Wednesday, December 31, 2008


One of the highlights of our travels is seeing my sister. This is a rare opportunity. When you have over 13 hours of driving time between you, little children and pre-determined visiting days, you treasure the moments. Unfortunately, my body and baby had other plans. I had a weird allergic reaction combined with early labor signs. I was not pleasant company. I'm so grateful my children were. Sarah chose a special book to read. She does this each year, practicing words like Babylonian, her inflection, studying the illustrations so she knows what she wants to point out. They played. And connected with their aunt. I tear-up, thinking how they went on to have a fabulous visit without me, each of them valuing in their own way our special time. I hope to have a few moments come summer, so Sr. Theresa Paul can meet her new niece.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

why say good bye, say hello

We stopped in to see my grandma today. This was probably my chance to say good-bye. Who knows. She may strengthen. Parts of her memory may return. Eating may come easier for her. Her body may just feel the love and support rallying behind her. But we live so very far away. I want to take the opportunities, to make the opportunities I can.

I went in knowing she would not recognize me. I just wanted to make her smile. I wanted to say "hello", "I love you," and maybe have a moment of connection. Mission accomplished.

She seemed surprised to see us, but smiled as soon as I told her how beautiful she looked and asked what her secret was. Would she share it with me? Nope, then everyone would be the same and life would not be interesting. She took my hand. But my hands were cold. She wanted to see my children. I lifted each of them up. No names. Just lots of smiles. Numerous "I love you"s. She reached out to "take" each of their noses. Sarah climbed into her bed to read her a story. Grandma read the title, Only the Cat Saw. (I want to keep that book for always now.) She loved the illustrations. At the end, the cat is asleep. Grandma said she was tired. She had just received a breathing treatment before we arrived and the medications make you drowsy. She slept. We left.

Relatives live a matter of minutes away, so we went to visit. Jesse stayed there with the kids and let me go back to have more time with Grandma. This time I held her hand through a sheet. I didn't want to disturb her with my temperature. There was no chair. I sat on the floor beside her bed. We watched TV, or I lay my head down and prayed silently. We were present with each other. She laughed at an orange monster in a commercial. I laughed too. When we saw an add for skiing and tubing, I asked if she preferred the snow or the sand dunes. I hoped to spark a memory, since the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes were her favorite vacation spot. She replied that they both had their good qualities. You couldn't really compare one to the other; showing the rational Grandma I remember rather than the recollection. I had to leave. She asked where I live. When she heard we're near the ocean now, she said she wants to come visit some day. I said we'd put her feet in the waves. Someday...

I came to say my "good byes." Grandma kept showing me "hello". So much "I love you."

Saturday, December 27, 2008


We haven't been all together like this for about two years.

Front row is Amy, David, John, Sarah, Rebecca, (now Sr. Theresa Paul) Leah, Andrea, Brian holding Catherine, my dad holding Joseph. Middle row is myself and Mary Therese. In the back is Jesse, Andrew, Michael and my mom.

David says his favorite part about Christmas is seeing all the family. I agree.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

First we go to Jen's great Christmas Eve party. We see old friends, eat delicious, allergy friendly food and the kids play. Next we are off to my family's and Christmas Eve Mass. We usually do Midnight Mass, but I have trouble after 11pm these days.

Christmas morning we are up dumping full stockings and making pancakes. This is one tradition I missed this year. I forgot to bring my GF, DF, EF pancake recipe and my gingerbread person mold. So, no people shaped pancakes. We did share a beautiful morning Mass with my family.

the girls

the boys
(David would not come sit or stand with the family again.)
Then we are back to a flurry of gifts, mounds of food, relaxation and packing presents for the trip home, leaving some out to entertain us for the remainder of our visits.
We haven't had Christmas in our home for three years. The kids are starting to ask for one. With four young ones to transport next year, we may just give it a try.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Back in 1989, my father came up with a formula for buying a vehicle.

For every $100 you spend, the vehicle should go 3,000 miles.

Our 1993 Mercury Villager did this tonight. (woohoo!) It actually met the formula many moons ago for two reasons. #1 Inflation. The formula can now be adjusted to 3,000 miles for every $170 you spend. #2 It has a sticky odometer. Two years ago we noticed it was at 162,512. On the way back from Florida, it still read 162,512 miles. We know how to fix this, but we sometimes forget to push the little button that reminds it to keep counting.

