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!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks





Footprints in the snow are the evidence of many blessings filling our home:

I so love Thanksgiving!  We give thanks every day, but it is so wonderful to gather with friends and family on this special holiday with the purpose of giving thanks to God for His abundant goodness!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What that was all about...

Ok, here is a little more information on my union rant from Minnesota Majority (I do believe I am one of the selected few providers that will be allowed to vote in the election, though it still saddens me):

Last week, Governor Dayton issued an executive order calling for a vote to  unionize childcare providers. If he succeeds in his bid to unionize childcare providers, parents will pay more for childcare services and all taxpayers will pay more to fund childcare subsidizes.
Why is this Happening?
Governor Dayton reportedly made a promise to union leaders to sign the executive order in exchange for their support in the last election.  Greedy union bosses want to skim union dues from taxpayer-funded subsidies designed to help poor parents pay for childcare services.  And childcare providers are just the beginning.  In other states, family members caring for relatives with disabilities have also been forced to join a union.
Is this Legal?
We believe Governor Dayton's actions are illegal on a number of fronts.  First, in-home childcare providers are independent small business owners and are therefore not subject to collective bargaining arrangements.  Second, the governor has no legal authority to issue an executive order calling for an election.  Finally, the election he has authorized is rigged -- only some providers will be able to vote in the election even though all providers will be subject to the union's collective bargaining.  Although this is being touted as a “voluntary” union, once the union is formed, under state law, all providers will likely be required to pay “fair share” dues even if they aren’t members of the union.
Minnesotans Should be Outraged!
Recent polls show that 68% of Minnesotans oppose the unionization of childcare providers, but Governor Dayton does not appear to be listening.  With your help, we may be able to stop Governor Dayton's actions.
TAKE ACTION
We must act quickly as the vote is scheduled to begin on December 6.  Here's what you can do to help stop it.
  1. Send a note to your state legislatures demanding that they protect the rights of independent workers: http://www.capwiz.com/mnmajority/issues/alert/?alertid=53559501&type=ML
  2. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and help inform people in your community: http://www.capwiz.com/mnmajority/issues/alert/?alertid=11287611&type=me
  3. Attend the rally for childcare freedom at the state capitol on Saturday, December 3: http://www.childcarefreedom.com/childcare-freedom-rally/
  4. Register on our website If you are a childcare provider willing to stand-up against unionization: http://www.childcarefreedom.com/provider-registration/ 
  5. Make a donation to help us fund a lawsuit challenging the election: https://www.wepay.com/donate/65011
For more information, visit www.ChildcareFreedom.com 

Unionization of Childcare Providers

This might ruffle some feathers, but...well, I need to sound off...

Governor Dayton and State Representatives,

I am outraged by the upcoming vote to unionize childcare providers.  This is an extremely unfair election.

I have been a childcare provider for over 8 years.  I enjoy running my own business and serving families in Central Minnesota.  During my time as a childcare provider I have served both wealthy and poor families, even families receiving Child Care Assistance.  I build my business on treating others the way I would want to be treated.

I have always had a successful business and I do not need anything that a union has to offer.  Even more importantly, I work for MYSELF and my family and the families I serve, not the government and not for some other entity.  I am happy to abide by state laws regulating the safety of children in my care, but a union will NOT increase safety nor provision for these.  It will ROB my family of limited resources.

I have VERY strong religious and personal views AGAINST unions.  Collecting mandatory union dues is a slap in my face.  I have a large family, therefore I can only care for a couple of daycare children.  This amount of income is tiny--making only 2 to 5 dollars per hour GROSS (you don't want to know what my net per hour is).  Yet this tiny amount of income does contribute to my family--helping to put food on the table and buy clothes for my children.  The largest benefit is it allows me to stay home with my children--I am able to breastfeed my baby, provide loving care for my preschoolers, and even homeschool my older children.  Getting a job outside my home would have tremendous sacrifices and after the cost of childcare I would have NOTHING left over. 

With the unionization of childcare providers and MANDATORY dues, I am now faced with the reality that the tiny amount of profits I do make will be dwindled even further.   Or that I will have to raise my rates, therefore passing on the cost to already strapped parents. What a selfish sacrifice the state is requiring!!!  This is ridiculous!

