Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Why are some weeks nice and easy and others jammed full? Why do all the extras like field trips, appointments and others fall in the same week? This week I am swamped. There is something going on everyday, and Tim's parents are coming Thursday for the weekend.

Next week I am swamped. Not quite so many appointments, but some. The cousins are here, and we are leaving for vacation on Saturday. A vacation I just may spend doing nothing after these two crazy weeks.

All that to say, if the posting is light or I'm not visiting much in the next three weeks, it is because I am spending two weeks going crazy and the following week recovering. You understand right?

Anyhow you didn't come here for that, here are the Tuesday places to go and things to do:

Make it From Scratch

Carnival of Family Life

Festival of Family Flair

Carnival of the Recipes

Carnival of Homeschooling

Celeste over at C's Life is asking us for a little help.

Sorry for the short and sweet list, but it is late, and I have a busy day tomorrow. I'll try to update it in the afternoon with some that don't post until the morning. Have a great day!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Story in My Life #7

Just when I think there won't be anything to tell about this story for a few months, I get a letter in the mail. (If you don't know this story, click the MR label at the end of the page to catch up.) A letter that brought tears; first of sadness, and then of happiness.

The letter was from the adoptive father(R). He had just received my letter from 2001 and the letter written last month. He had written a paragraph or two in the first letter I received years ago, but all other correspondence has been with the adoptive mother. He was writing this letter because he and MR's mom divorced several years back, and MR now lives with him, and his new wife.

This brought me to tears. It shattered my illusion that MR had the perfect life, with the perfect family, which of course would be affirmation that I had made the perfect choice. Soon I remembered there was no perfect choice. When facing an unplanned pregnancy, all the choices are difficult, all have life long consequences, and none are perfect.

There are no perfect lives or families for that matter, and that is ok. Hard times expose our foundations, and our values. They break down walls around our heart, and humble us. For Christians, they are opportunities to allow Christ's life to grow in us. I can't expect that any of my children will be spared the hard times. I can only pray that through those times they will truly find their life is in Christ. I hope that has been MR's experience.

R apologized for the lapse in communication, and explained that they had always intended to stay in contact, but things got lost in the shuffle. I certainly don't blame him. It happened. It can't be changed now.

He sent recent pictures. She is a beautiful young woman. In the letter he described her personality a bit more. A beautiful young Christian woman. Again, from the picture and the description I could see so many attributes of myself and her biological father. I look at the pictures and it seems unreal that she is actually the baby from that hospital so many years ago.

Then the best news. In R's words, "MR has all along wanted to meet you as we have. MR is almost 18 and I think it can be arranged. We are heartily looking forward to it." I am crying as I type this. Yes, I admit to a bit of nervousness about this, but I am so excited! And so you know how awesome my husband is, he is just as excited as I am.

So where does this story go from here? I will probably write a letter in response. M.R. needs to contact the agency, and then I assume they will contact me, or perhaps since I gave permission, for them to help her, they will just give her the address. I am really not sure. One way or another it looks like we are headed toward direct contact. I couldn't be more thrilled, and I will keep you updated!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Marriage Meme

Sara tagged me for this meme.

1. Where/How did you meet?

Well, that is a story. We grew up in the same town, but I am five years older than he is so, we never were in the same circles. In fact, one of my best friends used to babysit him. Ridiculous isn't it? I don't recall meeting him as kids.

I went away to college. My parents started leading a youth group. I came back from college, and Tim was part of the youth group. He was a senior, and around our house a lot. More on this in another question.

2. How long have you known each other?
I guess that would make it about 14 years.

3. How long after you met did you start dating?
Continuing from #1. . . Tim would follow me around. I thought it was so cute he had a crush on me, but I was the sophisticated college graduate, not interested in a high school kid. In fact, I had always dated older guys, make that older jerks!

Tim and I became friends. We hung out, talked and played volleyball together. I remember thinking that I would like to marry someone like Tim, but of course, someone who wasn't in high school!

I don't remember exactly when we crossed the line to dating, but it was fall sometime. It didn't take long. I'd just moved back in June.

4. How long did you date before you were engaged?
That also didn't take long. Started dating in the fall, had decided we wanted to get married by spring. Crazy isn't it? He was 18 for goodness sakes!

