Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I am having fun tonight watching Mike teach our two oldest daughters. They are both taking a Math course at the local community college. Both girls are inclined towards writing and English courses, not math! Mike is an instructor at the Navy Test Pilot School on our local navy base. Right now I'm sure he is thinking it is easier to teach radar and calculus-level courses to a classroom full of students than to teach Math to Sarah and Maggie!

It is a good thing you can't hear what the girls are saying right now. They are not saying kind things about numbers and scientific calculators!

Yesterday my children did more schoolwork than usual because we knew we wouldn't get any done today since we were gone all day at homeschool co-op. So I gave three tests simultaneously and hillariously! A spelling test for Lizzie, a different spelling test for Anna, and a phonics quiz for Ruthie. I wondered several times if anyone else has ever done that?

As I mentioned, today was homeschool co-op from 9:30 -1:45 at church. Maggie did a great job teaching eight 6-7th graders about knifes. They made a big bowl of salsa. I forgot to take their picture, but remembered in time to get a picture of the salsa! Doesn't it look yummy? It was amazing how many Moms hung around to get a taste:-) Even Pastor liked it.

Here's the recipe:
4 tomatoes, chopped and seeded
2 green peppers, chopped
1/2 red or sweet onion
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tblp olive oil (opt)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tblp rice vinegar
1 tblp mustard seeds

Mix well and enjoy!

I had three enthusiastic children in my ukulele class. It was very enjoyable. I wasn't sure how this class would go, but it's gonna take off! The only glitch in the whole day is the traffic in the morning. Takes almost an hour to get to church!

We got our first frost this week. Nippy mornings and evenings. Superb quilting weather!

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Monday, October 29, 2007

We won!

You can imagine my surprise when I got an email from a friend telling me we won the giveaway from! Wow, do we feel blessed! Many thanks to Kim who sponsored this giveaway. We will be receiving the three items on my wishlist from Vision Forum:

This is a set of 6 CDs called Bible Lessons for Manhood from the Battlefield of My Father's Youth.
Next is a set of set of 8 CDs called Family Rebuilders Library.
Our final item is another set of 8 CDs called Family Renewal Library.
I have to admit, it was very hard to narrow down this list. We are going to buy a few additional items. Sarah is interested in filmmaking and feels a leaning towards making conservative, Christian films. So she wants to get all three sets of film CDs.
Mike and I would like to invite a bunch of teens over to watch the set of 30 DVDs called The Culture-Changers. After that, we'd like to take a group of teens through the set of 22 CDs called Christian Worldview Training. So I guess I better get busy selling more on eBay!
This Friday evening we have invited the folks from our church to join us at the local Navy Recreational base for a one-night bonfire and campout. The weather is supposed to be perfect. I can hardly wait! If you live locally but don't belong to our church, let me know and I will send you an invite.
Each year about this time, we have a problem with yellow jackets. This year they are far worse than ever before, probably because of our drought. Anyhow, I have a set of four glass wasp traps that I have used for about 7 years. However, they are hard to clean and fill. So last year I went to and bought a set of 6 plastic wasp traps that you push into soda bottles. I fill the bottles with an inch of apple juice and it works great! Here's a bottle that has an inch of dead bees. Time to empty out and fill up again.
Maggie is experimenting with her sweet and sour nuts recipe for the bonfire on Friday night. She melts butter in a pan, adds nuts, about 1/4 tsp salt, about 1 tblp sugar, and shakes the pan until they are roasted. Maggie has made these nuts many times in the toaster oven, never over the stove. They turned out well and taste even better!
Enjoy these crisp evenings and mornings before they get too crisp:-)
Many blessings ~ Kathie

Friday, October 26, 2007

8-Hour Countdown to end of Blog Giveaway!

I just found out that Kim from Life in a Shoe is sponsoring a giveaway worth $750!! Five families will get to choose up to $150 worth of Vision Forum products! All you need to do is decide on your choice of Vision Forum products (need to have the VF logo next to the product in the catalog), post your wish list on your blog, and link back to Life in a midnight tonight. I know it isn't much time, but I just found out. This is a picture of Kim and her family:
Thank you so much for a wonderful giveaway, Kim. What a great idea!

Click here to read the rules and to download Vision Forum's catalog. Here is my wishlist:

Family Renewal Library (8 CDs) ~ $60
Bible Lessons for Manhood from the Battlefield of My Father's Youth (6 CDs) ~ $25
Family Rebuilders Library (8 CDs) ~ $60

It sure was hard trying to narrow down my list! We are constantly lending out books, DVDs, and CDs, so I would really enjoy adding these to my stockpile to share with others.

