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, February 26, 2010

Houston, we HAVE a button!

If you would like to use the Foto Friday button on your blog, simply copy and paste the code below directly into your blog post or sidebar.

Foto Friday Challenge

Thanks to Marine Corps Nomads!!!

(I will be linking this page up in my sidebar for easy access. Check on the sidebar for this post from now on...)

**Edited to add:***

SCRATCH THAT. I got the button to actually GO in my sidebar. woohoo! (I threatened my computer with a virus...and it eventually got scared enough to obey)

Foto Friday: SQUARES

***Sorry it has taken me so long to get things up today....my computer has been/is STILL giving me fits. I guess I should be thankful, newsguys say to expect electricity outtages....so I guess I will take fits over NOTHING. ;-)***

Last week's Photo (er, I mean Foto) Friday challenge was to find some squares. How did you do? Do you like these more concrete themes? Are they offering more opportunity to hone your photography skills than the more abstract concepts?

Personally, I was hoping to look for squares architecturally but, turns out, I was a winter recluse this week, yet again. We have over a foot of snow by now (and no end in sight) so I guess the outdoor squares would have been all covered up anyway! ;-)

Two views of a girl in pink:

~ a girl in gingham

~wrinkled dress against window pan

Two views of my newest obsession:

hummus. A breakfast, lunch and dinner food.

*** See how DIFFERENT an object can be just be changing the point of view or angle??

Then I thought how neat it would be to incorporate a square frame into a shot (well, more rectangular, so sue me!)

What happened next:

My original plan was to have myself and the kiddos within the frame, but that proved to be harder than it looks. Running. throwing children on top of me, positioning frame and never knowing how it was going to wind up.....not pretty.

How I WISH I would have gotten the entire frame in these shots:

Oh well. I guess you should just know your own limitations. ;-)

Who else participated??

This weeks challenge is: CIRCLES!! (I am SO excited about this one!)

In order to participate in these Foto Friday challenges, you must take a photo (or several) pertaining to the challenge WITHIN the challenge week and post it/them to your blog. When you do, please link back to this blog {you may use the button if you like} so that perhaps we can get lots of participants! (Because, you know, the more the merrier!) Then simply link to your Foto Friday post with Mr. McLinky here so that we all can visit you and compare notes...

For those of you new to this blog (or to Foto Friday's in general), each Friday we get a new photo challenge to work on for the week and we post our photos the next Friday and link back up here. Whatever your skill level, the goal is to get behind your camera and to begin, as you practice, to view subjects in a different light. To extend yourself and your concepts and ideas. To create ART instead of just snapping a picture. And to do it all while having FUN.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The comic

There I was, taking a walk, minding my OWN business.... when I hear this eruption of giggles and an "I'm stepping on you, Mama! wah hahahaha I'm steppin' on you! haha hehe ha"

He thinks he is SO funny. He looks like he might even pee his pants. Or bust a gut.

Of course, I think he is pretty funny too.

EXCEPT when I say "Smile so I can get a picture!" and he gives me this look:

That is SO not funny.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Getting back to normal

