Sunday, February 28, 2010


Motorman and I spent the weekend away.  Alone.  Well, technically we weren't alone since we were with each other.  And there were other people in our destination city.   What I mean is without-kids-alone.  Yeah, that kind of alone.

And, ahhhhh, it was great!  

Monday, February 22, 2010

Penny Candy

In these hardened economic times, CraftyGirl decided to do what she could to stimulate the economy.   "Hey!  I think I have a GREAT way to make a lot of money!!"

It began with a simple sign.


And then some candy thrown into a basket.

Then she grabbed a stool, and a really loud little brother, and headed to the end of the driveway. The really loud little brother was important, as CraftyGirl had no desire to spend anymore money on advertising.  His loud yells could be heard for miles, and he was willing to work for free -- or a lolli or two...  

The Penny Candy Roadside Store was open for business!

Only, business was lagging, as we live in a fairly rural neighborhood.  
And it was a beautiful Saturday afternoon.  And warm.  And sunny.  
And everyone who was anyone was getting rid of their cabin fever by being OUT of the house! Away from home!  Be gone cabin fever! 

Undaunted, the young entrepreneurs took to accosting the unsuspecting neighbors when they drove in their driveways...

(I'm willing to be labeled at the neighbor with "those kids" when it comes to encouraging my kiddos to be creative.  It was so worth the look on CraftyGirl's face when she made her first sale!)

(Do not judge me for the fact that it is, indeed, a Saturday afternoon and my kiddos are still in their PJ's!)

(Also, do not judge me for my kid using one of my faux snake skin shoes as a coin holder.  Her choice, not mine.  Though I love her choice!)

(Do not judge me for my copious use of parenthesis!)))))))

(Since I'm asking -- sounds more like telling, doesn't it???-- please don't judge me for anything.)

(Thank you.)

And so, having sold a whopping 7 pieces of left over Valentine's Candy Roadside Penny Candies to the two whole neighbors who stopped or were otherwise forced to stop, (sorry neighbors who thought you were going for a nice, quiet walk only to be accosted by two small people begging you to buy candy castoffs!) TheBoy and CraftyGirl had their first taste of success.  (And a LOT of tastes of the inventory...

Three cheers for the entrepreneurs!!

Hip, hip Hooray!

Hip, Hip, Hooray!

Hip, Hip, oh bother... just gimme a candy!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Living a One Piece Life

For a while now, we've been pondering homeschooling.  Yes, again.  If you remember, we had this discussion last year.  And we tried homeschooling for a while.  But it didn't seem to "work."  I now believe there are several reasons for the failure.
  1. Our decision to homeschool was made rather quickly -- based on the fact that CraftyGirl was exceedingly unhappy at public school.  (The "BEST" public school in our district, I might add.)
  2. I didn't have any idea of which curriculum to use, and so chose based on price.  Bad, bad, bad choice.  Curriculum was bland and boring.  And a bad choice.  Did I mention that it was a bad choice?
  3. I was very nervous that I would screw up our child so badly that not only were the Social Workers going to be banging on my door to take my child, but that the money we'd currently allocated to college funds would go to therapy instead.  (Don't laugh, you KNOW you've worried about the therapy your child will need after being raised by YOU!)
  4. I was still in a public school teacher mindset (and, some might add, a Type A personality) so much so that I was consumed with schedules, lesson plans, and how things should look.  
As you know, after a couple of months, we decided that maybe homeschooling wasn't best for our girl.  It just didn't seem to be "working."  We found a GREAT private Christian school that uses a homeschool curriculum, A Beka.  CraftyGirl began the second half of her Kindergarten year there, and still attends this year for 1st grade.

CraftyGirl is doing very well academically at school.  But she's not happy.  She constantly complains to me that she's bored.  Getting ready for school in the morning is a hassle because she tells us that she hates school, wishes she were homeschooled, and that she's bored at school.   Some of this, I know, is her attempt at manipulating the situation.  But, I believe some of this is also her true feelings.