We are finally getting some much-needed rain. God is really blessing us since we are getting three days of light rain. Here is what our road looks like right now. We will probably be at peak color early next week.

We went to Ronald's roadstand at the end of our road and bought a basket of freshly-picked green beans. Maggie baked them in the oven and they were delicious. We decided we have to do that again tomorrow. Ronald is our Old Order Mennonite neighbor/friend. His Momma, Lucy, is one of the nicest peole around, but now that Lucy and her hubby have retired, they travel a lot to see their spread out family (they have 10 children in MD, OH, MT, IN and KY). I sure miss her.

Aren't the mums beautiful? Only Ronald could grow these in a drought!

Hope you are enjoying your weekend. The rain is keeping us indoors. I have cut many yards of fabric, done lots of mending, and played the piano.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Grandma and Grandpa left to go home to FL this morning. We had so much fun with them. These pictures were taken at Glenn's home. I forgot to take a picture of the beautiful waterfront, but I had fun snapping these pictures. Here's Grandma explaining how they're all gonna jump together (Grandma is a stickler for rules, especially in card games ~ boo hoo!).
So here they go! We decided we need to go to Lowes and get a longer and heavier rope for the next family get-together.
Here are the men gabbing. (l-r is Grandpa, Mike, Glenn)
I took this picture of Maggie talking to Sarah. Maggie has inherited her Daddy's knack of talking with his hands.
After a wonderful dinner of hotdogs, sausages, hamburgers, asparagus, baked beans and cole slaw, we sat around a bonfire until 8:30, then left for home. I was nervous about the bonfire in this drought, but all went well.

Last night we had dinner at our home and we served the usual roast beef dinner. After running around all day, I was almost too tired to eat. But it was fun sitting around the table talking. We only managed one round of cards with Grandma, then they had to leave.

We are very thankful that both sets of our parents are in good health and are still able to travel to see us. We are very mindful that our time with them is limited.

For my eBayers who are wondering why I only have one kit listed ~ no, I'm not quitting, just too busy to list. Hopefully I will be able to list two kits this afternoon. If you are waiting for the Churn Dash kits in red fabrics, Anna is almost finished putting those kits together.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Monday, October 22, 2007

Deb's 1000th Post Giveaway!

I hope everyone had a good weekend. I did...but it went so quickly!

My favorite blog to read is Mountain Musings by Deb from Virginia. Starting today, Deb is giving away four different gifts to celebrate her 1000th post. The gifts are wonderful and homegrown, so wander over and leave a comment to enter her drawing.

This morning I read Deb's, "Where I'm From" post and thoroughly enjoyed it. You hafta read it slowly to absorb all that she's writing...which is my favorite kind of reading! Mike's parents came yesterday. They will stay with Mike's brother and his family who lives 10 minutes away. We are only home for a couple hours on Sundays (between services), so our visit yesterday here was short and sweet. Grandma dropped off Christmas gifts and fabric (Walmart hasn't closed their fabric dept in FL stores, so I email Grandma with pictures of fabrics and she goes and buys out her local Walmart!) and Grandpa dropped off some ugly tractor "toys" for Mike and Glenn. I think it is a finishing mower for our Kubota tractor. Grandma came in and played a few card games with our children while Grandpa drank his usual glass of Coke. Then we were off to church. I forgot to get pictures...again...but we are having dinner together today and tomorrow, so I have a chance to redeem myself.

This weekend was like Christmas around here because on Saturday, Mike and I bought two new Pearl River pianos. I am so pleased.
Why two pianos? For several reasons. One is that it is hard to find time for everyone to get in their piano practice while the others are doing schoolwork. (Our Kawaii grand piano is in the living room which is open to the kitchen.) Secondly, I was raised in a home with two grand pianos, so naturally I was excited about playing two piano music with my children. Thirdly, I wanted to have a piano in a room where I could shut the door, but I didn't want to take the piano out of the living room. What can I say? I grew up in a musical family, and to me, having three pianos is not extreme but very useful. Anyway, I sure do feel blessed.

We have been praying about two pianos for almost two years. Many times the dealer would call us with great deals. But it wasn't until this past week that he let us know about the "deal of the century!" It still boggles my mind that the Lord gave us two brand new, beautiful (oak ~ just what I wanted!) pianos!

