I was amazed at all the questions I got last week. Thanks for helping to keep me preoccupied! I don't think there is a single thing left to KNOW about me, after answering them all. (and to think: I wondered if I would get any questions at all!) In fact, I got SO many questions I split them up into two different posts. The Question & Answer Post (this one) and the Q&A: Family Edition (this one will cover all home educating and religious questions) still to come.
One thing is perfectly clear though---I need to clear up a major preconceived notion...
I wish I were, truly. But I am not. Just to make that clear,though I wasn't asked,I am going to tell you 10 things I hate about myself. Volunteering the information, if you will.
#10. I hate how impatient I am.
#9. I hate that I spend time on the computer when I could be doing more productive things.
#8. I hate that sometimes I don't start thinking about supper until about 40 minutes before time, and then complain about there being nothing to fix. (Even though the cupboards are full of things that will take too long.)
#7. I hate that I spend more time judging other people than I do judging myself.
#6. I hate that I sometimes catch myself giving my children dirty looks when they are misbehaving, instead of training them with a kind face.
#5. I hate that I grumble about my life, even inwardly, when I have it so good.
#4. I hate that I can be selfish.
#3. I hate that I sometimes interrupt people when they are talking because I am so excited to talk to them.
#2. I hate that I struggle with self-discipline.
#1. I hate that I get mad at Matt for not giving me lovenotes and flowers, when he does things like hold my hand and tell me he loves me without me asking.
But I *DO* do all those things. (And it was hard to admit them...) And a whole lot of other very ugly things. No, I am not perfect. I can't do it all. I don't have it all together.
I am just trying to make it through each day a wee bit better than I did the day before.
There. That is said. Now-on to the questions.
- I have read your blog for a long time now and I respect your opinions very much. I am then very curious to know what your opinion is on Halloween. I'll be honest, I was a bit surprised to see you busy with costumes for All Hallows Eve, assuming that you would not "celebrate" this type of event.
Ah yes, Halloween. I recognize that this holiday gets most Christians feathers all rustled and talons at the ready than any other holiday. Ever. So I must tread carefully and duck quickly. Our view of Halloween is this, in a very small nutshell. Christ has conquered sin and death and the world; the Son of Man has dealt the blow to the head of the snake. It is our job as Christians, to live our lives in recognition to this fact and to rejoice in it always (and again I say, REJOICE!). This means, that whatever REASON pagans use for celebrating a day (whatever the day may be)---the day is God's and always will be, whether they like it or not. So, as Christians, we can REJOICE and CELEBRATE and have all sorts of fun because we are on the winning team! This is no less true on Halloween. Frankly, perhaps it is MORE true. As Christians, perhaps, we can declare Christ the Conquerer more loudly to those around us by taking back a pagan holiday and joyously roaming the streets or eating s'mores over bonfires in costume than we can by hiding behind dark porch lights. Why let heathens have all the fun? What is more Christian than acknowledging that death is overcome, and celebrating it by having a grand 'ole time? God is not a God of stoicism.
We love candy around here. We don't ever need excuses for playing dress-up. And we LOVE ourselves some caramel apples and bonfires. God has not declared these things wicked, so neither shall I. Our family does not do evil costumes (putting on the uniform of the "other team") and our family recognizes the importance of keeping the Lords' Day his own, so we wouldn't go trick or treating on the Sabbath. That said, we know Christians who flatout refuse to acknowledge the day and those who throw parties for it. We know Christians who go trick or treating regardless of whether it falls on the Sabbath and we know Christians who will only acknowledge the day by dressing up like John Calvin or biblical characters. I love them all. The important thing in my mind, is not for us Christians to lose the unity, by our own personal convictions on the matter, that we have been given by the great Unifier. Christians need to love one another, be gracious, and forgive one another, even when they disagree, because we don't want any chinks in our armour.
If you are interested in reading a bit more on the topic, and said more eloquently to boot, check this out and this out. And this.
- On Apples~I heard that most of the orchards around here had a bad crop...where did you get yours?
I have an inside source that a friend uses (but won't share with me) and she takes my orders and I pick them up after she has picked them up from the secret place. It sounds all very shady, but it's just apples people. A whole lotta Amish apparently found out about this place and are ordering all the excess, and I think that is why all the secrecy is called for. Because they may not be available if too many people know about it.