5. How long was your engagement?
We got married during the winter break of his freshman year of college, so about 8 months.

6. How long have you been married?
Twelve years.

7. What is your anniversary?
December 31. New Years Eve. It was the only Saturday, that would work during his winter break.

8. How many people came to your wedding reception?
About 200 I think.

9. What kind of cake did you serve?

Oh man! I really don't remember. I'm thinking we had some layers of white and some of spice, but I'm not sure.

10. Where was your wedding?
Lighthouse Christian Fellowship. Millersburg, Ohio

11. What did you serve for your meal?
Your killing me here. It was a buffet. Let's see, pasta, bread, fruit, salad? We ate in a hurry, so it is kind of a blur.

12. How many people were in your bridal party?
4 total

13. Are you still friends with them all?
The ladies - I lost touch with both of them. I did reconnect with one of them a few months back, though.

The men- One was Tim's brother, so yes, they are still friends. Lost touch with the other.

14. Did your spouse cry during the ceremony?
I think we both teared up. He sang to me as a I walked down the aisle. Hard not to tear up during that.

15. Most special moment of your wedding day?
see #14

16. Any funny moments?
While I was getting ready, I couldn't find my lipstick. Seems silly now, but I was pretty frantic. My lovely bridesmaids teased me about it, saying, "Steph can't get wed without her Ruby Red." It is funny, now.

17. Any big disasters?
No, not really. Tim did try to put my ring on the wrong finger.
One thing that most people didn't know. My oldest brother and his wife were helping at the reception. We sent them right after the ceremony, forgetting they need to be there for the family pictures. I've always felt bad about that.

18. Where did you go on your honeymoon?
We went to a secluded cabin in rural Ohio.

19. How long were you gone?
One week.

20. If you were to do your wedding over, what would you change?
Honestly, I don't think I'd have a wedding like that at all. Though we tried to make it simple, and keep the cost down, it still seemed like a production, and cost a good chunk. I think I'd rather have had a much more relaxed wedding, and kept it to immediate family. If I was going to spend a good chunk of money on a wedding, I think I'd go for a destination wedding.

21. What side of the bed do you sleep on?
Right side. Before we moved I slept on the left side. Not sure why we changed, probably b/c the right side is closer to the bathroom!

22. What size is your bed?

23. Greatest strength as a couple?
Our differences. No, really. We are wired very differently. In the early years it was hard to appreciate those difference, but now that we do, it has made us much stronger. Our differences compliment each other. He is strong where I am weak. I am strong where he is weak. We are a great team.

24. Greatest challenge as a couple?
Finding time for each other.

25. Who literally pays the bills?
For most years of our marriage, I've paid the bills. He has here or there.

26. What is your song?
? See #27

27. What did you dance your first dance to?
When I Fall in Love by Celine Dion from the Sleepless in Seattle Soundtrack. That was the first movie we saw together.

28. Describe your wedding dress:
The dress was very special. Tim's grandmother made it. The fabric was a brocade. The dress itself was simple with a bit of bead trim. I'm hoping that my daughters will want to wear it too.

Previously, I posted an engagement and wedding photo. You can see them here.

Who'd like to tell their wedding story? I'll tag Mandy, Crystal, and Delilah, if they'd like to play. Of course, anyone else is welcome to play too!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

What do you think she is thinking?

I Guess this is a Regular Thing Now

In what has become a Tuesday tradition, here are a list of things you might be interested in checking out:

The Regulars
Make It From Scratch

Carnival of the Recipes , the Irish edition.

Festival of Frugality The Frugal Duchess chose my article, A Frugal Balance, as an editors pick this week. Though I detest being in the spotlight in the real world, I love it in the blog world! :)

Carnival of Family Life

And a couple of new ones for you, just to keep it interesting.
Money Stories. This is a carnival about our personal experiences with money. I submitted Kellen Gets a Lesson on Brand Names, if you want to know what kind of things you may find there.

The Beauty Carnival

The Postie Carnival. In this carnival all participants are PayPerPost Affiliates. This week's carnival has a TV theme. Posties talk about their favorite shows, hated shows, memories and other thoughts about TV.

The Carnival of the Story Tellers is a carnival of just that; stories. Real life, humor, drama, nonfiction, and memories are some of the categories found there.

