What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, March 16, 2018

Wanna go to the movies?

I've been meaning to blog.  Really I have.  I haven't had the time or gumption to do so (getting schooling done each day is a full-time job these days and this crazy snow is killing my enthusiasm bigtime) but I really wanted to pop on quickly to share this information with anyone interested.  

Do you love watching nature programs but hate all the evolutionary gobbleygoop that goes along with it?  Well....this is for you!

I know it is costly to go to the movies-especially for larger families.  But if you have any extra cash laying around, this would be a wonderful opportunity to support Christian scientists and artists and educators in their pursuits to unapologetically declare Truth and glorify God in their work.

Matt and I usually reserve a portion of our tax return to "tithe" to Christian ministries and support organizations doing just that- something we couldn't ordinarily justify the expense for in our tight budget.  It's been fabulous.  A major win-win.

We decided pretty early on that taking the WHOLE family to the movies was going to be part of the way we used the tax "tithe".  So I called the box office to reserve tickets and the girl said "Oh- "these" sorts of films never are sold out.  I don't think you'll have any problem finding a seat."  

And then she laughed out loud.  

There may even have been a snort.

It was then that I made it my mission to spread the word of this film to all the Christian families I could think.

I just think it would be amazing if we could fill up these theaters and show these cinemas that there is a real desire for great Christian content.  And to show the Christian scientists and film makers that their efforts are not in vain. And by golly, we'll have an amazing time doing it!   

So.....who wants to go to the movies on Monday?!?!  

Check out the website to find your theater and reserve your seats!

(I am not paid to plug this.  It's just a downright good thing that should be shared!  Even if you can't go- tell your friends!  Let's work together to make this thing a success!   And the more silly Rebecca-style blog posts will be coming soon.  Don't give up on me.)

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Goodbye February.

While the forts and playscapes get more and more awesome the older they get- once they are made- no one ever wants to take them down!  I wind up having billions of little pieces laying on the floor all day waiting for 1) the toddler to scatter them to the four winds throughout the day and 2) for me to step on the hardest, pointiest ones when I least expect it.  How many more months before the children can be sent OUTSIDE to make their messes?  

While I do the responsible thing, using up the older milk and making mozzerella...

THEY make homemade marshmallows.  

(Similar technique, very different outcome.)

Little girls in Mama's heels.  Enough said.

Papa works really hard during the week and then on the weekend has a million things he needs to get done too...most of which happen outside.  The children have discovered that if buried under children, he stays put for a while.

(Smart children.)

And there he is now... with his characteristic ear twiddling. 

Whenever he does it to me, I start to channel a dog getting itched in that particular spot where they can't stop jerking their one leg.   Matt's ear twiddling has that effect on me.  Ineke plays it off all cool though.

Ah, what a lovely moment of two brothers embracing.  What sweet and loving boys and what a wonderful bond brother have...

Oh wait.  

They are just trying to block the wind as they light up their homemade smoke bomb.

Ah, homeschooling bomb-making science projects... nothing better for forming brotherly bonds.

Cream puffs.  Do cream puffs ever need explanation?  

In which Ineke gets a new coat from Grandma:

I plunk her down to take a picture for a thank you note...

and then can't stop

taking pictures of her.

My little Jay Leno baby.

For Valentine's Day I made everyone homemade peanut butter treats in the wee small hours of the morning.

They also got my leg twitching.

And my Valentine turned another year older and I wondered, as I often do, how I managed to snag such a hard-working, kind, intelligent and handsome man.

And how these fifteen years of his being mine has felt like approximately 15 minutes.

And last but not least... 

The moment your two year old comes in the room looking like this and you wonder.... 

Is it poop or is it chocolate?

It can go either way.


Turns out it was chocolate ganache.  

An entire bowl of leftover cream puff ganache- but still... 
just ganache.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Jam in the Kitchen

Our dishwasher broke before Christmas and so we've been busy at the kitchen sink ever since.  

Dinner dish duty is way more fun when Corynn brings down her fancy schmancy speakers that glow lights and blow bubbles to jam some JJ Heller in the dark.  

