Saturday, December 1, 2012

Short people eating dinner

As the older kids have gotten, it has been a lot more enjoyable to cook dinner for them.   They it.  The younger children however, must read books about how to torture their parents with all the looks and pouting over too many days of soup.   Some days it would just be so sweet if the short people would their dinner.   This has been a problem since the beginning of time.   Sin is not grateful for dinner when it keeps appearing every meal.   The short people are not immune from sin and fussing over what they have in front of them to eat. reduce my stress level around here, I am taking meal planning to a new level.   I know what is in my freezer and what is available in the pantry.   Taking those ingredients, I am doing whatever I can to make dinner more kid friendly.   I buy hams, turkey's and roasts in bulk when they are on super sale, so taking those as the main part of the meal, I am adding veges around that which they love.   I am glad they basically love all veges in their separate from each other form.   Potatoes show up at the table mashed or as oven fries.   Happy my children love baked beans as that is a thrifty option as well.   In every meal I am trying to include one thing which we older folk love to have so that we are not completely bogged down with homemade macaroni and cheese.   Salads are easy to make available to whoever wants it.   Kid friendly and eating as early as I can pull it off, keeps the screaming and whining more under control.  

In-law update

Stepping into my in-laws apartment this past week, I was greeted by the happiest woman.   Mom was all smiles and eager to tell me all of her adventures.   Not sure if I have even had a chance to mention that my in-laws are settled in assisted living now and it is going very well for both of them.   Mom is able to do what she wants knowing that her husband is in good hands.    She was getting him ready to go on a scenic drive when I got there and seemed far less impatient with him over getting moving so they could go.    There are so many opportunities there for her to intermingle with people and to simply get out of her four walls.   I am so very pleased for her.   I am pleased for him too as he is well taken care of and she can do what she can to help with that but is not bound to do it all.   Being more rested is awesome for anyone.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Budget saving recipes

I am always on the hunt for idea to help lower the food bill.   I like to cook so that does helps some and it is always possible to make something yummy out of almost anything.   Here are two of my latest findings which probably aren't news to everyone.

I tried these out in the last few weeks.

Fortified refried beans.

Soaked pinto beans - four cups
1 pound ground sausage or any sort of leftover meat (2.50 at aldis)
Any salsa or tomato product from the fridge you want to use up.
One large onion
a few cloves of garlic

I saute the onion and garlic with the sausage, add the soaked beans, and water to cover beans.   I throw in all those jars of salsa and sauce in the mix and then simmer it for several hours if possible.   Mush up the mixture a bit with a spoon when cooked or hand blender.   I serve this with tortillas for lunches, over rice and even mixed with noodles to stretch the meal to feed many.

Pork roast revisited

It takes a five pound pork roast to feed around 14 without worrying you won't have enough.   This truly was plenty.   On day two I simmer the meat with an onion and barbeque sauce and again.....whatever jars which have the potential to go to waste in the fridge forgotten and forlorn.  Then I put the meat and sauce through the food processor.    Cook as long as you like and process as soon as you like.   It can keep cooking in a crockpot and serve with sandwich buns.....over rice......or mixed with noodles.   My kids like the Spaetzle noodles from Aldis in these mixes.   It feeds family literally for days and many meals.   Yum.   Hope that made sense.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

And then there is reality

I have awesome thoughts about what to do but in reality, we trip through the day slowly and hope to not either wallow in filth, hope to have a pair of socks to wear, hope to know what is for dinner etc.   Today I have two appointments in the morning, tomorrow hopefully only one as I change the time of another.   The in-laws need attention, and husband is away again.   Staying home as much as possible is still my mantra.   If I am not here, things fall apart (never read that book).   So my son gets a staph infection, I stand vigil and pray for healing, days are not as I think they will be and we muddle along.   Thanks be to God for Christ's Mercy.   That is my other mantra.   So much going on and I know I am finite and frail in many ways so will do my best to not allow the devil to get his crooks in me and to cry out to the Lord daily.   So much to write about so little time.......

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What do we teach them?

Today during a piano thingie, (not a competition but don't know what to call it), I had a long talk with another mom and the election came up as I was on my soap box of what IS taught to our kids in school.   I am reading a book about the Japanese Americans who were put into captivity in suspicion of their nationality after Pearl Harbor.   The book is written from the first hand accounts of the people who lived here before and after Pearl Harbor.   Ironically one of the victims told how they thoroughly they were taught the Constitution and what was great about the freedom afforded to all men in American no matter what race or religion.    And then.....after Pearl Harbor that all changed and it was not brought up in the schools, at least not immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor.  

So the mom and I were truly wondering what is taught now in the schools.   We both home educate but two of her kids are in school and she could not really say what is mentioned concerning our government.   She feels school is taught to the test nowadays.   My own mantra for my kids is to teach them how to think.   Ask questions.   How do we do this if the test is the most important thing?  How do I teach my kids to understand their freedoms.   I feel I have done a poor job myself for them and for myself.   The best conversations have come from watching the news and reading news articles to them.   Discussing history and what has happened in the past.   Many generations have failed in practicing the principals laid out by the Constitution.   That sin thing   bunch will always be by our sinful nature a mixed up.   I teach by living and talking with my kids.   We do *book* work, but we also do a lot of talking.   The parents involvement in explaining all of the book work on the Constitution seems to be the key to educating.   I am rambling again, but remembering how much we teach to tests, even home educators, is a wake up call to teach our children to think.   Ask them lots of questions to prick their brains to think.   Listen to both sides of political issues and ask questions.   Ask your friends which you agree with questions to increase understanding.

 I suppose the answer to the question, what should we teach them, is to teach them to ask questions and to listen.    I already drive them nuts with this, but will continue on the path and perhaps direct their thoughts to knowing a bit more about their government.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

Politics, the Constitution and the Catechism

Politics today seem to mean that we should not feel good about having a specific opinion about anything.   If you believe something to be true, then it offends people as you are not open minded.   The catechism and catehesis are related to politics.   If you understand the difference between our faith and government, between our Constitution, the law and how freedoms are effected by the interpretation of the law, then a person can *think* and draw conclusions based on something and not on Tupperware party rah, rah sessions.  

Studying the Catechism grounds your knowledge of what your opinions are about murder (abortion), work ethic, love of neighbor, etc.   You love your neighbor by listening to their views but  your love of neighbor does not mean condoning adultery and murder and deceit.

Teach your children what you believe and what GOD commands.  Ground them to be able to hear red flags when they hear them.   Teach your children about the Constitution, if you live in America.  Ground them in what it means to be American or what it did mean.   I read a lot of history growing up and my teachers actually did understand the Constitution but today I am thinking that it isn't taught or discussed.   I want my kids to understand.  I want a LOT of kids to understand.   I am sad how we  have become more and more a country which believes in entitlement and that is NOT what the country was grounded and built on.  

I am sure I am not waxing eloquent, but the election was disturbing to me and the lack of reason in voting decisions was also disturbing.   I would like to know the reason people voted for who they voted no matter which side.   Did they understand?   I actually do not love voting for local races which I have little to no knowledge of the candidates.   Disturbing.   I leave those blank much of the time.   But why do we vote for who we vote for?   Why?   Help me understand.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Contentment training

There has been some discussion elsewhere about loneliness at home with the kiddos.   I have certainly struggled with this over the years but the more I think about it and live this crazy life, I do see that learning a little more self control over my ADD desire to do stuff with others, does help me be happier to just be at home.   I pile the guilt higher and deeper when I am not here and we accomplish little.   It is the life of bunches of kids to begin with, especially if you aspire to home educate the kids.   Our hands seem to be tied in this regard.

There are things I would like to do better with the kids at home anyway so how can I do that if I am itching to be with adults????   I have to build time in life to do these things.   I want my kids to learn to read to me.   I want to read more to them.   I want to help them learn to do their own laundry and care about what the house looks like....more.....not perfectly, just more.   I want to cook more yummy nutritious foods so the kids whine less and are more content themselves.   Talking to the kids only happens if I am home more.   When I am not home, I need to take some kids with me and not just crave time to escape.   It really helps their little selves feel better and then we all feel better.

One day at a time.   Conscientious effort to make appointments later in the day and bunch a few together.   Plan meals so I don't make lots of little trips to the store.   Revolve the family life also around prayer and the church.  If we start skipping morning Catechesis we are already off to a bad unsettling start.

Norms of society, especially American society, give us all ADD.   ADHD really.  Hyper life.   Scrambled family.   I can't take too much of that for very long so am trying to choose not to choose that life.   Scouts and church and piano lessons about kill me.   These are all rambling thoughts.   Perhaps I will gather my thoughts and make this a more organized thought.   Feel free to add your own thoughts and frustrations.