It's a good van. It's served us well. I think I want a new one in the summer. Something with two sliding doors, a rear windshield wiper that does not have a mind of its own, turn signals that work after using the hazard lights and all cruise control options operating rather than only 1/3, 40% of the time. Leather seats would be nice too, but I don't want to be too picky.

ps. In case you do not want to crunch the numbers, it is not easy for a vehicle to "make formula." Only a handful have done so in the last 20 years.

Monday, December 15, 2008

menu Monday 4

Here are the last 7 meals in our rotation:

M. sloppy joes (made from scratch and served on brown rice)
T. noodles & cabbage (rice noodles)
W. hearty veggie stew
R. black-eyed pea goulash
F. chick pea patties (vegetarian)
S. pork chops and rice (broccoli & tomatoes are on top)
S. empty - go out to eat or have left overs

My favorite parts of having 28 meals are both the stability and flexibility. I'm not sure if that makes sense. I know I should have everything to make dinner. I can see what's for dinner. I create a rhythm. At the same time, we had sloppy joes for Sarah's birthday dinner on Sunday. The ribs from last week then get bumped up to Monday this week. Plus, we're leaving on Wednesday for vacation. When I did not feel like pork chops last Saturday, I could shift my yummy veggie stew to its place. So, we know what to expect, but have the option to be flexible too.

In reality this week, I won't be cooking Wednesday - Saturday. =)
I'm still thinking about a favorite, family holiday recipe...


oh crapity, crap, crap, crap!

I have NO pictures from the girls' dance recital. No video clips. No awesome footage of their rehearsal. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Somewhere in the transfer from camera to computer, they vanished. Actually, I remember seeing some of them on the computer, but now they are all gone.

Leah was an amazing cowgirl, with her pink cowboy hat I found thrifting one night.

Sarah was an angel in the Nutcracker. Granted, this was the Parks & Rec Nutcracker, so you never saw Clara or Nutcracker or a mouse. But there was a Snow Queen, Sugar Plum Fairy, children, Sweets, Dolls, Arabian, Russian, Spanish, Chinese, etc. and Angels - sweet, shining Angels.

I'm so sorry to have lost those pictures...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


You know you are 28 weeks pregnant when:

You start to waddle.
You have to catch your breath at the top of a flight of stairs.
You are suddenly starving.
You eat all the time.
You gain 4 pounds in 9 days from eating all the time.
You have to wake up to roll over at night.
You struggle getting into and out of small cars.
You cry, at the slightest thing.
You are either delighted with your DH or furious with him.
You look like this:
Welcome to the beginning of the third trimester.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Yesterday was full, to the max. I got everything done, except dinner. I packed up a dinner for Dawn, made snack for the LLL meeting, taught a FULL day of school - lots of balancing, graphing, reading, grid addition and addition/subtraction families, ran the kids down here, then back up to co-lead said LLL meeting, finally back home to plan class. *whew*

So, either my kids do not find Christmas lights to be as magical and special as I do, or they simply were not impressed with Winter Wonderland. I'm guessing it's the latter, since almost all our outdoor decorations adorn their playhouse.

Perhaps they would have liked the large indoor display, but we were late and missed that part. Here is what they did like:

looking at chickens
playing with goatslifting goatsfinding a Santa/creche sceneand getting dressed up in their new sweaters from GrannyTHANK YOU Granny Wilma! Everyone loves their new things, (and mama loved the gift receipts. It all fits now. =)

Monday, December 8, 2008

menu Monday 3


I decided I would officially do Menu Monday. I want to do some meal shifting and more crock pot meals come 2009, and I thought this might help motivate my changes.

Here are our meals for this next week and breakfast described in more detail.

M. BBQ beans and meat (baked beans, spices, leftover meat, served on rice)
T. chili burgers
W. split pea soup
R. spaghetti (GF noodles)
F. red lentil soup (vegetarian)
S. peking pork chops (crock pot)
S. BBQ ribs (crock pot)

But Sunday is Miss Sarah's birthday, so we'll have her favorite, sloppy joes. Lucky for me, that is next Monday's meal, so I'll just flip Sunday and Monday.

