Sunday, 30 January 2011


Sorry for letting the blog stagnate so long. I got my computer back and it works, but the motherboard may be going out. The first thing I did was copy all my pictures and documents - three years of life on 4 DVDs.

Suffering writer's block again... There are things in my head, simmering, but it's all stopped up.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

I don't like not blogging

There is no time right now, as we are getting ready for night church, but just had to stop in and say "hi."

Last night/this morning, about 3:30, Elijah woke up and was crying. By the time I was fully awake and dressed he'd quit, so I stood there in the dark and thought. My first reaction was grumpy and complaining, but I'd barely finished the thought when I interrupted myself and straightened up. I turned that grumpy thought upside down and gave thanks to God for providing and planning for me in such an amazing way. He has brought me to places I didn't want to go, but once I stopped griping and looked around, I realized it was a good place. (Literally and figuratively.) I am so grateful for this wonderful life I've been given!

Be blessed in the Lord this day. If you have been complaining too much, consider this your interruption. :-)

Gotta dash.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

oh well

I have lots of blog posts in my head, waiting to materialize on-screen, but my computer crashed. I push the power button, it gives one little "mmmph" and then nothing. The power light comes on, and it drains the battery, but nothing happens.

Funnily enough, Bob's desktop was doing the same thing. He took his hard drive and video card to a test/repair place, and they both checked out fine, meaning it was his motherboard. Bob didn't feel that he was capable of building a computer himself, so we went shopping. We didn't want another HP, as that one was only 2 years old (his old laptop also being an HP and the video card went out after less than 2 years). We did want a non-integrated graphics card, as Bob uses heavy graphics applications. That left us with about 2 choices in each store. After 4 stores, we made a decision and bought a ASUS. This is a new to me company, but they are getting high marks for reliability. Time will tell. Windows 7 didn't take too much getting used to; the programs work; his old hard drive is slaved in so there was no data loss.

I'm on Bob's laptop today. I'm supposed to be organizing the kitchen, but my head hurts. So I'm sitting here with the TENS machine helping some, wondering how long it'll take for me to get over myself and change a dirty diaper. No one else can smell it, of course... ;-)

We'll get things running before long.

Monday, 17 January 2011

lots o' hugs

Last night I was blog-hopping while Bob watched something boring on Netflix, and went here, one of my bookmarks. She called my attention to this post about a family losing a toddler through a tragic accident. (Don't click unless you have a tissue handy!)

My children can tell you that I'm not overly sympathetic; I'm not even terribly sentimental, and I've never been accused of being sugary or clingy. But when I read that story I cried and cried. I got to worrying that something like this could happen to us, and then I remembered that I DID lose a child (miscarriage), and that my cousin lost a baby to accident, and there is so much grief in the world it's almost overwhelming.

Then I remembered this post that I'd linked to on Facebook just yesterday. And I repeated over and over to myself "God is good. I trust God." But I was still glad that Elijah woke up when we went to bed, so I could hold him for awhile. He just laid his head on my shoulder and let me hold him while I cried some more and prayed for each of my children in turn.

You better believe I gave each one a big hug when they woke up this morning. Reminds me of an old song, "shower the people you love with love; show them the way you feel."

Sunday, 16 January 2011

smarter than the average 4 year old

The other day (sorry; that's an inside joke. My dad uses the phrase "the other day" to mean anything from yesterday to 25 years ago) we went driving around and ended up at Eureka Springs. We went up to the Passion Play area, all closed for the winter, and some of the brave ones walked out to the Christ of the Ozarks statue.

As we were slowly driving back out past the little church, we stopped to look at what appeared to be a sign. There were some words in German, and then it said "Psalm 23." One of the boys asked "What's that?" And Ella - 4 years old and can't read in any language - said, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." Stop for a second and let that sink in. The sign was actually a part of the Berlin Wall, according to information on site, and after contemplation I think it probably was not verse one, but rather "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." Either way, Ella was pretty tickled with herself and went on to quote about half of the chapter. I still have no idea why she thought of saying that.

Funny names

Yes, we have a few in our house, but that's not what I'm talking about.

There are a couple of businesses around here that really puzzle me. Do they think? Do market research? Read the sign out loud?