Staying home more

Now that my in-laws are moved to a better situation for everyone, I need to guard my time and calendar from trips out of the house with vigilance.   Every time I have to leave it is as if I have thrown the whole day away.    My hubby is working three hours away for three days of the week right now and that will probably become the norm.    We home educate......that might require being home.   I hate how it is assumed since my kids are at home that their appointments can be made any time of the day.   With dad away and then mom is away.....ugh.  Does not work.   I have been thinking much about the benefit to the kids to just be home with them and the dividends are small children who are more settled and secure and older kids who are also more secure and not weaseling out of their responsibilities.   More later......

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

More transitions

So after six months time, with the help of Charley's parents and his sister, we are now in the process of transitioning his parents to an assisted living care center.   They seem okay with it and I know they will be happier there vs being in the midst of what is often times chaos now.   I am thankful I made a call last week to my sister-in-law and we put our heads together.   As when all my 'kids' fly the coop, I know it is going to rather quieter around here.   Change is not without stress.   I will not be bumping into the poor things as I race through the house.   Our house is not actually.....big.   It is sort of spread out and has a lot of little rooms as rooms go.   150 year old houses tend to not be on the big side so even the house will feel   Anyway, that is what is new today.   I have lots of ground work to complete to get the process finalized and am extremely grateful for the help I have received from Charley's sister.   Yay.   Resting a bit easier......

Monday, October 22, 2012

Husband away

Karin will play. a lot, play with the kids,   He hasn't traveled much in years but it seems like things are cranking up again in that direction.   Back  then I only had three or four kids and I do remember climbing the walls a bit but I also remember putting them all to bed as soon as possible!    Right now I hear the most amazing screaming coming from the basement.    Hmmm.....I guess it is early to bed for her!   Just as soon as I pound out a few words more and off she goes to la la land.   I become somewhat zero tolerance when I know that it is me against the herd.  

The first few weeks hubby traveled back in the nineties, I was all distressed and whoa is me. occurred to me that there are two modes of me which had to be!   The dad is at home mode where we could conquer and divide and the dad is away mode.   I put on my single mother hat and made do.   I made sure the meals were planned, food was purchased and then hunkered down on the homestead.   Our pastor at the time was always very concerned for my well being so that was sweet.   I still bump into him from time to time and remember those days.   Once hubby was in Spain and France when a train was in an accident in a tunnel over there so he had a cautious approach to ask me if I had heard from him.  

This time round is not much different.   I will get used to this drill.   He has a job so that is good.   He has decisions to make about that job and whether to stick with that company after 26 years.   I take on little projects of setting stronger routines with kids and extinguishing the screaming of small people or at least work on it is a bit harder.   One day down.......

Beef stew for my sickos

Back when I was student teaching, which was um....quite awhile ago, my supervising teacher told me that beef stew was the cure all for colds etc.   Her beef stew was similar to my moms with one magical ingredient.   She put whole mushrooms in hers.   She called the shrooms nice surprises and so happily yummy it has to cure you. is how I make it.

(Mine serves twentyish or more)

Beef stew

Three pounds cut up beef (venison works too)
1/2 cup flour
oil to cover the bottom of the stew pot
one large onion cut in small pieces
eight stalks of celery or one or two leeks.
As many carrots as you can bear to peel cut up in smallish pieces
Six to eight potatoes cut up
2 or 3 bay leaves
A can or two of beef broth, beef bone broth or bouillon cubes
Eight cups boiling water
Two quarts whole tomatoes

Simple instructions.   Dump flour in a smallish bowl and dump beef into flour and stir to cover.
You can add salt and pepper to the flour mix too if you wish or can remember.  

Saute onion nad celery/leeks in a large stock pot in oil.   Add beef and brown.   At the same time boil six to eight cups of water depending on your quantity of beef.    When beef is browned, pour boiling water over top.    Next add the rest of the vegetables.   I often times start peeling and chopping in between other afternoon responsibilities.   Home made whole tomatoes are the best and to me make the recipe, but store bought work.   Add store bought tomatoes first so they have time to cook and fall apart.   The longer it simmers, the better it is.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Teaching maturity

Putting behavior in terms of maturity has been my latest mantra with my maturing children.   What does maturing mean?   Considering our own behavior in light of how it effects the other person.....I think.   Will it make my family's load lighter, then in love for my family I might set the table without being asked.   Or I might go change the stinky diaper and not wait to be told.  

My current five year old is one to file this sort of information away and think about it and then give me a report on how he is doing currently.   It is always a random comment not prompted by me, but rather reported to me.   "I am not screaming like I used to Mom."  Yay!   Happy day!   He is considering his behavior.   He still has growing up to do but he has learned to reflect at five on his behavior.  

If I talk to each of them every so often about this concept of reflecting, then when they are doing whatever they are doing, it might run through their mind to think about it.   Asking them how they are doing seems far more effective than telling them how they are doing.   Telling them how I am reflecting on my own behavior also is helpful to them I think.  

What I want to avoid though is everyone in the family comparing how the other is doing to everyone else.   This is when my head might hit the table but we all do this and I tell them so and try to steer them back to what they are responsible for.   Parenting is a lot of work.   It exhausts and challenges our patience.   I am grateful for the sleep I manage to get to recharge my batteries and try again the next day.   Pushing myself and then pushing them to keep working on their vocations and run from their entertainment probably should become a sign on my forehead to remind me of what *I* need to do.   Run from entertainment.   Yes.   Sigh.   Easier said then done.  

Now I am rambling and thinking on how this is entertaining so will now run away.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Study sessions

Can I remember to do this again?   I took the middle kids to the library to work specifically on their math and give them immediate feedback.   They got a bunch done and it was time well used.   I have the greatest difficulty setting patterns to do the same thing more than a few times as life will somehow get in the way.   Call it restarting night school again for the family.   We didn't keep that up as long as I would have liked last year as there just simply is not room for us to find a space to do this without distractions.   Once or twice a week should help.  It is hard to have the little ones with at the library and get anything done with the older ones so perhaps this will work for awhile.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Don't remove them

I was distracted by the most awesomeness of distractions this morning during the church service.   There was a young boy, seven to be exact, sitting behind me talking to his mother about what was happening in the service.   She was quietly answering him.   Though distracted herself, it isn't really a distraction.   The children belong in the service.   They are listening and paying attention.     They are catechized in word and sacrament through experience.       Their little lives are immersed in worship and they DO receive God's good gifts in the service.   Why remove them from worship?  

I just started teaching an awesome group of preteens last week and these kids are so very well catechized.   I have a deep love for young people and seeing them grow and mature and their eyes light up with recognition of what they are learning.   I do know I probably ask too many questions but they actually can figure out most of them.   They do understand Christ's body and blood given for them and it isn't too deep for them to talk about and think about.   They want to know.   The answers they give are obviously the product of not only great parents but participation in the service.  

I asked these same kids if they had any specific questions they had been wondering about and a ten year old young lady expressed a curiosity and desire to better understand the Trinity and how that is possible.   She rocks.   I advised her to ask her Pastor if he wanted to come over for tea or ice cream and that his favorite thing to do was to answer questions.   At the very least, the hallways and byways at church or Catechesis class would a good place to ask the questions answering Pastor.  

So don't start or maintain a nursery.   The children are not disturbing anyone including the parents as it is the parents vocation or place in life to parent them now.   When all the wiggles are exhausted at age eight or nine or maybe even as young as five, then the parent can chill more in the pew and take it isn.    Until then, these beautiful little people are gifts to rejoice in and stare at and love and talk to and soak up while we have the opportunity.   I am just totally taken aback by how amazing God's creation and gift of children are to us.   Different ages and different blessings.   A person of any age is amazing really.   See what their eyes are looking at and taking in when they are unawares.  

Last thought or observation.   I don't really pay much attention to other people's children during Holy Communion, but I do see my own little people paying such serious attention, even during their youngest days, during the distribution.   Evan's eyes took it all in this morning.   He is two.  The Pastor giving the bread to people and then Evan receiving the blessing when it was his turn.   He becomes perfectly still lately and listening.   Children do listen.   They are not incapable of understanding.   Don't take and hide the children  away from the service in fear of disturbing people.   Disturb the people!   Children of God of all ages were of utmost importance to our Lord Jesus.   He loves us all and not just those who can sit still during the sermon.   If I am distracted from the sermon myself, what better way to be distracted but through staring into their little faces.   Don't remove them.   

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturdays and loose ends

I find myself seeing Saturday as the day to tie up loose ends from the week.   This past week was a major recipe for exhaustion but I did manage to wake up with some energy this morning.   The drill was making coffee, looking around and taking in the fallout from the week and doing my best to focus.   One thing at a time.  