Providers should not be required to join a union nor to pay union dues.  Providers should not be required to join a union or pay union dues in order to receive child care assistance payments. 

Please protect the freedom of small business owners!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Book Review: AB4T Answers Book For Teens

I just wrote a review of How Do We Know the Bible is True?, and in my review I explained how Micah (my 14-year-old) and I are reading that book together. It's something that gets really intense and I have written a study guide to help him wade through the information.

AB4T, or Answers Book For Teens, by Bodie Hodge, Tommy Mitchell, with Ken Ham, is a book that is written specifically for teens and is kind of along the same lines as How Do We Know the Bible is True. AB4T is a collection of 15 questions and their answers that teens need to know. Stuff like, "If God's really so great, why does He let so much pain and bad stuff happen in the world, like Earthquakes, Floods, and Wars?"  The answers get straight to the point.

Recommended for teens age 13 to 17, this book is written on a reading level that your teen will not only understand, but will actually want to read.  Creative artwork, fonts, bold text, etc., create visual aids in a modern format that grab the reader's attention.  But don't worry--the text is not dumbed down at all.  AB4T presents factual evidence, doesn't shy away from counter-arguments, and equips your teen with the information he will need to answer questions from his friends.  And again worth mentioning, this book clearly presents the Gospel!

Since Micah is our resident teen, I asked him to write his own impression:

I only read the first chapter, but it made a very good impression for the whole book. I especially like the writing style and depth it has. I enjoy how the book is very easy to read, and the authors have your full attention every word you read. This book is definitely a starter to the Christian theological books.

 


I definitely recommend this book for teens!

I was given a complimentary copy of this book for review from New Leaf Publishing Group, Master Books. I was not required to write a positive review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Book Review: How Do We Know the Bible is True?

How do we know the Bible is true?
Are there contradictions in the Bible?
Is there purpose and meaning in life?
Is the age of the Earth a salvation issue?

Micah and I have been reading How Do We Know the Bible is True? together since the beginning of the school year.  We decided to do this book instead of our regular curriculum.

How Do We Know the Bible is True? is a book of questions and answers by many different authors.  Ken Ham and Bodie Hodge are the general editors, and they have done a fantastic job of putting the book together in a logical/sequential fashion.  This book speaks to the logical side of my brain, that part of my brain that still longs to do lengthy mathematical proofs.  A question is presented, answered/proven, and from then on it is assumed to be true as a basis for answering further questions.  This makes complete sense and avoids unnecessary repetition.

Most of the time I read a chapter first, write some study questions, then Micah reads it and answers the questions.  This works well because I can integrate it right into his SOS curriculum (by creating a custom subject).  It also works well because I can see how much he grasps or doesn't grasp.  There have been a few times when I haven't had a chance to get it done before he is assigned the book.  It is a great reward to hear him say, "Oh Mom,  you definitely have to read this chapter.  You are going to love it!"  (As if I wouldn't be reading it.)  Or, "This is my favorite chapter yet!"  (Yes, he said that more than once). 

Don't get me wrong, it's not an easy read.  My 14 year old loves to argue.  In an effort to nudge him in the direction of learning debate, I found this book to be an excellent resource for presenting the polite way to argue.  If you can get your brain in the right mood, the book is easy to read.  Each chapter swells with information and is presented at a fast pace.  The authors do not necessarily write out counter-arguments, however it is understood they are writing to answer common objections.  Once I pointed out this writing style to Micah, he got the hang of it very quickly.

This book would make an excellent resource for your home library.  It is full of information and more information and information on where to get MORE information!  And it's only Volume 1...there's even more to come!  Oh, and I am very pleased to add that the Gospel is presented clearly, making this also a good book to share with your skeptical friends who have questions that may seem difficult to answer.




I received a complimentary copy of this book from New Leaf Publishing Group, Master Books.  I was not required to write a positive review.  My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Kathi, the snow is here finally!!!

What a day!  I knew we were expecting some snow today, so I tried hard to get my shopping done last night.  I fell short of my goal, so when I peeped outside at 6:50 a.m. to find that the snow had not arrived yet, I hurried to get out the door.  I left by 8 a.m. with Micah and Tirzah along.  By 10 a.m. we were finally heading home and the snow was just starting to cover the roads and get a little slippery.  Not an hour later I received a text message from my friend Kelly telling me that a car struck a pole at an intersection I had just been at--the pole was down and the car was smashed!!!  I'm so glad I got done and got home.

