We Interrupt This Sabbatical To Bring You…

…a request.
I’m still attending Time Management University (Go PDA’s!), and have been trying to come up with ways to free up some time in my day. One thing that might help is if I start fixing slow cooker dinners for most nights. I have a fix-it-and-forget-it cookbook full of yummy recipes, but cracking it open would take too much work, so I am asking you guys. What is your favorite crock pot meal? Please feed (snicker, guffaw) my comment box with tasty recipes.

It’s the time of year again to start thinking about costumes, especially since I am planning on making some this time. I told myself if I was organized enough by the first of October, I should really try to make costumes- and they can work all year long as dress-up outfits. Well, more and more things are finding a place around the house, and every day finds me less stressed and more with it. So I think I will tackle this fall project. Indian, and cowboy costumes I definitely want to make. What else would be good to have on hand for dress up? Jury’s still out on a princess dress of any kind- I might still be working on something like that this time next year. I’m not the seamstress my aunt was (she made my wedding gown), just slightly capable. There are so many things to enjoy in the fall, aren’t there?

Back In The Saddle Again

Luke found out about the scandalous non-coverage by our insurance company- it looks like we will be owing quite a bit for Caleb’s birth. With this new development, we won’t be socking away as much money as we had hoped. I am brainstorming ways to earn money so that we can more quickly get back to saving for a house. I need some unique thing I can mass produce and sell (besides my children), maybe during the upcoming Christmas season. It is difficult to come up with original crafts that a hundred other crafty types aren’t already making and selling. There’s Luke with his buckeye necklaces, Sara with her cute homemade cards. Even Callie and my girls have a thriving business in woven potholders. Oh, well. I’d better stick to saving the money we do have, primarily, than looking for ways to get more.
One way I save money is by using cloth diapers while we are home most days. This is a savings that is noticed right away, when we are only needing one package of disposables every shopping trip, instead of two or three! I hadn’t been using them for a while, but lately have felt that I need to get the babies back into them. And, get the “not a baby” Noah toilet-trained. That always relieves the grocery bill. Pun intended.

Happy Birthday, A-Major!


Seven years ago this evening, I gave birth to a little girl with a shock of black hair, and life has been an adventure ever since.
I thought that today you might like to hear what is on A-Major’s mind, now that she is the ripe old age of seven:
I`m going to have a chocolate cake! 🙂 And also vanilla icing too!
I am in second grade and I live next door to my cousins! There is a playground in my backyard. We play on it all the time and that is very fun!

Breaking My Rule

I try to avoid decorating magazines and catalogs, because I know we can’t afford the stuff in them, so why be discontent? But, this has developed in me a sort of ignorance. After all these married years of living with hand-me-down furniture, I have to admit that I don’t know what I like, if I had my choice in houses, furniture, and decorating styles. So I’m going back on my rule for now: if anybody has any old magazines that they are getting rid of that would help me on my road to decorating enlightenment, I would appreciate it.
While we are on the subject, Shannon linked to a site yesterday called ‘Cottage of the Month’. She was saying how she liked the looks of the homes, but that her husband would find them too feminine. What is the deal with decorating lacking any masculinity? You walk in most churches these days, and it is a wonder that men even feel comfortable in the midst of all the lace and flowers. One thing I do want for our home is it not to look like I decorated it for ME only. I want it to look like everybody had a part. Please share any and all thoughts, even ones off the subject. Let’s overload my comment box.

What God Can Do With A Tomato

Barbara at MommyLife this week pointed us to a neat story about a suicidal man, Cliff, who was helped by his kids’ VeggieTales videos to turn his life around.
Read Cliff’s story here.
Phil Vischer’s (the voice of Bob the Tomato) blog is here.
Just another reason to love those veggies.

Photo: this bookmark can be purchased at Berean Baskets.

Buckeye Day- A Family Affair

Luke bought season tickets to Ohio State football this year. To pay for the tickets, and, just for fun, he is making buckeye (our team’s mascot) necklaces to sell at the home games. Each buckeye he finds, he has calculated, is worth 65 cents- quite valuable! He originally figured he needed to find, oh, about 1200 nuts to make enough necklaces to repay himself. I don’t think he expected to find that many- he knew of a tree in Prospect that guaranteed some, and he found a tree on our recently-bought property in Lexington that would provide more. But a thousand? Not sure about that.
This past Sunday, the church we attend had their morning service and potluck lunch at a local campground. On the way back from the restrooms with the kids, I happened to look down and see a few tawny, pointy hulls on the ground, telltale sign of a buckeye tree overhead. All the kids got involved picking up the buckeyes, excited to be able to surprise Daddy with this treat. I shook the short, young tree a couple times to get the rest to fall off, but then noticed that it was straddling a power line, and wisely ceased the shaking. Luke went back over later to see if I had missed any on the ground, and determined that our find had netted him two and a half necklaces. We were pleased.
The rest of the afternoon continued to be a buckeye hunt- we started noticing trees everywhere- they shed their leaves the earliest of most trees, so it was easy to spot the orange or brown tree among the still-green ones. As we were approaching our land, Luke saw quite a few buckeye trees along a road just around the corner from it. That area netted the motherload! I got out of the van to help him with those- even I was starting to look at the nuts as little nuggets of gold. Each one was worth 65 cents, remember? Eventually, though, I had to go back to the van and entertain the troops while Daddy harvested.
When we got to our land, Luke put the girls to work in the van de-hulling buckeyes while he went to have a look at what had dropped from our tree. A-Major and Big-S are cute when they are given a job like that- they take it so seriously! I showed them how they could squeeze the hulls in the middle, like you do peanuts, and they’ll pop open, and they had a ball sorting nuts from hulls and leaves. Big-S called the buckeye casings ‘shulls’- a combination of ‘shells’ and ‘hulls’, I’m guessing.
As they moved back to their seats when finished, A-Major was heard to remark in her best ‘I’ve been given a big responsibility’ voice, “I might smell like buckeyes, Little-S. Smell my hands. That’s what buckeyes smell like.” Now, I haven’t noticed buckeyes to have any odor, and I usually have a good nose for things. But maybe they do.
Luke came back to the van soaked with sweat, and bearing even more buckeyes. Thank goodness he packed a change of clothes that morning, because we were due at the Gillums, good friends of ours, soon for dinner. What a day of serendipitous finds, to swipe a term from Meredith. I think Luke is set for the season, and should easily earn back his ticket money.
Now when Luke says, “You know what I feel like doing?” I answer, “Like making some buckeye necklaces?” That ought to be funny for at least a few more days.

