Tuesday, December 30

Simple Woman’s Day book ~ Dec. 30, 2008
December 30, 2008


Outside my window. . . Bright and sunny. The snow is melted after Saturday night's storm. It's about 45 degrees outside. Feels very much like Spring.

I am thinking. . . Baby Stellan, McMama's baby who is so very sick with RSV. I remember when Truthseeker had it as a baby. He was 6 mo. old, and luckily we already had a nebulizer for Skaterboy's asthma, so I started using it on Truthseeker right away. His pediatrician said that my quick thinking kept him out of the hospital. Thank goodness. Baby Stellan is only 2 months old though, and really needs prayers. He's a very sick little baby. You can click on her blog on my sidebar.

I am thankful for. . . A very nice Christmas last week, coffee in the morning, and having my husband home over the holidays (which is a first). It's actually been very enjoyable having him here all day. I know this can't last forever, so I am relishing it now, while I can.

From the schoolroom. . . We are on Christmas break until Jan. 6, however I am planning to download next semesters assignment this afternoon, so I am all ready to start up again next week.

From the kitchen. ... Leftover oatmeal fritters for breakfast; ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch, chicken Parmesan for dinner tonight.

Leftover Oatmeal Fritters

Any leftover oatmeal (2-3 cups)
3/4 to 1 cup flour
1-2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Oil to fry fritters.

Mix all ingredients. drop by spoonful into hot oil in a skillet. Dust with either white, brown, raw, or powdered sugar.

I am wearing. . . Pale green long sleeved Eddie Bauer tee, black knit slacks, and slippers. Hair is combed, no make-up.

I am creating. . . Hat's and mittens. I completed the pajamas and ornaments in time for Christmas, but wasn't able to finish everything else. I am also getting ready for the annual weekend scrapbooking retreat that my friend Cindy holds every year. I am so excited to go. I hope to get a lot of scrapping done.

I am going. . . Hopefully on a walk this afternoon with my husband and the little ones. I can't count on Skaterboy coming with us. I'm sure it cramps a teenager's style to be seen out walking around the neighborhood with his parents.

I am reading. . . Still reading the same books. I really haven't had a chance to read much lately with all the Christmas stuff going on.

I am hoping. . . That Scott finds an awesome job, that Stellan gets better, that nothing else breaks for quite some time. Everything is working great now. Knock on wood...

I am hearing. . . My littlest one making squeaking sounds while playing in the other room, a train going by outside, and all else is quiet. This means that my load of laundry has finished washing and I need to throw it in the dryer.

Around the house. . . Need to finish my Christmas letter so I can get my cards in the mail tomorrow. I also have mending, mopping, and baking to do this afternoon. I also need to clean the bathrooms.

One of my favorite things. . . Getting outside in the bright sunlight, sitting by a cozy fire in the fireplace, listening to praise and worship music, and reading other people's blogs. I learn so much from them.

A few plans for the rest of the week. . . Church Christmas Pageant performances at 2 nursing homes in town. Pizza party afterward. Skaterboy will be attending a youth New Year's Eve party at the church. Family New Year's Eve party tomorrow night. We never go out on New Year's Eve, but always have people here. Getting together with friends on the 1st.

A photo I feel like sharing.... This little ornament that Truthseeker made in Sunday School class totally makes me smile every time I see it. As you can see, it's of Jesus, and I truly believe that Jesus is really filled with as much joy as Truthseeker's portrayal of Him. Isn't it just lovely?

Saturday, December 20

It's Beginning To Look A lot Like Christmas!

Well, since my Christmas cards will either be late this year, or non-existent, I will type you all what has been going on here this month. It's been pretty busy. The first week of December, Scott found out that his company was shutting down at the end of the month. Not good news, to be sure. So needless to say, being that it is December, we were a bit bummed. Well, a lot bummed. Every Saturday since the end of November we have been practicing for our Christmas Pageant at Church called "A Night in Bethlehem". We have dress rehearsal at 1 p.m. today, and our play will take place during church tomorrow morning. Skaterboy is one of the news reporters on the scene, Truthseeker is a Magi, and Thumbody is a shepherd boy. Scott and I are travelers on our way to Bethlehem.