To say the kids were excited about the snow would be an understatement.  We only had one problem...no winter clothes down yet.  All our coats, boots, mittens, snow pants, etc. were still stored in the garage attic.  With Mitch's help and everyone pitching in, we busied ourselves with putting away groceries, and cleaning.  At some point before the snow covered everything I ran outside and put away all the yard toys (AGAIN--amazing how those little yard gnomes get everything out while we are sleeping), before they got buried.  And finally we pulled out the winter stuff we needed.  By this point snow was beginning to pile up fast.  Here are the pictures:

It could have stopped here, and I would have thought that a decent enough first snow...
 but no, it had to keep going!  This picture was taken while it was still snowing:
While we were moving things in and out, snow was tracked in on our shoes.  I quickly realized Tirzah was picking up these little clumps of snow to eat them.  So I told her to grab a cup and I filled it so she could eat her fill of snow.
 What does our stash of winter clothes look like?  Remember, this is for 10 people, and it makes sense to hang onto the couple of in-between sizes we are not using:
 We did a tremendous amount of sorting.  Everyone was fully clothed with coat, snowpants, and boots.  (Micah needs snowpants, and Malachi needs boots, but we can pick those up soon...oh, and Mitch's boots are not really winter boots and are 14 years old so he will definitely be getting a new pair too).  I hung up a couple "extras" for those times when something goes missing.  I bagged up a garbage bag of coats that we won't ever use.  The little bit leftover, along with spring coats, went back into the attic.  It was crazy here for a bit:
 Time for fun!

 I'm not sure I endorse this activity:



 You know they had fun if their cheeks are rosy and they are smiling!

Kathi told me recently that she misses the snow and couldn't wait to see pictures...so this post is dedicated to her! We love you, Kathi!

Check This Out!

Obi is quite the dare-devil at 7 1/2 months!


I continued to be surprised by his strength and how fast he is growing.


He is SO motivated to be up and moving.  Unfortunately, that also means he falls frequently.  It doesn't deter him.  He definitely has adapted a sense of balance to match his strength so that he can even do this.


Yesterday I was in the kitchen, and Obi was playing on the floor with everyone else, right in the middle of a pile of duplos. I glanced up to see him stand straight up, right in the middle of the room, all on his own, without holding on to anything.  He had been on his knees, and pushed off the short box of duplos for a boost.  Within a second, he plopped back down on his bottom.  He is crazy!!


 Pop over to Caleb's blog to hear him tell about the first 2 steps Obi took.  ::sniff::  I work from home and I *still* missed his first steps!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Book Review: The Encounter

The Encounter, by Stephen Arterburn, is a parable reflecting hope and forgiveness that can come through the power of Christ.  Jonathon Rush is a wealthy entrepreneur who was abandoned when he was only four years old.  He was adopted at age 9, and went on to become the famous person that he is today--rich in money and poor in joy.  He is filled with bitterness.  Spurned by his pastor, he returns to Fairbanks, Alaska, to locate his mother and learn to forgive.

Stephen Arterburn is a counselor, speaker, and author.  He has written over 100 books mainly aimed at bringing healing and spiritual growth.  In this book, he takes a different approach to teach through story-telling.  The reader is encouraged to look at their own story--even painful ones--from a different perspective, and move towards forgiveness and reconciliation.

I love the idea behind the book more than I like the book itself.  First of all, fiction is, in general, very easy to read.  Where it may take me 3 weeks to read a non-fiction book, I topped this one off in just a few hours.  While a non-fiction read may be more direct and offer practical application, story-telling can reach a different part of my heart and motivate me in a much different way.