- One more thing....lol....I started canning this year! I was so excited to start. I have wanted to learn how for the last few years and I finally just did it. Now I am addicted. :o) I would love to know what things you can. I know you have posted that you have done the grapes and peaches. What else? Thanks a million!
I have been HORRIBLE about blogging my canning list, though I have kept track on a piece of paper. I just updated the sidebar on my blog, so take a gander over there -----> to see what I have put up so far. (And good for you for starting!)
- Were you planning to make grape jam or jelly eventually? I've considered making juice and freezing it, then pulling it out when the house is very cold to process in to jam. A friend of mine had done that and she said it makes for a wonderful January activity. :0)
- Canning meat? Did you get a pressure canner?!?
- A request for sweet pan chili, now posted.
- A request for my tuna fish recipe, now posted.
- A request for zucchini recipes WAY back from summertime (for shame), now posted
- A request for peanut butter popcorn (balls), now posted.
- First, How did you learn to write so well?
- Second, how do you take such nice pictures?
- Third, how did you get your blogger buzz going? :)
- If you could do anything and get paid for it (that whole do what you love...love what you do) what would it be?
- What are 3 of your pet peeves?
1. Televisions used as babysitters or to "get those pesky kids to shut up".
2. People who talk with food in their mouths (nobody wants to see that, people!)
3. that every wall in this house is a weird shade of super pale something (the WORST is the almost green school room). Hideous. WHAT IS WRONG WITH WHITE?!? It matches EVERYTHING.
- Name something quirky about yourself....
- I'd love to know how you manage to get so much done with four little ones to look after! I am in awe! Plenty of people asked me this.
Long Answer: I give myself attainable goals (to-do lists) and make sure I get the most important things done first. School must be a priority. Food must be a priority. Clothes, a priority. If it takes me a week to spiff up the bathroom sink, so be it~ if the important things get done, I am happy. I never go to bed with every single thing checked off my list. So I always go to bed thanking God for tomorrow and another chance.
- I'd also love to know if you sew/craft when your children are resting or are you able to do any of it when they are up? My mum tells me she always used to knit and sew with me nearby right from when I was a baby. She says that is why my sister and I are so keen on crafts ourselves because we would always see her doing it. Sounds reasonable, but I can't seem to manage it when my littles are up!
(For the record: it is so unfair and equally impossible to chose just ONE of most of these things...forgive me if I say more than one)
- What is your favorite book of the Bible? Proverbs is the book that I am drawn to. It speaks to me so beautifully and so completely and strengthens me through this season of my life.
- Devotional? I am not a "devotional" type person, but maybe that is because I have never found a good one. The ones I have tried seem to be sappy and rather subjective. I prefer to read the Bible straight and then listen to or read sermons/lectures/expositions on the texts. I do like, very much, Charles Spurgeons MORNING and EVENING though.
- Hero of the faith? I honestly don't know the answer to that question. Guess that will give me something to seek out....
- What is your favorite potluck dish? I never bring the same thing twice. I like trying new recipes but I love dishes that can be presented well.
- Favorite treat or dessert? Cheesecake (though I thought I hated cheesecake up until about 5 years ago.) I generally lean toward the flavored ones like caramel or chocolate (or chocolate caramel), or pumpkin, or mocha. (Oh man...why am I so hungry all of the sudden?)
- Favorite drink? Hot Pomegranate tea in winter, orange julius in summer, strawberry daquiri with whipped chream just about whenever.
- Favorite hymn? I grew up singing psalms instead of hymns and am only beginning to learn hymns. I will always prefer the psalms, they hold a very special place in my heart. My favorite psalm (for singing) is Psalm 127A, which was sung at my wedding and my Oma's wedding.I also love 40E and 119E.
Lots of book questions:
- Favorite novel? I don't really read novels anymore. I used to all the time when I was in my early 20's. I loved Jeneatte Oke, Beverly Lewis and Lori Wick. I remember the first novel I fell in love with was Sophie's Choice by Lori Wick. With those very selective times when I can read for ME, I fill up on all the non-fiction I can get. I am a non-fiction girl all the way.
- favorite non-fiction book? The Family by J.R. Miller, Little House in the Ozarks by Laura Ingalls Wilder, For the Childrens' Sake by Susan Shaeffer Macauley.
