Wednesday, January 30, 2008

WFMW: Favorite Childhood Books

A few years ago a friend of mine gave me a precious gift. It was a copy of a Little Golden Book from the early 1970's entitled Buffy and the New Girl. (No it wasn't about a vam*pire slayer, it was based on the show Family Affair!) As I began to thumb through the pages of that book my eyes filled with tears as I was instantly transported back to my early childhood, remembering the hours I spend in my Nana's lap as she read me that book over. and over. and over. No, it wasn't a classic work of children's literature, but I loved it, especially the pictures. I remember one illustration that I would stare at as a tiny girl. I liked the way the girls smiled at each other. I liked Buffy's smile. I loved her friend's pretty, long red ponytail.

It had been hard for my friend to find that book, but I mentioned it in passing one day and she remembered it. Our copy of it was long gone (I'm not sure my grandmother even realized how much I loved it. But I guess it wasn't the book I loved, but what it represented... being loved and read to.) My sweet friend scoured E*bay for it and gave it to me for my birthday, more than 30 years after it had gone out of print, just to give me that memory! Today would've been Nana's 100th birthday. I'm not sure what my friend paid for that little book, but the memories it brings back are priceless to me, especially on days like today.

A few years ago I began looking on Amazon, Alibris, and other book sites that have random, used, out-of-print books and buying duplicates of some of my kids' favorite childhood books while they are still available cheaply. I've recently found Dinner with Fox, and Could I Keep Him?, two of the pop-up books they used to repeatedly request and which we wore out. There is a copy for each of them on the bookshelf now, for them to read and enjoy with their own children, or just for that walk down memory lane like I had that day.

Sometimes it's not the great works of literature that build memories, and you don't know how long some of their favorite childhood books might be in print... so pick up some copies while they're still cheap.

Works for me!

For more ideas, visit Shannon. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, January 28, 2008

"I can assure you that months and months of heartrending anguish are before you, whether you will or not. Yet take the bitter cup with both hands, and sit down to your repast. You will soon learn a secret, that there is sweetness at the bottom."
~Adoniram Judson, missionary to Burma

Menu Monday

"Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
For He has satisfied the thirsty soul,
And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good."
Psalm 107:8-9

B: apple turnovers
L: baked potatoes, salad
D: chicken pot pie, Easy Pineapple Cake

B: eggs and toast, fruit
L: taquitos, refried beans, corn, fruit
D: Crock Pot lasagna (from FIFI but similar to this), green beans, salad, bread

B: biscuits and gravy, fruit
L: Pita Pizzas (with "hidden" spinach) Deceptively Delicious p. 96, fruit
D: Hay and Straw (recipe below),salad, hot rolls

B: jelly toast and bacon, fruit
L: lunch out
D: leftovers

B: oatmeal with blueberries
L: YOYO (you're on you're own)
D: Slow-Cooked Corn Chowder, salad, bread

"Hay and Straw"

I always make this when we've got leftover ham. My family loves this!

1 (16 oz.) package linguine
1 T. margarine
2 cups cubed (or julienned) cooked ham
3 cups frozen sweet peas, thawed
1 1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Melt margarine or butter over medium heat in large skillet and saute ham for about three minutes. Add peas and heat through. Drain linguine, transfer to skillet or serving dish and toss with ham and pea mixture. In a sauce pan, combine parmesan cheese, garlic powder and cream. Add salt and pepper. Toss with pasta mixture. This should make about 8 servings.

For more menus and recipes, please visit Laura. Have a great week!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thursday Thirteen: Glorifying God

I haven't done this in awhile, and I've been feeling "bloggy" this week, so I thought I'd do a Thursday 13!

I've been s-l-o-w-l-y reading and working my way through Martha Peace's book Attitudes of a Transformed Heart. I say slowly because it's a lot to think about and I've been completing all of the study questions. I highly, highly recommend this book. It is steeped in Scripture and solid theology. God is truly using this book to transform my heart! This week I studied ways to glorify God.

According to Peace, here are 13 Biblical Ways to Glorify God ("call attention to His worth and to proclaim His excellencies.")