December 16, was Skaterboys golden birthday. He turned 16. I can't believe I have a 16 year old child. Wow!!!! He had a fun party with 8 of his friends. They went bowling, and then came home for presents and homemade ice cream cake.

December 11, Scott and I traveled to Bloomington for his company's last Christmas/closing party at Famous Dave's BBQ. It was a bitter-sweet evening, although everyone laughed a lot, and overall a good time was had by all. After the party, Scott and I drove over to Toys R Us, and did a little bit of Christmas shopping for the kids. We purchased a few Lego sets for Truthseeker, a play castle with knights for Thumbody. We couldn't find much for Skaterboy, so on the way home, we ran by Wal Mart, and found a video game and an Ipod dock/alarm clock for Skaterboy. He doesn't have an alarm clock, and he is a bear to wake up in the morning.

December 18, was our annual 4-H Christmas party and gift exchange. We exchange nice white elephant gifts. The kids always enjoy what they get, and it recycles something they no longer want. We had a pizza buffet, where each family brought a pizza, either homemade, frozen, or restaurant, and we all shared. I made my famous cheese pizza, (skaterboy always calls it famous, because his neighbor friends beg me for a slice, whenever I make it for the family). Skaterboy says I make the best pizza, but really I think Joan's was much better than mine.

Thursday was Scott's last day of work, so yesterday morning I helped him file his unemployment claim on-line. This is the first time either of us has ever had to file. Hopefully it will be able to tide us over until he gets a new job. Please continue praying for us.

Last night, we had our Annual Christmas Party for our friends and their children, at our home.
We do this every year, and make dinner, and exchange small gifts. It's a fun time we look forward to, all year long. We served spaghetti and garlic bread for dinner.

The party last night was such a blessing in so many ways. Most of all, it is wonderful to have great friends. Especially great friends that are very skilled and handy. Some of you know that our gas fireplace hasn't been working right for quite some time. My dad looked at it when he was here in November, and he couldn't fix it. Scott didn't want to mess with it. We called a few different gas places in town that advertise that they work on gas fireplaces, but we found out that they only work on those they install themselves. We have been freezing in our family room (where the computer is) for quite some time. It's part of the reason why I haven't been blogging a l0t. The fireplace is this room's only heat source. Well, we had forgotten that one of our friends was an HVAC technician, and Scott got to talking to him last night, and he looked at it, and had it fixed in roughly 10 minutes. Oh, how nice it is to have friends... So I am nice and toasty now, sitting here typing away.

Today is dress rehearsal at the church, and then I need to get sewing the many projects I am planning to give as gifts. For those family members who have not received Christmas gifts yet, they are coming. I promise.

Enjoy the pictures below:

Here is a photo of our Advent Tree or (Jesse Tree). It is in the dining room area of our kitchen. We do a little devotional each night that coincides with each ornament through Epiphany.

The other night, everyone was watching a Christmas special, and I just couldn't resist snapping this cute picture of Scott and Thumbody. Thumbody is our little 4 year old, and he is really getting into the whole Christmas season and everything that is Christmas. Whenever I ask him how old he is, he says he's "not much 4". It's so cute. I don't know why he says that, but it's priceless, and makes me giggle inside, each time I hear it.
About 3 minutes after I took the nice serene picture above, a tickle fight broke out, which is normal around here.

Here the boys are in front of our tree. 5 more days 'til Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17

This is something new for me. I haven't done this previously, but decided that it would be fun to keep a record of my days and happenings.

Simple Woman’s Day book ~ Dec. 17, 2008
December 17, 2008


Outside my window. . . Bright and sunny. The snow is truly glistening! It's about 17 degrees out, with about 3" of snow accumulation.

I am thinking. . . about how behind I am on my blogging. I have tons, and I mean TONS of photos to download. Our gas fireplace is on the fritz so it's pretty darn chilly in here. Hence the lack of blogging activity. I need to remember to have Scott call Hicks Gas this afternoon.

I am thankful for. . .Our home, our family, our many freedoms, and those who are praying that Scott finds a new job quickly after his current one ends. His last day is Friday.