Hope you enjoy all the links!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Our Continuing Rabbit Saga

No, this isn't another story of indiscretions, unplanned pregnancy, and babies that didn't make it. This is a happy story. After encountering numerous obstacles, we finally found some New Zealand does to mate with Scotty for Kellen's 4-H project.

Saturday we traveled about an hour to retrieve them. We brought home three does that are about six months old. Their names are Blanche, Snowball, and Cream. Don't ask me who is who. I can't tell them apart yet, but Kellen seems to be able to.

They are cute, but energetic. The kids will need to learn to be more careful with the doors. We've already had three escape attempts, something that was never a problem with our other rabbits.

Regretfully, the story does not end there. This is also a very sad story. Our long time pet, Scotty, apparently, could not handle all the excitement. We hadn't even put a doe in with him yet, but the thought of it must have been too much for him. He passed away about five hours after we got home with the girls.

He was our pet for about four years. He was Delilah's pet before. He lived to a ripe old age, for a rabbit. He never married or had any offspring, but he will be missed by his human family at the 100 Acre Wood.

And the rabbit saga continues. Another trip will need to be made to the breeder, an hour away, to bring a new buck home. The girls will get their hubby, and we will get bunnies for the fair and for meat, eventually.

To read previous segments of the saga click on the "rabbits" label.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Frog Music

After posting this picture, I lamented here that you could not hear the "music" that goes with the picture. Fellow West Virginia homeschooler, and mommy to one of Kellen's best buds, Crystal, came to my rescue. She made a video to record the frog music. Isn't she the smart one?! You can have a listen here.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Longitude and Latitude

Friday, Kellen's (8) science lesson was about the trade winds and other weather patterns. As part of this lesson, longitude and latitude were used. He has a general idea what this is, but we haven't done much with it.

He was having a hard time remembering which was which, and I was having a hard time remembering how to get him to remember. I was a social studies teacher you know. You'd think I'd know a few tricks! Aha, like a light bulb turning on, I remembered.

This is a trick one of my students actually came up with. As a rule of thumb, students' memory tricks are usually the best. To remember which lines are longitude and which are latitude, picture a globe with the lines drawn on. See the lines going up and down, those are the long lines. Long lines are "long-itudes". Now, pictures the horizontal lines. They are flat, right? Flat lines are "flat-itudes."

I thought this was a great trick, and I remember slipping up a couple times in class and actually saying flatitude instead of latitude. Kellen didn't get it at first, when we weren't looking at a map. After explaining it while looking at a world map, it clicked. Just remember;

Long lines go up and down: Long- itudes = longitude
Flat lines: Flat-itudes = latitude

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Car Farts

Last Sunday, Tim and Kellen went to church early, and I drove later with the three youngest. When exiting the interstate, I took the turn a little tight, and went on the rumble strip of the exit ramp for a moment.

Nolan (soon to be 3): What that?
Lydia (5): The car farted. (followed by an outbreak of giggles from the back seat)
Nolan: Mommy make car fart 'gain!

I obliged and a fresh round of giggles broke out. They were disappointed when I informed them that we had left the exit ramp, and I could no longer make the car fart. They did continue talking about it, and giggling the rest of the way to church.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

About the Picture

As you've figured out, the picture was of frog eggs. Kellen actually took that picture last week. We have eggs and tadpoles all spring, well into the summer, in every puddle of water around. These are in the ditch of our driveway. It is amazing how many eggs are laid.

It is interesting and educational to watch them become tadpoles and then frogs. The kids will walk out the lane every so often to check on the progress. They get so excited when something changes! They run back to give me a report.

The sound of the frogs is just as much a part of spring here as seeing the eggs. I wish you could hear them. It is really pretty and relaxing. They sing into the night, and sing a lot when it is rainy. Those are happy frogs doing their work!

The Timer is My Friend

Last week, the kids needed to clean their rooms. I don't ask for much, I just wanted to be able to to see the floor. They were seriously dragging their feet. An hour and a half had gone by with me occasionally reminding, nagging, and yelling. We were getting nowhere.