There was laundry to put away, beans to can and put away, counters in the kitchen to find again, and finally following through with making homemade re fried beans.   They were not really fried but did turn out very yummy.   Erik and Charley went car shopping while all of this went on and by the time the morning was over I was calling Charleys cell phone and holding the phone out to him so he could hear all the displeasure noises emitting from his small people.   Rescue me!!!    I had spent the whole last week listening to too many disgruntled humans and needed a break.   The guys came home without any new car for Erik, but I didn't care too much about that.   Just let me leave!!!  

I went to my favorite nursery and got a few small evergreens to fill in some areas in the backyard.   My new landscaping scheme is to fill up spaces with trees and shrubs which look attractive and not have so much of an area to plant with perennials and annuals for the summer.   The owner wasn't there but did leave a note saying to write down what I had selected and leave it so she could bill me.   I love that place.   I pondered and pondered for well over an hour, all was awesome.  

On the way home I had a chance to talk to Anna for a bit and that too was relaxing and nice as usual.   I miss my girl.   Sigh.   I will see her for a little while in a little over a week for her recital so that will be something to look forward to.  

I am dreaming of dreaming and getting bunches of sleep this evening even if I have to resort to hitting myself up side the head to get to sleep.   Hoping also to read bunches of my latest read before I do that.   It has been a basically nice day in spite of the morning whining.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Four or five days later.....or more

On Monday I put a cup of butter in my awesome Bosch mixer which takes up tons of space on my limited counter.   I thought that banana oatmeal bars     It sounded like one of those things which well organized, conscientious mothers make for their children for breakfast.   Well, I didn't get to the rest of the ingredients jumping in the mixer till....Thursday.   How pathetic is that???!!!!    In the meantime, the counter has been missing the dish drying rack as there was no room, who knows what shape the butter really is in, and the other adults in the family have worked patiently around it and didn't ask any questions.    The inside of me knew that there was most likely a bit of 'better not ask' going on in their heads and today hopefully they will get to eat some of it.   The sad thing is that I misread the recipe and put in white sugar instead of brown.   Four days and I still don't get it right.  

I see examples of this all over the place around here.    The kids dutifully squished the tomatoes and made sauce on is definitely boiled down and ready to be canned but it hasn't happened yet.   Martin found copious beans on Tuesday and they are snapped and ready to be canned.   They are waiting too.  

I've run experiments with the kids.   There was a pile of someone's socks in the hallway upstairs years back and I decided to see if they would ever disappear.   Well, I think after six months I gave up and decided to just pick them up but it was interesting to walk by.   I did mention them several times.   Experiments like this are a recipe for my insanity and shouldn't be tried.  

I am not sure how to turn off that overwhelm feeling but will push along to do the next thing and hope for the

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Invited to tea

I was invited to have tea with a friend today.   My inner overwhelmed is fighting the urge to go with my first plan of getting tons of math done with the kids today and finding my debit card in the abyss also known as my bedroom.   This is a ridiculous decision.   Laugh and enjoy the company of an awesome person fractions and square roots and....

The last two days were completely eaten with apartment shopping for my in-laws.   Sigh.   I see things slipping around here worse than they were.   We don't have any desirable food, there are tomato sauce and green beans to can, and all my previous projects of expanding the house are not quite completed.

Another friend and I were chatting yesterday about what it meant years ago to care for our parents and how was it different.   If I had nine kids in the seventies or earlier, I would have had most of them in school.   She pointed out that my full time job of home educating and simply taking care of the family is huge.   The stress of problem solving and figuring out how to get a single thing done under these circumstances is pretty daunting.  

So I have decided to have tea with my friend and try to be disciplined enough to head for home at a reasonable time.   Sigh.   If my expectation is to only get a tiny bit of something done, then I won't panic.   Slowing down my thinking to be content with hardly a thing is still a challenge.   Sigh again.  


Tuesday, September 18, 2012


My in-laws have lived with us since early April.   In that time they have become far more active, eat healthy and are really improving in health and mobility rather than going down hill as is the normal drill for people who are aging and dealing with the challenges which come with that.   So my household of twelve people at home will possibly be shrinking by two as they are looking into the possibility of getting an apartment for Seniors.   The one place we have looked at is new and completely awesome.   I started planning on when I could move there too!   It is an income based set up so I probably wouldn't qualify but my in-laws on the other hand totally qualify in my mind.  

Transition....again.    It will take time and I do think they both will be happier around peers, their own space, and having their own beloved TV with cable.   Whoa.. 

The process has taken a lot of my time and I am tired but since the paper work is done for the place which they are most interested in, all the rest of the place's paper work can happen at a slower pace.   I must pay attention to the kiddos and since moving slower was my goal to begin with, I sort of need to be here at home to get anything done no matter how slowly it happens.   Stay tuned......

Friday, September 14, 2012

Why was I worried???????

Once upon a time, I had a little boy who was slow to learn to read, didn't know his colors until he was at least 6, couldn't count to 40 to save his life until.....8???   This is what my memory remembers.   Bookish work was very tedious and confusing.  He was very much picked on.   Social was a challenge.  

 I also have a bunch of other memories of this same boy.   This is the same boy who after we toured the U.S. North Carolina, when he was about five years old, built a model of it complete with floors, bunks and a galley.   It was very cool.   He worked diligently and carefully.   The same boy searched for hours on end for fossils in the driveway, pinned bugs for 4H,  He taught himself how to blacksmith, built huge forts in the woods, studied antique tools and life back in the day till he could probably teach a course.   All of those things were amazing to us but we were frightened of facing academia.   They were an issue for him too.   Tests.   Yuck.  

We chose to home educate mainly because of our dear son.   He most likely would have been put in some sort of special ed class.   Well.......this same boy now works for the same company as Charley as a technician and in the course of one year has become an expert and is teaching seasoned technicians what he does and how.   He traveled to Detroit yesterday to spend a few days training other people.   His dad describes him as brilliant and amazing and well liked by everyone.   He has no technicians certificate but teaches those who are getting one.   He is 19 and younger than all of them.   Just a little bit proud of my boy.  

Why was I worried????

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I didn't see that there

My morning anxiety attack was over how many things I see scattered about that I am certain other people can see too but mysteriously don't know how to react.   For instance.......the two year old has dumped over the sock bin and had a sockfetti party.    What could I do about this???????   Hmmm.......   The garbage cans are washed and  lay blocking the back door.   What could I do about this?   Then there are the kitchen counters with mom's coffee pot vomit all over it........   The rodent of unusual size that opened the 50 pound bag of quick oats and missed his bowl too.    I think these sort of sites are what make me more ADD and anxious or at least equally anxious, than toddlers screaming and five or more people waiting for me to help them all at the same time.   I suppose this is also related to the helplessness factor.   How to cure this disease is probably the biggest unsolved mystery of all time.   I noticed that "The Story of the World" uses an example of archeologists finding a child's toy at an ancient settlement.   The example is made up of course but I have no doubt little sinners have left stuff laying about from the beginning of time.    We just have more of this junk than they did?  

I had the usual obnoxious mother idea of taking the kids on a tour of the countryside and seeing if we could find the most trashed property and perhaps even have a contest and check list of homes whose exteriors are peppered with garden tools, tractors, piles of disposed of junk, gardens in need of weeding etc.   Oh dear, I am giving myself another anxiety attack as we may have to drive to Arkansas to find them.  

Okay.   Time to take my negative attitude and proceed to direct my little dears to their tasks at hand and do the next thing and............try not to panic.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

With my eyes closed

I hear something which is a much different experience than with them open.   I have come to love closing my eyes during most of the liturgical settings at church.   My very favorite time to do so is during the Sanctus.   If I open my ears during this time, I hear a foretaste of things to come.   These same people I sing with on Sunday, will sing with me in eternity.   The same people who have gone before me and are with Christ, who sang with me earlier in my life, will sing with me in eternity and ARE singing with me.   Opening my ears to hear as we open our lips and our mouth declare His praise.   THESE ARE my favorite few minutes of the week.  

Saturday, September 8, 2012

House expansion

Quick post before I leap into action again.   We desperately need more room around here so I am doing all I can this day to get rid of stuff, put stuff away, and move as much furniture out of the house as possible.   We were thinking of changing the 'spare house' (shack) into living space for the kids but have since tabled that.   So......I am going to use the space so maybe we can have some in here.   Desperate times call for Karin making a calmer setting for the house of crazies.    We don't have money for any other type of expansion so this seems like a good plan to me.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Kids and helplessness

Kids learning how to do things for themselves is an obvious part of parenting.   Nagging or painful pulling of their bluff.   I have a few kids who have struggled greatly with following the directions in their school work so that they might actually complete it in a reasonable amount of time.   Yesterday it became quite clear that one of the children in question had a complete strategy in play to see if he could get everyone else to do his homework by asking THEM questions about how to do the problems.   The self discipline to study his work and understand it for himself and my teaching him.....or forcing follow through with these skills, is pretty tedious at best.   To teach this lovely skill, known as helping yourself with your homework and how to study, requires my body to be still and near by to continually point him to how he can solve his own problems by reading and researching and then studying the concept till he completely understands it.  