From the schoolroom. . . Just finishing up the week. Then Christmas break until Jan. 5.

From the kitchen. . . Apple and Cinnamon Oatmeal for breakfast. Corn dogs and carrot sticks for lunch. Salad for me. Beans and Bacon with cornbread for dinner tonight.

I am wearing. . . My red snowman sweatshirt, navy blue slacks, and socks on my feet. My hair is brushed. No make-up.

I am creating. . . Pajama's for the little ones. 2 pairs each. Wool hat and mittens for the oldest, Fleece hats and mittens for the little ones. Our Christmas cards for the year, which need to be in the mail by the end of the week.

I am going. . . Nowhere tonight. Scott is picking up milk, eggs, toilet paper, and 7-up on the way home. Skaterboy's 16th birthday was last night, and this morning around 4:30ish, he tossed his cookies all over his bed. Not my favorite wake-up call, that's for sure.

I am reading. . . Creating a Charmed Life - Victoria Moran; Making your Home a Haven - Cindy Salzman; Created to be his Help Meet - Debi Pearl; The Power of Motherhood - Nancy Campbell; and Spirit of the Buffalo - John Hough. The last book listed, I am reading to the kids.

I am hoping. . . that Scott finds a decent paying job soon; that we are able to get the fireplace fixed quickly and inexpensively; that Skaterboy's glasses are in this week; and that I can get our Christmas cards out by Friday.

I am hearing. . . the washing machine, and the dishwasher; our children in the background, chatting and getting along. What a blessing....

Around the house. . . washing bedding from Skaterboy's room, folding laundry, dishes, putting clothes away.

One of my favorite things. . . Enjoying some peace and quiet. Taking my time to enjoy the day today. Starting a new bible study. Looking out the window at the beautiful white covered ground, sparkling in the sunlight.

A few plans for the rest of the week. . . 4-H Christmas party tomorrow night; Friday morning playgroup outing; a trip to the library; Christmas play practice on Saturday; Christmas play performance Sunday, with a potluck afterward.

Here is picture thought I am sharing.

Tuesday, December 2

Yesterday, the boy who made me a mother, turned 16. How can that be? What a joy these 16 years have been! Love ya kid!
Sending up prayers...
Well, just when you are thinking that everything is going smoothly, the rug gets pulled out from under you. I haven't been blogging lately, because I just finished a 10 week Beth Moore study on the book of Isaiah. The study was called "Breaking Free". After 10 weeks of Biblical and Spiritual enlightenment, I was truly filled with the Holy Spirit, and felt that I could pretty much take on anything Satan had to throw at me, because God had my back. I still feel that way, but am not as excited as I was a week or two ago.

I had heard many a time from various people, that when a person feels at one with Christ, that's when Satan starts throwing poisonous darts at you. Well, not in those words, but I am sure you know what I am saying. Anyway, I was truly excited to be at one with God. Nothing could shake that. I felt that surely God was saying that He was "well pleased" with what I was doing, and how I was acting. Oh how we should never question God's reasoning or timing? "I am learning, Lord, please stay with me!"

So about 2 weeks ago, Satan started throwing his darts, which I knew he would, but felt I was ready for whatever he threw. Now, I am questioning my reasoning. First our dryer broke. We couldn't really afford a new dryer, so we started looking for used dryers. None to be found at a reasonable price. Then a nice man at church said he thought that there was an extra dryer in the basement of a home he was working on, and said he would ask the owner if he wanted to sell it. The owner said yes, for $50. So we received a nice "fairly new" dryer, that works great, on my birthday. So the following day I started to catch up on our laundry that had been piling up, and 2 days later, our washer broke. Uggghhh... annoying, but the piece that had broken on it, had broken a couple years ago, and we ordered a new piece on-line from the factory, and Scott had installed it, good as new. So I knew we could do that again. I felt that I was handling the situation quite well, even with all the stresses that were being thrown upon me. I recognized them right away, and knew that God was in control. Everything would work out just fine.