And I can't help but wonder if God is calling me, through her, to teach my children at home.

CraftyGirl is a quick learner.  And she loves to learn.  However, she loves to learn "out of the box."  She will do her seatwork, as assigned, because she is obedient.  But she's not enjoying her education. 

And we want her to have a life-long love for learning.

Frequently, CraftyGirl will come to me and say, "Momma, I'm interested in learning more about --blank--.  I'm curious to know --blank--."  And frequently, I don't feel that we have time to explore those things.  And I HATE that!  When we do have time to explore the things that the kiddos are curious about, we all have a great time, and we all learn.  It makes me yearn for that full time.

Speaking of time, that is my other big beef with traditional schooling.  I abhor the early morning hustle/bustle to get out of the house and the long drive to school.  All to be repeated in 6 short hours.  Right now, we spend 2-3 hours in the car/day JUST on pick up and drop off.  I'm not really loving being on someone else's schedule and think frequently, "If we were homeschooling..."

I long for something quieter.  Something more simple.  (I also long to live on a farm in Idaho growing some of my own food and raising chickens.  But for now, let's stick with THIS topic!)

Quieter... More simple...

Okay, you can get up off the floor now.  Now that you've laughed yourself out of your chair.  I'm right there with you -- hee hee, ho ho, ha ha, uh... You're thinking:  Quiet?  Simple?  With two young children?  Riiiiiiiight!

I do desire a quieter, more simple existence.  In many ways.  I desire to own less and give more.  I desire to make our home the center of our world.  I desire for my daughter to know that it's okay to be "just" a mom.  I desire for my kids to learn housekeeping skills.  I desire to teach my children here.  To teach them academics and the many, many other things they'll need to be productive, kind, loving, respectful, independent, God-following adults. 

I don't think that's wrong.  I cherish our times together, and want to increase that time.  We all learn so much from one another when we're together.  I feel like the way to accomplish all our desires is to have our lives be one piece -- not many different pieces.  If we homogenized our lives to live a one piece life, all would come together.  All would work harmoniously together.  Instead of the hustle/bustle, fractured pieces of time and learning, all would be cohesive.  At least that's how I see it in my mind right now...

So, I've been pondering.  Should I homeschool?  What is best for my kids?  Is the desire to live a quieter, more simple life something that we can attain?  Is is realistic?  What would God have us do? 

God is so good.  His timing is perfect.  I ran into this scripture this week:

     "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands..." 1 Thess. 4:11

Oh, speak to me, Lord, speak to me!

Another thing I've been feeling is that childhood is fleeting.  I don't want to miss a minute of it.  My job is to be their mother.  I know that doesn't stop when they're away at school, but I'm feeling like our family would be better off by them being home.  I want to be a part of every aspect of my child's life.  I know that will change as they age, so I feel the need to grasp that now, while I can.

I've recently read some excerpts from the book Hold On To Your Kids by Dr. Neufeld who writes that the problem today is that 'parenthood is no longer lasting as long as childhood' -- that our children need parents to be intimately involved, moment-by-moment, not till they are only four years old and leave home for school and possible peer dependency, but they need us to be parents until they are fourteen years old and older.... "We need to hold on to our children and help them hold on to us. We need to hold on to them until our work is done," writes Dr. Neufeld "We need to hold on, not to hold them back but so that they can venture forth."

So we've been asking ourselves, "Is there a way to home educate that could nurture whole, innovative, creative, well-read, skilled young persons who are passionate Jesus followers and people lovers? That is the environment we seek to foster.

So, join us as we pray and seek God's will in our lives.  
And seek a quieter, more simple life.

("Bawk! Bawk!  Cock-a-doodle-doo!"  That's my future chicken herd!)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Letter of Love

The words you are about to experience are true.

