However, it seems justified. I think of it as a constant reminder that this world is not my home, lest I grow too attached to it. This has translated, unfortunately, into a tendency to bury my head in the sand. Some weeks, the only news I get is what my husband tells me or what I read on my friend Cathi's blog.

I say this because I don't comment on politics too much here. However, I am going to do something so radical - at least to me - that I felt compelled to post it. (My husband accuses me of blogging about our entire lives, but I think he exaggerates.)

I am not going to vote Republican in the presidential election this fall.

I've been voting for quite a few years now, and I have voted Republican 99% of the time. It is the party which most closely reflected my political ideology. However, I am very dissatisfied with the way the Republican party has drifted further and further away from its roots of limited government. As far as I can tell, the only real difference between most Democrats and Republicans is the fact that most Republicans are pro-life and more friendly towards the 2nd amendment and homeschooling than most Democrats. In other words, Republicans are for "big" government and Democrats for "bigger" government.

Now don't get me wrong, those are the top three concerns in my book. However, I don't believe John McCain is strong enough in these to offset my concerns about his other policies. I voted in the Republican primary, and McCain would have been the last or next to last on my list at that time (because of his pro-choice stance, Guiliani would have ranked lower than McCain).

Now, this does not mean I'm voting for Obama. No siree. The thought of him as president makes me glad I'm a Calvinist.

So I'm going to do something I never thought I would do. I'm voting for a third party candidate. Kelly has been talking to me for a few years about the Constitutional Party. In fact, he has this listed as his party affiliation on Facebook. (I also like the looks of the American Independent Party, with Alan Keyes as its candidate.) I have decided to vote for Chuck Baldwin who, unfortunately, in Texas is a write-in candidate. For those of you who supported Ron Paul during the primary, Paul has endorsed Baldwin.

May God have mercy on us.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bread Makes Everything Better

Have you ever noticed that through some sort of culinary magic that homemade dinner rolls make any meal seem like a special occasion? I can serve an ordinary casserole, a steamed veggie, and homemade rolls and my girls cheer. What is it about hot, fresh, buttery rolls straight from the oven?

Great. Now I'm hungry...

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Yesterday the girls and I participated in our annual fall field trip: the South Texas CORN MAiZE!
This is part of a family farm near Hondo, Texas. They plant a hay grazer crop and then create a winding, twisting maze. First, you have to pick the clue pages. There are posts stationed throughout the maze. When you come to one, you stop and read the clue; the answer tells you whether to turn right or left.
It sounds easier than it is. Go here for a view of what the maze looks like from overhead. So we have our sheets, lets head in.
First, we have to read the rules. Guess it's a good thing Kelly didn't come along or might have broken one!
Everyone went through, even this one!
Here's the view in the path - it can be very disorienting!

However, it wasn't as tall as it usually is, I assume because of the lack of rainfall this year.
Quite a few families from our homeschool group were there.
Even some visiting from Virginia.
Besides a maze, there were many other activities. The girls' favorite was the "corn popper." This was a big air filled pillow that they jumped around on.

There was also a corn shuck canon,
a barrel ride,
and a hay ride that took a detour into a pumpkin patch.
One activity was strictly prohibited, however.
After all this activity, plus a picnic lunch, the girls were a bit tired.

Nap time was very quiet yesterday. :-)