This story, however, fell short of the mark.  As I have had time to reflect, I have become more and more unsettled with the attempt.  The characters in the story are a little too shallow.  The back of the book sounds more interesting than the book itself ends up being.  It didn't go deep enough and left me unsatisfied.  It really rubbed on me that the main character is some well-known entrepreneur ranking close to Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.  It robbed the story of credibility (trying to get my mind to believe the fiction was not even possible).  But perhaps the biggest criticism I have of all is that I don't feel the Gospel was presented clearly enough throughout the pages.  How do we experience forgiveness without really touching the cross?  Perhaps the main character, Jonathon Rush, just wasn't there in his walk yet.  But why not?  Why couldn't it have been written that way?  I hate to sound like a broken record here, but a watered-down version of the Gospel is no gospel at all.  In contrast, the end of the story is not the end of the book.  Mr. Arterburn goes on to write a fantastic application section, including discussion questions.  This was a nice touch and I hadn't expected it.   

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson book publishers as part of their blogger program called BookSneeze.  My thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fried Apple Pies and more

Oh boy.  I surely am a bad blogger.  At least when it comes to being a regular blogger.  Or dependable.  I can think of all sorts of solutions to this "problem", but I've already determined that it can't be solved so it's just too bad.  So anyway, there you have it.  I'm always going to be running around blogging in my head all these wonderful ideas and by the time I sit down at the computer every single one of them has flitted into oblivion and all you get is "catch up."

What I'm going to say next is purely for my friends and family back home in Virginia (Tennessee, Kentucky, etc):

I made FRIED APPLE PIES for the first time ever this weekend!!!  I was SO excited that they tasted decent.  I waited with baited breath for Mitch to come home and try them.  And get this--get this--he said he had NEVER had a fried apple pie.  Can you imagine???  An entire lifetime without tasting one of Granny's fried apple pies???  Nearly FIFTEEN YEARS of marriage and I hadn't even tried to make them for him?!  Oh man!!! 


One pie, and he was hooked.  Yummmmmmm.  He said that now I'm speaking his language! 

Granny would be so proud.

Well, except for the fact that only one of my kids was willing to try them (that would be Zeke).  But that's ok, it just means more for me and Mitch.  And don't ask me how to make them, because I couldn't tell you.  It would come out something like this:  Cook some thinly sliced apples on the stove with some butter and brown sugar.  Make a pie crust.  Let the apple stuff cool completely.  Pinch off pieces of pie crust and roll out to make little individual pies (as shown).  Put apple filling down one half and fold other side over, sealing ends with a fork.  Fry in hot shortening (or lard).  Sprinkle with sugar if your taste buds seem to need it. 

Ok, so that was my big accomplishment on Saturday.  Whew!  Besides that, I sewed Obadiah a pair of fleece pants (the boy has some nice fat thighs that make the majority of his pants not fit), and set snaps on 8 pocket diapers for him (but I have no idea when I'll actually get these diapers finished).

I am in the process of reading a bunch of new books and need to write at least 3 book reviews already.  Ouch!  Check out my bookshelf in the right-hand pane to see what I'm currently reading.

The kids and I are plugging along in the school year.  For the most part, things are going well.  Micah and Eden have really stepped up their note-taking skills.  They are learning to take notes on their lessons, and they are taking closed-book quizzes and tests (I do let them use their notes, but their lessons are unavailable to them).  Despite my fears that they would fail miserably, they are doing wonderfully.  I also feared I would be met with strong resistance, whining about sore hands, etc., but that has not been the case either.  I think they will be well-prepared for high school and beyond.  Caleb is hanging steady on his schoolwork.  He slides through most of it like it's no big deal, and is almost always done before lunch.  Zeke is struggling mightily to stay focused and get his work done.  He tries really, really hard.  He does.  I keep telling him we just have to find the right key to unlock learning in his brain.  I have been watching him very closely, and I have been attentive to his thought patterns.  I believe that he sees things and understands them in very much the same way as I do, so I am trying to pour on the patience.  Once he makes those connections, I know they will stick strong.  At this point, though, he is distracted by his own analytical thoughts.  I totally get that!!!  (See the first paragraph of this blog post).  Josh is plain-old bored.  While Zeke is working hard to get each assignment done, it seems like Josh breezes through his work like it were nothing.  His biggest struggle has always been, and continues to be, handwriting.  I wrestle on a daily basis with thoughts of if I should move Josh on or not.  I leave him where he is for Zeke's sake, and all the while second-guess myself.  While I may not move him on in Phonics or Spelling, no books are off-limits.  He is welcome to read whatever, whenever he wants (well, except when he's supposed to be doing handwriting, that is).  In this way I feel that he will be pushing to learn at his own pace and the phonics work we do will just be a matter of formality.