Then I remembered a trick I used to use that somehow had gotten put aside; the kitchen timer, and you thought it was only for cooking! HA! I brought the timer to their rooms. Kellen groaned. Apparently, he had not forgotten my friend the timer. I told the kids I would set the timer for 15 minutes, and I wanted their rooms to be picked up.

I set it and hit the start button. The amount of cleaning going on was astounding. Of course, I made it fun by using my best announcer voice, calling out every so often, "Look at those rooms, I can almost see the floors. Just 10 minutes left folks, can they finish? Oh my Lydia, it is looking great, but don't forget about that corner over there! Kellen, I didn't know you were such an amazing room cleaner!"

The rooms were picked up in about ten minutes, but we didn't stop there. Oh no, there were still five minutes remaining. "Clean until the timer goes off," I called, and they did. They started looking under the bed, in their closets, straightening toys, and they cleaned until the timer went off. They were amazed at how much they could get done in 15 minutes, and so was I. We continue to have "15 minutes cleans" every couple of days.

Then yesterday, Kellen had a large list of vocabulary words to do for school. He was dragging again, In an hour he had only finished four. I didn't get frustrated. I simply brought in my friend, the timer, but not the announcer voice. The words were complete in 30 minutes time. Ah, my newest, bestest friend; my kitchen timer!

Works for Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The First Sign of Spring

Do you know what this is?

Answer revealed later!
(No fair giving it away if you've seen this elsewhere!)
Wordless Wednesday

So Many Places to Go, So Many Things to Do

There is another blog in the family! Tim's other cousin, Mandy, that would be Heather's sister, has joined the rest of us in her blog, Controlled Chaos. Go welcome her to the blogging world!

Have you seen the battle that is happening? It is Iron Chef Moms. The Aldi Queen is taking on the Super Sale Shopper. Who can feed her family for less? The results are sure to be educational for us all!

Carnivals and Festivals you might like:
Make it From Scratch
Carnival of Debt Reduction
Carnival of Homeschooling
Carnival of the Recipes
Festival of Frugality (This was not up yet at the time of this post, but should be up this morning.)
And if you didn't see it here yesterday, Carnival of Family Life.

Enjoy all the reading! I wouldn't want you to be bored on a Tuesday morning! :)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Carnival of Family Life #45

Welcome to Edition #45 of the Carnival of Family Life. It is a big one. Like always there are lots of great entries, some informational, some just for fun, and some that are a little of both. Have fun browsing and don't forget to leave comments and let the author know you stopped in for a visit!

Things to Think About

When your child's birthday is near the kindergarten cut off date, you have a choice to make. See what Liz Smith decides to do in Do We Push Our Kids Too Hard? posted at Modern Sage Online: Practical Living Blog.

Darius presents Young People and Internet Safety posted at

Mike gives some good parenting advice for us all. Raising children - with or without autism is posted at Be A Good Dad.

The Rocketman has solved a bath time dilemma in OK, I Love You, B?Bye! posted at The Rocketman's Change For A Dollar.

How personal are you in your blog? TherapyDoc presents Anonymity, Blogging, and Boundaries posted at Everyone needs therapy? Lessons from a family therapist.

Megan Bayliss is getting married. Some interesting concerns have come up. Children at Weddings: Acceptable or Non-Acceptable? posted at Child protection: serious business..

Csara presents Mommy Etiquette , or the lack there of, at Baby Talkers.

Think you know it all about chicken pox? See what Rdoctor has to say. You might learn something new.

Amanda Rose presents Rugged Mountain Woman, Back from Hiatus posted at Rebuild from Depression Blog.

Tricia learns It's Worth a Whole Lot More when her son breaks one of her favorite things. Posted at Blogging Away Debt.

Super Saver presents Lessons From My Daughter - "New One" posted at My Wealth Builder.

Lena is surprised by her daughter's self confidence in Cherish posted at Cheeky Lotus.

What has been going on with Supermom? She lets us know in Where Have I Been? posted at SuperMom at MindSay!.

What is missing in playtime? Hsien-Hsien Lei presents Pediatrician-Approved Toys posted at Play Library.

Is your "to do" list draining you? Karen Lynch presents She’s Come Undone posted at LivethePower.

Writing letters used to be the only way to communicate with those far away. Skeet shares some memories in Letters.

Did you celebrate March 8th? Babylune tells us more in Happy International Womens Day.