1. Aim your life exclusively at God's glory.
* Are you content to be outshined by others as long as God is glorified?
*Are you hurt when God and His Word are dishonored?

2. Worship the God of Glory.
*Do you think about the words of hymns and truly sing them to the Lord?

3. Sincerely confess your sins.
* Do you find yourself sinning less and less, but being more and more grieved over sins you do commit?
* Do you exalt God by taking sin against Him seriously?

4. Believe in Him for salvation and throughout your life.
*Do you trust God with your life and your loved ones?
*Do you believe that He is good?

5. Give God glory through bearing fruit for Him.
*Is doing what God wants you to do more important than what you want to do?
*Are you just as obedient (to God) at home as you are in public?

6. Cultivate grateful contentment wherever God has placed you.
*Do you believe that God is the only one who can know how you can glorify Him the most?

7. Grow spiritually.
*Does your life show others what God's power can do?
*Would unbelievers who know you say that you are changing?

8. Stand up for God's truth.
*Do you speak up regarding God's truth or are you like the person who says, "I have faith, but it is private?"
*When you do confront error, is it done in love with a gentle tone of voice or is it done in sinful pride to prove that you are right?

9. Cultivate zeal for his name. Zeal is a mixture of love and anger- an intense love for God and anger at sin.
*Would people say of you, "She is sincere in her faith?"
*Do you pray and ask God to grant people repentance because you want Him to be glorified in their lives?

10. Witness to the lost.
*Can you give (at a moment's notice) a good, clear, G0d-honoring gospel presentation? Can you readily find verses?

11. Be willing to suffer or die for God.
*Would you consider it a privilege to be used for His glory through suffering?

12. Direct all credit given to us on to God.
*When someone praises you or thanks you do you think, "Lord, this is really a sacrifice of praise to you. You deserve all the credit and glory for this gift or talent you gave me?"
*Do you realize that apart from God, you can do nothing? That any ability you have to work and earn money, to think and plan, to help others, or live another day is a gift from God?

13. Pray.
*Do you realize that the basis for all petitions to God is His glory?
*Do you pray that God will be glorified by your every thought, word, and deed?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

WFMW: An Easy Workout

Recently on my homeschool blog a friend asked me how I found time for fitness when my kids were younger. Kelly Ripa was probably in middle school when my kids were younger, so she hadn't shared this idea yet, but recently I came across this great workout that my kids and I think is fun and which I think would be a perfect way to get in a good workout with young children around. It's the "Alphabet Workout." Mom (and older kids) can use a 5-20 pound weight ball and little ones can use just a playground ball. Mom gets a great workout and the kids practice their ABC's (or spelling words!)

An easy, inexpensive (arm-flab-reducing) workout that doesn't require a gym membership and can be done with kids... works for me! For more ideas, visit Shannon.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday Menu

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend! I didn't post my menu last week, but here are some of the highlights (for those collecting recipe ideas).

Bar-b-cups (My son requests these every week. Every week.)
Crock Pot Chicken Parmigiana (ALWAYS turns out great!)
Crock Pot Ham and Scalloped Potatoes (from FIFI but this is the same recipe)

Our mozzarella sticks from Deceptively Delicious the week before last turned out great, too. What a fun way to eat cauliflower! We're enjoying this book. It's got great recipes, but also a wealth of nutrition information and suggestions.

Speaking of nutrition, I might not always post it with my recipes, but all of what I cook works with low-fat, healthy choice, low sodium soups, broths, and mixes, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, etc. That's all I buy anymore, we've noticed no difference... and things are a bit healthier!

B- jelly toast, bacon
L- Baked Potatoes
D- Quick Cheeseburger Bake (made with Bisquick Heart Smart)

B- whole wheat waffles
L- BBQ brisket, macaroni, mixed veggies
D- Chicken Spaghetti, green beans, salad, bread

B-sausage biscuits, fruit
L-roast chicken chimichangas (I simplify this recipe and it is SO good!)
D- baked fish

B- cinnamon toast, eggs
L- turkey burgers, sweet potato fries
D- leftovers

B- cereal
L- YOYO (you're on you're own)
D- crock pot French Onion Soup <---from my FIFI cookbook, but similar to this recipe

Please visit Laura to share your menu or read others for some great ideas. Have a yummy week!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

See? It's Biblical.