My house is a wreck, my small people are starving for attention, and once again I am puzzling over how to help the little people survive while I push the envelope with older child  to help himself.   I might be doing other things while said student is struggling with studying and avoiding the easiest route to success as he has it engrained in him to die many deaths rather than simply use the index and the resources online to review his math skills.   Exhausting..........I guess he sees it as a battle of the wills and I sit in wait to wield my will of NO.....look it up darling child.   (If I have patches of hair missing, you now know the reason).  

Take courage parents, one and all!   Don't do your children's homework!   Send them packing to the avenues which will help them learn what they need to do. It might mean you don't have a company ready house and your meals are lacking for a while but....the rewards.....better be sweet.     This child now has a teacher for his math who isn't ME, and learning how to ask the teacher questions rather than the rest of the family is one of THE most tedious parts of this of all.  

I write all this down so that maybe if I look at my blog I won't lose sight of the goal......independent thinking!!!!    Now I should stop writing and perhaps go clean off a surface or make some sort of egg something for the kids brains to feed off  and supercharge their brains!   Onward!  

Friday, August 31, 2012

I forgot the self harming patient

These patients are around two to seven years old and they have a strong propensity to trip.  "Don't run" cries the mother.   Silly mom.   Splat.   Brief silence.   Wailing and gnashing of teeth.   These are the self harming set of our family.   Lots of people have them in their families.   Since I am not much of the hovering mom, the poor children get a much delayed reaction to their owies but I do still scoop them up once I get around to reaching them and they get brushed up and the necessary first aid.   My  prescription for them would be tying pillows around them but they resist their treatment.  

Which patient are you?

I observed my children this morning with their crazy behavior while attempting to do simple things like stir the pancakes, stuff jars with green beans and basically walk through a room without arguing with anyone. my usual crazy way I asked them which psyche ward patient they were? 

The passive aggressive patient who knows what they are supposed to do but quietly ignore the rules and procedures even when reminded.   In your face ignoring.   There seems some sinister pleasure in doing the opposite of what is expected.   The caretaker could clearly be getting frustrated but the rules don't apply to that patient.   The other side of this coin might be that they simply do not 'get' why their deaf ears are maddening.  

At this house we have particular children who might be diagnosed with some sort of 'outburst' disorder.   Not sure what that is called in the psychiatric world,  but when the outburst begins, these mostly small children need solitary confinement to end the episode.   I either get frustrated with the outburst or I might start to laugh as it just doesn't stop.  

Our moments of congregate living certainly are interesting.   I will continue to persevere in my quest to raise book worms, not for the benefits of their brain, but for the benefit of the noise level in the house.   Reading is very good and beneficial to the family.    It does encourage deaf ears to the rest of the world but overall if they all have their noses in books it might get quieter around here.   I am not there yet but I am trying.  

I personally am a fan of some quiet time in my padded room.   I don't have a room where it is barren and free of things which might hurt me as I still have a bunch of clutter and my bed is a storage place for everyone to dump their stuff on when they don't know what to do with it.   But.....despite the  junk, I can hide now and then, but they can still find me.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Got through today

I have to stop and think what we even did today if it was earlier than noon.  That is sad....I guess.   I know that the kids picked tomatoes and I hung out some laundry.   This afternoon, Matthew asked to do some practice driving.   What started as a one hour drive, turned into a four hour adventure.   Between paying bills, turning in insurance information which I had forgotten, returning Erik's crutches, mailing stuff and paying more bills, and.....accidentally being in the neighborhood of Better World Books and stopping in.....this all took awhile.   We even managed to get lost for a small while and explored an area I had never been to in our quest to get reoriented.   Of course we had a hilarious time.  Every driving student (child) of mine has been an enjoyable time for me.  

The evening was spent quickly preparing and eating dinner, going to a Divine Service at church, saying goodbye to a dear young friend who will be missed this school year and then returning to spend a few hours with Martin in helping him figure out how to use a computer.   I suppose I should be ashamed (?) that my fourteen year old does not know how to navigate a website, but he has never cared before.   He now wants to learn how to type as doing what he is doing now takes up too much time.   Smart boy.   I love natural consequences of past resistance to such skills.   I should not take too much pleasure in that.

I am sure we will pick up where we left off in the morning.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Purposefully slowing down.....even more.

I think we are succeeding in slowing down.   I am taking this whole week to work on schedule and expectations which are reasonable and fit better with my slow demeanor lately.   I do not like to rush and be bombarded by many a human at once.   I am a wimp where rapid questions fly.   I've said that before.  

Monday we went through ALL of the kids subjects and weeded out every single book which did not even appear likely to happen.   Those are all hiding in the basement as I planned before.   I left each of my students/kids with two to three things to work on and have hanging over their head so to speak.   They thought we were going to do everything at once; spelling, math, grammar, writing, reading, science etc......not.   I can't see the sense in taking on too much at once and getting none of it done.   I would love to push everyone to get all of their math done for the school year by Christmas.   That would be awesome.   Perhaps I will just call them done at that point if I am brave enough and then spend all of the spring semester playing with history and reading books together.   That sounds delightful.

We braved the library today and hope to return.    It will help if I can 'train' Evan the two year old to sit for books for longer periods of time.   He was fascinated with the long row of couches and the beautiful window sills   They were much like an obstacle course for him and he was loving it.   Slowing down and not hyper spazzing at him will mean taking a breath and baby steps in listening to books for us both.   Perhaps there will be days when we visit the library when we will have to make abrupt departures.   I am sure there will be.   I would like to go there more often this year, especially since going there will alleviate temptations of all of us to be distracted by the junk in our house.   It was easier to come home today after having time at the library since books suddenly became more interesting to them all.  

A little visit accomplished way more than I intended.   Slowing down and living makes things easier to bear with all the kiddos.   Leaving for an evening spin on my bike was also far less stressful.   Hope we can keep this up and I can remember the goal.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

Can't be everyone's everything

Greetings from a woman who needs to be *allowed* to be alone.  Allowed to be myself.    My light bulb experience of last night was that it is very difficult for my dear family to give me any space or allow me NOT to take care of them for an hour or so.    Somehow I need to leave my responsibility at the door or inside the door and check my head out for a bit.   They are very trained to still come to me even if I say I am checking out.    Either they come or they  tell me how horrible their life was while caring for the short people while I am away and then I allow the guilt to heap hot coals on my head.   

What is 'away"?   Away could be time to read  a book or walk through the house without being accosted.   My brain is asking for some grace to check out and be by itself a bit.   The mom is a resource for many a trouble on the home front.   The mom doesn't allow herself to clock out for a bit and let all the troubles of the day sit on the sidelines.   Sigh.   This mom may have processed this concept but if the family members don't understand it then the very effort of checking out for a bit is met with many obstacles.

My current mental check out will be to breathe and slow down even more.   Blinders......that might help but will mainly breathe deeply, pray and quiet my inside down as much as mentally possible and also mentally say tough rocks to many of the expectation real or imagined.

Here ends my mental gymnastics of the morning.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Simpler and simpler

Charted out the week for the coming school year and I see that there are about 18 realistic hours per week to devote to individual or group attention to the kiddo.   How to use the time is the question.   It seems the best thing to do in order to both relieve stress and guilt and eventually get something done, is to lay out the possibilities of subjects we can work on and then take a deep breath and make some sort of decision.  

I started reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" to my eleven year old.   I was asked by my mother-in-law why I was reading to her since she should be reading to me.   The explanation again was that the amount of learning we get from the conversations we have is exponential compared to any sort of text book I might do with her.   That book in particular is very rich in information between the lines, that in the first chapter alone we talked for over an hour as we progressed through.   Win.  

I will most likely need to do more of this sort of learning this year with the kids as breathing alone around here is a challenge at best at times.   I enjoy this sort of time with them anyway.   Now to science out what that will be and resist the temptation to compare myself to the overachiever moms in my life.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

School planning

In facing the coming school year, I am once again hoping to keep things as simple as possible.   That is a pretty difficult task but am going to try.   I've decided to begin by putting a small stack of curriculum thoughts/books on the table with a name on them and decide if it is a reasonable amount for said child and then.......perhaps I am going to pack every single other book which might tempt me to divert from the plan, in a box and have someone hide it from me.    Succeeding to focus has always been a challenge.   Succeeding in not having too high of an expectation for my school year is also a problem.   What *if* I decided to accomplish the smallest amount and actually get that much done?   Even then I probably wouldn't get it done.   Sigh.  