Satisfaction is taken when hard work pays off. Especially, when it brings such joy to people. Holly shares Small Miracles at Hollyscorner.

Adelle has the Bus Stop Blues posted at KidFaves News.

Christine presents A Boy and the Shower posted at Everyday Disasters.

Karen Alonge thinks maybe we put too much pressure on ourselves as parents. She presents easing off ... posted at postcards from nowhere.

Family time is hard to come by. Carnival founder, Kailani presents Family Dinners posted at An Island Life.

Alan presents It gets lonely at the top - How to handle rejection posted at Made to Be Great.

Things to Have Fun With
I Slimed Them! Goo and fun go together. See what Stephanie and her kids did. Posted at Work at Home in Progress.

Viv connects with her sons in an unusual way in Unlikely Gamer posted at Cool Moms Rule.

Erin Go Bragh! St. Patrick’s Day Celebration Ideas tons of fun and easy ideas! Posted at More4kids Parenting & Family Life.

Erica Douglas presents Activity #7 Gunge or Dough or?..You Decide It is messy, but fun! Posted at Littlemummy.Com.

Get out of your play rut and Do Something Different posted at Littlemummy.Com.

Summer tells about a fun day. My kids are too cute, when you have a great camer... posted at Wired For Noise.

Ever wonder what life is like for moms in other parts of the world? Fun Play dates is showing us in their series, Global Moms.

Ellen McDermott presents Keynoter march 2007: Monday, March 5, 2007 posted at Keynoter march 2007.

Karen Weideman, aka Thrifty Mommy, presents 10 Sites for St. Patrick’s Day Ideas posted at Thrifty Mommy.

Lisa presents Rubber ducky birthday party ideas posted at Lil Duck Duck.

For Laughs

It’s 15 Degrees, The Furnace is Broken—It’s Go Time! A domestic emergency makes Chris feel alive. Posted at Chris Wondra . com.

Lakshmi presents Lessons I did not have to learn. The comments to this post are worth a read too. Posted at Alchemy.

Jami Leigh got a big surprise when her daughter got off the bus! Somebody call the fashion police posted at

Maureen must be the coolest grandma ever. Laser Tag - Grandma Style is posted at Empty Nest.

Tired of winter? Madeleine Begun Kane presents Is It Spring Yet? posted at MAD KANE'S HUMOR BLOG.

Laura presents doing shots mean mommy style a story about her trip with three kids to the doctor. Posted at Adventures in Juggling.

Next weeks host, DigitalRich presents When Trees Fly posted at DigitalRichDaily.

You know your the parent of a toddler when. . . Toddler Parent Checklist posted by Jennifer at Parenting Toddlers.

Karen Murphy writes a letter to her 3 year old in more stuff about Eric, because frankly, he's the most interesting one of us posted at Lion and Magic Boy.

"I’ll really start to worry if he leans across the dinner table when I present dinner one night and says - 'No Mummy, no vegetables - your fired!'." Leisa presents Mummy’s Donald Doll posted at

Karen (Miscellaneous Mum) presents Riley's Birth Story posted at Miscellanous Adventures of an Aussie Mum.

MyBestInvest has scarred his son for life! But if anyone could pull it off, he could posted at My Best Investments.

Tips and Tricks
Have a girlie girl who wants curly hair, but you don't want to spend the money on curlers? Try Rag Rolling presented at Stop the Ride!

Is your child too young for a real job, but still wanting to earn some extra bucks? Matthew Paulson presents Great Ways for Kids to Make Money posted at Getting Green.

Julee Huy is In a Daze . The baby is sick. She is sick, yet life still goes on. Posted at Homeschool Daze.

Trouble at meal times? Jennifer gives us some ideas in Getting Your Toddler to Eat Veggies posted at Parenting Toddlers.

Lydia gives us three great tips for what to do when there are Too Many Toys? posted at Little Blue School.

So the Pregnancy Test is Positive, Now What? Lisa tells you. Posted at Let's Talk Babies.

Develop a love of reading in your child. Michelle presents Tips for Improving Your Child's Literacy posted at scribbit.

Morgan Abigail presents Learning To Read With Bob Books :: Morgan Abigail’s World posted at Morgan Abigail's World.