Since I received my little black Dachshund, Zacchaeus-the-wee-little-dog (pictured here with our German Shepherd, Haley) from my sweet husband as a Valentines gift in 2000, I have been positively nuts over that dog. It's almost not natural. It's insane. My grandmother once remarked that anyone who has that much extra love to give ought to have more kids. Well, alrighty then! (And, no, I don't equate loving animals with loving children, or having pets with having children and neither does she... She just represents those who might not "get" how someone could love an animal so much!)

I can be having the worst day or be in the midst of something impossible, and when I walk through the room and see my little Zac curled up on a cushion it is positively therapeutic for me to go over and scoop him up. I just love that dog. Being around him actually comforts me. And today, I found out it's IN THE BIBLE.

Just LOOK at what was in my Elisabeth Elliot online devotional today, entitled "Animals, My Kinsman."

"God meant the animals to instruct us. I am sure that is one of the things he meant. When he had listened to all the arguments and complaints of his servant Job, and all the bombast of his friends, he answered by the revelation of himself. And this revelation, beginning with the dimensions of the universe, the mighty harmony of the morning stars, the phenomena of sea, clouds, snow, hail, rain, dew, hoarfrost, ice and the constellations, wound up with animals.

What Job didn't know then was that God had already identified himself with one of his own creatures, the gentlest, most harmless little animal of all. He was a Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world.

I have often thought that that terrible ash heap on which poor Job scratched and shrieked would have been made so much more endurable if he had had the least inkling of that. He was overpowered, but had he any idea at all of how he was loved? I have been comforted, in the midst of what seemed to me like ashes, by the thought of the Lamb, and even (does it seem absurd?) by the unflagging attention and affection of a little black dog. For I remember that when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness he had two comforters--angels and animals. The record says he was "with the wild beasts," which I once took to mean he was endangered by them as well as tempted by Satan. I now think otherwise. The animals were surely no threat to him. They kept him company in his sore struggle.

When the impact of life seems about to break us, we can put our minds for a few minutes on fellow creatures--the whale, the bear, or things that "take life blithely, like birds and babies," as Martin Luther said--and remember that there is a sacrifice at the heart of it all. The Lamb became the Shepherd, bearing and caring for the sheep, laying down his life for them both as shepherd and as Lamb, and, in the end, the Book of the Revelation promises, "the Lamb in the midst of the throne shall be their Shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes."

Friday, January 18, 2008


Last month I was listening to a series on Nancy Leigh DeMoss's program "Revive our Hearts." (As I recall, I was ironing. Podcasts are one of the best ways I've found to make the most out of time spent doing certain household chores. By the time I've ironed a week's worth of clothes or scrubbed the kitchen, I've heard some wise, wise words... and the time really flies!) The programs I heard were a replay of a program featuring the late Ray Ortlund, who had been Nancy's pastor while she was in college. The week's program was an interview with him and his wife, Anne. It was so interesting. During it, they mentioned his book Lord, Make My Life A Miracle. I picked it up on Amazon pretty cheaply (I saw it there today for a penny!) and since it is quite small I've stuck it in my purse. This week during our marathon of doctor visits to get all of our physicals I was glad to have it with me. (It doesn't draw quite as much attention as I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla and it fits into my purse better than Systematic Theology!)

In the second chapter he discusses being "God-centered" and how to practice God's presence throughout everyday. He quoted one of my favorite verses:

"Isaiah 26:3 says this to us, 'Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee.' That's practicing the Presence my friend. That's holding God in central place in your heart."

Just when I was mentally nodding my head in agreement and thinking about how much I love that verse, he went on to make what I think is an excellent point, and one that I needed to read:

"And here's another snare: even as we think about being God-centered, our tendency is to want it "for me"- so I can have this "perfect peace"- and "I" am still in the center! I want the experience because it will make me a top-quality, grade-A Christian on the top of the pile- and at that point God is not attended to and waited upon and sought for what He is. Oh, our motives, our motives."