I am thankful my eldest at home will be with Wittenberg Academy this year and he seems to be building enthusiasm for the year.   That will relieve some of the pressure off of me and I always love to see him enthusiastic about anything.  

The next oldest has much to do but hoping that keeping it simple and him accountable will help.   VERY DEEP SIGH.   Again.....the hope is if the plan is simple and can stay consistent, then perhaps we will see more in the line of progress.  

Progress with the five and under children will be reading more consistently with them and actually planning perhaps one fun thing for them to do a week.   The seventh and eighth children are on the cusp of reading.   Will I get there and actually blow off their math life?   Don't try to do any math Karin!!!!    Stick with the literacy thing and it will all be easier!!!!!     Cuddling up with books and talking with them sounds like a lot more fun anyway than chasing the homeschooling dream of sending them to college at a super young age.   Hopefully by the time number nine is ready for that I don't push him to leave for school too young.   That is another blog post which probably will never happen.   Maybe.....

I better go make dinner.  

Cabbage dish tweaking

My dear 16 year old son tweaked the cabbage/sausage recipe and simply cut up potatoes and put them directly in the cabbage mix.   The longer it cooks with the vinegar and sugar, the yummier it is.   I can not believe that I actually volunteer to eat the leftovers of something made out of cabbage for my lunch!   I used to HATE cabbage.   I suppose that is what nine kids and knowing money doesn't grow on trees will do to a person.   Eat what you have.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I am hoping to rearrange a bit of life around here.   The first rearrangement seems a bit backwards.   We eat dinner together every night.....all thirteen of us.   Fourteen when Anna is home.   Every night, the noisy crew gathers together.    We have striven for years to maintain dinner together but frankly with people ranging from 2 to 86 attempting to pass food, eat it without running for the wind, getting frustrated as the food they would love to eat is on the other end of the table - 12 feet away......    This puts a whole different spin on gathering during Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving.   On those days we should all be able to eat one meal without having to pass anything???    A table in every room?????    Every day is a family gathering around here!  

So I am going to feed the little people early.   They are always the hungriest, least patient, hardest to deal with at the table.   I think if I can just eat quietly with them earlier, it will help their demeanor and mine.   I would not describe dinner as the most relaxed of circumstances.  

I want the small children in bed as soon as possible in the evenings so they don't become sleep deprived.   The seventy to eighty somethings are not used to stubborn, verbal small children so I am sure they will have less indigestion this way too.   We shall see if dear husband sees the sense in this plan.   My goal is for everyone to lead.....a quiet and peaceable life.   Whatever I can do to help to that end is how I proceed.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Extraction day

I love whatever variety of bees I have.   Perhaps they are sort of my variety as I have raised several of my own queens.   The honey flow is done and I have left each hive the equivalent of four medium supers for the winter.   I did not use any queen excluders this year and am pleased with the results.   No swarms and it was much easier to deal with through the season.   I only found a small amount of drone brood in the healthiest hive, in the fifth super up from the bottom.   Otherwise the honey was not tainted and good to go. 

The lack of aggression of the bees this year was sort of nice but hoping that isn't a bad sign either.   There were plenty of bees overflowing the hives and lots of healthy brood in the brood chamber area.   I've worked pretty diligently to clean up the hives the last few years and am going to do some more clean up and purging of frames and boxes this fall.

I have been at this beekeeping thing since 2003 and am now looking forward to the fruits of my labors from all the clean up.   I should say the fruits of the BEES labor.  Bees amaze me and it is very relaxing to go play with the bees who just do what the expression says......they are busy as bees.   Since I now have so much drawn comb for my honey supers, the hope is to have two harvests next year or at least a small harvest in late to mid June.   

Now to clean up my extraction equipment and go to the next beekeeping meeting to listen and pick the experienced beekeepers brains on several topics such as why my honey is so much darker this year than any other that I can remember.  I have read a few books by experienced beekeepers lately and they have helped to stimulate my beekeeping brain to think through their thoughts and apply them.   The art of beekeeping is sort of like dancing to me.   I hope to dance with a few more hives next year and even if I do not get done everything I wish I could get done in the fall in winter in preparation, every little bit has made a difference. 

Warm biscuits and honey tomorrow for sure.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

And then - sigh

I run out of me to give to all the people who need me.   I love them all but seriously there are times where the inside of me knows full well there is nothing left for me to give to them but they still need me.   What if I can't give anymore right now and I want to go sleep it all off.   What if I don't want to help them at the moment by being nice and kind and patient and would love for someone to take care of me.   This sort of time sucks.  
I am told I need to plan some serious breaks from it all.   Elder parents who are scared and tired in their own way of being burdens, losing their independence and their health.   Funny how I would love for someone to express concern and care for me and then we turn around and become old people ourselves and fight desperately to not have THAT happen.    Such a humble life we live even if we don't want to live humbly.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

For Example

There are silly little deep breath occurrences which I have to deliberately take pause and care to answer.   I think I have mentioned the irony that my mother-in-law and I pretty much get along quite well now in comparison to years gone by.   Many moons ago there was a distinct feeling I would get that she was on a mission to switch out everything I owned for something she felt was better.   I do believe this is how she 'loved' people.   Of course at the time I might be thinking.......but....but.....that was my dear Aunt Hazel's dish towel and it isn't a piece of junk at all!   So I let her get my goat when in reality she probably wanted mostly to do something for me. 1 dollar IKEA towel holder plastic thingy seemed to be somehow deficient.   I was not aware that it bugged her at all.   Perhaps it didn't bug her but she thought I could use a new one.   She went shopping during my camping trip and bought me the deluxe towel holder thingy for the kitchen.   I am pretty sure the lack of delight showed up on my face and I am not one hundred percent positive I said thank you.   I think I did.   I think.   Will have to express my gratitude tomorrow.   You see I have a fascination with all things IKEA as my Swedish relatives have influenced me to love all things streamlined and clean.   My dear husband loves the lodge look.   *I* go into IKEA fantasizing about decorating my college apartment or my town house in Chicago but now I am and will not be having either of those.   It is a fun dream.   It doesn't go great with lodge furniture but ya' know.

Anyway.....back to patience over towel holders being replaced.   I have gotten a tiny bit better at not letting it bug me as in reality it doesn't matter.   It is just a towel holder after all.   My town house decorating spree will obviously never happen and my mother-in-law does not understand why this might bug me as she is being NICE.   She wants to do stuff for me.   Buying stuff she thinks is better than my one dollar IKEA towel holder is a crazy thing to have to take a deep breath over.   Letting it go and happily using the country like looking new towel holder which is the look of the 80's which I left behind in our old house 20 plus years ago should not be a problem.   Really Karin it shouldn't.   Really.   So.....preparing myself for these little stupid surprises gets a bit easier but of course I will have to keep working on in as time goes by. 

Rorschach game we made up

The little kids don't know what a Rorschach drawings are but that is what I would call the new game they play with me.    They have one of those toys where you can draw something on the board and then move the lever across to erase it.   So now they draw something on the board and have me guess what the drawing is.   They love it and they have funny times with mommy.   Stefan and Ingrid came leaping out of bed to play this with me this morning.   They are getting pretty creative with what they come up for drawings too.   The game is just something new and easy to play.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

More children of older parents thoughts

I think we become better able to care for our elder parents after taking care of our children.   Older folk change before our eyes and revert back to less inhibited behavior.   How to love that......well.....I can't help dividing responses into just being clear and giving straight answers or ignoring.   Patiently enduring is such a challenge at times when I just want to have some chill time myself. 

What if both my plethora of children and both sets of parents have needs all at the same time?   What do I do?   I can only do the next thing and will drop the ball a lot.   Trying.....I do beg for understanding that if I can't do another thing, to please overlook.   I do hope for other family members to step in some or lots and ease the burden.  

Right this very minute I need to get up and put my little people to bed.   I am going to push the eject button and spring into action right?   My dear father-in-law is less than delighted with my inability to keep up with the de-cluttering.   When I am supposed to do with that?   Eject button.  

Pondering my elders,  it is increasingly clear that their sinful self is not a lot different than my sinful self.  In isn't different.   They get tired or just want someone to spend time with. There are things they really like to do but then can't.   I probably already said that the last time I posted about this.   It is oddly almost easier to be patient with them than with smaller children.   The biggest puzzle for me right now, is what to do with dementia driven behavior.   Not arguing with them.   Yep.   Best plan.   If they lose control of their own tempers.....that is my next question.   What to do then?   Pray, praise and give thanks seems fitting.   Sigh.   I AM amazed and also sad for the aging process and seeing the effect on the parents.   Wow.   It surely is a learning experience and actually makes parenting my little people much easier.  Wait.....I said the opposite a moment a ago.  

