Thursday, September 30, 2010

Here kitty kitty!

Yes, I know I post a lot about my cat. But, I love my cat. She's really the sweetest kitty we've had in a while.
Here's her baby picture. She was an orphan when we got her. One of our friends from church called one day in early December and asked if we wanted a kitten. Her grandma had rescued a kitten from the woodpile behind the FastStrip in town and she couldn't keep her, so would we be interested? Of course. We convinced Daddy to pick her up after work, and as Daddy didn't have a cat carrier handy, he had to deal with driving with a kitten climbing all over the car.
We named her Socks, because she has white feet, but she also has the most beautiful black tabby stripes. In those early days her favorite activity was to climb the Christmas tree. Fortunately, the tree never fell over.
Socksie really puts up with a lot. She's been a baby many times and is very patient with the kids. She's a great mouser and loves to catch June bugs and grasshoppers and anything else that moves. I love my kitty!
And I know I'm not the only one in the family who does!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Family Vacation

Every year we take two little vacations. In the spring we rent a beach house in the Santa Cruz area and in the fall we rent a cabin up in the mountains. Well, since it's fall now (although it's supposed to be 101 degrees today, so I'm thinkin' that whoever is in charge of the weather was not informed of that) we went to the mountains for our vacation. And we had a great time.

We rented a row boat again this year and took a 1 hour tour of Hume Lake. Fortunately, our ship did not strike ground on an uncharted desert isle. However, we did bring aboard quite a bit of seaweed. All the kids had a chance to row and we ended up going around in circles every once in a while, but then Daddy took over and got us back on the straight and narrow (as all good Daddies do, both in a row-boat and in life).

We took a tour of Crystal Caves, too. It was a long drive and the kids weren't terribly impressed, but they did have a good time and we even saw a bear as we were driving down the road to the cave. We also spend some good times just hanging out. Monday afternoon the kids found a golf ball and a stick and spent an hour rolling the ball down the hill and throwing it back again. They had so much fun, I sometimes wonder why on earth we have so many toys. They're content to play with just a golf ball and a stick. Of course, the hill made the game fun and we don't have any of those.

The evenings were warm, so we didn't light a fire this year, which was quite different than last year when we had a fire going every evening. But, we read "Little House in the Big Woods" (quite appropriate, I must say) and enjoyed not having a tv or computer to distract us. Of course, that meant that Hubby and I attempted to do some reading after the kids were put to bed, but the first night I fell sound asleep as Hubby read aloud a Louis L'Amour short story and we both fell asleep reading our own books on the second night. I often wonder what people in the old days did before tv and computers. I guess they went to bed early, too!

Friday, September 24, 2010

There's been a murder!

The vic....

The perp...
Book 'em, Danno!

How does it happen? Where does time go?

Can someone please tell me how this adorable little chubby cheeked baby face gets to be...
This big?
And then there's this little punkin, with the big brown eyes!
Where'd she get those braids? And who taught her how to ride a bike?

And there's this baby face! What a sweet heart.

How'd he get to be that big? And where did he get those pecs? This just isn't right!

My babies are growing up. They used to be so cute and cuddly. And now, they're running around, terrorizing the neighborhood. I don't have babies anymore. I have kids!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What does it really mean to trust God?

Trusting God is easy when there's not much at stake. But, when it's a matter of life and death.... then, it's not so easy. And how do you really do it? I've been struggling with that over the past couple of days. I had three more moles removed when I went to the dermatologist on Tuesday. They looked almost exactly like the first one that turned out to be a melanoma, so I'm thinking that these three are probably melanoma, too. So, the question will probably not be so much are they melanoma, but rather is it contained, like the first one, or has it spread? And that's what has me scared. Because if it's spread then... well, that's not good. So, then how does one pray? And how does one trust and hope? Because God doesn't always heal us. Young mothers with beautiful families do get cancer and die. Even after they've been prayed over and they've mustered up all the faith they can. So, I'm trying not to think about it because right now I don't know, and there's nothing I can do about it anyhow at this point. I just need to wait. But, these thoughts do cross my mind and I get scared.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yummy Dinner Idea!