Leave it to children to make chores a party.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Doldrums of Winter

It's been a veritable puke fest (among other things) in this house for the past few weeks.... Ineke getting the worst of it.  While everyone elses' lasted only 24 hours or so, poor little Tiddle had serious vomiting/diarrhea for 8 days straight!  Just when she started to act better during the day and I would get my hopes up that she would have finally turned the corner...sure enough, I'd lay her down and then I'd hear Corynn running downstairs frantic.  Ineke's little arms turned to toothpicks and her Incredible Hulk thighs had turned downright spindly by day eight but I managed to keep her hydrated (the most important thing) and finally, she seems to have finally kicked it.  I cut dairy out of her diet altogether (which apparently was why her v/d continued so long- having developed *hopefully temporary* lactose intolerance.)  Now I have to figure out how to slowly reintroduce dairy and redisappear juice to her diet.  This should be fun.

Praise God I somehow escaped the bug so that I could be the laundry Miss, the chicken stock boiler, disinfecter and the nursemaid.  That was a great blessing because the Lord knows those jobs were much needed.

Snowstorms, too, have kept us housebound.  We've missed several weeks of church and I don't know about you- but when you miss church, things just ain't right. 

Wood supply burning up too quickly, southern winds that blow through walls and windows, Matt being gone from home more often due to work and that incident of Ineke catching her hair on fire and the fact that it is February and no sun and no woods' walks and no fresh air and still no signs of spring to seek for quite some time yet ...

All these, and more, has led to me feeling a mite like I had fallen through the ice and was scraping around looking for the hole to come back up through before I suffocated entirely.  That may be an overstatement... but not a terribly huge one.

I'm anxious for spring.  And green things.  And warm sunshine on my face.  And the feel of cool mud squishing through my toes.  And everybody well.  And boys wrestling outside instead of in.  And lots of other things.

Instead, I organize the spice cupboard or scrub clean the fridge and feel, for just a moment, that I have some sort of control over things.  I don't, of course, but I now have an organized spice cupboard.  Which counts for something, I suppose.

In January, I finished reading Popes and Feminists, The River of Doubt, Lila, and The Question of God.  I am now working on And Still She Laughs (in book form.  A gift.) and The Professor and The Madmad (in audiobook form) when working in the kitchen. 

I managed to properly procrastinate on Birthday and Valentine's Day yarn gifts until they could not possibly ever be finished in time to actually be given away for said gift.  And since I schizophrenically worked on all of them in desperation, I didn't get a single one of them done.  But hey, I can look at it as I was late for the birthdays or I can look at it as being REALLY ahead of the game for Christmas.

When I get in my little funk, it is so easy to just stay wallowing.   Why is this?  It takes no effort at all- maybe it is even a bit comforting- to think constantly about yourself and your woes.  But I think perhaps the best medicine to revive a sullen spirit is to put your mind onto something outside of yourself.  Look out at the thing right in front of your face and look at it with clear eyes, not cloudy ones.  Dilate.  Blink.  Focus.  Take note of what is surrounding you- anything to stop the constant thinking- and perhaps you will find that those glazed eyes might instead start to glimmer.

And by 'you', of course, I mean me

yarn along

Thursday, January 18, 2018

An Elephant Never Forgets: 2018 Goals

Oh, Judah.  How I miss that cue ball head!

Every day is a gift.   Not just a gift to be opened and enjoyed.  But a gift to do something with.  Every Sunday is a nice crisp brown paper package tied with a bow.  The start of a fresh week.  Every January is a huge honkin' box sitting pretty right in my living room.  What should I do with it, I wonder.

I have found that the best way to do something worthwhile with my day (my week) (my year) (my life) is to make goals.   Not really resolutions, as they seem be lost pretty quickly after having been named.  But for me- goal setting at the beginning of the year is like list-making at the beginning of the week.  (I do that too.)  That written-out plan helps to ground myself in what needs to be done and shows me how best to use my time and resources.

I saw a lot of good happening in the beginning of the year last year, when I was working hard with my goals.  I know those are worthwhile. Many of this years' goals will be reincarnations of last years' because, unfortunately, though they were valuable, they were not lasting.

In order to avoid the Forget-Goals-By-July problem (as you read in my last post), I am printing this list out and putting it on my fridge this year so that I will be reminded of it often.  And since meals come three times a day, I'll be reminded often. ;-)   I am also putting a chart to check off some of the weekly goals.  I love a good check-off.