 The bottom line me thinks is little people and  old people and all the people in between have feelings and emotions and fears just like me.   Seeing the natural progression of brain cells growing together and then growing apart.   Yep.   That all makes more sense to me now.   I guess I am on the other side of brain cells growing together.   How does that go?  I am baptized into Christ and so are the people I am dealing with.   Christ has the sin part covered.  Forgiveness of hurts comes easier in light of that.   Some day we will truly rest from our labors.   Thankful for that.   No doubt I will ramble on this subject again sometime soon.   Insight welcomed and experience too.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It is not the accoustics

Thank you father dear for inspiration......we don't agree on synod Karin LCMS, him ELCA.   This is one of those issues I have to 'let go' as much as possible in conversation.   Well......I have heard bunches and bunches of evaluation of pastors and buildings and social dynamics involved with the church from an ELCA point of view. response which I would give but as I mentioned.....I am practicing tightlipped.....covers many bases.   I then find inspiration for carefully asked questions as there are times I have to keep tight lipped and think through how to address the issue at hand in a loving way.

One recent issue was a rambling of why an ELCA church failed.   The explanation was something about having bad accoustics, no outreach to the neighborhood changes, and......I can't remember the last one but my Gospel antennea always spring to attention.   Oh....I think it was poor hymn choices and the lack of modern liturgical practices.     The question I will ask if given opportunity will be......what is the church really about?   Is it the accoustics or the people the pastor has to deal with or the poor arrangement of the sanctuary????   The pastors poor charisma, the programs offered, the openess to open sin? Not getting your way with how you think things should be done by the pastor????    Um......    I don't want to be confrontational but when it comes to the Gospel and the faithful preaching of Christ and the forgiveness of sins and if you are really blessed, the proper distinction of law and gospel......the church is about......drum roll please.......JESUS!   Why all of this discussion about buildings and music programs and not a word about Jesus?????!!!!!    You want to get my ire up, you will forget Jesus and focus on the implementation of current social trends and marketing.    It is SOOOO obvious that that guy Jesus is forgotten.    I guess tightlipped is actually not a bad idea as I have no interest in debating architecture but a huge interest in the forgiveness of sins.  

What if......your pastor gets grumpy and upset if Jesus, the sacrements, and the faithful preaching of the Word is forgotten.   You should LOVE that preacher!!!!!   Take care of  him and his family and share the gospel with HIM (he is blessed to hear it too), pray for him, speak well of him, keep your whining at bay, try not to 'get your way'......the list goes on.  

A story of an LCMS pastor who was privy to a criticism of seminarians (ore something like that) is a favorite of mine as it was appropriate for him to say "How dare the faith of these pastors be criticized or judged"  or something to that effect.   Yep. it righteous anger or correct me.   I can take it most of the time or will call in reinforcements, but loving your neighbor and forgiving them their trespasses seems the better plan and of course.......Everything is about Jesus and not the accoustics.   Sigh.   I could ramble on and on.  

Let it go

There is some sort of disconnect that happens when your family members get to the age where you have to choose whether they know what they are doing or saying or if they are just continuing to say more and more without considering the consequences of what they are saying to the recipient.    I can see where I myself have taken too much ownership of hurtful comments of extended family as if I should expect people to have manners etc.   Well......they should, but my reaction does effect the outcome.   Topics which should obviously be offensive to me and my family seem to come more freely at me and I feel like I have gone to 'not caring' what they are saying and will stay tight lipped.   It is such a careful dance.   What good does it do to argue????   It just makes them more upset and wound tight as they want to be right and then it is something more for me to think about.   It is much easier to just let it go. 

Letting it go is tough thing to teach.   Isn't it true that everyone wants to be important and right?   No one wants to hear that you or they have pissed someone off.   Inwardly pissed or inwardly ignoring and contemplating how it doesn't have to own me trip through my brain lately.   Amazingly offensive comments to all that I value just seem not to matter in light of my own life and eternity.   God willing the offenders and offendees all gather in the peace of Christ on the last day, we won't care whether the conservatives and liberals want to be right or were right.   It won't matter.   Only Christ and our undeserved forgiveness and salvation will matter and that is true now too.   It is already completed.   Our nerve endings may still take a beating now but that is not where we find our hope.   And.......I can understand that now and may forget tomorrow but it is true.   Thankful I can hang onto that today.  

Caring for parents

Yesterday was the most I have ever done in the line of caring for parents.   My mother-in-law had cataract surgery in the morning/afternoon.   We were there five hours and my patience was already on the thin side from everything else going on in life but.....the art of nodding my head, listening and responding to needs gets a little sharper it seems as each day passes. 

My father dear needs my mother dear to always be here for him.   She took a trip to Maine to see her friends and sister and it was just a few days too long for him to handle.   It is hard to see but the more people I talk with who have been down this road the more normal it seems and the easier it is to understand and just listen to him and nod my head.   Mom is on her way home early.   My brother and I will have to work on a plan of giving her relief when we can.  

My mother-in-law really is in the same boat.   She can barely leave for any length of time without my father-in-law slowly getting more uncomfortable with her absence.  But she will gleefully run for the door if given the opportunity.   I have no wondrous words of wisdom in reference to taking care of elder parents other than to just let go any past frustrations and learn to nod your head and smile.   It doesn't matter how much you know or what your convictions are.   There comes a point when nodding and listening is the best path.  

I need to work on a plan for giving MYSELF relief.   My in-laws live with us, dear husband's job is changing dramatically, and then kids on both end of the spectrum. is all a puzzle.  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Yummy cabbage recipe

A farmer friend and I were discussing the mysteries of figuring out what is for dinner and she shared this recipe with me.   It is only what I can remember from the conversation and I put in cheap bratwurst instead of hot dogs. 

One head of cabbage shredded
one medium onion
bratwurst - I put in 20 cheap ones to feed 14 and had some leftovers.
2/3 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Cook these down until at least limp - you can not overcook this.  Crockpot?

Serve over mashed potatoes.   Cook enough to feed your family.   Yum, yum.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Promoting the generation gap

I live in my own generation gap with oldest and youngest child 19 years apart in age.   I was looking up the latest on helping kids with diarrhea and other such loveliness and my head could have hit the table.   When Anna was the wee one, we were told to not give them milk products and  use the B.R.A.T. diet.   Hmmm.....well, now they are saying the B.R.A.T. diet actually makes them feel worse and that milk products do not have to be withheld.   Do you know what this does to the generations?????   I suppose with a nineteen year gap I will more easily be able to smile and wave when grandchildren come along as I will take no offense at the latest and greatest child rearing methods.   I've seen it all and seen it all again as it cycles around.

   I remember the audacity of my mother and mother-in-law suggesting I let my child cry it out while I kept my babies near and dear and wondered if my first child was permanently damaged by my doing this to her around six weeks of age.   Now there are definitely two camps in the sleep in or sleep separately camp.   Shouldn't the new advice be, 'do whatever doesn't make you have a nervous break down honey, I don't really care?'   

It just seems that Americans goal is to make each other crazy with all the different ways they SHOULD be doing things.   What????    I am sure the phrase, "none of your business" did not pick up speed till the neighborhood fence was bypassed by the telephone operator.   Party lines......yep, they were a party.   In America, your business seems to be everyone's business if you let it be that way.    

I admit I was influenced quickly by the article suggesting I not withhold the milk products seeing as the two year old could only keep begging for milk. I admit I might get peeved if he throws up all over the place in five minutes, but the logical truth of the article was something about how you can give them starvation diarrhea if they do not get sufficient nutrients.   We shall see......literally......if I love this advice I hope not to see too much.  

Nap time.......

Saturday, July 7, 2012

It Beat Me

I have lost count how many days it has been over 100 degrees and it finally beat me.   Heat rash and basic misery will bring a person to tears even if they are addicted to things like biking and gardening or mowing the lawn.  Watched the Tour de France this morning and contemplated going biking with much emphasis on contemplating.   I will bike in 25 degree F weather but NOT in this.   Saw some inspired bikers yesterday and today but I think they really should catch a plane to France where it is cooler and do their biking there.  

Thursday  I  received hundreds of annuals free and unbelievably I am not outside planting them.   I am totally lying in wait for the temperature to go down which supposedly it is going to this evening.   Next week the highs are only in the eighties.  

My 14 year old dog gets thirsty and has no bladder control and so......he pees......all over my house.   We can't put him outside and I can't keep the water away from him.   He needs a bath several times a day is too hot to go and do that.   Maybe later.   Poor dog.   Poor floor.   Poor mop.  

I have vegetables in the garden which need to be picked and I just can't even bring myself to go and get them!!!    I sent Erik to get the ones which I know must be picked and have plans for what to make with them here in a bit.   Cooking requires moving so maybe I need to drink a gallon of something to encourage my body to move.  