I have been startled as I have been working through the questions in Martha Peace's book, Attitudes of a Transformed Heart, how much I have been influenced by the "Man Most High" theology that has subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) permeated much of what is being taught today. This quote from Ortlund's book highlights that. So much of the time, we are seeking God for what He can do for us... to meet our need to feel worthy or significant, or to feel better or be happier. I know I have done this. I know at times I still do this! Oh, my motives, my motives.

I'll close with a quote from Peace:

"What about you? Are you seeking to use God so you can feel better, be happy, and be somebody special or of worth or are you seeking to glorify Daniel's "great God Most High?" How you grow and mature as a Christian is at stake. Last and most important of all, the glory and honor of God is at stake. "

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Questions, questions...

Good morning!

Things are pretty well humming around here this morning, so I decided to pour a fresh cup of coffee and update my blog. I know that what we had for dinner last week remains to be fascinating reading, worthy of being the top post for a week, but I guess I'll add something new.

I haven't taken much time for blogging in recent weeks, and that's a good thing sometimes. I've contemplated taking a "blogging break" for awhile, but what I prefer is to just blog when I can and if I can't, well, if you pop by and see that I haven't posted for awhile you'll just know I have given preference to "RL." (Real Life.) Not that my blog is not real. Not that you are not real. Because it is and you are.


I wish I were incredibly funny and creative. If I were, I would take a side-view picture of my husband and I, belly-to-belly, our shirts bulging with wads and wads of paper. Can you get that picture in your mind? There. Hopefully you've got it. Why? Because we are very much in the "paper pregnancy" stage of our adoption! Papers, papers. Questions, questions. Decisions, decisions. Discussions, discussions. (But it's worth it, worth it!!!)

A couple of weeks ago I took my son (11) to the doctor for his incessant cough. Neither of my kids is EVER sick, so we hadn't been to the doctor in years. It's been ages since he's seen the inside of a doctor's office. He was sitting on the end of the exam table waiting for the doctor and was observing every single instrument that was in the room. At one point he reached up beside him and touched the blood pressure cuff that was on the wall and that started a new round of questions:

K: Why do they have this here when they use the electronic one that they roll in on the cart? The one they had just used on me? Do they still use this kind?

Me: I don't know.

K: Why does this part of the table slide out?

Me: Because some people are taller.

K: What are these?

Me: They're called "stirrups."

K: What are they for?

Me: Um... well....

K: And what is this light that comes out of side of the table for? :::::pulls the light around, taps it like a mic, lowers voice :::: Is this thing on?

Me: Okay, please don't put your mouth near it, son.

K: What do they use it for? Why would they need a light here?

Me: Well, it's for if they need light, well, you know... If they need to shine light...

K: ... where the "sun don't shine?"

Me: Yep. That's it. Where the sun don't shine!

Aaahhh. The questions. Just like the paper pregnancy! We've been answering question upon question, shining light "where the sun don't shine" in our backgrounds, finances, private lives, thoughts, childhood, our family life growing up, all of it. That experience with my son pretty much sums it up!

We are all completing our physicals this week and then it's on to the home study. More light!

Speaking of which, the sun is shining brightly through the windows now and it's time to get started on our school day. Thanks for stopping by to check on us!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Monday Menu and Monthly Planning

After a few weeks off from posting our menus, I've decided to post it this week. I've had menu plans throughout the holidays, but during those busy weeks I had to prioritize whether I was going to do it or post about it... couldn't do both!

This has been one of those Monday mornings where everywhere I look around me there is something left undone. Little piles that need to be organized, chores that need to be finished, children that need to be taught! We spent quite a chunk of time this weekend working on adoption paperwork, so other chores didn't get done (and rightly so!) So now, it's come home to roost.

I can't tell you how glad I was, in the midst of things this morning, to flip open my "menu planning" binder in my kitchen and refer to my already-planned-out month of January to see what's for dinner tonight. I've never planned for a month before, but I'm loving it!