Business #1 - we pass this on the way to Springdale: Nacho Tire Service.
There are two problems with this. The first one is the image of nachos as tires. Nachos are thin, crispy, and usually triangular - not a good tire at all. The second has to do with southern pronunciation. "Nacho" sounds a lot like "not your." (For my non-American speaking friends, the "a" in nacho is pronounced "ah" like "father.") So there's a business, but it's not for me? For whom is it? Only Hispanic people can get there tires serviced there? Really, what are you trying to say?

Business #2 - I've seen billboards everywhere: Razorbraces. I get the idea here, really. The local college mascot is the razorback hog, and they are playing on that loyalty. But think for a minute... Braces... Razors... Do I have to explain this to YOU? Why hasn't someone explained it to the orthodontist?
I'm not the only one. Here's a website that actually has a picture of the billboard, plus a few other dumb names.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Shari's Chili

Several years ago I came up with this recipe for Chili, and we like it a lot so I thought I'd share.

Shari's Chili

2 lbs ground beef, browned and drained of fat
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1/2 to 1 cup chopped celery
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 14-16 oz cans tomatoes, chopped, with liquid
8 oz can tomato sauce
3/4 cup beef broth
2 to 3 Tablespoons chili powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 whole cloves
2 whole bay leaves
salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a crock pot. Cook several hours on low. Remove bay and cloves before serving.

Goes great with cornbread, or over Fritos, with cheese on top.

He Talks!

Elijah is 14 months old, and he is beginning to talk. I find his vocabulary quite interesting and thought you might, too.
He says:

Mama (sounds nice, but it really means he wants a drink - applies equally to a cup of water or to breast milk)

Dog (just like it sounds. Often "dog-dog")

Hot! (He warns Tiger away from the wood stove, and reminds me to be careful whenever I add wood to the fire.)

Yes (this is actually silent; he "says" it by nodding his head emphatically)

Hi (accompanied by a wave of the hand)

Bye (accompanied by a wave of the hand)

Whoa! (when surprised, or falling, or dropping something)

More (in sign language)

Please (in sign language)

Shut the door (and "door" by itself. That he says this phrase so clearly and with the proper meaning is testament to the fact that he has 6 older siblings and it is cold outside)

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

water, water

Saturday, when we were getting ready to go out, Taryn came into the living room holding up Ella's coat and said, "Ella's coat is soppy wet for some reason." Hmmm, would this need investigating? I think yes. So I told Taryn to hang the coat in the bathroom, and I went to check the crime scene.

The whole closet floor was soaked.

The water heater is in the girls' closet, and someone had loosened the drain valve, so that water was dripping out. It had soaked the carpet, the coat, a dress.... I turned the leak off, called Bob, and we set to work. We are planning to take up the carpet anyway, as there are hardwood floors underneath, so we just pulled it back out of the closet and cut it off. I cut back the carpet pad while Bob pulled up the tack strips, and we got it dried out in no time. I did leave the window open while we were gone to let the air circulate.

We were a little put out by the delay and the waste, but very glad there wasn't any thing wrong with the water heater.

Monday, 10 January 2011

The Other Boleyn Girl

By Philippa Gregory

Well, hmmm. Overall impression: I enjoyed the book, enjoyed reading it. I'm not entirely sure if I *liked* it, though.

It's the story of Mary Boleyn, mistress to Henry VIII of England, and sister to his second wife (one of the beheaded ones). The book was made into a movie a few years ago, but I haven't seen it yet. I did, however, recognize a few scenes from HBO's "The Tudors" which I watched a few minutes of a few years ago when we had cable because it made our internet cheaper. The book was written in '01, so I guess the TV show got some ideas from the book.

Given the subject matter, there was quite a lot of "bedding" going on, but I would judge the book "R" rated rather than "X".

The main complaints were the continual harping on women's rights, and a few gaps in the story. The first - every so often a character would have an outburst about women not being valued, or equal, or free. But the story didn't bear that out to me. It seems that NO one, man or woman, was valued or equal or free. Only the King got whatever he wanted, and even he couldn't get what he wanted most (a son). Inequalities were based more on rank than gender. The second - a few lines were started, but never got back to, and then at the end one person was arrested that I'd never heard of before. That might be a fault with my reading rather than the writing, but it bugged me to have this character show up as if we knew him, and I didn't.