Yesterday morning, at 8 a.m. my dear sweet husband called. I could tell something was wrong in his voice, and asked what was bothering him. He began to tell me that the head boss was there, and basically told everyone that their company would be shutting down, for good, on Dec. 31. Okay, right then and there, I started to panic. I had wondered over the weekend if his company would be effected by the Home Depot stores that were reported to be closing after the holidays this year. My dh's company supplies all the Home Depot stores with their lumber. I had also heard from one news reporter that it was all a big hoax, and that the long list of stores that were closing was not true. Well, as of yesterday, it was confirmed, with Home Depot, anyway.

This was a huge "poisonous dart" thrown at us. All the questions have arrised, and I have calculated what I could. They are giving each employee $500 extra dollars on their last paycheck, as a sort of severence pay. Not much for 10 years of service, is it? So my dh will be entering the job market again, after 10 years with a company that he really enjoyed working for. He's a good forklift driver. The best! I am sad to see it all end. I know that God has a plan for our family, and although, I don't know that plan, I am still praising Him, and sure that He has something even better for us in His sights.

All that has happened, reminds me of a verse I memorized during my Bible study class.
Isaiah 58:11 says: The Lord will guide you always. He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land, and strengthen your form. You will be like a well-watered garden. Like a spring whose waters never fail.

I believe this verse. He will take care of us. He will satisfy our needs while we follow this path He has set before us. We will be fine. Better than fine! I know that whatever plan He has for us will make us better than we are now.

Please pray for our family, and that Scott finds a new job soon after Jan 1. The jobs are scarce here, so we really need a miracle.

Tuesday, October 28

Please pray for Stellan!

Tomorrow morning, a dear bloggy friend, MckMama, will be delivering her 4th baby (in 4 years, no less) who is baby Stellan. She indeed is very blessed to have had a child each year for the last 4 years. Well, baby Stellan needs some prayers, you see, he has an enlarged heart, and about 13 weeks ago, his parents were told that he would surely die. Everything seems to have corrected itself, besides the enlarged heart. So if you are reading this, please say a little prayer for Stellan.

Thanks ;)

Link to MckMama's Blog: http://www.mycharmingkids.net/

Wednesday, October 15

A small thought for today!

This is not an original quote. I found this on Michele's Blog: Family Centered Living. Isn't it the most profound quote? How important for us all to remember it. So true... So true!

I take a deep breath and remember: We’re only lost when we’re outside The Story. We’re only angst-ridden when we’ve lost our place in God’s grand narrative. We’re only unsteady when we’ve slipped from the Word and into the whirl.

It's been a really crazy week. Sorry I haven't posted lately. I swear we have been running around all week. I will try to post on it later.

Thursday, October 9

Our Wonderful Little Nature Study Group

I have to say that this year has definitely been our best year homeschooling thus far. Partially due to the fact that we have formed (together with two other area families) a wonderful nature study group. Charlotte Mason recommended nature study to her students, and now I know why. My children are so much more in touch with their natural surroundings now, than I ever was as a child. We have been taking weekly nature walks with our group in an area park near our home. There are many different paths (mowed) for the children to explore their natural surroundings without the risk of poison ivy, snake bite, etc... We meet every Friday morning at 10 a.m. What a wonderful experience for our children.

At the end of our daily excursion, we sometimes do a nature craft, and most often have a picnic.

In our daily studies, we have been going through the book Pocketful of Pincones by Karen Andreola. What a wonderful example she has set for us each day, and the children are loving drawing in their nature notebooks, and learning the scientific names for plants and animals. After we finish this book, which should take us through the year, we will be starting Anna Botsford Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study. This will probably take us through the next several years, as it is over 800 pages. I do believe my children will be richer in knowledge for learning about their world in this fashion. I am so glad that I have the opportunity to give this wonderful gift to them.

PS... If you are interested in learning more about Anna Botsford Comstock, there is a wonderful movie that we found at the public library called The Girl of the Limberlost that is all about her life as a child, and her love of nature.

Thursday, October 2


To the most wonderful Dad in the whole world, (I am the luckiest-- or I should say WE are the luckiest) Happy Birthday!
Love you Dad, more than words could ever express!
Yes, he was about 5 or 6 at one point in time. Doesn't Jennifer's David look just like him in this photo?
What a handsome young man! It's no wonder our Mom fell in love with him.
This one too... Aren't we lucky? You Bet!!!