To see previous menus, go here and here. In case you did not notice, the week has a rhythm. Monday is someones favorite. It is also SUPER easy to pack for lunch on Tuesday. Co-op day is Tuesday, so I need an easy lunch to bring. Tuesday is something with hamburgers (or an easy cabbage dish next week.) Since I have yoga on Tuesday nights, these meals are simple for Jesse to prepare. Wednesday is a soup. Thursday is something with noodles. Friday is vegetarian. We usually have a pork chop dish on Saturday. Come Sunday, I pull out the crock pot.

Adding more to my breakfast description:
Monday's muffins are vegan, gluten free, and always banana. Jesse makes these. =)
The kids have wheat bread on Tuesday. I have Energy's rice bread. We all use an organic fruit spread. I hope to be making my own bread in 2009, but for now it is from Trader Joe's.
The kiddos' waffles are from Trader Joe's too, ones with gluten and ones without. Due to the potato starch and flour in the GF ones, I eat leftover pancakes or make a bowl of Cream of Rice.
Thursday is fairly straightforward, except we are originally from the North. We could not imagine our grits without a dollop of organic butter or Earth Balance along with demerara (minimally processed) sugar or pure maple syrup.
Friday's ice cream is soy. Fruit is fruit. =) I do not eat the oatmeal. It gives me a headache.
Pancakes on Saturday are again vegan, gluten free and banana.
Our cereal is either puffed rice or Rice Chex (now GF, yeah!) with soy or rice milk.

There it is!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

kWh usage

Way back when, I said I'd post our kW hour usage. In light of Sarah's challenge, I thought now would be a good time. BTW, is no one else watching their electricity use and weighing their recycling, other than our fun friend Rebecca, in Pgh? Sarah's still tickled to do this, but she was hoping for more participants. =) She's taking it seriously too. She's limiting David and Leah's TV time, not that they have that much, and inventing games for them instead. *hehe*

Anyhow, I'm not sure how many numbers you might be interested in. I have them all. We've never used 1,000 kWh, and now have it to rarely over 500. My favorite numbers are from July: 853 kWh in '06, 862 kWh in '07, 450 kWh in '08. No AC folks! When I broke down and used it for a weekend in September, we had our highest usage for this year - 489 kWh. August was unusually cool here and our usage shows that at 279 kWh. October was 403 kWh. November was 425 kWh.

Last December we jumped up to 505 kWh. I'm not sure why. I think Jess and I stay up late working in December. I'm hoping to have it lower this year, but we're burning the candles again. Rather, we should be burning candles with how late we're staying up. Instead, we've got the lights on. =)

Our average for 2007 was 444 kWh. The average for 2008 so far is 391.5 kWh.

There's our numbers. Sarah wanted to know if our meter ever stopped turning. We discussed the fridge and fish tank. They're always running, and have to. A few months ago we got in the habit of unplugging most of our appliances when they are not in use - TV, VCR, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine. We have one computer that is on all day and asleep all night. I'm working on that habit. Gotta' shut the thing off! Speaking of which...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

where is baby sister?

I got in the bath with Leah tonight. After my long day and yoga, I wanted a little soak. Plus, she was filthy. We usually only scrub children on Saturday night, but she could not wait that long. She agreed to the extra soaping when I said I'd get in too. Anyhow, here is what she had to say:

L: I think Baby Sister might be in your nipples.
me: What makes you think that?
L: Because they're so big!
me: Well that's so Baby Sister has a place to get food when she is born. Do you really know where Baby Sister is?
L: Yeah, (laughing) in your big tummy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

energy challenge

Sarah is looking for a family who wants to conserve energy as much as she does. =)

The challenge is to recycle as much as possible and use as little electricity as possible. She wants you to weigh the material you recycle and track your kWh for the next two weeks. The prize is: "You will have taken care of the planet and made it a much better place."

Anyone up for the challenge?