Here are my goals for this anno domini 2018:

~ Financial ~ 

I'm going all Dave Ramsey this year to make these goals attainable.  It will require tremendous focus and discipline- these are very lofty goals.
  • save to pay for a new window in Dining Room (replacing the one that is currently broken in half and being held together by duct tape.)
  • pay off Rebecca medical bills and start on Adele' medical bills.
  • pay off van
  • pay for cow to be butchered
  • pay off credit card BEFORE tax return
  • begin Andrew dental work fund.  VERY IMPORTANT.
  • pay half of tractor loan

  • Review/Revise Budget at the start of every month.  

  • ~ Hopestead ~
    • repaint living room
    • try growing spaghetti squash (they are GOOD!)
    • add at least one nut tree/bush
    • add grapes
    • make new strawberry patch using any plants I can find still growing in the old one.
    • re-do girls room, staying within budget
    ~ Personal ~
    • read scripture at least 3 times a week.  (Log in book journal books as they are completed until whole Bible has been read.)
    • pray often for the Parsig family this year 
    • schedule computer time
    • lose at least 10 pounds by July (I'd like to say 20 but let's be real, shall we?)
    • exercise at least 3 times a week through winter. (I'd like to do this all year but hot summers and busy canning seasons always shut me down.  I want to be sure I can check this off next January- so I am giving myself grace.  I can certainly continue after winter.)
    • read more books than last year.  Continue to log them in book journal. (At least 22 books.)
    • Read aloud at least 12 for-pleasure chapter books to children. 
    • read at least one Lord of the Rings book with Corynn
    • Make a Heritage photo album of all of the old photos we keep accumulating and/or are making copies of.  Nothing fancy- just put them in an album instead of in old books.  ;-)
    • Less than 10 cups of soda the whole year.  (Only in emergency cases of extreme migraine/sleep exhaustion.  Again- grace.)
    • Make Judah baby album
    • Do enough yarn projects this year to empty at least one basket of yarn.
    • Make handmade gifts for my parents and parents' in law for Christmas next year.
    Also- I am not sure how to make this a measurable goal- but one change I would like to make this year is my volume.  I've noticed I yell a lot more than I want to lately...sometimes out of sheer necessity to be heard in the chaos that is this house (and yeah, that should change too.  If you ever find out THAT secret, let me know)  and sometimes, I admit, simply out of frustration.  If you have to yell to discipline your children- you're doing it wrong.  Or so I have always believed.  (soapbox)  And I am speaking to myself here.

    I want to be conscientious of that and speak more kindly and calmly and quietly, even when frustrated.  That would be the most 'resolutiony' of the goals- but one I really am going to work on this year.

    My hopes for this year seem to be many, but really they can all be boiled down to 'Choose Wisely'.

    We are always making choices.    Sometimes, vegging with a movie on Friday night and Saturday night (with bowl of ice cream in hand) is easier for me than reading books aloud to my children.    Eating drive-thru would be so much faster than coming home and making supper.  Eating sugar goes down my throat a lot easier than spinach. Letting Morning Time with Mama slip past me but still managing to eek out a few minutes (or more) behind the computer seems a bit hypocritical....but I've done it more than I'd like to admit.  Buying something that is good but that I don't need feels better than paying down bills with those few extra bucks.

    Sometimes there is an obvious 'should' and an obvious 'shouldn't'.  Sometimes both options are good ones.  But there is always one that has a bit more wisdom in it.

     I'm going to try to choose WISELY.

    Friday, January 12, 2018

    The Year That Was: 2017

    These pictures brought to you by a kind and talented 15 year old Millie, who spoiled Ineke with a lovely new knit bonnet. 

    Now that the Christmas stuff is tucked back into cardboard boxes and the festivities are over,  the fact that it is now a spankin' new year is pretty apparent.  (The freak 55 degree, spring rain day doesn't help either.)

    Oh, the opportunities!

    About this time I like to slow down and do some introspection. Where am I headed this year?  What am I going to do with this new year stretched before me?  This new opportunity?  What changes would I like to see happen?  What things MUST happen that I need to prepare for?  How can I grow this year?   

    But before I do all that, I like to look back and see just how far I've come with the previous years' goals.  Did I meet my goals?  Was there positive change and growth?  How did my life change at the end of 2017 from what it looked like at the beginning? 

    I'm not sure how interesting this sort of thing is to read for you, but I've found it is pretty helpful for me.

    How did I do on 2017 goals?  