My children have been busy building treeforts deep in our woods. Here are three of them:

Schoolwork is finished and we're off to Mom's for piano lessons. Then we go to Glenn's for dinner with Grandma and Grandpa. The weather is beautiful and it will be nice for the children to go play on the river.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Work Day!

Today was a big workday around here. We made most of our mulch go away today...and this wasn't the only mulch pile we had! We get our mulch free from the county contractors who trim the highways and byways of our county. They even deliver it for free! Today we spread it around the orchard and the raspberries.
Everyone did their part and it sure looks great.
The picture above Ruthie shows our raspberry bushes that still need to be pruned and thinned out. Because of the drought, we let all the voluntaries grow where they came up. Next spring we will hopefully be out of this drought and will transplant the bushes into rows. The bushes were loaded with raspberries and we had fun eating them while working.
Even Ollie had fun eating the berries off the bush!
Having the tractor sure makes the work go much faster!

After mulching, Allen mowed the yard. Sure was dusty from the drought.

Later on after we got washed up, Ruthie tried her hand at writing with a quill and did a great job!
Take a look at this beautiful rose! I don't have much of a green thumb, but I do have a knack for raising the strangest plants during weather extremes. Seven years ago during a heat wave, I grew the best lettuce! (The trick was to grow them in hanging pots and bring them inside during the afternoon heat.) Now, during a drought, I grow this rose! In fact, both my rose bushes look healthy even though they were only watered once this summer.

So that's how our day went. All three children were a big help. Sarah was sleeping after working the 11-7 shift. Anna and Lizzie called from Texas to let me know about their horseback riding. They loved it. Dad said Lizzie is fearless. Sure miss them.

Have a nice weekend. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Fish Fry!

I know this is my second post for today, but if you've been following my blog recently, you know that I keep having troubles posting pictures. So while we were eating dinner, I came up with an idea to try. I think it worked! I had no trouble loading these pictures. We had pan-fried Tilapea,
and pan-roasted, baby yukes (new Yukon potatoes), and no, they aren't bug-eaten! The little black specks are burnt garlic and herbs.
We really enjoyed this veggie combination.
And for dessert, freshly picked apples (from Mennonite neighbors).
So my experiment worked. Now onto my second problem to solve. I was reading in Isaiah recently about teaching and now I can't find it. I have tried looking up several words in the concordance, but I can only vaguely remember what it was I was reading about! I only remember that I wanted to look up the same passage in my Matthew Henry commentary. But I've read up to chapter 18 so far. Enough for the brain tonight. I'll pray about it and finish reading Isaiah tomorrow. Have a wonderful night's rest! ~ Kathie
Finally! I've been having trouble logging on to my blog but I think everything is finally fixed. What can you say, this is a free blog!

We performed the play on Sunday and the Lord really blessed. The children all did better than they ever had at practice. This is Ruthie getting ready to sing the opening song, "Here Am I, Lord." And here is our Pastor, Ralph Nevin, giving the closing prayer. Pastor was my Bible teacher all through High School at Arlington Baptist School in Baltimore.
Since the play was at 1:45 pm, we didn't have evening services. So we were able to stay home and relax after such a busy weekend. Our family watched a DVD that I bought on Amazon called, "The League of Grateful Sons." This is a Doug Phillips DVD from Vision Forum. This isn't one of those films where you hurry the children off to bed when it's over, but plan on spending some time talking with your children about the heros in your life.It was worth watching. If you'd like to borrow this from us, let me know. Otherwise, click on the title for the link to Amazon or to read the reviews.

Next month I will order another DVD by Doug Phillips called, "A Legend and a Legacy: The True Story of Leonard C. Holifield."

Monday morning came all too soon for me, since Anna and Lizzie went with my Dad down to Corpus Christi, Texas. I'm glad for them to have this opportunity, but I already miss them terribly. Ruthie has cried off and on all day. But I know they will have a great time. When Sarah was in 7th grade, she told me that most people underestimate the dynamics of the relationships of homeschooled siblings. I keep thinking of that during times like this.
It takes 28 hours to get to Texas, so Mike bought a portable DVD player for the girls. Anna said it made a huge difference. I'm so glad.

Monday was a holiday for us (Columbus Day) so Mike was home. He got a lot of work accomplished. Mike and Allen folded up the pool and put it in the basement for the winter. Good thing, because our record-breaking warm weather (around 90s) will leave tonight when a cold front comes through tonight (hopefully with much-needed rain!).