The recycle tub has a few things in it. We'll wait until it's full before Sarah weighs the stuff.
We're off to find our meter and learn how to read it.
starting at 69701 kWh folks

menu Monday 2

Here is what we are eating this week:

M. bratwurst & sauerkraut
T. burgers & four bean salad
W. grandma's chili
R. spiced beans w/ sausage over spirals
F. tofu stir fry
S. pork chops sweet potatoes apples
S. meal on the run pork loin

An update on last week:

F. ham, beets, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes
S. venison, brown rice, brussel sprouts, salad
S. stir fry with venison, tofu, green beans and corn

Now we have no left overs, so I think I'll make soup for lunch.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sister Scarf #6

Here's what I finished yesterday. After my "learning" scarves, I wanted something easy. Finding the right size needle was not so easy. After five tries, I finally settled on US10.5. Yarn: Homespun - Color: Plum - Length: 67 inches - Width: 6.5 inches - Stitch: Garter

The ear warmer was done on a whim with what was left of the skein, plus some length of the scarf. I only have one set of circular needles, size US5.5. I just went round and round. There may be a pattern out there like this, but I'm not taking the time to find it.

You may wonder what happened to Sister Scarf #3. It's beautiful, but is more my MIL's color, AND I learned an important tension lesson halfway through. Needless to say, it is not ready to be gifted. I'll fix it for next year.

And an update on Sister Scarf #2. I found it's wrap - Lion Boucle color Popsicle. So it's not wool, but acrylic and mohair with a tad of nylon.

Sister Scarf #5

My first color work! I love it! If you do too, sorry. I already have a sister in mind for this one. ;)

I love, love, loved working with this yarn. It has texture, is soft, easy to work with, just all around beautiful. It's Moda Dea's Metro in chocolate, berry and grape jam. Yummy stuff, I tell you. I found the pattern at The Inside Loop. I used US8 needles and cast on only 24 sts, so it is 6 1/2 inches wide and 54 inches long.

Sister Scarf #4

After two weeks of no knitting, my fingers were itching to get into some yarn. I finished this three weeks ago and haven't stopped since. Deadlines help.

I tried a keyhole scarf, based on a pattern on the yarn wrap. It's two strands - Lion Fun Fur in Sandstone and Moda Dea Jai Alai in Raffia, seed stitch, 10.5 needles, 43"x8".

This is so soft! Leah calls it her "tickle scarf". She carries bits of the yarn in her pocket and tickles herself with them throughout the day. Silly girl!

See the keyhole? That's so you can tuck the other end in there and your scarf is held together. =)

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Both Jess and I wanted to be in PA. We miss our families. With Thanksgiving so late, us traveling there in 20 days, and me being 6 1/2 months pregnant, we decided to stay home. I relaxed, all day, and knit. I finished the homespun sister scarf, an ear warmer to go with it and a scarf for Bitty Baby. (With all the scarves I'm making, Leah wanted one for her doll too.) Pictures forthcoming.

And I made a pie! Jesse really wanted a pumpkin pie. I reminded him that the last pie I made was pumpkin, vegan and gluten free. There is a very good reason why I have not attempted to make another pie for 9 years. I went with apple instead. Success! The crust and filling were from Moms Naturally. Thanks Jen! I made a half recipe of the crust, and made up my own crumb topping. Oh goodness this was good!

With our pie we had a ham, venison roast, tossed salad, brown rice, sweet potatoes, pickled beets, brussel sprouts, pickles and cranberry sauce. I forgot the mandarin oranges, carrots and applesauce, but no one seemed too hungry. =)

I am thankful for my Faith, family, friends and freedom. Pretty general, but all extremely important to me this year. I'm especially grateful for our "new baby sister" and the growth in mine and Jesse's relationship.

How was your Thanksgiving and what are you thankful for?

Monday, November 24, 2008

menu Monday 1

Numerous people have asked for my menu, or at least asked what I eat. ;) So here it is. I got the idea for Menu Plan Monday from I'm an Organizing Junkie. However, I don't think I can really participate. I only sit down once a year, pick 28 meals and throw in something new once in a while. My shopping list is always the same. I do one big shopping trip each month. I've done this fairly consistently for the last 9 years. When I didn't have kids, I also cooked/prepped for the month. Now I'm just happy to get the next week's meat thawing on Thursday. I've had a few random, happy Saturday mornings cooking for the week, but that hasn't happened since May.

