Tea and Cookies

I’ve been wanting some tea lately, but I am all out. You tea drinkers out there: where do I go to find good tea? I like flavored teas the best, but any tea would do. What are your favorites?

Maggie mentioned Thin Mints on her blog, and that sent me looking for the nearest cookie booth. All I ever buy are the small, round, chocolatey, minty goodies, but I could branch out one of these years. What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie? I may just give it a try. With my tea.

More From Susan

dsc02801.JPG “Educationalists…will often agree that there is great value in reading, but will point to the large numbers of books used in education as resource material; children have perfectly adequate access to books, it is often maintained. But that is not the same thing. It was Charlotte Mason’s conviction that the child should work steadily through a complete book. Little snippets of information here and there just don’t hang together. Our generation is prone to amuse itself with fragmentary information and resources. We flip on the TV for brief programs, and then we think we know about the subjects they dealt with. A few paragraphs in a magazine, and we think we’ve formed an opinion. What is happening so often is that we are merely forming a habit of amusing our interest, and then forgetting the fragments. This is not education.” ~For the Children’s Sake, by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

That’s quite a bit to chew on, folks. As we decide what we’re doing as far as homeschooling next year, this book is really getting my wheels turning. Good stuff.

Potty Break!

ye_old_one_holer.jpgIt’s time. Mr. Fourthborn is pushing the limits of my patience and diaper budget. I need some time to devote to him, so I’m using this as an excuse to take a bloggy leave of absence.

Coming in March- the great Spring Cleaning of 2008! dsc02580.JPGI’m desperate to do things that demonstrate spring is coming, whether or not the view outside my window does. When do you all start your ‘airing out’?

Weekend Thoughts

“Pick up the pretty pebbles, Laura,” Ma said. “and another time, don’t be so greedy.”

So Laura gathered up the pebbles, put them in the pocket, and carried the pocket in her lap. She did not mind very much when Pa laughed at her for being such a greedy little girl that she took more than she could carry away.

Nothing like that ever happened to Mary. Mary was a good little girl who always kept her dress clean and neat and minded her manners. Mary had lovely golden curls, and her candy heart had a poem on it. ~Little House in the Big Woods, p. 175


After a moment Mary said, “I think it is a good idea. It will help us to learn self-denial.”

“I don’t want to,” Laura said.

“Nobody does,” said Mary. “But it’s good for us.”

Sometimes Laura did not even want to be good…. ~The Long Winter, p. 175

We are watching the first season of Little House on the Prairie on DVD right now. Don’t get me started on how utterly different the charming books, and the over-dramatic series are; that will have to be another post. But we watched the episode “The Lord Is My Shepherd” last night, and I got to thinking about how the writers of the tv show did almost get one thing right: Laura’s constant self-incrimination. When she compares herself to Mary, she almost always comes up lacking in character. This particular show, in case you don’t know, is when Ma has a baby boy, and Laura gets jealous of her brother getting all Pa’s attention. When the baby gets sick, Laura refuses to pray for him. He later dies, and Laura thinks it is her fault, and proceeds to find a way to ‘trade’ herself back to God for her brother, thinking that Pa would rather have him. Late seventies drama at its finest- they haven’t succeeded if you aren’t shedding tears- but I digress.

The way I see it, Laura is rather normal as far as behavior goes, from what I have read of her in her books. It is Mary who I would wonder about, rarely acting up, “always doing what she was told” (from Little House in the Big Woods). And, in Laura’s defense, I would much rather read of her growing up years from her perspective, than Mary’s any day. Not that Mary wouldn’t have stories of her own that were just as interesting. I’m grateful for Laura just as she was.

There wasn’t anything in the books that gave me indication that the Ingalls were born-again Christians. If they were, maybe Laura would not have wrestled with this problem of ‘being bad’ so much. As it was, they served their religion as well as they could by trying to ‘be good’, when all that worthless effort could have been laid at Jesus’ feet, and a relationship taken up with Him that would enable them to live full abundant lives.


Cures for Meal Planning Boredom

*Meal Planning Boredom is a real condition that affects millions of housewives daily. Consult your spouse or a close friend to see if these solutions might work for you.

recipe.JPG Raid someone else’s recipe box
I’ve found a handful I’d like to try, including BBQ Texas Ribs, Texas Tacos, and a very intriguing Scrambled Egg Casserole. Be back to review and share any that are stellar. Oh, and I got this box back to where the lid could be closed; no need to thank me, nameless chef.

Use the Internet

My favorite recipe site is RecipeZaar. Most websites like this are great, but I stick to one. (Kinda like shopping at Aldi- keeps things simple. It feels better to only have 35,000 varieties of Chicken Noodle Soup to choose from, than to have 6-7 websites full of 35,000 each. 🙂 ) I sort my search results based on how many ratings the dish was given, and so far have come up with two winners this week: Lazy Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup and Creamy Burrito Casserole.

Get back to homemadedsc02910.JPG

I have wanted to try Hannah’s bagels for a couple weeks now. This would be my second try at them, and I like how she had me make up the dough the night before, saving me a bit of time. They turned out pretty well. At least they don’t look dead like my first batch did.


There’s been tampering at the polls! Check out the votes given to each participant, and let me know if you think someone’s soup should have received more. We crown a champion February 28th.


Quite Quotable

dsc02853.JPG“When a baby is picked up, spoken to, and loved, he is starting his education as God planned it. For all our lives we are human beings, in an active state of learning, responding, understanding. Education extends to all of life. In fact, an educational system that says, one bright summer’s day in the dawn of my youth, “There. Now you are educated. This piece of paper says so,” is doing me a gross disfavor. The truly educated person has only had many doors of interest opened. He knows that life will not be long enough to follow everything through fully.”