Frugal Duchess finds she has imparted some frugal wisdom to her teenage son in The Frugal Duchess: My Son's $10 Suede Sneakers from Target: Flexing Frugal Muscles. posted at sharon @ frugal duchess.

Antonio presents Weasel Your Way Out posted at Weasel Your Way Out.

I share with you some tips I've learned that work with my soon to be three year old in Dealing with a Strong Willed Child.

The March 19th Edition hosted by Digital Rich Daily. Information about the carnival can be found at An Island Life.

And with that we come to the end of the 45th edition of the Carnival of Family Life. WHEW! I am feeling a bit like Tour Guide Barbie as the credits roll at the end of Toy Story 2.

"I'm exhausted. Bye now. Bye Bye!"

Friday, March 09, 2007

Homeschool Day at the Capital

Tuesday was the 17th annual Homechool Day at the Capital. The following is taken from WVHEA web site.
Homeschool Day at the Capitol offers an excellent introduction to state government. Learn how the legislature works and find out about other offices of the executive and judicial branches of our state government. Explore the Capitol with a tour guide and on our scavenger hunt. Meet and chat with your representatives about homeschooling or whatever else is on your mind. Show our elected officials and the general public how homeschoolers learn by bringing displays of your special projects or your group’s activities.
Tim, Kellen and Lydia headed for Charleston for the event. I stayed home with the two little ones because Vivian was running a fever. Tim and the kids looked at displays, and mingled with government officials and other homeschoolers. The homeschool band played.

The band may be small, but they have one awesome director! *wink*

They sat in on a State Senate session.

Lydia (5) was very impressed by the hanging "diamonds."

She took about 20 pictures of the chandelier. I kid you not!

On the way home she had a photo shoot with her stuffed animals.

Perhaps we need to reconsider having the five year old as our photographer!

Crystal also posted about this day, if you'd like to see more!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Dealing with a Strong Willed Child - TT# 2

In a family of hard headed people, Nolan (soon to be 3), perhaps, has the hardest head in this house. He pushes every boundary, fights every limit, and pushes me to the edge almost daily. Before you think I have a devil child, he also is very sweet and loving. He loves to sit on your lap, and cuddle. . . when it is his idea! That sweetness, combined with the strong will, can be a dangerous (from my point of view) combination.

Here is a list of things that I need to remember when dealing with my strong willed child. If you have a little hard head in your house, maybe they will work for you too.

1. Be Consistent.
If I told him yesterday he can't jump on the bed, I can not let him jump on the bed today, when it is so cute, because he is singing a silly song while jumping.

2. Give Choices When Possible.
Nolan once had a fit in McDonald's because I got him a hot fudge sundae. I got Kellen and Lydia the same thing, but got Vivian a yogurt. I didn't ask what he wanted. Now had I asked, he probably would have chosen the ice cream, but he wanted to make the decision.

3. Keep Routines.
He always watches a short video before his nap. Having this routine lessens (notice I did not say eliminates) the battle at nap time. He always battles his nap, claiming he isn't tired, and then sleeps for about 2 1/2 hours!

4. Lots of Loving.

5. Make Him Laugh.
When he is digging in his heals, a silly face or even a tickle can break the mood.

6. Follow Through on Threats.
Don't say it if you aren't going to do it.

7. Don't Argue with Him.
He seems to thrive on the battle. I need to hold my ground with out it turning into an argument.

8. Pick Your Battles and Win the Ones You Pick.

9. One on One Time.
He acts out when he hasn't gotten enough of this.

10. Don't Give in to the Charm when he is Being Rotten.
Easier said than done.

11. Catch Him and Praise Him for Being Good.

12. Enlist the Help of the Siblings
Our rule at dinner is that everyone at least taste everything that is being served. Nolan will refuse and dig in his heels, until Kellen offers him a bite. Then he opens up wide and tastes the food. Often finding he really does like it!

13. When all Else Fails . . .Send Him to Papaw and Mamaw's!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

My Inspiration

If you've been around the 100 Acre Wood long, you know where most of my inspiration comes from;My cuties! Just look at my labels to see all the "kids" posts. That's a lot of inspiration goin' on! They inspire more than just posts for my blog. They are the reason we do the things we do, from Christianity to homsteading and frugality. They inspire us to be good examples for them. . . and give us a lot of funny stories.