This is one of my all time favorite dinners to cook because it is so good and so incredibly easy. So, I thought I'd share it.
It's Pulled Pork Sandwiches.
So, first, you go to the store and buy yourself a pork shoulder butt roast. It's easy to remember because you think to yourself, "Where on earth is the shoulder butt on a pig?" So, there you go. You get that chunk of meat and put it in your crock pot first thing in the morning with about a cup of water and two (2) envelopes of onion soup mix. Put it on high temp. for an hour or so and then turn it down to low for the rest of the day. It is so yummy and flavorful come dinnertime. Not to mention how yummy it's made your house smell all day while it's been cooking. So then, you just pull it apart with forks and serve it up on buns with some bbq sauce and there's dinner for ya!
But, yes.... there's more. More meat, that is. Because, unless you have teen-age boys who eat a lot, you will have left-overs and there's so much you can do with that delicious seasoned meat. It's wonderful in flour tortillas with a little cheese, lettuce, salsa and quacamole. I've also made pork enchiladas, which are very good, too. Or, you can just freeze it and a couple weeks later, have pulled pork sandwiches again.
In the words of a famous American ex-convict,
"It's a good thing!"

Saturday, September 18, 2010


If you're a gardener, you're probably a composter. And if you're a gardener, but not a composter, then you need to become a composter. Composting is the easiest, cheapest and best way to add nutrients to your garden.

Here is Hubby today getting ready to put our latest batch into the garden. I garden year round, though the winter garden isn't nearly as extensive as the summer garden. This is where we have our garden plot. Hubby took out the cucumbers and zucchini today, but left the tomatoes, which are still producing and a few bell peppers. The winter garden will consist of plenty of lettuce, sugar snap and snow peas for spring and fennel. I love growing fennel. It sounds so sophisticated. Like, I read those gourmet magazines or something. I only have one recipe that calls for fennel, but I do tend to chop it up for salads occasionally.

Here's Hubby's helper, Bubba. He's only semi-volunteer. He'd really rather be out front playing with the kids, but he's grounded for a week. So, even though he's not being made to help Daddy, it does give him something to do.
Now, look at this beautiful stuff. You can't see them, but it is loaded with worms. It's wonderful, high-grade compost. And it is so easy to do. I bought the bin at Costco and I just put in all my kitchen leavings. Hubby put a little sprinkler in there, so when the flower bed sprinklers go off, the compost gets watered, too. I think that's what made the difference. We've had much better compost the past several years than we did when we started. Watering makes it go faster, too.
Now, he's just going to spread it out, work it in with a shovel and that's that. You do that twice a year when you plant and over time you've got the best gardening soil around!

And here's just a gratuitious picture of my cat. I know, I know, it's kind of embarrassing, she's giving herself a bath, but she refuses to pose for me. So, you take what you can get.

Friday, September 17, 2010

It's Friday!

It's Friday and I am having severe writer's block. It's nap time, so to speak. The kids are supposed to be resting, but they really hate it. Especially Bubba, who, I have always said, has enough energy to power our entire small town if we could find a way to hook electrodes to him. The kid just can't sit still for a minute. But, I still think it's good for him to make an attempt to be still and quiet for a bit during the day. He can hardly stand it. I think Missy Lou is finally asleep. She still naps during the day, even at four-years-going-on sixteen-years old. Duh-duh has probably taken a total of 6 naps since he turned 2 years old. He really doesn't nap, and if he does, I know to get the thermometer out, because he's probably sick. So, that's what's going on here. The house is a mess, the kids aren't really sleeping, I really want a glass of iced coffee, but I only have a tad bit of half-and-half left which I need for tomorrow since I'm not going to the store between now and then and... well, I've written a completely useless blog post. I apologize for wasting your time. Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sittin' around eatin' bon-bons and watching Soap Operas all Day!