They will change your life -- if you let them.

They come from the heart of God.  

He loves you.

This is His love letter to YOU ---


You may not know me, but I know everything about you.  Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up.  Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways.  Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.  Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image.  Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being.  Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring.  Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived.  Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation.  Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book.  Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live.  Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother's womb.  Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born.  Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me.  John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love.  1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.  1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my hcild and I am your Father.  1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.  Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father.  Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.  James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.  Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.  Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love.  Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore.  Psalms 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing.  Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you.  Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession.  Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul.  Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things.  Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me.  Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart.  Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires.  Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine.  Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager.  2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you.  Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart.  Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes.  Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus.  John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.  John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being.  Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you.  Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.  2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.  2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you.  1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again.  Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen.  Luke 15:7
I have always been Father, and will always be Father.  Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is... Will you be my child?  John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you.  Luke 15:11-12

Almighty God

Wherever you are in your journey, I pray that this love letter will encourage, comfort, and guide you on your journey home. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Sort of.

Well, not really.

But, it did snow in Cackalacky last night.  

I mean, for a while there, it was really coming down!

Sort of.

I suppose my standards are a bit high, having been raised in The Great Northwest.

But, for Cackalacky, it was comin' down!

Don't let the pictures fool you.  While beautiful, it was the loudest snow I'd ever heard.  It was really wet, I guess. 


When the kids awoke this morning, TheBoy quickly exclaimed, "It's Christmas!"  
And CraftyGirl?  Oh, she had it all figured out too.  "It's just like Idaho, but better!"

Uh... I think I'd have to disagree with you on that one, Puddin' Pop!

But, it just kept a-comin' and a-comin.  

Flake by flake.

In fact, it snowed so much, that the heavy machinery had to be brought out.

(Check out how tough this "worker man" is -- in his shirt sleeves!!  And the muscles?  Well, we won't get started on those muscles!)

We did have a great time in the snow.  It was beautiful, albeit fleeting...



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Whole lotta bakin' goin' on!

I'm "cooking" up another "meaty" post, but while I wait to hear a Still, Small Voice with input on that specific post, I'll give you a "taste" of what we've been "cooking" up around our house.

By now you're probably nauseous with all the food references, aren't you?  
Okay, great... 
Bake on!

Because I love to bake, and because I had absolutely nothing better to do, and because my son's preschool needed some treats for an event, and because trying out a new and fairly detailed recipe seemed like the thing to do, I did.
And, ta-da!  Cake Pops and Cake Balls!!  

I had seen these on both The Pioneer Woman's blog as well as Bakerella's site.  They appeared to be easy.  

But, appearances can be deceiving!

They weren't really hard to make, just time consuming.  And, in case you'd like to fill your home, refrigerator, and belly with some of these delicious, delectable, delicacies, I'd like to offer some pointers.  

Please remember I am not a professional chef.  Nor do I purport to be a professional chef.  Nor am I able to turn on some ovens I've encountered.  But, I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night!  I jest,  I jest. 

These are simply pointers from this Greyhaired Momma to you so as to enhance your Cake Ball/Pop making experience:

1.  First, and most importantly, recruit a cute and very handy helper.  Or two.  Or forty seven.  Guess it depends on the size of your kitchen.  And the amount of your patience!  Then, get out all your 'gredients and sunthin' to stir it around with...  

2.  Bake a box cake mix according to the package directions.  I used a Devil's Food cake for one set of pops and a Red Velvet cake mix for the others.
3.  Use Almond Bark for the topping, man!  Fuhgedda 'bout using chocolate chips and adding the paraffin and yada, yada, yada.  Almond Bark is my new best friend.  At least when it comes to making these little tasties!

4.  After the cake has baked and cooled for several hours or overnight, crumble it into a BIG GINORMOUS bowl.  

Oh, and note to self:  If the bowl says "Not for use in dishwasher," that's usually what it means.  Or, you have a sickly looking bowl with the color peeling off.

