Thursday, December 29, 2011

Kettle Corn

My kids have fallen in love with kettle corn, and I have to admit I love the sweet/salty taste too.  Unfortunately for them, I am unwilling to pay for a bag of popped popcorn...at least not very often.  Today I found a recipe on allrecipes.com and tried it out.  It turned out great!  One of the commenters had a significant change to the recipe, so I will add them in to the instructions here for you.

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 20 min

Yields 10 cups

1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup white sugar (brown sugar will yield a more caramel taste)
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels

Use a large heavy pot with a lid (large enough to hold all that popped corn!)

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat, with three kernels in the pot. When all three kernels pop, add in the sugar and popcorn ("sprinkle" the sugar evenly across the bottom of the pan rather than just "dumping" it in, likewise with the popcorn). Cover, and alternate shaking the pot for three seconds and let it sit on the burner for three seconds. Once the popping has slowed to once every 2 to 3 seconds, remove the pot from the heat, add salt to taste, and continue to shake for a few minutes until the popping has stopped. Pour into a large bowl, and allow to cool.  Clumps will break up easily after the popcorn has cooled.

The trickiest part of this recipe for me was cooking it too long--the first batch I did I left on the stove a little too long because I couldn't actually hear the popping inside.  I put on a movie during the second batch...silence is golden, they say...and could much more easily hear the popping.  That probably won't be a problem at your house, right?  ;)

My tips: 
Grab potholders before you begin.  The pan I used has handles on each side--it was difficult to hold the lid on and shake at the same time.  Naturally everything got hot!  The original recipe says to stir in the sugar and popcorn kernels.  Trying to stir that made a big mess.  Seriously, you're going to be shaking it.  Just make sure that when you add the sugar and then the kernels, sprinkle it evenly over the bottom of the pot.  That will do it.  Once the popcorn started popping, I did have oil coming out from under the lid a little bit, so I kept a rag close by to wipe the side of the pot in the quick 3 seconds I left it sitting on the burner.

Another Christmas Post

Here I go again...blogging in my head...before I forget THIS one too, here are some more photos from Christmas!

 Micah:  "Mom, seriously?  When are we going to open presents??"

 Eden and her Aunty Holly (who just got married to Kyle two weeks ago--congratulations to them!!)

 Obadiah loved opening presents.  We didn't buy him anything, because he really doesn't need anything.  (except Mitch bought him some new nuks--yay!)  My friend Barb made him a little blanket with tags all around the perimeter and also a block the same way, with a bell in the middle.  He LOVES the block.  So we wrapped it back up for Christmas.  Why not, eh?  We knew he would love it.  :)

 Malachi gets credit for finding Tirzah's favorite gift--some soft boot slippers.  She has pink winter boots that she loves to wear around the house (clomp, clomp, clomp).  Well, you can guess that Mommy doesn't love her wearing her boots all around the house.  Malachi found these on clearance at JCPenney...$7.99.  Perfect!

 Caleb loves Donita K. Paul.  I bought him (used) each of the 5 books in the Dragon Keeper Chronicles.  He gave away book 1, DragonSpell...but I'm not going to tell you why.  :)

 Malachi got a little western outfit, complete with double shooter cap guns.  TOTALLY fun.



Later we opened presents from Kathi and Patrick all the way from Germany.  We miss them sooooo much!
 Kathi sent Obi this cute stuffed duckie and everyone had their own letter from Kathi, each with a puzzle piece below.  Such a lot of thought went into each letter!  She sent lots of other gifts, too, but I didn't take pictures of everything.

Patrick's family picked out a GREAT book for our family.  It is hilarious.  Kyle put on his best German accent and read it to us while we all giggled (and groaned).  Oh, you want to know the title of the book?  "The Story of the Little Mole Who went in Search of Whodunit" by Werner Holzwarth & Wolf Erlbruch  (If you search for the title on youtube, you can see a similar version of the book...the translation is a little different than the one we have, but you can get the idea)

They also sent us two new figures to add to the Nativity Crèche they started for us last year.  Such a beautiful set!