This is what housewives do you know. Well, none that I know of, really. So, what did I do today? Well, I started off the day killing a great big, huge black widow with my gardening clog. I was supposed to be doing my devotions and was looking at the cat (ok, that is a whole other issue, I was very distracted during my devotions this morning and I hope God understands) eating her breakfast when I noticed this huge black widow outside my bedroom door. So, I opened the screen door, grabbed a shoe and smashed it. It took a while because the cat kept getting in the way. Anyhow. So, that happened right off the bat.
Then we did school, which seemed to go ok. Until the appraiser came. We're refinancing our house. Got a great interest rate on a 15-year loan. So, the appraiser came by and was doing his thing and then all the sudden he comes in the house holding his finger. It was bloody. It got bloody because he was trying to get away from a wasp nest that he disturbed. But he wasn't fast enough because along with a bloody finger he got stung on his leg. So, I gave him a band-aid and my most sincere and profuse apologies. So, he leaves, promising that his mis-adventures will have no bearing on his report. Then, it's science time and we're studying clouds today. We learn about cumulus and cirrus and stratus clouds. We make little cloud pictures with cotton balls and blue construction paper and then we go outside to report on the sky and there is not one cloud in the sky. Not even one little stray cirrus cloud. Well, so much for hands-on science.
Then it's lunch, then music class. We're learning to play the recorder and I am proud to announce that Bubba can successfully play "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on his recorder. Duh-duh got very frustrated and quit, but that's ok. He'll try again next time.
So, now it's mid-afternoon. I have been trying to put my leg up for a bit today, but I have too much to do and frankly, am bored with reading and watching tv. And tonight is soccer and Hubby has a meeting, so I'll be taking the boys this time. Which is fine. It's kind of fun to watch them.
And, that is my day. No time for bon-bons or soaps for this housewife.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

For the curious and not faint of heart....

Well, my owie is getting better. I think. It still hurts. I'm trying to put it up as much as possible. I don't know exactly what it's supposed to look like. But.... here it is.

If you don't want to see it, please don't scroll down.

This is your final warning.

It's actually not THAT gross.... but....

You may not want to see it.

This is it. I'm not going to say it again.

I think it kind of looks like some sort of Egyptian hieroglyph. Or, maybe it's a secret code. I think the yellow is still the betadine, since I have not gotten the thing wet. The middle part is where she actually took the chunk out. She did a lovely job stitching it up. Did I mention that my dermatologist has 3 children the same age as my kids, she was in Brazil at the same time I was and she and her husband love to hike? We had so much to talk about when she was operating on me. Anyhow, she's a wonderful doctor and if anyone is looking for a good dermatologist, I'd highly recommend mine.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Feeling Better!

Q. What kind of underwear do rainclouds wear?
A. Thunderwear!

Heehee, haha!

Sorry, the kids have some dumb show on PBS right now during our little break time and they told that joke. And since I have nothing else on my mind to write about right now, I thought I'd include that bit of comic relief.

My leg is doing better, though. I took the dressings off for the first time last night and... well, let's just say I won't be photographing it and posting it any time soon. I was a little freaked out after that. It's pretty ugly. But, it does feel better and it's not bleeding anymore and I'm able to get up and around a little more. Last night it was so sweet. The boys were at soccer practice and I was watching NFL Kick-off Night on the couch. Missy Lou comes up to me and says, "Mommy, are you cold? I'll get you a blanket!" So, she gets me a blanket, arranges it on top of me and then crawls in under it with me. And she has a cheese stick with her, which she proceeds to unwrap and devour. And she knows she's not supposed to take out of the kitchen, but she just sat there and ate it like it was not a problem and for some reason I let her. She really gets away with a lot the boys don't get away with. And you may say, "That's not fair." But, she also didn't leave a crumb of cheese anywhere and she threw her wrapper away without being told. It's things like that that make the difference.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Just puttin' my feet up!

Although it is not by choice. I had a surgery yesterday, which I was entirely unprepared for. Yes, it was on my calendar, but... for some reason... I was just not mentally prepared for it. Or physically prepared for it. See, at the end of July I was at a swim party and my cousin noticed a very black mole on my ankle. She said, "You need to get that looked at!" and amazingly, I did. I called my GP, she did a punch-biopsy and it came back positive for melanoma, though it was contained. So, she referred me to a dermatologist to take out more tissue around the area as a precautionary measure. I had that surgery yesterday. While the actual excision was not huge, because the lesion was a little above my ankle and the skin there isn't all that loose, she had to do all this stuff to close it up so she wouldn't have to do a skin graft. I will take a picture and post it later when I can, but it's about 4-6 inches long, about 3 inches wide and looks like a cat-eye. It's an oval that's tapered on the ends and the actual excision is in the middle. It's got like a million stitches - 2 layers even. The first layer is the disintegrating stitches and the second is the regular kind. But, it's very painful and I have to keep my leg elevated or it starts to bleed a little. So, we did school today from the couch, the kids had chicken nuggets for lunch which Bubba cooked and tonight we're having pizza. I wish I would have been a little more prepared for this. I would have cooked a bunch of food and froze it, but for some reason I just had too much other stuff on my mind to really have thought through what this surgery was going to entail. Oh well! I guess Bubba can learn to "cook" and pizza isn't going to kill us.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Studying World Religions: Homeschool Style. Part 2