Jest sayin'...

5.  Plop in almost (but not quite) an entire tub of store bought frosting.  I used Cream Cheese frosting -- ultra yummy!

6.  Mix it all together with a rubber spatula, or if you're feeling frisky, your hands.  (Disclaimer:  I will not be held responsible for any hands that are stained red, and remain stained red, for several days after making these pops if you choose to use your hands.)

Oh, sickly looking bowl, how sorry I am that I put you in Miss Dishwasher!  But, how I love to have her wash the dishes and not me... Harumph!

7.  Once the cake crumbles are all mixed up with the frosting, start to roll balls of cake.  Goodness gracious, great balls of cake!  Heh, heh, heh!   You'll want to roll your cake balls smaller than I did.  Mine are about the size of a walnut, which proved to be a problem when dipping in the coating.  Roll 'em small, dude!  Like the size of a hazelnut.  I think it's a hazelnut.  Not like I buy nuts in their shells...  Okay, roll it like a shooter marble.  Sorta bigish but still smallish.  Am I making any sense at all?  "Hello?  Hello?  Is this thing on?"

Can you tell I'm giddy from all the sugar that's been flying around our house the last few days???  Muahahaha!

Uh, back to the rolling of the balls...
Once rolled, place the balls on a cookie sheet and refrigerate.  You want the balls to be firm in order to dip them.

8.  Place several squares of Almond Bark in a deep, narrow bowl.  Nuke them for 15 second intervals, stirring in between each interval.  Keep nuking until Almond Bark is fluid.

9.  Drop one ball into the melted Almond Bark.  (I did chocolate on the Red Velvet, and vanilla tinted pink on the Devil's Food.)  DO NOT ROLL THE BALL AROUND.  Instead, drizzle the melted bark over the ball.  Scoop up ball and tap spoon on side of bowl to allow excess bark to drip off.  Place on wax paper covered baking sheet, or into small cupcake liners.  (Yeah, this is a bit tricky to do with one hand, so no photos of this step!)

Remember a while ago I mentioned not wanting to roll the balls too big or that would cause you a problem when dipping?  We might have had a problem when dipping.  Around here, we call it the Great Ball Dipping Debacle of 2010.  I'm going to take a risk with you all right now.  I'm going to lay it on the line.  When I rolled my walnut sized cake balls and skewered them on a lollipop stick, they looked fine.  But fine they were not.  Once I dipped them in the Almond Bark, they became too heavy and they slid down the stick.  Oh, the horror! 

Do not panic, dear friends!  I was able to avert complete disaster and turned them on their tops.  Not as I planned, but still cute none the less!  Oh, and the taste?  

"Mmph if rerry, rerry ummy!"  (Say that five times fast with a mouthful of cake balls!)

I'll direct you now to PW and Bakerella's recipes, as I'm sure their directions are more specific than my own.  And, I'm sure their photography of the whole production is much better!  Make sure you check out all the varieties of cake pops that Bakerella makes.  Makes mine look like Redneck Red Velvet Cake Pops!  "Woo--ooo--ie!  Shucks!"

Oh, and in case that's not enough sugary baked goods, here's what popped up in my kitchen this morning:

Ummm..... yeah!

These?  These little luxuries are called Monkey Muffins.

And, yes, my tastebuds, my waistline, and my treadmill are all thanking Pioneer Woman for yet another culinary delight.

Make some Monkey Muffins today for your family.

And your neighbors.  And friends.  And those people you pass on the street.  These muffins have been known to make people emit lots of yummy noises and even, gasp, to swoon.  

Not that I'd be one to make those yummy noises.  Or swoon.

"Oh my stinkin' heck!  These are so good!  Huh?  What did you say?  Oh, I'm on?  They can hear me?  Uhhhh...."  

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Jesus, Bring The Rain

This puddle.  Oh, this puddle!