For interesting buckeye lore, check out this article. My favorite line: “The buckeye nut is bitter and, if eaten in quantity, is poisonous to man.” Luke, good thing you need all the nuts for necklaces, otherwise you might be tempted to ‘taste and see’ if this is true. You certainly have the “quantity”.

Aroma

a·ro·ma: A pleasant characteristic odor, as of a plant, spice, or food

Yesterday, for the first time since I knew I was pregnant with Caleb, I donned my running shoes and miserably plodded jogged to the river, about a half mile down the road. My next goal will be to run all the way back, too. Smirk. As I went, I couldn’t help but notice what an absolutely beautiful day it was, with sky that had me wishing for the time to mix that exact gumball blue color with my paints, and white clouds that weren’t really white, but full of faint oranges and rosy hues, with a hint of grey. And the smells- pollen, dried leaves, corn baking on its stalk (thank goodness I don’t have allergies)- would waft by on the breeze.
I love, love, love the smell of fall. It feels so good to be outside on those days that aren’t too hot, and aren’t too cold, and the air is so crisp and clear. Ironically, the smells of this season are those of dying things, things that are on their way out of this world, things that are preparing for hibernation. So, yeah, that makes me a little strange to enjoy that smell so much, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I am strange like this by now.
I thought of that smell, and how it pleases me, even though it means death for something beautiful. But if the plant didn’t die, we could not experience new life come forth from it in the spring, and enjoy that beauty, as well. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were to acknowledge their need of Jesus’ sacrificial death by continually presenting various sacrifices and burnt offerings to God. The fragrance of an offering given in the correct way was said to have “an aroma pleasing to Him”. I think the aroma pleased Him so much because it reinforced the idea that eventually through His death would come life. Through Him being broken, we could be made whole. By His offering, God could welcome us into eternal glory and triumph over death. These were my thoughts as I drank in the beauty of one of the first fall days of this year.God’s creation loudly declares His glory, to anyone who’ll listen. Even dead leaves and drying corn stalks rustle their praise.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Psalm 19:1

Then burn the entire ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to the LORD, a pleasing aroma, an offering made to the LORD by fire. Exodus 29:18

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 2 Corinthians 2:14

A Remembrance Day

This is what I posted on this day last year:
The morning of September 11, 2001 started out as no different than any other morning. Big A was a toddler, and I was pregnant with Big S. Luke was at school, and we were at home, not doing much. Luke calls me on the phone, and right away asks me if I’m watching ‘it’ on TV. I kinda chuckle and tell him, no, we don’t watch TV in the morning, A just wants to veg when it is on. He’s real serious, and I go turn it on. On CBS I see the two towers, and one has been hit with a plane. Dan Rather is doing his best to maintain a steady voice, and to keep viewers informed on what looks like an accidental plane crash into a building. Then the second plane hits the other tower, and I melt. Dan Rather does, too, for a few seconds, then recovers and keeps on talking. From then on, I am glued to the TV, holding Big A tightly and crying. Then the towers are falling and I have such a feeling of loss in my gut, like the time I realized my ticket to an OSU game had been stolen from my back pocket, only this was a hundred times worse.
I had arranged to bring a shut-in from our church a meal that night, and wasn’t sure if I was supposed to go out, after all that was happening. Were there more cities still to be attacked? When Luke got home from school, we took the meal. While in the car passing all the manicured lawns and nice cars and restaurants and billboards and Kroger and CVS, I had a very real sense that everything was different now, that if any of this material world had a hold on me, it was decidedly less, now that I had just witnessed so many people’s lives taken from them in a matter of minutes. Now that I realized my life could be over as quickly.
I loved hearing the stories that came out afterward- brave firefighters, oh-so-brave Todd Beamer, people who were supposed to be in the buildings at the time, but for some reason were running late that morning. Providentially saved.
I read recently that many families of the victims have a hard time with 9/11 being talked about constantly. I can imagine it might be a little like everybody I know saying, I remember the day Don (my father in-law) died, over and over to me, whenever we meet. That would be weird.
But this was a national tragedy, and their loved ones just happened to be involved in an attack on our country, so I am sure most deal with the constant attention with grace.
My prayer is that we learn all we can from that day:
-be united when it comes to things that matter
-be always ready to help someone in need
-be in prayer for our nation’s leaders; they have a tough job!
-show my appreciation toward firefighters, police, and rescue workers when I cross paths with them
-live each day like it might be the last

I don’t believe this will be the only national crisis I will see in my lifetime, so it would be good if I practice these things I have learned.

May God be with the loved ones of all those lost on this day.

Have You Seen Me?

My sister-in-law has the cutest foot stool in her bathroom. When I wanted one like it, we found out that this item had been discontinued. I figure I’ll keep an eye out for something like it at festivals and street fairs. Will you do the same? Thanks a bunch.