Well, we finished studying Ancient India today and will be off to Ancient China next. However, we did study another of the major world religions that had its origin in the Far East - Buddhism. We not only read about Buddhism in our history book, but I got a really beautiful book on Buddhism out of the library called "Buddha" written by an author I've never heard of before called Demi. It's a very interesting book and really fills in the blanks about Siddhartha's journey to become "the Buddha". I think Siddhartha's quest was noble, to find "...the Truth; life over death; the end of suffering for myself and for all mankind!" (this is from the book, I have no idea how to footnote in a blog). However, instead of finding the Truth in the person of Jesus Christ, he decided the Truth was to be found in the individual. And instead of alleviating suffering by becoming the hands and feet of Christ in a practical way to those around us, as well as sharing the Gospel, Buddha taught that it was to follow the Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path consists of:
** right view (believing the Four Noble Truths)
** right thought (loving and unselfish)
** right speech (free from lies, abuse and foolishness)
** right action (careful of the rights and feelings of others)
** right livelihood (earning an honorable living)
** right effort (letting go of bad thoughts and keeping good ones)
** right mindfulness (always keeping heaven in one's heart)
** and right concentration (focusing on peace) (these things I also copied directly from the book)
He taught that these meditations purified body, speech and mind. These things, in and of themselves, are good things. In fact, I could probably find Scripture to back up the practice of each one of these. However, this isn't the path to God or Enlightenment or anything. Because as much as we may try to do these things, we have a sinful nature and we can never measure up.

So, once more we discussed these principles (as much as you can discuss them with a squirrely 6 year old and a squirrely 7 year old) in light of our own faith in Christ. How wonderful it is that Jesus fulfilled all the demands of the Law on our behalf and was punished for our failings. We don't have to do anything to achieve "Enlightenment", but to confess our sins and acknowledge our own helplessness to do anything toward Salvation on our own behalf. And then, God does the work of Sanctification on our lives, making us holy in heart and conduct as we've been studying in our Catechism.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Studying World Religions - Homeschool Style! Part 1

A couple posts ago I wrote about the World History curriculum we are using - Story of the World. We're studying Ancient History right now and it's been very interesting. We've put the Roman Empire on hold for a couple weeks and are now in the Far East and have been studying India and will study Ancient China next. I mentioned in the previous post that I'm learning a lot, too, in this study and this chapter on India has not only been fascinating from a historical standpoint, but from a spiritual one as well. One of the things the chapter went over was the beginnings of Hinduism and what I didn't realize was that Hinduism was the basis for the caste system in India. The book didn't really go into the ins and outs of Hinduism, only to tell the story of how the Hindus believe man was created and it was in that creation that the four castes came about - The Priests, the Warriors, The Farmers/tradesmen and the Servants. And then there's the Untouchables who don't even make it into the system. A person is born into that particular caste and that is it. There is no way out - no matter how hard you work, how good you are or how smart you are. How depressing. How oppressive.

But, as I talked about this system with the kids, we talked about the Truth about how man was created and how God created man in His own image and how we are all equal in His sight. We also talked about how God wants us to think about others as more important than ourselves and how we are to be kind to others. It was a lesson to me, as I taught my children the basics of Hinduism and compared it to our own faith, that these other religions are not just a different way to God. (I knew that already, by the way) They have nothing to do with God. It also made me see the beauty of the Christian faith and the wonderful grace and kindness of God who thinks of none of us as Untouchable, but rather made His own Son an Untouchable (see Isaiah 53) so that we might come to Him and be saved. It was a wonderful lesson learned in History.