    Over all, on many of the goals I made last year, I didn't do as well as I had hoped.

    I did really well on my goals until about July.

    I wrote letters, saved money, didn't touch soda,  read aloud to the children, read the Bible to myself on a daily basis, practiced memorizing scriptures, hung art on the walls and curtains in the living room, planned homeschooling better, participated in Hillsdale Colleges' Shakespeare course and listened occasionally to Wes Callihans' Histories.  I even was exercising often.

    And then July hit and BOOM.  I had a particularly excruciating week of no sleep so I drank soda to keep me awake.  It was hot so I stopped exercising.  I was busy so read-alouds stopped and so did personal, daily Bible readings.  We were entertaining more often so I went shopping more often.  Once I drank soda- it was easier to have. I drank it a few more times.  And then December hit and I had fallen so far off the bandwagon, I didn't hesitate to down a coke when I was running on no sleep.  Which happened more times than I care to admit.  I probably had soda 15-20 times last year.  :-(

    I lost ten pounds- gained a few back.  Lost another 6 more lbs- gained a few more back.  I lost well over 17 pounds (the goal) but it doesn't count if it is lost in increments and then gained back.  After Christmas, I am basically back where I first began.  (I don't want to talk about it.)

    I never bought yarn but used only what I had on hand.  :-)

    I set aside money for Matt each paycheck.  I saved $900 for the girls' room re-do through selling stuff we had.  I'll tell you, puppies came in handy there.  ;-)  I investigated insurance and changed car insurance over, saving us money.  I switched our phone company, almost halving that expense but getting faster internet in the process.  (Why didn't I do that sooner?)    I used the envelope system for cash better in the latter half of the year but still not perfectly.   I bought cheap chicken nuggets at the Burger King drive-thru more than I should have.

    I put money toward medical bills, but we made more.  ;-)

    Other things I forgot entirely that I had resolved to do... like I totally forgot about painting the living room or saving money to put towards Andrews' dental work. 

    I remembered the first few months to memorize scripture and then forgot that I had made that a specific goal.  I memorized no where near to 12 passages of scripture but I spent a lot more time in the Word this year than in the last few years.  I read all of the new testament and quite a bit of the old too.

    I kept track of the books I read in a new 'Books Read' journal, which I plan to do from now on- it is fun to see what I have read.  It often feels like I don't accomplish any reading at all- and while my list may not be impressive...I can see that, even if I am just reading a bit each night before bed, it does add up to completed books.

    Here was my 2017 Personal Reading List:

    * Bandersnatch Glyer (Loved!)

    * Killing Lincoln O'Reilly (really interesting)

    * Teaching From Rest MacKenzie (encouraging)

    * Out of the Silent Planet Lewis (fun)

    * The Things We Couldn't Say Eman (loved.  drew me closer to my now deceased Dutch grandparents-they lived inside this story)

    * Perelandra Lewis (fun)

    * A Fine Romance Branch (a fun jaunt through Europe)

    * Destiny of the Republic Millard (really interesting! Looking forward to reading this author more)

    * Peace Like A River Enger (Beautiful.)

    * Gilead Robinson (Wonderful.)

    * That Hideous Strength Lewis (Great)

    * Something Wicked This Way Comes Bradbury (a new genre.  Not my fave.)

    * A Square Meal Ziegelman (good)

    * To Kill A Mockingbird Lee (really good)

    * Coolidge Shlaes (Enlightening.  Coolidge was a great president and man! We should all know more about him.)

    * Hamlet Shakespeare (It's Shakespeare! Enough said.)

    * The Best Yes TerKeurst (meh)

    * The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and The New Deal Murphy (good!)

    * Ghost Boy Pistorious (heart-wrenching and profound.)

    * Queen of the Reformation Ludwig (putting a face on Martin Luthers' Kitty)

    * FDR Goes to War Folsom (enlightening.  FDR was an awful president.  We should all know more about the REAL him.)

    Don't pick on me- I know my list is miniscule.   Still, I am happy to see I finished some books.

    Overall, I feel both disappointed and pleased with my 2017 goals.  In some ways, I utterly failed.  And that is majorly disappointing.  But in and around those failures, I can see definite progress.  Growth.  And I can see how great the benefits were when things were working.  They are very valuable changes. 

    So I know it is worthwhile to keep chugging along.

    I'll be back with 2018 goals next.