This is a whining post.   I remember the day when I didn't whine about not being able to work outside.   I would grab a book and hunker down.   Those days were from my lazy youth I guess.  I thought I would sit and knit or something this afternoon but blob existence is all that is happening.   So.....I will wait for the sun to go down when it seems more permissible for me to be sleeping and in the meantime I might......sleep.   God bless a friend who took on my short people this afternoon so I could do that.   Huge appreciation.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Young trees stressed in heat

It is HOT out and has been for a LONG time.   No rain for a long time as well.  There is a tree planted at the pool, in memory of a friends daughter who died last year, and it is not looking too happy.   There is no shade for it to take comfort in and get relief from the heat so the pool staff has been watering it every day and doing their best to save it.  

I called my brother, the horticulture expert, to ask for some advice and thought I would pass it along to anyone interested.   Trees which have not taken root yet in their environment are susceptible to dying during high heat and drought.  They are still putting their energy into getting established and do not take off in growth for a year or two anyway.   Without water and time to get rooted they are spending all of their time and energy into surviving.   There are some things we can do to help them out.  

It is possible to water them TOO much.    It depends on what sort of soil they are planted in.   Clay soil will not drain well and so the tree can get too wet.   I suppose too wet means that their energy is then being placed in absorbing the water and dealing with too much at once while also taking care of the rest of it's process of staying alive.   In other words it adds yet another stress to add to its list.  

Fertilizer is not a good idea either.   It seems like it would be and it seemed that way to me, but fertilizer is usually used to promote growth and that is not what the tree needs either.   Survival.   Keep the energy there.

Water the tree tops.   The tree can gain moisture this way as well as from the roots.   I suppose that is the answer to why the tree perks up after a rain.    That moisture gets where it is needed faster.   I thought this was a very interesting tip.  

And.....mulch.   Mulch around the tree but not up against the trunk.   He recommended just basic mulch and not the red stuff or the cocoa bean stuff (kills dogs).  

Trim off the dead branches so that again......the tree is trying to heal those and also take care of the live parts so it will give the tree one less job to do.   I was thinking perhaps it would stress the tree but I suppose this too makes sense.  

I also suppose you could make some deep observation about trees and people.....please don't trim off my limbs or something to take away....stress????   Oh yeah, they aren't dead limbs.   Water me?   Fertilize me?   Okay.....people aren't trees so skip any deep thinking there.    

First fruits

I have two yellow squash and some bell peppers waiting to be picked.   There is also that Pak Choi which is now bolting.   Ugh.   More time please!    Broccoli.   Bunches of that.   Me.   Tired from weeding so need to find the balance between upkeep and actually eating the veges!   Going to bed early to brace myself for 101 degrees tomorrow.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


The garden is the summer obsession.   I don't mind having my therapy session down with the weeds and vegetables.   So far there have only been a few veges to eat but I am hoping the squash and watermelons give us something more and.....the tomatoes.   Mulch and newspaper, mulch and newspaper.   Not in that order......newspaper and mulch.   Actually I use straw on top of the newspaper.   Squash murder by my hand has happened more than I would like lately.   I must remember to not weed too much right around the stems as they are certain to croak.   Their roots must be ridiculously sensitive.  

Keeping up with the watering is also a trick.   The most fun is to weed and not care if the sprinkler soaks you.   The water washes the sweat off my face.   I think the sweat is also helping my hair to take on a new texture or something as I don't have the regular urge to go and get it cut.  

If I go out early enough in the morning, I can also acclimate myself to the heat as it heats up.   My little buddy Stefan, the five year old, is my partner in mulching and weed pulling.   I love being asked if it is okay to go get some more straw to spread.   Volunteers are awesome and not always frequent.   Cecilia joined us in the evening and we worked till it was time to read bed time stories, pray and tuck them in.   I of course am addicted to weeding as I said, so I went back out to attack.   I have a plan to conquer the vine section in the morning and I do think it will work. least one of the vine sections.  

It is all really good therapy.   I don't think too much but yet can also enjoy listening to either birds chirping or my kids jabbering away at me.   Sometimes there is silence.   I love that too.   The house is not getting as dirty because we are out in the dirt and not making messes inside.   Perhaps I am simply avoiding the inside as it reminds me that school is on its way in less than two months.   Why does that make me feel like the summer is almost over.   I should work on planning......some. it next week.  :o)

Should sleep.   Enjoying the now quiet air conditioned house.   Calming my inner weeder.   

Friday, June 29, 2012

Zee Pool

Love that place.   Glad it isn't mine and I just get to show up and set my kids loose  My three oldest did not grow up when they were little people with a pool.   They were pretty timid with the water etc and one would scream her head off at the prospect of my taking her beyond the wall,.    The short people in the family who have grown up with summers at the pool are fish.   Stefan, five, is jumping of the diving board now and has little fear in going a little deeper in the water and sticking their head under the water.   It is not even the end of June and all kids have given up the kiddie pool in favor of toying with more adventure in the 'big pool'.   It is something we all love to do together and I know I will cry come September when they close the pool for the year.  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Today's Joy

It is precious to me to spend time with the kids.   The kids from 21 to going on 2 are all amazing to me.   I find joy watching their antics and in the little things.   Today's joy included watching my 16 year old run across the field to his turkeys with the same childlike enthusiasm as he always has had.   Joyfully bouncing off to do his thing. 

Ingrid, 3, went to the store with Matthew and I after church this evening and she too was walk/skipping along as we went.   This sweetness just simply gives me a THRILL!    She was wearing a Christmas looking dress with pink sandals and jabbering away about how she fell asleep on the way to church and that now she was awake!   Cool!

Evan, almost 2, reveled in morning kisses this morning.   I was gone for nearly a week so feeling his little arms hugging my neck was mommy bliss.   Taking pause to let him just stay there and hold on tight instead of my running off to get something done was definitely the right choice.

Stefan this evening paid attention throughout the whole service.   He sang with the familiar parts of Evening Prayer and his little face kept beaming at me the whole time.   He asked me his serious questions and one of them was inquiring if we were at church for Confession and Absolution.   Love that kid.   No dear......not today. 

Then when I give them all a close look I think about how in a few years they will all be older and older and how much I try to hang onto these moments.   Tomorrow is a new day to revel so I will go with that and enjoy each memory as it comes.   There is much to be thankful for. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Annoying and cranky.

My new philosophy of the day is......everyone basically has the capacity to be annoying so.......just smile and wave or something.   I am tired in the extreme so I am not sure anything could happen that could get much of a rise out of me.   Humans, ranging from toddlers to eighty somethings,  all have that sin thing in common.   Me too.   I was driving home from Minnesota yesterday and at times my form of stress relief was making odd observations to change the current subject of the moment (lots of moments).   I probably was making my mother nuts.   Silence is a nice alternative at times if given the option to not respond.   I need to work on that option a bit more as usually my odd observations are lost on the hearer.   Sigh.  

Everyone does annoying things.   If you walk through any store you can overhear someone complaining about someone else having been annoying.   It is constant.   Sometimes though I do see and hear young couples and old calmly discussing things or enjoying their time out together.   Observing people actually getting along is nice and sweet to behold.   Observing funny teasing between the couples I visited on my trip was refreshing too.  

So to deal with the crankiness which might happen.....forgive them.   I sometimes want to say, "Forgive them already!!!" to others but that is me whining at them.   So.....trying to remember that for myself.   Sigh.   I suppose I could be driven to say that to some random person in the supermarket, but that would be sort of obnoxious.....I think.   Or maybe not......

So that is my deep little thought of the day.  I guess I would call it a little study on bearing with one another in love.  Smile!  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bike trails and health reform?

It seems to me that if the government wanted to help health reform, they could step up the rails to trails program.   Martin and I spent the morning biking on the trails in Rochester, Minnesota and there are trails EVERYWHERE!!!!    They are well done, safe and fun.   Indiana seems to have so few bike trails and I believe is around fifth in the nation in obesity. about making walking and biking more accessible?  There were people of all sizes and ages on those trails.   They all looked pretty happy to me.  

I love contemplating the people I see on these trails.   My favorite people this morning were busy doing what they loved.   The young lady who was stopped on the trail to take pictures of the birds.   She looked very happy.   I saw some orioles and they made me happy so sure, I see why she stopped.  

There was the older couple, holding hands and walking down the trail together.    I wanted to get a picture as those are my favorite pictures, but hadn't mastered biking and picture taking yet.   They weren't talking much but were just enjoying each others company.   Nice.  

There was our biking pal who we crossed paths with several times.   He admired my bike lights.  Lol!   Martin and I passed him once and he magically passed us in return a little later.   Probably was hard on his ego.  

I especially liked the dad walking with his little fivish year old boy and clearly having good father/son time.   Sweet.