This puddle has become a tangible symbol of my struggle.   You see, I am trying to surrender.  I'm finding that is not as easy as it sounds.  You might remember that our house is on the market.  I feel that this puddle in our yard and the lack of drainage on our road are getting in the way of a house sale.  We've actually had some feedback from interested buyers to that effect.

But, I surrendered.  I thought.  I thought I surrendered.  

After heavy rains last week, I was again calling the county to inquire about the drainage issues and what they could do to help. They came out and did a bit of digging and some drainage occurred.  Then I toted my shovel into the street and tried to clear some mud in order to create a place for the water to drain.   Seemed to help a bit.   The water receded a bit.

And then it rained on Saturday.  And again yesterday.  And that puddle?  Oh, that puddle!  Well, it neither gets larger nor shrinks.  It seems to just sit there.  Mocking me.  Being a tangible reminder that is making me realize that I haven't really surrendered the water drainage issue and, ultimately, our home's sale to God.

I feel like Jacob in the book of Genesis.   You remember him, don't you?  He's one of God's chosen people who, though promised great things by God, still tried to do things his way.  So, one night he wrestled with God.   And, big shock here, God won.

I feel like I'm wrestling with God.  He has asked me to surrender ALL to Him.  And yet, I'm still trying to do things my way, on my time, with my abilities.  He says, "Surrender.  Trust Me.  Press into Me."  I say, "Yeah, but..."  Or my mouth says, "Yes," but my actions say something else entirely. 

I see that puddle sitting there and my mind begins to spin.   I hear the weather reports for more rain, and I begin to panic.   I begin to think of more calls to be made, more shoveling to be done, a backhoe to rent...  And then I remember:  I'm surrendering.

Today, when I looked upon the waters, I realized something:  in order to fully surrender, I must die to me.  To my wants, my desires, my selfishness.   

And therein lies the struggle.  

I heard something today that was balm to my soul.  Not only because of the water references within the scripture, but because of the promise within the scripture.  
"But now, this is what the LORD says -- 
he who created you, O Jacob
he who formed you, O Israel
'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; 
I have summoned you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, 
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.'"
Isaiah 43: 1-2a

What I do know is that whatever happens with that stinkin' puddle and the sale of our house, it will happen in His way, by His hand, and in His perfect timing.  And, it will all be to the glory of God. 

"Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain"   
Bring the Rain by MercyMe

If that's what it takes to praise You, Jesus bring the rain...

This post was submitted to {W}rite of Passage as part of a writing challenge.  This week’s challenge:  Plot. You can visit other entrants below.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

{W}rite of Passage

I'm taking the challenge. 

When I began this blog a few years ago, I did so with the intention of keeping friends and family updated on our lives.  And, mostly, so that the 'rents would stop begging me to send pictures of their grandbabies.

And I did that for a while.  Still do a general update from time to time. 

But once I started writing, I craved more.  More creative writing.  More meaning in each post.  A way for me to express myself and get some of the thoughts that careen around in my head out and on "paper."   It can be a scary thing to put yourself out there -- makes me feel vulnerable.   And exhilarated.

I stumbled upon a blog called {W}rite of Passage.  It's a group of amateur writers doing just that -- writing.  And then submitting their writing to a kind, constructive critique. 

I keep telling people that I would love to write more, to make something of my writing, but that I'm not sure where to begin.  This seems to be a good place to start.  (Isn't that from the Sound of Music?  "We'll start at the beginning, a very good place to start."  I think that's the Do*-A-Deer-Song, but I digress.)  While I'm a bit nervous to see what other people think of my writing (I know Y'all have to say you enjoy my posts because you know and love me!), I'm ready for the challenge. 

I'm taking the challenge.

*Yes, I know that when referring to a female deer, it is spelled 'doe.'  However, I believe that the musical notes are spelled: Do-Ri-Me-Fa-So-La-Ti.  Though I'm no music major...