- Do you especially enjoy any certain Christian authors? (besides C.S.Lewis, of course) Favourite author? autobiography? memoirs? Besides the ones already listed, I also really enjoy books by Douglas and Nancy Wilson. As far as memoirs/autobiographies, I really enjoy reading memoirs about people who lived during the Great Depression. I am anxiously awaiting the Autobiography of George Mueller to arrive from interlibrary loan. I have a feeling I will love it.
- Favorite children's book? The Ox Cart Man. Heckedy Peg. A Time to Keep. Pelles New Suit. (Oh so MANY more I could name....)
- who is your hero? Does it make me a bad person not to have one? I truly admire certain things about certain people and aspire to be more like them, but I can't say that I have a particular hero.
- favorite colour (to wear, decorate, and in general?) I love pink. I am a true girlie girl. I also love bright red. I am in love with the combination of deep red and light robin's egg blue and dream of having an entire coordinated room in that color combination.
- season? I love them all, though I love winter decidedly less than all the others. I love the comfort foods of fall and baking in the morning to warm up the house. I love the bonfires and golden sunshine and kicking leaves as I walk. I love those quiet moments of curling up with a book and yarn in the winter and warming hands with a steaming cup of cocoa. I love planning the garden in spring and that first drippy day of wearing no coats. I love it when all the grass bursts open and I finally see color, after a season of white, and it seems 100 times more brilliant than ever before. But if I had to choose~ it is the summer that captivates my soul most of all. I love walking barefoot and feeling the sunshine on my skin. I love just heading outside without having to tie shoelaces or button up coats. I love keeping the doors open all day long and sitting in the grass near the garage where Matt is working. I love having cutting flower bouquets for the table every week, and fireflies and fruit smoothies and late bedtimes and every meal eaten outside. Yes, summer would be my favorite.
- flower? Lilacs and hydrangea.
- childhood memory? playing in the hayloft of the barn in my PA home. It was a schoolroom, a store, a house, a place to hide the penny candy I bought from the Turkey Hill down the road, and a mysterious Trixie-Beldonish hideaway for me and my girlhood fantasies.
- Favorite movie? Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, A Mirror has Two Faces, Hello Dolly, the Illusionist.
- Where would you most like to take your kids on vacation if money were no object? The Grand Canyon and The Creation Museum
- If money were no object how many kiddos would you have? :) Money IS no object. Not because we are rich (HA!) but because we are trying to be faithful. If ever we feel we can't afford more children, we'll get rid of the internet first! ;-)
- What Thanksgiving traditions do you have? Matt and I were just talking about this recently. None presently. Up until now, besides one Thanksgiving a few years back, Thanksgiving has been a holiday where we alternate visiting at the in-laws and is pretty much just about hanging out and eating. Which to me is tragic. (The hanging out and eating being the be-all and end-all, not the part about family)
- What recommendations would you give to someone who hasn't cooked a Thanksgiving meal in many years? (and it can't contain any poultry...) Research and plan your menu far in advance. Do as much as you can in advance too. Maybe pork roast with apples and cornbread stuffing?
- If you could travel...where? why? To Africa---to adopt some Newmans. Unfortunately, this is where money IS an object.
- I would like to know how you organize your children's clothing? I keep clothing to be passed down from child to child. I keep these bins in the attic. One bin per size per gender. I label them like 12-18m G (for girl). or Newborn-3/6 month B (boy). I have about three bins of 2T-4T girl things (not sure how that happened) so I will be going through those soon and setting the excess aside for a a yardsale in spring. I also keep one bin for boy and one for girl that is for the NEXT size, so when I am yard saling, or after Christmas clearance shopping, I can prepare for Corynn and Andrew to grow out of their clothes and into larger sizes without the necessity to pay full price for things-since they are the first of the bunch to need them.
For every day clothes they are wearing right now, the girls' dresses hang in a closet. Adele uses a small dresser, Corynn has her clothes in those plastic pullout drawer things inside the closet. They each have four small drawers: 1st drawer is tights, socks, undies and pjs. 2nd drawer is shirts. 3rd drawer is pants/skirts. 4th drawer is sweaters. Andrew has a two drawer dresser with an open bottom. 1st drawer is shirts. 2nd drawer is pants. Bottom is pjs, undies, ties and socks. He also has a plastic drawer in the closet to hold sweaters. Judah has the armoire, but it sits 3/4 empty. :-) I sometimes wish I had all the same gender so I could just move things from one drawer to another but as children grow out of things I put them in the upstairs bins and bring down the next size.