We had great food and good fellowship.  We opened more presents from Paul and Marilyn (and have thoroughly enjoyed the games). We are very blessed!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Christmas Story

When I watched this video with our kids (or this video on Vimeo if you are in Germany...thanks, Kathi!), God impressed on my heart the feeling that Christmas is really about the great Rescue Plan and to really understand what that baby in a manger means, you need to look at the whole story.  From reading The Jesus Storybook Bible with our children, to reading through the Bible in 90 days, this has been pressed deeply into my heart.  Out of that, I bore the idea of an object lesson using presents to tell the story of Christmas.  (If you have seen Resurrection Eggs, you may know where I'm going with this.)

I gathered a list of items that I wanted--pieces of the story that I wanted to tell--along with verses of scripture that coordinated.  I have specific reasons why I chose the scriptures that I did, but there are MANY different options.  It was hard to choose.  I didn't want this to take too long (it took a little over an hour for us to open them).  If you were doing something like this with your family, you could do one present per day, you could add in a couple different themes to get the number up to 12 and have the "12 Days of Christmas", or some variation.

I had each of the items wrapped as "presents" and numbered so we would know which order to open them in.

1) Creation  I had a children's board book that had a wonderful poem about creation in it.  The book was very quick to read.  The verse I printed was Genesis 1:31a  "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good."

2) Sin or the Fall of Man  In this box was a plastic snake and an apple.  Scripture was Genesis 3:1-6. "Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.
    He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate."

3) Death enters the world  We know from scripture that death did not exist until the fall.  So I chose a sword to represent killing, but also handcuffs to represent the chains of bondage to sin man is now under.  The scripture we read was Romans 5:12-14 "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come."

4) Unrighteousness and the Law In the next box was the Law (a copy of the 10 Commandments) and "filthy rags"...one for each person to drape around their necks.  We read Romans 3: 10-12,
"as it is written:
    “None is righteous, no, not one;
        no one understands;
        no one seeks for God.
    All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
        no one does good,
        not even one.”"

 5) Prophets (The Great Rescue Plan) I could have divided this into two parts.  But in this box was a flashlight and a crown.  We read two scriptures (and I certainly could have added much more), first was Isaiah 9:2, 
"The people who walked in darkness
        have seen a great light;
    those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
        on them has light shone."
Next was Jeremiah 23:5, "“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.""


6) The birth of Jesus  The kids had been looking for baby Jesus under the tree where he is every year, but they were disappointed to not find him there this year.  Caleb was especially disappointed.  I was pleased that it just so happened that Caleb was the one to open the box with our baby Jesus doll.  Each child took a turn holding him.  The scripture we read was Luke 2:1-14,
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
    And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
    “Glory to God in the highest,
        and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
 

7) The Crucifixion  In this box we had a wooden cross, nails, a hammer, a notepad, and a pen.  Each of us (age 6 and up) took a turn writing one sin we have personally committed and we "nailed" it to the cross.  We read three scriptures (I chose these to tie into the ones we had already read):  Isaiah 53:5
"But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed."
Romans 5:19  "For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous."

Romans 5:8  "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
 



8) The Resurrection  In this box was a "tomb" I had created using a shoe box.  I lined the inside of the box with black paper and covered the outside with gray duct tape.  I left a little opening at the back and a larger opening at the front.  There was a flap that could be pulled out of the way to see inside.  When the children held the tomb up to let the light shine through the small opening in the back, they could barely see enough inside to see that it was empty.  Also in this box were the keys to the handcuffs from box 3.  We read 1 Corinthians 15:14, "And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain." and 1 Corinthians 15:20-22, "But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive." (again, my choice of these verses tied back in to the verses I chose from the beginning)


9) The problem of sin continues  This box has a gun to represent the problem of sin still existing.  This wasn't where you thought I was going next, right?  But it is so true...Jesus has come, we have been freed from sin, but sin still exists and bad things still happen.  So what is going on here?  Did the Rescue Plan fail?   I had printed a lot of scripture for this, but in the end I didn't read it all because too many kids had the wiggles.  But I had chosen Romans 7:15, 21-25,  "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate...So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin."  Romans 8:20-25,  "For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience."  And Philippians 1:6, "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

10) Christ is coming back  I wanted to put a letter in this box that said "I am coming back for you", but in the end I didn't feel comfortable writing it.  I did include new, freshly ironed, white strips of cloth to contrast the filthy rags we opened in box 4, to represent being clothed in Christ's righteousness.  We read Revelation 19:6-9, 11, 16
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
    “Hallelujah!
    For the Lord our God
        the Almighty reigns.
    Let us rejoice and exult
        and give him the glory,
    for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
        and his Bride has made herself ready;
    it was granted her to clothe herself
        with fine linen, bright and pure”—
    for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
    And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war...On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Revelation 21:5a "And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” "