Then of course there's the actual story: family rivalry, beheadings, divorce, church and state politics, and heir-making.

What I hope to take away from the book is an impression of Queen Katherine. She was a real lady. Maybe some would consider her weak or even silly, but I admire the great strength that was required to smile, be gentle and non-reproachful as her husband continued to behave badly. She determined to do the right thing, even in the wrong circumstances, and to focus on charity rather than blaming those who were clearly wrong. It's the sermon on the mount in a corset. :-D

So that's my version of a book review. Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Sightseeing Huntsville style

Today we didn't feel like working quite so hard again, so after I gave Bob a haircut we went puttering around town.

The first stop was at the trash company, because they insist on billing me for a "past due" amount of $11.something that was paid by check and I have the bank statement to prove it. But they are closed on Friday, so we moved right along.

We had lunch at McDonald's (all the children except William are sick of it, but it is fast and easy), and then came back home because some of us forgot our coats.

After that we went out to Venus Mountain, where Bob grew up. We've found tax records that indicate Bob's niece bought the homeplace from her dad (Bob's step-brother), so we stopped by to see if she was home. A man answered the door, and he was understandably reticent but did say she was at work. We went on down the road to Kings River "area of natural beauty." Some of us skipped rocks across the swimming hole, we all checked out the outhouse, and some napped in the car. Then Bob gave a short lesson on gun safety and fired his new rifle as well as his pistol and a pellet gun. On the way back we stopped at Bob's (deceased) step-grandpa's house to see who was living there (hoping it was the other niece). Another man was there, and he said he is renting the house from the niece, who refuses to sell any of the land. He was a bit more chatty than the first fellow, and told Bob where the niece works and when she usually gets home.

We stopped in at the tiny church/community center. Bob said his step-dad went to school there when he was a boy. It is heated by a wood stove, has separate Men's and Women's outhouses, and a well. A real well, with a bucket on a chain, lowered by a pulley into the water. Bob demonstrated for the children, and a few took a drink. Ella sipped carefully and then joyously declared, "It tastes like real water!"

Back in Huntsville we went to Walmart for a few items, and then took a different road home. We found the library (as we went past), and then a large building that declared "cakes and Christian book store." We had to check that out! There was a young Mennonite lady working the store, which sold pound and fruit cakes, and books from Christian Light Education. She told us that her parents do book sales at various shows around, and keep them in the store between times. I told her we homeschool and were familiar with several of the books there - it was nice to see them in a store. Anyhow, we bought one book and two cakes (they were BOGO free), and made a mental note of the food-grade 4 gallon buckets for sale at $1.50 each. If we get things in bulk, those will be very handy.

We went back to the library from there, where we were greeted with a warm, "Do you need anything? 'Cause I'm closing in 10 minutes." Yes, she was serious. I signed up for a library card, and checked out "The Other Boleyn Girl." Some person who reads too much has sort-of recommended Phillippa Gregory and I wanted to check it out. ;-)

Back home for spaghetti, garlic bread, and cake. Keep an eye on Bob's pictures for the wordless version of the day.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

the best thing for achy muscles to work 'em some more!

Bob had been asked to install 2 ceiling fans for an elderly uncle, so he and Cedwryck went to do that this morning. Not wanting to be a slacker while he was away, I took some children outside and found a good use for the cinder blocks Bob bought for me last time he was in town. I also took the bird pictures that I posted earlier.

We had one bed complete before today, and the start of 3 others. Today we enclosed two more beds, added to the central path, and then worked on filling in one bed. If it's not obvious, I'm putting weed suppression membrane in the paths, then covering that with pine needles. In the beds, I'm putting down newspaper and then filling in the bed with cow patties, leaves, and composted wood chips. Hopefully this will make for a nice loose, rich soil for my veges. I think I'll try peat moss mixture in the holes of the blocks, and put smaller things in there, to create a border and use all my space.