Here's how I did it. I sat down New Year's weekend and made a list of the recipes our family has enjoyed the most over the past year under these categories: beef, chicken, meatless, sandwiches, pork, fish, soup and sides. (I did this in Excel because it is easier to have columns and fill them in.) Then I printed a blank January calendar and filled in each week with 3 or 4 recipes, choosing from the different categories to give it variety. I've left room in a couple of weeks to plug in our US geography dinners (we're catching up on that subject in school... it'll be a couple of weeks before we're ready to cook again). As I come across recipes I want to try in the future, I print them out or write which book they're from on a sticky and I've been putting them behind my "master list" in my menu planning binder so I can use them as I plan future months. Also, my daughter and I found this GREAT new cookbook we want to start cooking out of called Deceptively Delicious (which shows you how to "hide" veggies in common recipes... so fun!) so I'm adding new recipes from that to my plans in the coming weeks.

I've never planned weeks ahead because I didn't want to lose "spontaneity," but now that other parts of my life are more nutty it sure has been a comfort to have a plan from a couple of weeks ago. I'm sure others of you have done this forever, but it was new to me. :)

Okay, here's what we're having this week:

Lunch: turkey burgers, Flat Earth chips, fruit
Dinner: slow cooker chili (FIFI p. 39), corn bread, salad

Lunch: mozzarella sticks (DD p. 91)
Dinner: Teriyaki chicken (FIFI p. 178), rice, stir fried vegetables

Lunch: grilled cheese sandwiches (DD p. 135), veggie chips, fruit
Dinner: Mini meatloaves, green beans, corn

Lunch: tuna salad pita pocket sandwiches
Dinner: Leftovers

Lunch: Lunch leftovers
Dinner: Tomato Basil soup (a recipe from my friend Mary, one of the best cooks I know!), salad, bread

Visit Laura for more weekly menus, or to share yours. Have a great week!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Candidates and Caucuses and Speeches... Oh my!

It's time, I guess. For many who are more politically-minded it's probably past time, but I'm just now trying to wrap my mind around the presidential race... candidates and caucuses, primaries, polls, and platforms... Just when I think I like one candidate, another one makes a great point and I think I might like him better. (Yes, I said "him.";) You certainly won't read any Deep Political Wisdom on this blog, unless of course it is me quoting someone else!

I'll start today with a GREAT quote I read on Al Mohler's blog regarding this whole thing. The entire post is worthy of a read, but I particularly loved this part:

"The rhetoric of the race -- and the rhetoric of many evangelicals -- is disturbing. This race is important and necessarily so. We are talking about the next President of the United State, after all. But evangelicals have invested far too much hope in the political process. No government can make people good, transform humanity, or eliminate sin. The political sphere is important, but never ultimate. Jesus Christ is Lord -- and He will be Lord regardless of who sits in the Oval Office."

Amen and amen!!

No Hurry

Well, apparently I have been in no hurry to post lately! I realized this morning that "no hurry" seems to be the current theme in my life...

I have been in no hurry to take down our Christmas tree. We usually leave it up until New Year's anyway, but since Monday is Christmas in Ethiopia, we feel like part of our family hasn't had Christmas yet... If you look closely at our tree, you can see that we added New Year party hats, party horns and streamers to it, so it's lookin' pretty classy!

We've been in no hurry to get well, although we're all a LOT better. Everyone but my husband has been (or is currently going through) a round of antibiotics and various other drugs. This upper respiratory junk has been in no hurry to leave. I wish it were, though.

I've apparently been in no hurry to put "2008" on anything. I just can never get used to putting a new year/date on checks, forms, and other paperwork. Every. Single. Time. I have had to mark it out and rewrite it this past week. It's driving me crazy!!

We were in no hurry to get back to school this week. We did a few piddly things but we're hitting it full force on Monday. If I can finish our lesson plans. Which I've been in no hurry to do.

SO, apparently all the "hurry" which lead up to and carried us through the holidays has stopped. We're not hurrying. And (except for the health part) that's fine with me!