Wednesday, September 17

Ready, Set, School...

Before we started the 2008-2009 school year, I talked my sweet husband into helping me paint our kitchen/dining area. So on a whim, on a Sunday afternoon, we ran to Walmart, had the wallpaper border scanned into their computer to come up with the perfect color. We REALLY like it.
Truthseeker and Thumbody working on their papers for the first day of school.
New maps for our school wall.
Plus all our old stuff...
Our schedule and our school cabinet.
Houston we have a problem... Our floor no longer matches. That is definitely next, along with the counter top that no longer matches.
More Learning fun stuff. Our first day of school was September 2.

Sunday, September 14

Our Vacation-- Day 3, Part 2

After we left the Cozy Dog Drive-In, we decided to go to the Illinois State Museum. We had a slight problem finding it however, as it was smack dab downtown. We looked at the map, and parked in a lot, that looked as if it was somewhat close to the Museum. Well, we walked, and we walked, we passed the State Capital, we passed the IRS building, we passed all sorts of things, but no museum. After about 10 blocks, we asked someone where it was. Only 5 blocks ahead they said. We didn't tell them that we had already walked 10 blocks. Did I say that it was 98 degrees out? It was, but we finally made it there. Whew!!!

A nice photo of the State Capital building, while on our long walk to the museum.

Truthseeker and I in the exploration room, at the Illinois State Museum.
Truthseeker looks at some different kinds of fish that are native to Illinois.

The boys play an interactive educational video game about sharks.

The highlight of the afternoon was going up and down the escalators.
Truthseeker stands in front of an 1980's "teen" bedroom in the Journey through Time section of the museum. I pointed out quite a few things that reminded me of my "teenage" bedroom. I think this person was a bit younger than me though, because a lot of the music tapes were popular when I was in college. Oh well, it was neat for him to see, anyway. I don't recall my bedroom being that messy though. Was yours?
Skaterboy is grinding corn into cornmeal the old fashioned way in the Exploration section of the museum. There were a lot of areas in this particular museum where photographs were prohibited. I kept thinking about Night At The Museum, as we walked through here. I don't ever think I will look at a museum in the same way, after seeing that movie. We loved it!
When we returned home, we had a new friend waiting for us. Earlier in the week we had went for a walk down our street to pick wildflowers near the woods. We found a little caterpillar crawling down the middle of the road. I picked it up, and thought.... hmmmm... nature study project, we'll see if we can hatch a butterfly from this little critter. I wasn't sure how long it was going to take, but I was willing to give it a try. So we put the little caterpillar in a large jar with some of the wildflowers that we picked in there, and a tiny bit of water. Thank goodness there was some nettle in with the flowers, because the caterpillar loved them, and started munching right away on them. A few hours later, we noticed that our caterpillar was hanging in a "J". I knew that soon it would be turning itself into a chrysalis, which by morning it had formed. Imagine how surprised we were when we returned home this day, and found the caterpillar hatched (so quickly), into a beautiful butterfly. The wings were dry, and it was ready to be let free. So we said goodbye, and opened the window, and away it flew.

We identified this butterfly as a Common Buckeye. Here is some more interesting facts regarding this butterfly:

Buckeye Butterfly

Buckeye Chrysalis

Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Where do they live?
- Illinois State Map
- National Map

Buckeye's year-round range includes Mexico, the Caribbean and extreme southern parts of the US. During Warmer months, Buckeyes migrate northward to the midwest, sometimes as far as southern Canada.
What do they eat?

Buckeye Caterpillars eat Plantain(above), Snapdragon and Toadflax.

What is their habitat?
Buckeyes prefer fields, dunes and other open areas with flowers, especially where the vegetation is short.