Will you be at the marriage supper of the Lamb, clothed in fine linen, bright and pure?  If you are not sure, take time to read back through each of the scriptures I posted.  Realize there is nothing in yourself--no merit worthy--you are clothed now in filthy rags.  Put on the righteousness of Christ, bought and paid for by him, given freely to those who don't deserve it.  We pray for each of our children that they may choose to turn from sin and trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins.  I know, at least in America, the statement "Jesus is the reason for the season" is an overused cliche.  It is true, he IS the reason for the season, but I think many people do not understand what that reason really is.  It is not just about Mary giving birth to a baby and wrapping him in swaddling cloths and lying him in a manger.  It is so much more...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

Our wonderful Christmas celebration began with an object lesson initiated by the following video.  I'll post more details later, but I want to share the video with you now:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Don't Tell!!

We did our Christmas shopping a little differently this week.  Taking advice from another large family, we divided our kids into two teams.
Mom's Team:  Eden (12), Zeke (8), Malachi (4), Obadiah (8 months)
Dad's Team: Micah (14), Caleb (almost 11), Josh (6), Tirzah (2)

We had a suggestion box where kids have contributed ideas for each other for the past couple weeks.  I opened the box and made lists for each team.  We set as a rough goal something fun, something useful, and something educational for each person.  But it was just a guide...we didn't stick to this plan strictly.  Mitch and I each had other guidelines--not to expensive, not too many parts, and not too much noise.  :)

We split our teams and did our shopping yesterday (maybe next year we will pick a different day).  It went over fairly well, but Mitch's team did need a little rescue from mom.  Once my team finished, Eden babysat for me at home while I tried to help Mitch complete his list and cheer their spirits. 

Coming home again was the part we didn't prepare for so well.  Too many chatter boxes wanted to tell about the presents they had bought.  Some of them were a little too young to get it.  This is the conversation we had this morning...Mitch and I listening/responding from our bedroom, the little guys out in the living room (a "shout" away).

Zeke:  MOM!  Malachi told Josh what his presents are!
Mom:  Did he tell him everything?  What did he tell him?
Zeke:  Yes, he told him everything!
Malachi (remember he is shouting):  Nuh-uh!  I didn't tell him about the ball for his pet!

Oye.  We just laid our heads back and laughed.  We deciding the snooping, secrets, etc, is just part of the fun and will be a part of Christmas as long as there are gifts.  (But we still encouraged them that they really should not, that it steals joy away from the giver.)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tirzah has horns

Tirzah's hair is still very thin and I can hardly do anything with it.  Today I put little ponytails in it because *I* think that's cute on her.  She likes it, too.  They usually slide out within an hour or two.  After wrestling with Zeke for a little while, she climbed up on my lap.  Apparently Zeke wasn't done wrestling, because he was still touching her as she did, and her ponytail holder slid out into his hand.  Tirzah began to cry and trying to put the offense into words said, "He did that!"  And Zeke's response?

"Mom is putting your horn back in, then you can chase me again."

Man!  What a way to kill it for me, you know?!



Ok, maybe it's not cute...but I don't care, it's fun anyway.  But horns?  Really, Zeke??

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Does God sleep?

Malachi was sleeping on the couch when Mitch woke up this morning.  They were chatting by the time I got out of the shower. 

Malachi said to Mitch, "I was the first one up, right, Dad?"

Part of the discussion moved to when God woke up.  Malachi thought that maybe God was up before he was.  Mitch said, "God never sleeps."

Malachi said, "Yes he does. Jesus was asleep on the boat!"

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Yesterday I was cutting up velveeta cheese for my ridiculously yummy and unhealthy chicken wild rice soup.  Micah walked by, and in all his 14 years he apparently has no experience with velveeta.  He asked me, "What is that stuff?"  Then answering his own question, he continued, "Cheese butter?"

I laughed.  How do you describe velveeta?  "Cheese butter" seems to be an adequate description!