~from For The Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School, by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (emphasis mine)

I am working up a new version of my testimony, to be available for sharing at church. No, the details haven’t changed, but the older I get, the more certain themes present themselves in my journey with God.

Having already thought some about what I would write, I was elated to come across the above quote in the new book I am reading. These words of Susan’s helped me to bring many of my thoughts into focus.

Just as in human life one is never done learning, so in my spiritual life, I should be constantly developing. There were many years I spent thinking I was ‘okay’ because I prayed a prayer as a child. A year in Bible school helped me see the error in that. My accomplishments there, though, started me in somewhat of a legalistic direction. I am a lover of knowledge; it just tickles me pink to know stuff, no matter its purpose (if there is one). Knowing the Bible better didn’t cause the growth I needed any more than sitting around comfortably ‘prayed and saved’. Both of these erroneous turns were like a person thinking they’ve ‘made it’ on graduation day.

It took marriage and parenthood to teach me what I desperately needed to know: I am a wretched sinner, but God is a wonderful Savior. Only through faith in Him, and a life yielded completely to Him, will I ever get anywhere. This truth outshines all else, and is what keeps me on the right path of learning, growing, improving.

More ‘First’s

First Valentine’s Party- You probably wondered what kind of Valentine’s preparations would take me all week and keep me from the blog? Well, for starters it was making and addressing three sets of Valentines for thirty kids, and overseeing the making and addressing of two more sets (by our young writers). That alone took me all day Tuesday. Still, I am glad I didn’t buy them. Here’s a slideshow of some pictures I took:

First Valentine’s Dinner- Sure, I have been out for plenty of these, but I have never bothered making dinner special if we stayed in as a family that night. You would not believe how much of a boost it was to eat grilled steak (in the garage :)) in the dead of winter.dsc02875.JPGDessert was strawberry shortcake.I’ve missed you, ice cream, as much as grilled food.

First Pill- Our eldest has been complaining of a toothache for weeks now, and when it got really intense, we made an appointment with the dentist. He couldn’t see anything wrong, but prescribed an antibiotic in case the tooth was dying and had an infection. The antibiotic came in pill form, a new thing for A. Luke ground it up at dinner and stirred it in some applesauce. You would have thought we were making her eat monkey brains, the way she gagged with every (tiny) bite. It was a completely long, unnecessarily drawn out process, her eating this thing. Gee, only 14 more pills to go. I insist that learning to swallow it whole is the easiest solution (don’t taste it, and takes no time at all), but you know what she thinks of my suggestion.

First Time Luke Forgot About LOST- Well, maybe not, but it is worth mentioning. He would rather have listened to his found iPod, helped our firstborn make a three-wheeler out of LEGOS, and put the kids to bed for his achy-boned wife. (We’re still working on order of importance on this list.) When he returned to the kitchen at 9:30, I said something about how I wasn’t sure if LOST was available to watch online this season, and the look on his face was great. Not that either of us are tv junkies, but I love that his family came first (or at least second and third) over our favorite show. Gotta love him.


Read about another day of firsts in a post here.


sisters1.JPGI’ve discovered something about my second-born- I don’t know that much about her. Her birthday is in a few days, and when it comes to thinking of what she might like, I am uncertain. Sure, I can ask her. But I know what she’ll say; anything will be a variation of what her older sister likes. The reality is, she lives in the shadow of a big sister, and can often be found duplicating what the elder does. Because of this, I never know if what she is choosing to do is really her choice at all. I remember a time we were making bookmarks- I gave each a pattern to follow for the front. Big Sister signs her name to the back, surrounds it with a puffy cloud and embellishes with a cross. Little Sister proceeds to turn her bookmark over and do this:dsc02854.JPG

She ended up crossing out her name because it didn’t look as good as you-know-who’s. I carry this in my Bible, and it hurts a little every time I see it. I always wonder what she would have drawn, had she been the only one making bookmarks that day.

I cannot relate because my family position was the older sister throwing her weight around, so I thought I’d open this up for any advice you might have. First, is this really a problem? I mean, I’m seeing some humble and submissive qualities in her, not altogether a bad thing. People who grow up as people- pleasers may have their set of issues, but not as bad (or as many) as Type A’s, in my opinion. And maybe there is nothing wrong with liking a thing because somebody else liked it first, and having it better, because it was tried on Big Sister first. But I wonder if I’m missing some opportunity of giving each their own identity if I don’t figure out how to let this one be somewhat autonomous. How am I to encourage it, when she is isn’t often alone, and rarely gets to pick the game of ‘Tenusay’? 🙂

Definition: Tenusay- v. usually in the form of a command. Directs other children to speak lines the pretend play leader, usually the oldest sister, is thinking up as they go.

ie. “Tenusay, ‘Rick, I’ll marry you if you get a haircut’…”

Weekend Thoughts


“All our fears represent in some form, I believe, the fear of death, common to all of us. But is it our business to pry into what may happen tomorrow? It is a difficult and painful exercise which saps the strength and uses up the time given us today. Once we give ourselves up to God, shall we attempt to get hold of what can never belong to us–tomorrow? Our lives are His, our times in His hand, He is Lord over what will happen, never mind what may happen. When we prayed “Thy will be done,” did we suppose He did not hear us? He heard indeed, and daily makes our business His and partakes of our lives. If my life is once surrendered, all is well. Let me not grab it back, as though it were in peril in His hand but would be safer in mine!”
~Elisabeth Elliot (emphasis mine)