Anyhow, I'll post four of these and then you'll know what we eat.

M. hamburger rice & green beans
T. teriyaki burgers
W. sausage & lentil soup
R. lasagna
F. salmon & pineapple sweet potato casserole
S. teriyaki meat loaf
S. glow pork chops

Those are the dinners. This week will look a bit different with Thanksgiving and all.
R. way too much food
F. leftovers
S. leftovers
S. leftovers

Lunch is always left-overs. Breakfast is the same each week and served with sausage or bacon.

M. muffins
T. toast
W. waffles
R. grits
F. fruit, ice cream, oatmeal
S. pancakes
S. dry cereal

Almost everything on my menu is gluten, dairy, egg, nut, everything else I'm allergic to - free.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Birthday Bean!

Today you are 4! - and proud and loud and deliciously cute. In the last year... Your imaginative play soared. You started to read. I thought I might be able to say that you weaned, but after your fingers were closed in a door last week, you remembered. You got your own bed, that you sleep in at least half the night. You stopped nodding on the phone. I can decipher most of your drawings now, and all the people and animals have belly-buttons. You ask if they are beautiful enough to hang on the fridge. They always are. Your favorite food is "bisghetti." You still love Cinderella, cats, fairies, the color yellow. You started dance class and love, love, love it. You dote on and care for those younger than you. You give me the random hugs and kisses a mama needs. You grew!
from Christmas '07
to your princess party!

I love you Leah Bean!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

party time!

We went to the best party playtime today! With the craziness I have planning Leah's party on Sunday, Amy said she'd host. (What a dear! Plus, it was Audy's actual birthday.) All the kids played and cooperated. The moms socialized. Sarah was super great with baby Cassidy and reading stories to all the younger ones. The snacks were delicious. And, I got some more yummy yarn for Blessing Ways. =) Just all around good times! We had a blast!

Happy Birthday girls!!

(not the best shot of Audy and Leah, but I love how it shows off the hats our good friend Anna made for them)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008


So this is why no one wanted to car pool with me to our MNO. ;)
It was my first ever surprise party! A baby shower that was kept very well concealed. I was so clueless, the baby balloons attached to a bag by the wall did not give it away. I feel so blessed, so loved, so accepted. (thankful post coming soon)
Tonight, thank you and hugs and kisses to Shell, Kim, Shez, (no kissing ;) Ginny, Lydia, Melina and Tina. You all are the best!

Friday, November 14, 2008

stolen secrets

The season of secrets is in full swing here.

Leah in a whisper: Mommy, look at this beautiful ring!
my quiet reply: oh! do you want to give Sarah a ring?
Leah: No! I'm going to give her something I stole from her!
me: something you stole from her?
Leah: Yes, it is nice to give back things you stole.

All I could do was stifle laughter.


Jesse's been gone for three days. This was made harder by my needing a few days of bed rest just as he left. When he got home today he said and did the three most perfect things.
#1 "Wow! the house looks great!"
#2 lovely kiss
#3 gentle rub of my growing belly

Love you, Hon! It's always good to have you back.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Rain, rain, go away,
So Fall can come again and stay,
And when my children go out to play,
There are not wet leaves on the floor all day.

Oh, I live in southern Virginia, near the shore. This is Fall.
But for days on end?
I miss the sunshine.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Earth is enormous
Animals thrive
Riches await the eye
Trees give off oxygen for us
How would you like to visit us

by Sarah

(I mentioned this in last night's post, and thought I'd share.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

One Fine Day Learning

Oh! do I love these days! It is the kind where I wish I had a video camera capturing each perfect moment. However, I know if I did, everyone would pay attention to the camera, and my actual picture would be lost.

We have plenty of "real" days. David says his eyes are tired after three pages in his reader. Leah says she can only do school with Mommy, not Sarah. Sarah gives up on our politics unit study and only wants to do her Earth science.

Occasionally we have a picture perfect day when everything flows. I want to remember this when we have more realistic days. I want to remember that this is why we are learning at home, to instill and nurture a love of learning in our children, follow their paths and connect with them in a special way.