Our funny moment happened to Sarah yesterday. After class, she was walking to her car when she heard someone yell her name. It was Dustin, her cousin. She thought, 'How nice! I am so thankful that I have a cousin who is interested in having a meaningful relationship with me.' So she walked up to him and he said, "Hey, Sarah! Hurry up and let me have your parking space...I'm late for class!" Oh well. So much for meaningful relationships:-) Truthfully, Dustin is a great guy and we are thankful that he is once again a part of our lives. (FYI, Southern Maryland Colleges are known for their small parking lots!)

Well, I'm still having trouble with this post, so I will take that as a sign from the Lord, and will sign off. Have a great day.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Saturday, October 6, 2007

On Friday, we ran around from store to store trying to find all the last items to finish my children's costumes for Sunday's play. Friday night was dress rehearsal, so we had to find the stuff! It still boggles my brain that even though this is our fourth annual play, we still have to run around at the last minute to put the finishing touches on everything.
Our church is performing Ron Hamilton's play, "Patch the Pirate Goes to the Jungle." Sarah is in charge of costumes, and is singing in a trio. Maggie sings in a duet and a trio, and turns the pages for me while I play piano. Anna plays the part of Samuel (we changed it to Samantha) and sings a solo and two other songs. Lizzie plays the part of Sissy Seagull and sings a solo and another song. Allen plays the part of Baloomba and sings a solo. Ruthie plays the part of Overlite, and sings the opening song as a solo. Mike helped direct the whole thing. So it was a family affair.

I was a freshman at BJU when Ron Hamilton learned of his eye cancer and had his eye removed. The children at his church started calling him "Patch the Pirate" because he wore an eye patch. Thus began a wonderful music ministry called Majesty Music. This is our church's fourth Ron Hamilton play. All glory to God. After dress rehearsal, Charmaine dished out delicious beefaroni. It was perfect for our family because we didn't get anytime to eat dinner. Charmaine has become expert on making dishes dairy-free.

I know I've said it before, but let me say it again. Our family has been very touched by the willingness of our church family to learn about dairy and egg allergy, and to provide dishes that we can eat. I would never have imagined the impact that can have! (I for one always thought people with food allergies were a bit "different.")
I found this picture from Thursday's icing class. Anna made this rose. Isn't it beautiful? Some chocolate icing accidently got on the pastry tip. Probably couldn't duplicate this rose if we tried!

Today has been a busy day here. We went shopping this morning while Maggie baked apple cookies and apple cake for Sunday's fellowship dinner between services and the play. She is also making almonaise which is made from soaked almonds.

Mike mowed our brown field. We have just been upgraded to the severest form of drought. This is the second worst drought on record for the past 100 years. I just hope none of the hunters drops a cigarette in the woods or our neighborhood will be wiped out.

Have a wonderful Sunday. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Monday, October 1, 2007

Blackberry Creek's Great Blog Giveaway ~ Only 1 day left!

Be sure to visit Susan Ramey Cleveland's Blackberry Creek blog and enter her Great Blog Giveaway. I left a comment for the 8 fat quarters that you see in the above picture. On Wednesday, Oct 3rd, Susan will draw 7 names of winners to receive her 7 giveaways. So hurry on over! ~ Kathie
Wow, was I surprised to open my mailbox and find this beautiful, autumn-colored letter from my favorite blogger, Deb of Mountains Musings! Deb's daughter, Hannah, took the butterfly picture. And what a wonderfully, written letter Deb wrote! Not just a few lines or paragraphs, but lots of updates on her family and life in general.

I have to admit, I do have an English degree, but I rarely write snail mail. I am more the editor type. You write and I'll edit. One of my favorite things to do is to proof/edit papers for school.

But I have to say, I received so much joy in getting Deb's letter, that I have decided to pass the blessing on and send a few letters myself. Our church has quite a few elderly members who would love to hear from us. So thanks, Deb, for the inspiration. Maybe I can start a new tradition with my daughters (even though Allen has the best penmanship!).

I thought my homeschooling friends would appreciate this comic from a paper that is about 10 years old.

My laptop was up and down this weekend, so Mike is re-installing some new software to help out. In addition to my laptop, our server kept kicking me off repeatedly. And finally, eBay had a bunch of technical difficulties and I had no access to my selling page. So I am behind in my replies. Give me another day and I will catch up.
I had many special requests from eBay customers this weekend, so Anna and I spent the morning in my sewing room cutting out fabric. We are now caught up but whew, it was a lot of work!
Take care and enjoy this beautiful autumn. Many blessings ~ Kathie