(Addie Mae helping Papa bring in the wood)
  • After two weeks of sickies, I (and the whole household) are feeling not only better but actually...pretty good!! Which means there is work to get caught back up on. I have no reason to put off tackling a house (or laundry, or dust bunnies) post two weeks of neglect. (Rats.)
  • Yesterday I tackled our bedroom, laundry, the kitchen and dining room. By the evening I was exhausted. Still lots of work to do.
  • An odd thing has happened~ after coming off of that sickness last week, I noticed that I feel much more like ....ME....lately. Not so down-trodden, exhausted, discouraged. In fact, I feel PERKY. (It is an odd feeling to feel like you are someone else entirely than you have always been. Welcome back, Rebecca.)
  • I am at week 14 (okay, two more days...) in this pregnancy which is about the time when nausea subsides. Trust me-I have been counting the days and sure enough~ it IS. Still have it at night but it is entirely manageable~especially knowing it is on its way out completely. In fact, I even have an appetite. I just fixed myself a tuna sandwich with cheddar and lettuce on toast and I could very EASILY eat another one. MUST. HAVE. WILLPOWER.
  • The other day, after everyone snarfed their packed sandwiches on a long car ride, we decided to stop and get an extra snack from the gas station. After looking through the selection, I found a thing of four cookies for $3.39 or a BIG box of NuttyBuddy bar things (24 bars!) for $3.00. Knowing we had a whole van full of hungry souls, I opted for the monstrous box of Nutty Buddy Bars. It was cheaper AND you got a bunch more! Went out to the car and downed a package. I have not had ANYTHING "Little Debbie" in probably years and let me tell you---it was so STINKIN' GOOD. That's when I made the mistake. I looked on the back and saw.... there were 20 GRAMS OF FAT in one package. Um. 20 grams of WHAT?! What did they do? Inject the things with cellulite? How could something so small have SO MUCH fat? I now have a huge box of peanut butter bars in my cupboard that are calling to me, begging to be eaten, and a waistline that threatens abandonment if I do. This IS a predicament. I think I ought to burn them right here and now and be rid of the temptation. Little Debbie~ you are no friend of mine. Making something so delicious yet so inaccessible.
  • I am fully aware that I have missed sharing the last two weeks worth of "crafting until spring" projects. I *HAVE* done them, I just haven't really showed you. I will. Soon. Promise. )Just wait until you see last week's...
  • Speaking of which~ I was SUPPOSED to be working on THIS weeks "Craft the Winter Blues Away" project during rest time (right now) and lookie here. I am blogging.
  • I read The Way Home by Mary Pride over the weekend. In it's entirety. This is surprising to me because I have picked it up no less than five times and always read up until the abortion information and then wound up so disgusted, appalled and mournful that I would close the book and put it away. This time I very nearly did it too. I spent an entire day--not weeping---but sobbing. The book was written in the 70's and even thirty some years ago, the truth was almost too much to handle. (Knowing we are thirty-some years further in the pot makes your stomach wretch.) With lots of head-stroking from Matt and after I had thoroughly saturated his pantleg with tears, I forced myself to read the rest. It was a really good book. REALLY good. I have seen a copy of ALL THE WAY HOME (same author) at the library that I think I will borrow on library day.
  • Two nights agoI prepared some spaghetti and yogurt on Adele's plate and, just for kicks, gave her a spoon. Up until now she has been finger-feeding herself or I would feed her the non-fingerfoods. After giving her the spoon, I went to bring the milk cups to the table, sat down, dished food onto plates and then looked over and....ALL HER FOOD WAS GONE! When your baby stops nursing that is a seriously sad milestone but when they no longer NEED you for foodhelps? That is when they begin the downward spiral of no longer needing you at all. waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh
  • Smootch is four inches long, which I joyfully approximate with my fingers every day. If I were to have an ultrasound, sadly, I am not (boohoo), s/he would look something like this:

    Or THIS (replacing the word FETUS with BABY, thankyouverymuch)

    egads! Isn't s/he DARLING?!

  • I am currently working on a soapbox series on the topic of child discipline in response to several email inquiries over the last few months. For those of you inquiring minds~ I have not forgotten you (or been ignoring you)! They are to come soon. It is a tender topic and one I wanted to take my time on and try to represent *right*(Thank you for your patience) And thanks to you all, I will likely make many enemies. And it will be all your fault. ;-)
  • We are having chicken marsala for supper tonight. I have been craving it for weeks.
    (finally feeling like ME again...what a great feeling.)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Foto Friday: Hearts

Last week's challenge was HEARTS.

Unfortunately, after Matt got sick from Sunday-Tuesday, I got bit by the nasty bug on Wednesday. I have been worthless ever since. Matt was beyond lovely-he took a sick day yesterday so that I could rest (and that is ALL I did, in fact) making supper, doing school, washing dishes, changing diapers, bringing me tea and making me soup. I have never been so pampered in all my life. He is, basically, my hero. I still don't feel 100% but on the road there anyhow, but I do still have my sealegs~not really conducive to scurrying around trying to find hearts to take pictures of this morning.