Anyway, here is my recipe (typed from memory):

Chicken, cooked and cut into cubes, as much or little as you want...I usually have around 2 cups of chicken breast
1 cup uncooked wild rice
1 pint half & half
6 strips of bacon, uncooked
1 medium onion
10 oz of Velveeta Cheese (or 1/3 of a 2-lb block)
2 (10.75 oz) cans condensed cream of potato soup
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth

Cook the wild rice according to package directions (I recommend finding some native Minnesota wild rice!)
Fry bacon strips, reserve some of the grease
Cook the onions in the grease until they are tender (you could also cook your chicken in here if it isn't already cooked...I throw mine in to get the full flavor, even though it's already cooked)
Add rice, crumbled bacon, onions, and chicken to a pot.  Add in the rest of the ingredients.

Simmer for 1/2 hour to an hour, stirring regularly.  Be careful not to let it go too long, as the milk will burn on the bottom of the pan.  You can also put this in a crock pot on low.

I wanted to take a picture, but I completely forgot by the time mine was ready.  Next time!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

At 8 1/2 months....

Obi is absolutely determined to follow his older siblings standing on his own two feet!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Using Quotation Marks to Write Dialogue

Micah had the following assignment, and his answer made me giggle.  Apparently he completed it while I was with Obi at the chiropractor on Monday.  (And pardon me if I don't take time to correct his punctuation and spelling).


Write a conversation--either real or imaginary--which contains at least five questions. Practice using punctuation and paragraph form for direct quotation.

"Ben do you like nacho cheese?" asked Micah with searching eyes.
 "No," Ben anserwd with a smile on his face.
 "Ben," Micah asked, "do you like shushi?"
 Before Ben  could answer, Mrs. E said "Micah, what are you doing?"
Micah, now stiffiling a laugh, answered, "a homework asignment."
 "No," Ben said with a straight face, "no, i have never tried it."
 Micah then asked Ben, "do you like watermellon?"
Ben answerd with a quick answer, "yes."
Micah asked Ben a final question, "Ben, do you like Dr. Pepper?
"Yes," Ben said, "second favorite pop!" 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Allowance

We have tried different methods for giving our kids an allowance.  This is the method we finally settled on:  each kid "earns" 25 cents per year of age, per week.  We keep track of their weekly allowance in a spreadsheet.  They put 50% into savings, give 10% to church, and the remaining 40% is theirs to spend.  We also do this with any cash gifts they receive for birthdays and Christmas, as well as income they earn from other ventures.  The money is kept in our own checking account.  When we go shopping, we pay for the items, but save the receipts and deduct the amount spent from their allowance spreadsheets.  This has worked well for our family.

Last night Mitch was working on  the spreadsheets.  He called the kids in one at a time to let them know how much they had in their accounts.  He called Malachi in and said, "You have $27 in your account."

Malachi ran from the room yelling, "Hey Guys, I have twenty THOUSAND dollars in my account!"

Whoa!  That's quite a payday!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Update...again...

I am running on low steam tonight with a brewing caffeine headache, but I really don't want to neglect my blog.

Well, the throw-up virus (or "stomach flu" as some people call it) has continued to worm its way through our family oh-so-slowly.  For the 3rd Sunday in a row, I had someone throwing up.  I am now the only one out of 10 who hasn't gotten sick.  What baffles me is how we can go 3, 4, 5 days--even a whole week--without anyone sick at all, then all of a sudden someone is knocking on my door in the middle of the night.  :(  It's crazy!

The kids have been real troopers.  The older kids have been good buddies to the younger kids, helping them get to us if they need help, even sometimes helping them get a bucket or get to the bathroom!  They know the drill really well by now.  The older kids have also managed to get their schoolwork done in spite of interruptions. 