An Island Life wants to know what inspires you. Details are at her site. Voting starts Thursday, go vote for me would ya?

My Cuties!

Go to Wordless Wednesday to play along.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Places to Go

This weeks Carnival of Family Life is up at Be a Good Dad. I will be hosting this carnival here next week.

Make It From Scratch is also posted over at Stop the Ride. Some very yummy and creative things there.

Have you seen Michelle's March Write Away Contest? This month she is looking for submissions about childhood memories. These should be good. Deadline is March 11th.

Tell us all a story about what your kids have done right lately. Focus on the good and share your story at Pass the Torch Tuesday.

Speaking of place to go, we are off to the Homeschool Day at the Capital tomorrow. The band is playing in public for the first time with Tim as director. I'm sure we will have more to share about this later. Have a great day!

Happy Birthday Vivian

My baby turns one today. And yes, she is still my baby! I am not willing to concede the baby label yet. One year ago she surprised us by coming early, before a scheduled C-section.

The first few months were rough. She had a stubborn case of jaundice, and was very fussy. She spent a lot of time in the sling. Then, almost overnight, it seemed she became a sweet and easy baby. She has been that way since.

She is the sweetie of our church. She is the only baby, and I often don't even make it into the building without someone taking her for me. Funny, how I hated when people did that with Kellen, but now love it with Vivian. She has lots of moms, big sisters, and grandmas at church, who love to hold and play with her. She remains to the core a mommy's girl, and often comes back for a little momma loving before going off to play some more.

She is usually smiley, rarely fussy, and often has what looks to be her fist in her mouth. She actually is sucking on the middle knuckle of her index finger. She never would take a pacifier, but found her own. She attempts to sign "more" and "all done." Sometimes it sounds like she is saying, "mama," or "dada." She can stand alone for a quite awhile, and has attempted some lunging first steps. She is very curious, and constantly exploring. Often "exploring" the same places over and over. She loves to pull everything out of the cupboard, drawer, bag or whatever container things happen to be in. She also is starting to climb.

She is our cutie and we love her bunches. Happy 1st Birthday Vivian!

Big Plans for the Hillbilly Scouts

The cousins were here this weekend, and they and my two oldest (8 & 5), worked on Hillbilly Scouts most of the weekend. They designed a flag, that they are hoping Mamaw will sew for them. Ashley(11) and Miles (soon to be 9) copied the pledge and taped it to their doors. They all promised to say the pledge every morning.

Miles started writing a story. Kellen says they are sending it to Harper-Collins to get published. He has a membership to some of their kids programs, and thought that would get the book published. We tried to explain to him that it doesn't quite work like that. His response, "We'll just send it to Random House then."

Big plans were made for the summer, when Ashley and Miles are here for eight weeks. The four of them plan to camp by the creek for a week. The creek is maybe 1/4 to 1/2 a mile away. I am not a good judge of distance. There also is a significant difference in distance depending on how you go. The kids like to go straight down the side of the hill. I prefer the longer route that follows old logging roads.

They made lists of equipment, food and activities. All four of them were busy on some aspect of planning. Ashley even typed up some of it, and asked Mamaw to check over it.

The adults in this story could impose sensibility and reality on these plans, but why? They are being creative. They are making memories that will last them a life time. So, we try to guide them without crushing the creativity.

Will they really camp at the creek for a week? Uh, no, not now. We did suggest they try camping closer to home for a couple nights, before heading to the creek for a week. Closer, in as, I can see and hear them closer. They seemed ok with that, and went on with their planning and memory making.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Black Walnut Pie - A humbling learning experience

Pecan pie is on my list of things I've never made from scratch, but would like to try. We shelled black walnuts last weekend, and I found a recipe that looked similar to pecan pie, so I thought I'd try it. The recipe is from Bootstraps and Biscuits.