Needless to say, while I had *GRAND* plans for hearts, none came to fruition.

Thankfully, the sickies have officially made (and finished) their rounds, so hopefully this house will be a happy zone from now on. (yes? please?!?)

Not a single picture taken this week-but I did scrounge one up from strawberry season archives. Simply because I am the *moderator* and HAVE to have atleast ONE picture. Sheesh.

I can practically taste the juicy goodness. (The first sign I am feeling better!) Makes me VERY enthusiastic about the 40 some strawberry starts given to us by some good friends that we transplanted. We have always gone strawberry picking and spent absolute FORTUNES on those nuggets of gold. But this year~ THIS YEAR~ we can pick in our own patch! yay! SPRING, come quickly!

Now-for the TALENTED entries:

In order to participate in these Foto Friday challenges, you must take a photo (or several) pertaining to the challenge WITHIN the challenge week and post it/them to your blog. When you do, please link back to this blog {you may use the button if you like} so that perhaps we can get lots of participants! (Because, you know, the more the merrier!) Then simply link to your Foto Friday post with Mr. McLinky here so that we all can visit you and compare notes...

For those of you new to this blog (or to Foto Friday's in general), each Friday we get a new photo challenge to work on for the week and we post our photos the next Friday and link back up here. Whatever your skill level, the goal is to get behind your camera and to begin, as you practice, to view subjects in a different light. To extend yourself and your concepts and ideas. To create ART instead of just snapping a picture. And to do it all while having FUN.

This week's challenge is continuing in the shapes category: SQUARES

Monday, February 15, 2010

Musicals and Life

What a crazy few days. Actually, whole WEEK.

Why, this very morning we had a chimney fire to contend with. (Fire department came, all was taken care of with no damage to anything---and the children even got an up-close view of about 8 different emergency vehicles that lined our drive.)

Every one in the house has been sick on and off since last week-starting with Andrew who slathered every rug from his bed to the bathroom and plenty of clothes in between, then moving to Adele' who was a quiet upchucker (doing it at night and not complaining about it and, then, rolling around in it all night until morning unbeknownst to us-when crusty vomit-gel made quite an interesting hairstyle. Two mornings, two incredibly bizarre hairstyles.) then moving to Corynn who just lay motionless on the couch for a day and a half and refused to eat and finally wound up with Mattie, who-poor guy- had to make bathroom visits during the night no less than seven times last night. Mercifully, I have felt sick all week but never enough to actually "do the deed", which is (in my book) one of the worst things ever. Maybe I am just good at being nauseous all day and night...or maybe I am next. (please, no!) but nevertheless, I have been caretaker, back-rubber, baby rocker and GROSS laundry doer for an entire week and it is (trust me) wearing on me. Hearing it happen, smelling that grossness, and having to touch it is almost too much for a pregnant woman to bear!

(Hello? Anyone still here?!?)

Even still, there have been some great shining moments in the last week too.

At an "off moment" of sickies (Andrew was over it and no one else had started it) we were able to follow through with a grand suprise Matt and I had planned for the children. A local highschool was putting on a production of Fiddler on the Roof (a favorite of ours---and yes, our CHILDREN) and we thought it would be a nice replacement to our usual Friday night Movie night.

In fact, in honor of such fun-ness, Matt took the whole day off! The children have never been to a production of ANY sort and (since I was BIG into drama and the arts in highschool) it is important to me that my children have access to those sorts of goodies. I would say it was my idea but it was simultaneously Matt's (we both saw the sign seperately and then decided to talk to each other about it which I think it super cool.) We took our niece (her school) with us too. (That's her by Corynn.)

Tickets are hefty (no heftier than usual) when you have three children in tow (never had that in my highschool days!) so I asked if they would give a discount (I was hoping they would let Adele' in for free since she was going to be on my lap) but the ticket guy was awesome and let the children in for free! ALL of them! YAY! DOUBLE, TRIPLE yay!