Obadiah has been the hardest one of all, and it always is.  He has had a runny nose/cough since before Thanksgiving, and that really bothers him.  The teeth that the doctor saw almost 3 weeks ago have not emerged, in fact I don't think he's made any progress at all on them.  He has tried out "biting" me while nursing and it was painful nonetheless.  He had a turn at throwing up AND now has diarrhea.  We've had multiple wardrobe changes this weekend, if you know what I mean.  He continues to work on standing up in the middle of the room, and does it all the time.  Still no steps for me, though.  :) 

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I started the 90-day Bible reading plan.  That is going really well.  Mitch and Eden are trying to keep up with me.  I'm already looking forward to doing it again next year sometime.  In addition to reading my Bible, I've been reading Elyse Fitzpatrick's Give Them Grace, and I HIGHLY recommend it.  Mitch is reading that one with me, too, and I am so glad to be on the same page with him.  We also read Sheet Music by Kevin Leman together.  Whew!  What a fantastically exciting book!!  I read some very unfair negative reviews.  Apparently this book is not for every (married) couple.  Mitch and I found it to be fun and rejuvenating for us.  We also read 4 Days to a Forever Marriage together (and I need to write a review).  It was also a good book...maybe more palatable for a wider audience, if you know what I mean.  ;)  Do you recognize the common theme here?  Reading together with Mitch has been an incredible way for us to connect and strengthen our marriage.  It came when I least expected it!!

We are reading Jotham's Journey for Advent.  We really miss our exchange students, Kathi and Patrick.  :(  We put together care packages for each of them and packed as much love and kisses as we possibly could inside.  I'm glad I actually got that done, because that's about all I've been able to accomplish for Christmas!  I have a few good ideas, not enough though, and not enough time to carry out any of them to get ready for Christmas.  No time for shopping...I just have no idea how this is going to go down.  Yikes--Christmas is in only 2 weeks!!!  I haven't even had time to take some decent pictures other than the ones I posted a couple days ago.  =S  Let me say that again--I have no time for shopping and I have no idea what I want to give my kids for Christmas.  I have some ideas for extended family, but that's it.  Ideas.  I want to go to bed now...wake me up in time for Caleb's birthday, would ya?  Man, it's tough being the parent!

I think I'm supposed to say more here, but all I can think about is how my eyes feel like they're going to pop out of my head and I still need to grade the kids' schoolwork before tomorrow!  So with that, I guess I'll just let it go for now.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Sale at Pampered Cheeks

Many of my blog readers may remember that I own a cloth diapering business, Pampered Cheeks.  I create custom cloth diapers for babies.  I have had very little time for sewing the past couple years, and my sewing room is jam-packed with beautiful fabrics that really should be used.  Back a few years ago I could justify having such an inventory, but no more.  It's time for me to move some of these fabrics on (and possibly free up space for other projects!).

Pop on over to my store on hyena cart and see what's for sale, just click on the picture:

Photobucket

Note that the prices do not include shipping, I will send a separate shipping invoice after the order is cut/packed.  I don't have everything listed yet either, and I would love to have any locals come and pick up their orders to save shipping costs.  You can even use a coupon code to get MORE savings during the month of December:  iluvknits will get you an additional 20% off at checkout!

I have great patterns I created myself through years of work--the One Size Cheekies, Growing Cheekies fitteds, and Growing Cheekies Pockets/AI2.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Some Pictures

I need to actually write but here are some pictures:

 {Installing track lighting over the table}

 {Celebrating new lights}

 {Decorating the Christmas tree}





{Gathering to read Jotham's Journey for Advent}

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Child Care Unionization update

A judge has blocked the union vote!!  Whoo hoo!!!  Thanks to Kristen for giving me the link she saw on the news last night:
http://www.kare11.com/news/article/949945/14/Judge-blocks-union-vote-for-child-care-providers-

Here was the rest of my original post earlier today:

I received this letter yesterday from my representative, Steve Gottwalt.  I think you'll be able to read it when you click here.  My favorite part goes like this:

"The governor has limited this election to 4,287 licensed in-home child care providers who receive state subsidies.  If you are one of the 7,000 licensed in-home childcare providers who do not take state subsidies, you will not be allowed to participate in this election.  We do not agree with this decision to have 40 percent of the state's providers cast votes which will impact the entire industry, including independent businesses, children who receive care and parents who rely on childcare providers."

Voting begins today, and so far this is the only correspondence I have received.  I am deeply concerned for providers throughout the state who are unaware.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Sick

Well, we have had a "sick" sort of week here.  Last week before Thanksgiving, Obadiah ran a fever for 3 days.  I took him to the doctor, and he received an "all clear, just a virus" diagnosis.  The doctor asked me at least 3 times if he had a rash, but nope there was no rash.  The fever broke, and the next day he had a rash...I knew instantly that it must have been roseola. 