Here is a snapshot of our fine day. It started with my morning walk. Before I left, I asked Jesse to work with Sarah on her citizenship lesson. When I returned, the activities were finished. They made webs describing their rights and responsibilities in our home, discussed how people help their communities and listed what the consequences might be when citizens do not make good decisions.

We said good-bye to Daddy and started our reading. Sarah read You’re Aboard Spaceship Earth by Patricia Lauber. David and Leah chimed in that Earth is a sphere and began collecting balls. They soon were off to play while Sarah finished. When it was time for David to read Gus the Bug with me, Sarah did “sister school” with Leah. They classified and matched shapes and colors. This was very simple for Leah. On their own initiative, they started to create more classification sheets to challenge each other further.

For David and Leah’s attribute unit, we experimented with standard and nonstandard measurement. When Sarah saw how much fun we were having, she soon joined us. How long was our big doll when she was measured with a short pencil, a long pencil, Leah’s hand, Mommy’s hand or a ruler? David also measured numerous toys to predict if they would fit in a bag. Although our monkey puppet is 10 inches wide and 38 inches long, she still fit in a 7”x10” gift bag. One of the sentences David dictated for handwriting was, “Chee-Chee [the puppet] is long but flexible.”

While I prepared lunch, Sarah wrote two letters to an alien friend who wants to visit Earth. I was so impressed to see an entire page filled with her writing. Her creativity continued with her first acrostic poem describing Earth and a letter to Ranger Rick, with yet another acrostic poem describing their magazine.

Our full, smooth day finished with Miquon Math. Sarah used Cuisenaire rods to begin her division exploration. David hopped along number lines by 2’s, 4’s, 8’s and 16’s. At the end, we were all smiles, ready for a photograph that never happened.

What special days or moments do you have with your children? As I continue to take baby-steps forward on our homeschool path, or large leaps back, I find these days more frequently. It is part of my own learning process as a parent, finding the best paths for each of us. I wish you many fine days learning with your children!

ps. Today was very "real" and is described in the second paragraph. Our "fine day" happened last month. =)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Apples and Oranges

Today we have a president elect. Not my candidate of choice, but I'm still curious/excited to see what the future holds.

Yesterday I held my own little election in class. I brought a treat, orange juice and apple cider. We held a vote on index cards. Not many of my students are reading, so I wrote orange juice with an orange marker and apple cider with a red marker. Crayons were passed out. I asked them to put a mark under the one they wanted to have. These kids were great! They didn't quite grasp the concept of keeping their choice a secret, but when you're 3, 4 and 5, it may not matter. Two girls volunteered to tally the votes on their fingers. Everyone counted. Apple cider won, 5 to 3. Two votes came back undecided. Working with young children, I try to be as flexible as I am comfortable. So when we sat down, I served whatever they wanted, however much they wanted. When I got home, there was noticeably less orange juice than apple cider. Interesting...

I know at least one child cast his vote because apple cider was written in red. He loves the color red. He'd never had apple cider. He did try a bit, but was soon drinking orange juice. Some may have thought apple cider would taste more like apple juice? I'm not sure. For whatever reason, one was chosen, but when it came time to consume, they found a preference for the other.

I wonder if our nation will feel the same way in a few years.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

If you are married to a political scientist, you see them very little on election day. Especially if they've become a favorite with the local TV stations. Numerous interviews over the past few months has led up to today and a two hour blogging session. We decided it would be best for him to do this at the office. So back to work he went. I've got the kids watching a "bedtime movie", hope to get some blogging and cleaning done, and will follow the results on the radio and Jesse's blogging.