It was a CRAZY long production, and began at the childrens' bedtime, but the children were enraptured the entire time. This was typical of Corynn:

We sat in the second to the front row, split a bag of fruit snacks during intermission, got a sneak peak at the instrumental "pit" and didn't get out of there until 10:40pm but have talked about it ever since. I expected to take Adele' out at some point but she never made a peep and neither did the other children. I got lots of compliments from the people behind us during intermission and that is ALWAYS nice.

A favorite scene~ the matchmaker song.

This song made me remember that I had videotaped an almost-baby Corynn singing that very song (I told you they like it!) so I am reposting it here. Listening to her little babyvoice was so sweet! I had forgotten! She was 3 1/2 here.

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

And Matt's favorite scene:

Another Shining Moment this week was on Saturday, when my Beloved celebrated another year of getting older and wiser. He usually waits until he birthday to shave his winter beard, and does so with not-too-few complaints but THIS year, he surprised me by shaving it off almost an entire week early! I can't tell you how excited I was (hence, Friday's kissy face picture-yeehaw).

He got himself a copy of the Backyard homestead, some work lights, and a newly crocheted hat (more pictures to come of that.)

Taking note of gifts 329-360)

*this high calling

*washing machines

* family date nights

*a flaming, redhot chimney pipe~ fire, blessedly contained

*the stench of ashes, but safety

*a greedy, expectant calf jumping around excitedly when he sees his grain

*flowers, hoped for but unexpected

*kind strangers who share encouraging words when they don't HAVE to

*brown paper packages

*letters in the mailbox!

*fresh sheets

*the smell of baby shampoo on wispy white hair

*sausage gravy

*a tea chest

*Andrew's constant companion...the bungee cord

*watching and reliving bits of home-video history

*bright red yarn

*a good friends' Light, still yet to lay eyes on

* Corynn and Andrew, belting out a song

* the beginning of a new trimester (and still in normal jeans!**)

*longer days, bit by bit

* uninterrupted sleep

* musicals

* pinkish lips

* construction paper hearts

* the crisp feel of a new toothbrush

*painting itty bitty fingernails

*33 years of baby-turned man-turned husband then father. A worthwhile life.

* seed catalogs

*Mattie here during the day, even if he IS sick

*hopes for spring, it IS coming, isn't it!?!

holy experience

The birthday Feast and the greatest challenge ever

We have a tradition in our home: birthday person picks their dinner (and cake). This tradition has been a fun one to implement. It is cheaper than fine dining but reason to enough to splurge on meals and get all fancy, and it has also forced me to extend my own cooking capabilities~not to mention the outworking of which is gift in and of itself. All of these things say nothing about the immense pleasure of being doted on like royalty.

For feasting, I always bring out a new tablecloth and do some special napkin folds. I *like* to have fresh flowers, but since it is winter and none were available~ I improvised with brown ribbon as a table runner, some stones and a few pictures of Matt scattered as the centerpiece. Another essential for feasting?! Water goblets. Water goblets are an absolute MUST.

In the beginning of this tradition, Matt's requests were simple (looking back, perhaps that is because I was such a novice in the kitchen in those days) but lately, he has been getting more...inventive. One year I made veal parmesan and for the cost of the veal he OUGHT to have felt like royalty. I had never made veal (not exactly in our budget to eat that way every night) and was more than a bit apprehensive but turns out... He said it was the best veal he had ever had. THIS year, though, I wasn't sure if I could pull it off. He asked for salmon.


I hate fish. I hate the smell of fish. The look of fish. The smell of fish. The thought of fish. And definitely the smell of fish. And I feel that adamant in my non-pregnant state, let alone in this constant-nausea state. I can't walk by the fish department of a local grocery without holding my breathe. But I was DETERMINED. (I was also very afraid I was going to be sick.) My goal, of course, was to show him I loved him SO MUCH that I would do the unthinkable. COOK FISH.