For all the kids I wish I could clone myself to sit at their sides while I explain each lesson, learning with them, challenging them, and stretching the lesson to the next level.  Almost daily my heart feels burdened about this.  Micah is good about laying on the extra guilt, too.  Just drive that knife in further, buddy.  He says, "Mom you never work with me!"  (Not true)  or "Mom, SEE, I got a 98% on that quiz after you did those two lessons with me!"  Ugh.

I am struggling in many other areas too.  There is so much I want to do and show them.  So much grace I want to pour out.  So many things I wish I could take back or undo.  Am I getting any better at this, God?  It sure feels like I'm getting worse!  I have to pull back and remember that my plans for my children are not God's plans.  He is writing the story.  I don't know how it all works.  I don't know how He can take my screw-ups and make something good out of my bad choices.  My bad examples seem to multiply as each child passes it on to the next.  But I cling to the promise of the Gospel.  That He has forgiven.  That He makes all things new.  That He works everything out for good.  I don't need to know how.

I have a tendency to worry about things.  I worry about all kinds of things.  When I'm reading a story, I am ALWAYS tempted to flip to the back of the book and read the ending.  (I am ashamed to admit how many times I have given in to my temptation). 
I want to know what the path ahead holds.  I sometimes think if I could just understand how it will all play out, I can relax and enjoy this part.  Because I am tempted to believe only what I can see, instead of what I can't see.  Sometimes my faith seems so small. 

This, this is what I keep coming back to.  As I let everything else fall away--pressures to teach, to lead, to correct, to discipline--the Gospel remains.  For me.  For Mitch.  For our children.  Nothing else is more important.



"God is completely sovereign.  God is infinite in wisdom.  God is perfect in love.  God in His love always wills what is best for us.  In His wisdom He always knows what is best, and in His sovereignty He has the power to bring it about."  --Jerry Bridges

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Book Review: Taming the Wild Wind

My 10 year old, Caleb, has been going to Monday night chats with author Donita K. Paul for a few months now.  Every now and then I peek over his shoulder to see what's going on.  It is a fun and informative time.  This past Monday was "20 Questions" where fans wrote in their questions, and Mrs. Paul answered them one by one.  For example, Caleb asked "How fast can Mrs. Paul spin the globe and find her address on it."  She answered in a fun-hearted way that she would not disclose her time because of competition.  I love that she was polite and jovial in a chat room where people are anonymous and some people ask off-the-wall questions.  {I might have been slightly embarrassed by Caleb's ridiculous question.  Ahem.}  Anyway, another question by a fan asked her advice on writing a book.  She replied, "Edit, edit, edit..."  LOVE that.

Near the end of the chat, Mrs. Paul made a plug for two of her books, Taming the Wild Wind and Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball.  It just so happens that I have Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball here to read for review.  ::squeeeee::  I had read about Taming the Wild Wind previously, but had not really been interested in purchasing it because it's only an e-book.  During the chat, however, Mrs. Paul explained that she published the e-book on her own, therefore her percentage of royalties from the sale of the book is MUCH higher than it is through a publisher.  In fact, she will garner more profit from the sale of Taming the Wild Wind than she will from Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball (whose cover prices is 5 times higher).  My interest was peaked.  I have several e-books downloaded on my iPod, but I just can't get into them.  I thought, well, if I can't get into it, I've only lost $2.99.

Taming the Wild Wind is a story about a young woman, Ida, who is engaged to be married.  The book is set in the middle of the 1800s, after the Native American Indians have been removed from their Eastern homes and driven along the "Trail of Tears" to the midwest.  Ida and her fiance, John, are missionaries who are traveling to Kansas to start a school for Indian children.  Before the book begins, their marriage is delayed, and the couple makes arrangements for Ida to travel alone and prepare things in hopes that John will join her in just a few weeks.  Plans for Ida change rapidly in the beginning.  It seems that nothing goes as it should.  Ida clings to the calling in her heart and presses on in faith.