So anyway, good quality bike and walk ways seem to me to be a better solution than socking more government money into drugs and theories of why we Americans are so fat.   Give us something to do if you have to do something Mr. Government!   I would much rather see my tax dollars go into using the old rails to make trails and family fun.   It probably would have a bigger effect on the obesity problem too.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Since we are now late enough in the month of June, I have mostly given up on getting annual seeds in the ground.   The seeds which work the best for me are nasturtiums, marigolds and zinnias.   There are still spaces which I can fill in with marigolds and zinnias as they are cheap seeds and easy to grow but the other seed of choice which I don't feel are too late to plant are sunflower seeds.   We have ten acres so I could not BEGIN to afford to buy already started annuals in all of that space but sunflowers do work for accents etc.   

The VERY cheapest way to grow sunflowers is to just go to my bird seed supply can and use those seeds for planting.   It works fine.   My favorite feed store lady pointed that out to me several years ago.   Feed stores are awesome places to get bulk seed anyway.   That is where I get my marigold and zinnia seeds for the most part.   Just shove seeds in the ground in clusters and voila!   Flower gardens.  

I may put in some last minute morning glory seeds from the same place but most likely will forget this year.   I am leaving for a week and have been living on panic gardening so I do not come home to a mess.   Since the lawn mower has been broken for a month, I am sure I will be coming home to plenty of exercise in the lawn and garden center around here.    It will be a jungle out there. 

Okay......just made myself tired.   Not an eloquent post but would call this my post of thrift.   It would be even thriftier if I remembered to gather the seeds from year to year and buy nothing for seeds.   We shall see what sort of energy I have left come this fall.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Actual Garden talk

I am STILL going through the gardens around here and getting some final annuals and such  planted.   I add a few perennials every year and have begun dabbling in miniatures.    If I manage it, I will at least have my fairy garden set up by the time the snow flies.   I have much rock to carry to build the area up and then fill with dirt.   Of course it will have to have a miniature water fall or something like that.  

I can see where some of the perennials I purchased years ago have grown into monsters, such as the Joe Pie Weed and the bee balm.    My favorite nursery lady told me how to handle splitting them when they are done blooming or in the fall so will tackle that later.   My mother-in-law had not noticed how these monsters magically appeared in the last few months until we had a conversation about them in the back yard.   She was amazed at their size.    They really need to have a moving day down to flower gardens near my bee hives.   They will be much happier there and I can find something tamer to replace them.

I  should post pictures.   My gardens are pretty humble and not weed free.     I am the sole gardener and chasing the number of beds around here is daunting.   We also have fence rows to clean up every year and then there is of course the lawn to mow.   Mowing the lawn is another addiction I have so farming that out is not happening either.   Well......maybe once in a while but the mower is broken now anyway so it doesn't matter.  

 This past week I have spent slowly taming other monsters like our rhododendron which was reaching for the roof.   It got a good whacking and we can see out the window again and it also doesn't look as bad as I thought it would.   My brother is a horticulturist and it was his suggestion.   We once had a Rose of Sharon in that area and that bush seems to want to be remembered forever as it comes up everywhere.  

If I keep up at this rate, I hope to get our monster hostas under control as well.   They are HUGE and very jungle like.   I hope to move most of them to put around places like the barn and other outbuildings to make them a bit more attractive.    The sun is coming up and it is raining so I am going out anyway with rain coat and my goofy hat to tackle before the little ones wake up and it is time to get ready for church.    

Friday, June 15, 2012

Summer so far

I haven't blogged in awhile.   I've been planting and weeding the garden, going to the pool with the kiddos and trying to catch up on everyone's doctor appointments.   That about sums it up.   Our lawn mower has been out of commission for weeks, our 15 passenger van has been out of commission for weeks and we bought a little old Toyota for the kids whenever they need a car.   This car I think has been adopted by Charley as it gets awesome mileage and the only kid with a license seems to be spending her summer in Bloomington.   Every day seems non-stop. this a blog post?   I guess it is more a report of why I rarely get online anymore.   I forgot to mention my bees.   The bees are doing fantastic.   I should post a picture of the stack of supers on the one.   Happy bees, happy we.   I have been able to clean up and organize my bee equipment after years of having no time at all to even face that mess.   It is so much easier to add a super when you know what you have.  And.....the pool is open of course so I will be spending as many afternoons as possible with the kids there soaking in summer. 

If anyone wants me......I'm in the yard, at the pool or running people around on errands etc.   Phew. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Government do something about it???

Short observation or reaction.   I was just out watering my vegetable patch and was being attacked by mosquitoes.   Being attacked by mosquitoes reminded me of the weird news report this morning where it was reported that there is a boom of mosquitoes this year.....already!!!   Wow!   Then the report went on to say that people are wondering what the government is going to do about this problem as mosquitoes do carry disease you know.   Hmmm.....why does this strike me as a bit weird.   What does the government have to do with our ability to use mosquito repellent, wear long sleeves or pants or just stay inside if afraid of getting a disease via the pesky things.   No.....I will not lose sleep over this but I just don't get it. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


This is the flip side of yelling at kids to *get them* to stop doing whatever they are doing which is frustrating.   My younger kids were getting more and more antsy and screaming and whining more and more in the last few months.   It was admittedly hard to listen to.    What I saw happening was that the younger kids were being left in the dust as schooling with the older children got better and better.   This is a challenge of homeschooling a large age span.   Small children do get more whiny and scream the more there isn't time for them.  

I jokingly asked our doctor if he had a prescription for Antiscreamotics.    Well, my own medicine for the little peeps was to recognize how their buckets were not getting filled.   A concerted effort to spend time with the younger ones even if it is more difficult to get things done has actually helped eliminate the screaming.   Snuggling with their little selves, reading to them, gardening with them,singing hymns with them and even taking one of them with on errands has gone a long way to lower their own frustrations.  

I am a question asker too.   Asking even small questions of the child such as whether they would like to pour their cereal or if they would like me to do it for them.    (Trying to think of an example).   If they are on errands with me, just talking to them about what we see and listening to their jabbering.   These conversations go a long way towards calming their screaming muscle. is another example which just happened.   Three year old, "Mom, I am done with my banana."   Me, "Now what do you with it?"  Ingrid, "Put it in the trash can."    "Yes."

A recent conversation with one of middlin' kids was about hearing that they are doing something right.   Their grumpy seems to go away just like the little ones,  when they hear what they are doing right and how we are proud of them and love them.    Honestly just the simple declaration of loving them helps both you and the kids.   You and anyone for that matter.    As sinful people there is the sad irony that it is a lot easier to let our family know what they are doing wrong rather than telling them how proud we are of them, that we love them, and also what they are doing right.   

These sort of things are my prescription of Antiscreamotics.   Thanks be to God for Christ's love and forgiveness for US even when we are sinful through and through.  

Monday, May 21, 2012

Child discipline

It is becoming more and more clear to me that many parenting books and people seem to employ a strong level of *control* as a first choice of relating to children.   I can not recall reading much about what goes on the other side in the minds of the children.   I have a tendency to stare at my little people and big people's faces more and more and ponder how they too have emotions and feelings which are real and important.   A person I know was talking about how he thought yelling was an effective way to get a child to listen.   I remember being a child.   I had several teachers who yelled at me  hard and long till I shook uncontrollably  and cried most of the rest of those days.   Yelling.   I never received an apology as you know they were adults and I was only a child who frustrated them apparently.   Just as I remember the yelling so do children who are on the receiving end now.    If adults yelled at each other in the same way I was yelled at then in a public sector, I would imagine they might be looked down on or fired or something.   I am not even sure but I do know that it would certainly shock people.   The yelling which goes on behind closed doors is equally painful to a child and of course to adults who experience the same yelling.  Too much yelling.   I only mention all of this as crying and shaking is the reaction to yelling.   Whether it is outward crying and shaking or inward.   THAT is what a child experiences when yelled at.   

I am not sure what I am really driving at as this has become rambling but seriously, endorsing yelling or control means as a  method to *make* children do what they wish them to do is just disturbing.   Endorsing cheerfulness, willing helpers, talking to children as if they are people (cough, cough), modeling this to children through our own behavior, these are all ways to connect with another person known children.  

My favorite times are just working with my kids on some regular task like sweeping a room or hunting dust bunnies on the ceiling, or doing something more interesting like planting the garden (fun) and exchanging chatter with my excited little ones in the process.   Love motivates.   Love and concern for our neighbor is THE answer.   Yelling tears down and destroys relationships. Controlling chilren and not listening to them certainly does not help either.  Yelling kills really.   Children love to be talked WITH and not at.   Listen to those little ones and all the children who are not so little anymore.  

Sadness to me is the days I can't squeeze in some reading time with my kids.   Reading and talking to my kiddos.   Love your children and your family and friends.   It is a very awesome things.