I spent the morning buying groceries and every moment after (until dinner) in the kitchen.

I spent $34.00 at the grocery store. I bought strawberries, a mango, oranges, cilantro, a salmon filet, TWO london broils (B1G1F), an artisan loaf, and romaine lettuce. We had the wine already. We dined like KINGS for a price far less than the cost of a fancy restaurant (WITHOUT the wine) plus I only used ONE london broil and only half of the remaining ingredients (except salmon) so we are enjoying those still.

A frugal, meaningful birthday gift? A homemade FEAST.

The full menu:

Hors d' oeuvre:
Fruit salsa with cinnamon tortillas
First Course:
Caesar salad with freshly grated parmesan and homemade dressing
Main Course:
Salmon with horshradish cream sauce
London Broil (for the rest of us-and him too)
Crash Hot Potatoes
Steamed broccoli
From-scratch Yellow Cake with Peanut Butter frosting.

And of course~ a DELICIOUS white wine. Oh MY, that was good.

The end result of the salmon? The first five bites were taken with eyes closed and audible groans of pleasure and those groans continued until the end. He declared it the best salmon he ever had! (and Matt doesn't just *say* that, you know?!) Chaaaaa-CHING!

I did it!!! Without being sick!!! (but I unashamedly held my breathe and prayed real hard)

I served the "courses" separately (just like fine-dining) and only took a picture of that salmon (for proof). I wish I would have gotten a picture of that bruschetta. SO beautiful and SOOOOOOOO delicious. oh my.

Because of EVERYTHING I had going on all at once, I iced and decorated the cake in five minutes. It wasn't exceptionally pretty but it was exceptionally edible.

I thought it was very precious that when Matt saw all the work I had done on his behalf, he stole away upstairs and changed into a suit. He has such a special way of encouraging people in their pursuits.

He is truly charming, and SO worth the work. (and the smell of fish.) My dearest birthday boy.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Foto Friday: Loving

Last week's photo challenge was Loving.

First off: can everyone who participates in Foto Friday just anticipate the Mclinky coming up by noon on Fridays? It seems impossible lately, to get this post right up in the morning and I don't want anyone twiddling thumbs in the meantime (or myself struggling with guilt on keeping everyone waiting). If I get it up earlier, awesome (my day must be just a chugging). But I am going to start giving myself until noon just to keep my own sanity. ;-) Besides, then I can avoid riddling these posts with apologies and excuses. And that would be a relief to all, ain't so? Thanks

Now, for the REAL post.

I had lots of great ideas about loving (most involved red and pink hearts, hearts in food, hearts in hands, blowing hearts, etc.) and absolutely zilch as far as motivation. Truth is, I just didn't FEEL like taking any pictures this week.

The same is true for all the inspiring Valentines I have yet to make, all the gorgeous decorations I have yet to create, all the inspiring projects I have yet to start and all the inspiring books not yet read. This week was a hard week for getting motivated to do anything except make dinner, do school, wash dishes and go to bed. :-(

This morning Matt got to go work a bit later than usual (and is coming home a bit earlier) so I got to take a picture that I have been wanting to take for months so as to make myself a necklace.

This one:

And then-just for fun, I turned that picture into another picture. Truth is, no matter what I am doing throughout the day I am always thinking about my love; he is ALWAYS on my mind.

I like the idea of a portrait within a portrait and would like to experiment with this concept more in the future. Perhaps you will be seeing many more thought bubbles. ;-)

Now scroll down as you imagine lots of heart-filled, red and pink photos of loving/Valentine's day HERE.

How did everyone else portray loving this week? Did you challenge yourself in some way? I can pretty much guarantee you did better than me!

In order to participate in these Foto Friday challenges, you must take a photo (or several) pertaining to the challenge WITHIN the challenge week and post it/them to your blog. When you do, please link back to this blog {you may use the button if you like} so that perhaps we can get lots of participants! (Because, you know, the more the merrier!) Then simply link to your Foto Friday post with Mr. McLinky here so that we all can visit you and compare notes...