Through each trial Ida faces, we as readers are privileged to listen in on Ida's prayers and thought life.  We observe as Ida wrestles with God's will and His sovereignty.  Ida uncovers and deals with her own secret sins.  The gospel is clearly presented.  Prejudice and stereotypes are boldly exposed.  Mingled sweetly with romance, yet seated firmly in modesty, this is a fantastic historical fiction piece.  I have always been a lover of pioneer stories (Laura Ingalls Wilder, Janette Oke, etc), and had no trouble falling in love with this book--even being an e-book!  This book is short, and is great to pick up and finish in a weekend.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Tirzah is Special

Malachi:  Mom, this blue marker doesn't work anymore.  It is wasted out.
Me:  Ok, throw it away then.
Malachi: One time there was a black marker wasted out, but Tirzah got it to work again.
Me: Really?
Malachi:  Yeah, that's why Tirzah is special.  We should keep her, right?  We shouldn't sell her to people who don't have markers.

So, if you are a person whose markers have all gone dry, don't expect us to give you our Tirzah!  She's special!!  :)

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Saturday Sewing

It's been a long time since I've had a fun sewing project to work on, on a Saturday.  Since my hair is too short for a ponytail right now, I have been thinking I should put some of my fabric to good use.  I followed these free instructions to make myself a "headscarf".  While I was working on it, I thought it would be a good first sewing project for Eden.  So this afternoon we began sewing lessons.  She did great her first time out!  We used these instructions for hers.



My friend Angel has some beautiful headscarves (and nursing shawls, and bows) she made for sale here.  The proceeds go to fund the adoptions of their boys from Ethiopia and the future dream of digging a well in the region the boys are from!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Apple Peeler

So we have this HUGE box of apples, and I have plans to slice the apples and store them in the freezer for pies or apple crisp or even apple butter in the months to come.  But the "problem" is that this apple peeler/slicer/corer is so much fun.  Everyone wants to use it ALL THE TIME.  I have warned the children that they must eat every apple they slice.  And they do!  I think apple consumption has tripled around here.


Zeke was peeling his apple and all of a sudden he let out a "Hey!"  He turned around, grabbed his pants and said, "Obi is pulling my pants down!"  LOL  It was very cute, and even though the picture is not the greatest, I had to post it:

Now, could you resist this perfect spiral?  Could you?  I don't know how you could!  Even I, the lover of chocolate and candy and--gasp--pepsi, can't resist the perfect tart-sweet-crunch of this harvest of apples.:
I'm sure I will get a few into the freezer, and I managed to get a few into the dehydrator this morning.

Edited:  Apples from this morning all done!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Bathroom Troubles

Mitch told me this story, and I begged him to take a picture so I could blog about it.

As it turns out, Mitch is the only male teacher down his section of hallway at school.  So the special ed department laid claim to the "Men's Staff Restroom".  In order to still accomodate, ahem, Mitch's needs, the "Women's Staff Restroom" was converted to a "Unisex Staff Restroom".  This conversion was noted with a sign posted on the bathroom door:


Ok, it's a private restroom, so not a big deal right?

Please note that the staff restroom is directly adjacent to the "Girls Restroom".   Imagine how many times now the following scenario has happened:

Young elementary girl exits the Girls' room just as Mitch is exiting the Staff bathroom:  "Mr. Theis, why are you using the Women's Restroom?"

Then the girls run off giggling while Mitch stands there going "Um, but..." and pointing to the sign posted on the door.  In exasperation he says, "Oh, never mind."

He has since given up.  

It is an awkward situation to be sure!  One that I find extremely giggle-worthy.  :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

A Good Day

Today was a good day.  My highlights:
  • Visiting with a friend I haven't sat with face-to-face for a few months
  • Teaching Micah about chemical equations (I'm so excited we are getting into "fun" stuff in school finally!  At least *I* think it's fun.)
  • Listening as Obi practiced blowing raspberries and got VERY excited
  • Having shredded beef tacos for supper with all the right toppings
  • Using the apple peeler/corer/slicer that Paul brought over along with a huge box of apples (pics will follow, I'm sure of it)--the kids have begged for more and more and more apples!
  • Pouring God's grace and love and forgiveness out to my children over and over again, teaching them to restore relationships and forgive each other