I voted at 2. Voting here is nothing like rural PA. First, there are computers. Second, there are lines. Third, there are no friendly volunteers to take your children to the next room to use a sample ballot to vote for George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. This was my second time using the computer voting machine. I'm still nervous my card will get "lost" somewhere or will not record my vote accurately. I did not have a line. It did take 20 minutes, but most of that was spent waiting for the two ladies to validate voters, trying to keep three children close, but not touching the screen and waiting for the little old lady to give my little people "I voted" stickers, since they were so "precious." I guess instead of punching chads, they get a sticker. =)

It just dawned on me that I wore red today. My poor, pregnant foggy brain didn't make the connection. I just wanted to wear something with an American Flag. I was given a cute maternity tee with one on it, and it's red. I also had my first hormonal breakdown this morning, due in part to what I could, or rather could not wear. My size is in the middle now. Maternity bottoms fall off. Everything with a closure is too small. Elastic is uncomfortable. *sigh* The other part was dh reading a story to our children this morning. Don't ask. It was 100% hormonal.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Here is the BEST way to prepare venison. Sarah said she wished this was handed out on Halloween. I have no pics. I'm lucky I got a taste, everyone ate this so fast.

#1 Have family that hunts and gives you free, organic meat.
#2 Plan to have meatloaf using ground venison, but discover you only have small steaks and a roast left.
#3 Have your dh botch a recipe. Say, instead of a 1/2 c. of red cooking wine he accidentally uses red wine vinegar. Then he saves the mistake to use as "salad dressing."
#4 No one uses said dressing for over a month.
#5 You plan to throw it out.
#6 Start pounding the steaks with a meat hammer. You want them thin and moist. No one likes thick raw-hide for dinner.
#7 Ponder what will provide the moisture and recall the "dressing."
#8 Soak steaks in "dressing" for 10 minutes or so before browning.
#9 Serve delicious dinner with steamed organic peas and organic brown rice. Warning, have the peas and rice ready. 1/3 of the steaks may be consumed before they even get to the table.

Here's the dressing:
5 oz. soy sauce (We use Amino Braggs.)
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. oil?
Sorry, I'm not sure about the oil. Jesse added it for "dressing" purposes, so it was not measured.
I used this on about 2 lbs. of small venison steaks.

Enjoy! (I know only a few of you will, but maybe others will not be afraid to try venison if it tastes this good. ;)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy All Hallows Eve!

Never am I more grateful for an overflowing dress-up box than today! Yes, we dress-up. Yes, we trick-or-treat. Yes, we buy all chocolate from our kids for 5 cents/piece. Yes, someone, usually David, changes their mind at the last minute about what they will wear. This year, Sarah said she would use a dance costume, and decided upon "70's girl". Leah thought about Cinderella a few months ago, but soon switched to fairy and stuck with it. David decided to be a knight. He has swords, a breastplate, three helmets and a shield. At noon, only the shield was working. Everything else was too small. Maybe he'd be a pirate? But what he really wanted was a dragon costume. He even worked out when I could go shopping for said get-up, and did not want to hear about the possibility of creating something at home. I had no desire to go shopping for a last minute costume. Dress-up box to the rescue! When looking for his pirate hat, he found a train engineer's hat. (My favorite part is that this was Jesse's when he was a boy.) He grabbed a bandanna and told me how to put it on. I dug up some overalls and a blue-and-white striped shirt from his drawers. saved! And everyone was happy!!

Here's my troupe. =)

I stayed home. nice.... and enjoyed this... even better. Only mine was cooked on the stove, minus Tabasco sauce and pepper. I replaced the beef broth with water and ground beef with pork. This is a hearty, filling soup that fits the season perfectly.

Oh, and who took my children and left me these perfect little people? *hehe* They got home, dumped their buckets, sorted and sold, ate one piece without complaint, sorted and organized their stashes, spent 30 minutes trading! amongst themselves, then said, "It's bedtime. Our candy was our bedtime snack. We're ready." What a happy, happy Hallows Eve!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

3 hours

This is how long David and Leah played this morning.

This is how the house looked afterwards:

health ward

remnants of a beaver dam

animal adventures

the demise of the kudu
(in the lower left corner)

fun times! =)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


We had such a wonderful visit with my brother, his wife and their two children. (Joseph is 3.5 and Catherine is almost 2.) We ate, drank, talked, relaxed, played games and swam at their hotel pool. When they were not playing at "The Richman Children's Museum" as my brother called our home, we took them to: Joseph loved the city bus. I mean really, really LOVED it.
and the beach. (The only time I remembered my camera.)

With all the bodies about, (They stayed here two of the nights.) and the ages of all the little ones, we had a delightful time.
Thank you for coming down guys! We'll see you at Christmas!