- Also, what does your food budget look like? Matt gets paid twice a month and when he does, I put $85.00 in our grocery envelope. That $85.00 must last us until the next pay period, 2-2.5 weeks later. It is a challenge, especially lately since all my children have gone on a simultaneous growth spurt (six hollow legs are not fun to fill), but it is working.
I also have a "Preparedness" envelope that I allot $65.00 for each pay period. This envelope is for stocking up on food in case of emergencies, buying bulk, or buying things to help with preparedness (purchasing a dehydrator or canning jar lids, for instance). I use this envelope for bulk meat purchases (for example: I am buying a case of chicken breasts for a bit over $1.00 a pound this week which will be $54.00. That will come out of our preparedness envelope, since no way I could take that much out of our grocery budget without starving the whole family.) Whatever I don't use from our Preparedness envelope gets rolled over to the next pay period. I *never* have leftovers from the grocery envelope.
I am not sure if, given our family size, this is a LOT of money or a little, but for now, it is working for us.
- Have you ever felted anything? nope.
- Who taught you how to crochet? This lady. A girl who moved four hours away from everyone she knew found out from the Pastor of her new church that a woman within the congregation not only lived near her, but also loved to make things. So that first Sunday, the girl met the lady. The girl said, "I hear you love to make things. Do you knit or crochet?" And since the lady is the one who ought to have a blog entitled Renaissance Woman, naturally she said yes. Then, the brazen girl said, "I...um....I was...ummmm...wondering. Maybe you could teach me?! I mean, if you have better things to do I understand...but...um...I have always wanted to learn." Of course, this lady, besides being good at pretty much everything, is KIND to boot and agreed. The girl was me. The lady was Nanci. She is now one of my dearest friends. I often wonder, though, what she must have been thinking inside when I asked her that. Because while she is kind and sweet, she is also much more quiet and reserved than I am. I don't know that she EVER would have said no, but I probably caused her all sorts of worry and shock that day.
- What intimidates you so much about knitting? I learn best when I have an actual person showing me the ropes, not looking at illustrations in books-and I don't have anyone who will teach me here. Dropped stitches intimidate me and those lovely, amazingly beautiful cables both give me goosebumps of joy and cause me to perspire.
- Have you crocheted anything on a large scale (like adult size)? I am working on a queen-sized afghan right now, that is the largest project I have tackled so far. I have not yet been brave enough to try any adult-sized fitted things (sweaters, cardigans, etc.) But I have a BUNCH queued in my Ravelry account, when I am finally ready. ;-)
- And as one who is in awe, as are many others, of how much you accomplish in one day, I'd love to know how much sleep you generally get-? And up early to tend to animals solo each day? At dawn?
- how on earth do you take such great photos of yourself? i realize you don't take them all -- but remember that wedding ring quilt photo? How on earth did you manage to lie down and take a straight shot of your feet? And does Mattie take the portrait shots (such as the one above and the 'about me' photo) or do you somehow do it? and, if so, do you have a secret life as a contortionist?
- If you could do something very out of character and out of the ordinary, WHAT would you do?? :)
This was the hardest question of all for me. Because I would do *lots* of things, but they all seem to be IN my character. I would love to go dancing with Matt. I love dancing. Matt hates it, so even when there is opportunity, I am dancing alone. I guess it would be out of character for MATT, so that counts right? For all those who hoped I would say jump out of an airplane or go bungee-jumping---> I am TERRIFIED of heights. And, of course, terrified of dying. NOT a good combination, then.
- If you could change anything in the past...what would it be?
The first year I was married, I heard through the grapevine that a very dear friend of mine got pregnant out of wedlock and put the baby up for adoption. I wrote her letters and she never responded. I loved her but have never heard from her again. The last time I heard OF her, she had left the church. My biggest regret in life is not going to her the very moment I heard and inviting her to come live with us, and helping her raise her baby. I can't imagine the affect giving her baby up had on her. I love her still to this day and regret not being able (or trying harder) to help her when she needed it most.