Black Walnut Pie
Beat 3 eggs, add 1/2 C brown sugar. Melt 1/4 C butter and add with 1 C corn syrup. Mix with the egg mixture. Stir in 1 C finely chopped black walnuts that have been mixed with 1 C quick cooking rolled oats. Pour into a 9-inch pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower heat to 350 degrees and continue baking till crust is nice and browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. You can substitute another C of chopped walnuts instead of the rolled oats. This will make the walnut flavor much more pronounced.
The Humbling
I've made my own pie crusts regularly for a couple of years now. I used to shy away from them, but picked up a few tricks that made it so much easier. As I am mixing the dough, I was thinking about the tips I could give you. What wisdom could I share, so that you too could make lovely pie crusts like me? (what does it say in Proverbs about pride?)

I was so into thinking about blogging, and my lovely pie crusts, that I didn't even notice I had put way too much water in. It wasn't until after I chilled the dough, and was trying to roll it out, that I realized what I had done. The dough was so sticky I couldn't work with it at all. I had to scrape it off my work surface and add more flour. The end result was not something I'd take pride in. It tasted just fine, but it sure wasn't pretty.

Humbly, I submit some tips (they really do work, I promise!) about pie crust:
1. Chill the ingredients before mixing.
2. Chill the dough before rolling
3. Roll between wax paper. This is what finally got me to make crusts all the time. It is so much easier to work with and get into the pie plate.
4. Do not add too much water!

The Learning
I really think the recipe is a good one, but my result was mediocre. The problem (besides the crust) was I didn't have enough corn syrup. I only had about 2/3 C. I referred to my substitution list. None of the quick lists had corn syrup on them. I dug a little more and the first substitute I found was molasses. I should have kept digging.

I like molasses, but even just 1/3 C was a little overpowering in this recipe. It even overpowered the black walnuts, which have a strong flavor themselves. I won't make that substitution again. I probably should have used maple syrup.

I will try this recipe again. Next time, I think I will use all nuts and skip the oatmeal. It was ok, even with all the problems, but I think it could be really good. It was a learning experience, but sometimes that is what cooking from scratch is all about.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Stubborn Gene Dominates

If my family tree were an actual tree, I think it would be oak. My family is strong, solid and very hard; in the head that is. Papaw blames the Hershbergers on Mamaw's side of the family, who have a reputation for being stubborn hot heads. Mamaw claims it is those darn Millers. She has the story of Papaw's great grand father to support her position.

Jacob's Abe, (Amish are often referred to in terms of family lineage. There are a lot of duplicate names. Lineage helps keep everybody straight about who you are talking about.) Papaw's great grandfather, had quite the reputation. In fact, they called him a name, I don't know how to type in Dutch, but that translated means Jacob's Abe Thickhead. This man had such a reputation that the name stuck and became a synonym for stubborn in the Amish community Papaw grew up in. I am sure Papaw was often called Jacob's Abe Thickhead.

So, Miller or Hershberger, it seems as if my brothers and I had no chance of avoiding those "stubborn" genes. The boys, of course, are both very stubborn. Typical Jacob's Abe Thickheads! (love you, Eric and Jake!) I am only determined, thank you very much! *grin*

Tim is the opposite of a Jacob's Abe Thickhead. He really is the most easy going guy. As he likes to say, he is the only Indian in this family of Chiefs.

You would think our offspring might have a chance of avoiding the "stubborn" genes, but apparently "stubborn" is a dominant gene. I won't label Vivian as stubborn yet. She is only one after all, but the other three? No hesitation, they are independent, strong willed, hard headed stubborn kids. They all display it in different ways, but it is there.

Believe me, we've seen it and battled with it in all three of them. We don't want to squelch it. Independence, strong will and a little hardheadedness can do a lot of good when pointed the right way. It is our job to help point it the right way. It can be a hard job.

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe "stubborn" really isn't dominate. Maybe Vivian will show that the "easygoing" gene can win. In the meantime, I better go point my darling Thickheads in the right direction!

Converstaion with a Five Year Old

As reported to me by the dental hygienist.

Hygienist: Does your baby sister nap a lot?
Lydia: Yes, she sleeps all day.
Hygienist: Oh, I wish I could sleep all day. I guess I wouldn't get much work done though.
Lydia: Well, I think you would get fired.

Tell it like it is girl!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A link and a challenge

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Homeschool Cafe. What a fantastic job those ladies did. Go check out the latest news!

Don't forget, this week is Challenge Week for Make it From Scratch. I challenge you to make something you've never made before. Sunday is the last day for entries!

Check out a new mom blog directory. The Mom Blogs.