After this work, I came in and made biscuits, chocolate gravy, and scrambled eggs for dinner. Sorry, we were too hungry to take a picture of that. :-)

Tuesday, 4 January 2011


I really noticed how much I enjoy birds, especially song birds, while in England. The neighbors in Cheveley all had a dozen bird feeders and houses and baths. When we'd go for a walk, if I could get the children quiet, we were inundated with birdsong. So I was pleased to inherit a bird feeder.

This morning I got a few pictures. This one has a bonus female cardinal, that I didn't see until I got to the computer.

Not being content, however, we bought another two feeders for the back yard. These are seen from the kitchen window, and have attracted a few new birds.

I was pleased to see a bright, fat male cardinal show up a couple of days ago, but this is Ferdinand the Cardinal so I haven't got a good picture yet. Named after the famous bull, he isn't aggressive at all.

Hope you enjoy as much as I do.

worn out

Saturday we (all) went to an auction. They were selling some of Bob's Grandma's stuff, and we wanted to see how that went, as well as shop. We were there from 2:30 til 9pm. We bought a few books, a few toys, some gloves, a rifle, and a 3 piece bookshelf/china cabinet, and a wagon/vegetable display thingy.

This morning we hooked up the trailer and went to pick up the big stuff. We had a bit of trouble getting it all to fit on the trailer, and ended up putting one cabinet diagonally up on one side rail. But it made it home. Then came the hard part. We had to bring it in the house. After a little thinking and a lot of grunting we got the first piece off the trailer and over the flowerbed rock border, when there was a noise and a rapid enforcement of gravity. The whole face of the unit came off where Bob was lifting, and the remaining part fell. We thought some more, grunted a LOT more, and eventually got all the parts inside.

Then came the really hard part. The shelf was longer than its allocated wall. We thought a lot more, tried to maneuver the largest piece into small spaces and gave up, and ended up with a nice configuration that involves cupboards in the kitchen and a bookshelf in the living room. And very sore arms, and a burst blood vessel on my knee.

Can anyone please tell me how to have the pictures anywhere other than at the top of the post?

Monday, 3 January 2011


There are a few new players in the game. One person who figures rather prominently is Jesse. Jesse is Bob's second cousin or something - his grandma's sister's son, I think. He's also a fairly near neighbor, and the music director/leading deacon at our church. The children think he's great, and Bob and I are fond, too. Jesse was Bob's first non-immediate relation to learn my name.

A few weeks ago, Jesse asked Bob if we were interested in a kitten, as he knew a guy that had a few. Having just finished cleaning out the kitchen cupboards, complete with 3 dead mice, we had already decided a cat might be a good thing. SO we pretended we stood a chance against free kitten, and decided we'd take one when we got home after Christmas, preferably a striped one.

Jesse delivered the kitten, and we all liked it very much (see earlier post about it hiding for an hour). Bob thought it was a girl, and I named it Tiger. We set up a litter box, food dish, towel, and water dish in the bathroom where Tiger could stay at night or while we are gone. Tiger took to the litter box right away, and after just one feeding of the wet cat food Jesse brought, learned to meow at the fridge and run to the food bowl.

Yesterday I discovered Tiger is a boy. The name works either way. :-)

Sunday, 2 January 2011


When we spent the day in town this week we stopped for dinner at Hardee's (a fast food joint). We had a coupon for buy one get one free on a chicken sandwich, so Bob and I got that, and we ordered a small burger for William and a bucket of chicken for the other children. We also wanted one soda and a few fries. The cashier rang it all up, added in a combo discount because of the soda and fries, and then topped the whole order off with a SENIOR DISCOUNT. hahaha. Bob's beard is a bit grey, but he certainly doesn't look over 60. I teased him about it for quite a while. I still don't know if she was just trying to be nice, or if she really thought Bob was OLD. :-D

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year

Unless, of course, you live upside down, in which case Happy Jan 2. :-)

We had some relatives over for dinner and dominoes last night. Since they were here, we went ahead with Cedwryck's birthday celebration, too.

I had an early attitude problem but that was soon eased, and we had a good time refreshing the "chicken foot" rules and learning "Mexican Train." Plenty of food, a few fireworks, and they stayed til midnight. Bob and I then watched some TV on Netflix, and went to bed just after 1am.

We got up at 7:30, and I'm starting to feel sleepy again. Hopefully I'll be more interesting tomorrow. :-)