Friday, September 12

Our Vacation -- Day 3

Sorry I have been MIA for awhile. We started school last Tuesday, and ever since we have been busy little beavers around here. We are also busy getting ready for the Lincoln Railsplitter Festival this weekend, and getting over a bout with the flu. Glad to be back though. Hope you didn't miss me too much. Well, I wanted to continue posting about our fabulous educational vacation we took this past August. So I will continue there. After I am finished, in a few days or so, I will catch everyone up to what we are currently doing. Our third day of vacation, we took everyone to the Lincoln Mansion, where he lived as a lawyer right before his presidency.

Here is an actual photo of his home. The Lincoln's never sold this home when they moved to Washington, because they had fully intended on moving back here, after his presidency terms ended. Unfortunately, you all know the story, and because of the tragedy and loss of the president and his sons, they never returned to their home in Springfield. Mrs. Lincoln was declared insane soon after her husband died, and sent to live in an insane asylum the rest of her life.
This is not a picture of where Abraham Lincoln took his daily BM. No, I would never take a photo like that. I wonder how many decisions and speeches were thought up, while on this very throne?

Skaterboy and Thumbody, outside the Lincoln Manson, waiting for the tour to begin.

Truthseeker and Thumbody chatting as they walked along the wooden sidewalks that surrounded Abe Lincoln's neighborhood.
Here is a picture of my grandma reading a sign on a cart that we believe to be a slave wagon.
Here is a parade float, advertising Lincoln's run for president. I think it's pretty good, considering the times. A log cabin with Lincoln's picture on it. Not at all like the floats of today, huh..

After our tour of Lincoln's home, we drove across town to the Cozy Dog Drive-in. The restaurant has been around since the 40's, and supposedly invented the first corn dog. Truthseeker stands in front of the original sign. Thumbody enjoying his meal at the Cozy Dog Drive-in. One thing we found to be an extreme treat was that they had cherry and vanilla syrup that you could add to your soda pop.

Truthseeker eating his Cozy Dog. The Cozy Dog original menu. Pretty neat, huh? The restaurant sits on the old Route 66. So it was a pretty hopping place back in it's hay day. Tomorrow I will continue our saga of vacation day 3. It was a busy day, and continued our journey after lunch. So I will post that tomorrow.

Thursday, August 28

Our Vacation -- Day 2

Day 2 of our vacation was spent at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL. We all had a wonderful time. My photos go sort of backwards, as I posted them somewhat out of order. Major highlights from the trip: 1) The White House tour was spectacular, as was the Log Cabin Home of Abraham Lincoln, when he was a boy. Very cool! We saw the BEST educational (fun) and interesting show there, called: The Ghost in The Library. No words can describe how very cool it was. You just have to see it for your self to believe it. There was another show, not quite as neat as the first one, but very informative and action packed (in 4D) called: Through The Eyes of a President, and Mary's Attic was enjoyed by us all.

Truthseeker and Mom (myself), play dress-up in Mary's Attic. Can you guess who Truthseeker is dressed up as?
Skaterboy is dressed as a young Abe Lincoln, in his early years at New Salem.
Truthseeker and Thumbody with their souvenirs from the day
Truthseeker wanted a spy glass, and Skaterboy wanted this very cool t-shirt. Abe with an I-pod, what's next?
Thumbody LOVED the Lincoln's House Play set in Mary's Attic. Thumbody enjoyed playing and pretending for a VERY long time with the Lincoln family dolls inside.
A family photo with the Lincoln Family.
All of us standing in front of the Lincoln family. I realized that we matched the family logistics on the wall, and just had to have a picture taken. Mom, Dad, and 3 boys. Sadly only 1 of their children survived. They actually led very tragic lives. Mary was declared mentally insane by her eldest son Robert, not long after Abraham was assassinated. She had lost 3 children, one at their home in Springfield, when Abe was a lawyer, one in the white house, and one not long after Abraham was assassinated. He almost made it to adulthood. All children died of closely related symptoms. Very sad indeed.

Truthseeker dressed up in an Abraham mask, and Yankee coat.
My grandma dressed up in period clothing. As you can see we all had fun dressing up in Mary's Attic.
Thumbody in a confederate coat. We don't have any other photos of the museum, because in most areas photography is prohibited. It is so worth the minimal cost to go. So... if you ever get to Springfield, IL. You should check it out!