For those of you new to this blog (or to Foto Friday's in general), each Friday we get a new photo challenge to work on for the week and we post our photos the next Friday and link back up here. Whatever your skill level, the goal is to get behind your camera and to begin, as you practice, to view subjects in a different light. To extend yourself and your concepts and ideas. To create ART instead of just snapping a picture. And to do it all while having FUN.

I am taking a break from the list (which is full of abstract ideas like breathing, dying, etc.) and going to suggest some more concrete challenges for a while in hopes that motivation will come more easily. These simple, concrete themes might work well for spending more time on experimenting with angles, positioning and focus and less time on figuring out a way to portray something abstract. We will start with shapes.

This week will be HEARTS. (Maybe I can get my heart fix in afterall?!)

Let's start with colors

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow day.

I have been quietly relieved, as I would visit blogs and see photos of blizzard/snow-burying conditions, with our bits of frozen brown earth and grayish grass remnants. I tried to bury my own feelings of impending dread, knowing that it would eventually head our way.

It has.

The sky has been blowing the tiny, steady flashes of white since last night with no plans to stop anytime soon. Steady, small flakes always get you worried.

It sure is pretty~ I'll give it that much...but let's just say I was ready for spring LAST month, so it had better not expect any welcome party.

Thankfully, the day before the storm, I was able to get out into the fresh air for a while. I went on a walk~ a blessedly fresh, bright, and not-too-freezing walk with the childer. I can't tell you how wonderful it felt.

Except, of course, when the children played hide and seek and Corynn's FABULOUS hiding spot was a burdock patch. (Hello?!? Have I taught you nothing?!?) She's been getting into all sorts of pickles lately. Some more painful than others. (I won't even tell you about the recent hammer "incident".) It was a good spot, I'll give her that---except that when she was found I had to pull upwards of 15 burdocks out of her gnarled, tangly hair. I honestly thought I might have to cut it....here was just one side:

But we all enjoyed our time outside. I become a recluse in winter and since my children are my shadows, it unfortunately rubs out on them. Even if they may not want it to.

Now that there is three or four inches on the ground and only more still falling, the only strolls we are taking are around the house~which incidently, Adele' enjoys just as much. (I got rid of a dolly stroller long ago because~why? when you can have the real thing?!)

Especially when it is JUST about time for her droopy lids to close for a nap and her fingers are pleasantly warm and supple, her hand comfortably behind her head and Corynn tips the stroller up to be like a "pram"...who can resist it then?

So thankful for a place out of the snow, a stocked cupboard and no place to go.

Makes the snow almost enjoyable. *almost*

Snow Day...except....errrr....we homeschool.

A Tale of Sir Galahad, played out in playdoh.

A tale in which, Sir Galahad is on the hunt for fellow knight Bors who is, incidentally, over the hill being attacked by a vicious Hydra. A simple fisher-boy rides along (for fun?) and ends up casting his fishing net over the hydra's (many) heads, distracting it just until Sir Galahad can take the final, death-serving blow to the great beasts' loins.

Ah yes-children's primers. So....innocent. So...simple. So....Bloody.

I helped with the hydra (which looks far less vicious than I had intended). Corynn created the knights and young lad Roy, the fisherman boy. Andrew did the scenery. That boy makes fences out of anything, apparently even pencils and playdoh.

Even a youth can be of great service. That net sure did come in handy.

Of course Sir Galahad had the strength of ten men because of his pure heart. And after the conquer He refuses any spoils because he works for God, not the praises of man.

The good guys prevail, as it should be.

So there you have it. Not all good messages have to come from little lambs hopping cheerfully down the lane or from that Arthur character (what IS he, anyway?!) passing out Valentines.

Sometimes a good message can come from spewing blood and a good swordfight, afterall.

Speaking of spewing blood~that spewage is particularly impressive. Strange, how cheerful and unaffected the Hydra still seems....

Another good message:

Homeschooling with bedhead is our perogative and our RIGHT.