- You seem to have a relatively laid back approach to pregnancy. Any advice for getting through? (shhh...we're trying)
I try very, very hard not to take things for granted. The way I get through is I try not to think about it AT ALL. I try not to yearn and hope for babies (which I fail at miserably about the time my babies turn a year old) and I try not to avoid them when I am newly postpartum, just because I am afraid of having them so close together. I try to let God do His thing without my interference, either way. When I am pregnant, I always think to myself "God is So good.But this may be your last Rebecca~ enjoy it, and if it is your last wee one, God is STILL good."
- Details on your camera! I want to upgrade for Christmas this year but have no idea where to start! I own a Canon Rebel XT. I am very hard on it but it continues to forgive me. It is beginning to glitch up on me, but I blame myself not it. I get occasional bouts of camera lust, but am always thankful for my Rebel. It's a good camera.
- Also, what is your favourite meal? Chicken Marsala OR Chicken Alfredo with garden veggies.
- Favourite way to relax? make something. Fall into Matties' arms. Take pictures. (Not necessarily in that order...) Oh yeah- Get Matt to lip nibble the bridge of my nose...that does it every time.
- And how do you handle television/movies, etc., with your family? Is there a place for that in your day?
Friday Nights are the exception. We watch a movie while eating pizza.
I hate televisions being used to "shut the kids up for a while" (see: pet peeves) so much that I refuse to turn on a movie unless I am willing to watch it with them. We don't watch cartoon movies, but rather borrow/rent movies with real people. That has always been our preference. I can actually *feel* myself losing brain cells when I watch cartoons, so I don't. So our children can sing word for word songs from Hello Dolly and Fiddler on the Roof but don't have a clue what Ice Age or Toy Story is about.
I will say, that when Matt is away we watch movies (or parts of movies) a bit more frequently. This is mainly a diversion for me.
- And perhaps this is way too nosy, but you've recently mentioned your husband's goal and efforts to achieve it -- I'm so curious about that --
- Oh, before I go, I was wondering if you have any projects picked out for Christmas gifts. I’d love to see a post on your blog about it if you have a chance and/or the inclination.
Quite a few of you asked this question and the answer is an emphatic YES. I have plenty of handmade gifts to make this year and will be posting on them as I finish them. In fact, I just realized I posted many of the gifts I made last year-EXCEPT the one I made for my own children! (oops)
- You recently mentioned that you are borrowing the farm and could never own it. I'm curious as to why - is it just not for sale and never will be, is it too expensive, is it not in the area where you would like to live, or is there another reason.
- Curious as to whether your parents and/or in-laws live nearby & how often you and your children see them?
- So...I was reading your love story (soooo CUTE, by the way, I love it!), and I was disappointed at where it ended. I want to know more details! =) Like all the way up until the wedding. =) So-you'd like to hear more, eh? I can tell you, it turns into an A+ genuine soap opera right after the point where I left off.
- How in the world do you find time to blog? You're a mother of four, for pete's sake.
- When is Foto Friday coming back? I miss it. I heart faces is just too intimidating.
- Do you ever get really bummed..you know, just looking at your husband and saying " he just doesn't get it"! He doesn't know the strain I am under with a new baby nursing and caring for a two year old and two others, and I am drained! And I am certainly not in the mood to get on my blog and let everyone know it! Does that ever happen to you?
When my feathers get rustled about something he does or does not do, I *try* (try, being the operative word) to flip the coin and show him grace. Because, while men often don't understand the strains that women are under, we women sometimes forget about the strains our men are under.
He doesn't know what it is like to be puked on five times in the night, or what it is like to cook supper, then watch everyone else eat it while you are stuck nursing the baby, then do the dishes after an already exhausting day-when all you want to do is collapse into bed. But neither do we really "get" what it is like to wake up early every morning and leave home for 10 hours~away from the people that you love and the work that you love to do. We don't feel the pressure of earning money enough to support an entire family, we don't have bosses breathing down our necks, and we can't know what it is like to have a to-do list for home as soon as the to-do list from work is over. Basically, whenever your husband drives you nuts-remember, you can drive him nuts too. And then thank God that you both are forgiving. ;-)