The doctor said that it looked like he was trying to cut all 4 teeth at once.  I can testify that whether it's due to teeth or virus this boy has been CRABBY.  Developmentally, he has learned that once we leave the room we continue to exist.  In other words, he quickly crawls after us, crying.  If he crawls fast enough, he grabs hold of my pant leg, preventing me from getting away again!  I haven't seen any sign of those teeth, yet.  He has been practicing standing alone, and now pretty much has it perfected.  Today he stood in the middle of the room holding only a mouse cord...he didn't pull up on anything, he simply pushed off the ground.  After standing for a few seconds, he slowly let himself back down.  :)  He hasn't taken any steps at all for me though, unless he's pushing a toy around.  Oh, and he has a killer grip--he can pull out my outlet covers!!!

On Sunday, while it was still very early morning/middle of the night, Zeke and Malachi both woke up vomiting.  That brought quite a sense of dread on me.  By Monday midday, Mitch had diarrhea.  He made his lesson plans to have a sub on Tuesday.  Tuesday was my birthday, and I fully prepared to be sick.  I wasn't sick, but I still decided not to go out to eat.  The risk was too high.  Fundido sauce will be there for another time.  :(  I celebrated being 29 again, and made a carrot cake.  I didn't even take a picture!  I didn't have daycare kids on Monday and Tuesday.  Tuesday evening Tirzah ran a fever, but there was no vomiting/diarrhea, and Mitch was feeling better.  So Wednesday morning I was back to the grind.

So how is it that a family of 10...with no personal space, sharing cups and toothbrushes and you-name-it...escapes the stomach virus with only 3 casualties?  I don't know.  But I sure do know I'm grateful!!

On Tuesday I felt an overwhelming desire to read the Bible in 90 daysOne of my favorite bloggers has done this a couple times, but I have never felt up to the challenge.  I did not join the program or any support group, but I am mainly just following the reading plan.  I challenged Mitch to join me, and any of the kids who want to give it a try.  I told them if they start today, they would read the whole Bible by the end of February.  Doesn't that sound incredible?!  It does take up quite a bit of my free time, and I am more than happy to let it!

We also got out our Christmas stuff to decorate.  We set up the tree, but we can't find our lights.  ::sigh::  I'm sure they will turn up, soon!  Yay for decorating at a nice, peaceful pace.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Book Review: Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball

Need a little help getting in the "Christmas spirit"?

Donita K. Paul has written a novella calledTwo Tickets to the Christmas Ball: A Novella.  This lighthearted novel is whimsical and warming.  Cora Crowder and Simon Derrick have worked for the same employer for 5 years, on the same floor, and don't even know each other.  Coincidence (or is it?) brings them both to a quaint little bookshop for Christmas presents.  They each purchase a book, and upon arriving home find that inside the book is a ticket to the Wizard's Christmas Ball.  We follow Cora and Simon as their lives continue to collide, drawing them together and towards the climatic event--a ball that the matchmaking owners of the bookshop arrange every year in order to bring together couples.  Unexpected surprises lay ahead, though, because life is rarely so easy as meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after.

It's no secret that I love Donita K. Paul.  Her writing is permeated by her love for Jesus Christ and for good Biblical theology.  She draws the reader in with fantastical events, and the reader is enveloped in the story and fed to the heart.  Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball has a lot to teach about dealing with dysfunctional family members.  Two completely different families are presented, and while both families have "interesting" members, the contrast between the way Cora relates to her family compared to how Simon relates to his is stark.  I love it when a good story teaches a great lesson.  This story warmed me to the core and puts me in the mood for Christmas, but every day is a good day to celebrate the Gospel!

Read Chapter 1 of the book here, and watch this short promo video:



I recieved a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah.  I was not required to write a positive review.  My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thanksgiving

We had a very blessed gathering at our house today!


 Our tradition--everyone signs this white tablecloth with sharpie markers.  It's so much fun to look back and read the previous years'.  Some of our kids have certainly improved their spelling and grammar.  :)
 We were joined by Paul and Marilyn, Holly and Kyle, Hope and Nate, Tristan, and Selena, and 2 international students from Ethiopia and 2 from China:




 The Emersons joined us later in the day for dessert and games, and before everyone started heading for home, we gathered for a group picture (just missing Paul and Marilyn...and Obi was down for a nap):

Happy Thanksgiving!