Thursday, July 30, 2009

ingridism, sleeping arrangements & death

This morning Ingrid asked me, "when we die, do we sleep in Queen Victoria's bed?"

"Huh??? Explain please, Ingrid," said Mom.

"She's dead, so when we die, do we sleep in a queen-sized bed? A Queen Victoria bed?"

I was laughing so hard (silently) I turned away so she wouldn't see me.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

ingridism & motherhood

"Mommy, you are the best mommy in the whole wide world. Except for Mary who is up in heaven."

I received this highest compliment after I told her that I would bake some chocolate chip cookies. Maybe I should make them more often.

back home bakery, kalispell, mt

I found a link to the Back Home Bakery in Kalispell, Montana over at The Fresh Loaf. They have a very helpful set of tutorials covering topics including hand-kneading and shaping of a variety of loaf types. They also put a good word in for Wheat Montana, my absolute favorite flour farm and mill.

As I type this post, I'm baking a loaf of buttermilk oatmeal sandwich bread. Mmmmm. Smells nummy! Here's a question for you bread-bakers: in a pinch, which is less "harmful" to your loaf -- under-proofing or over-proofing your shaped loaf?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

homeschool conference recap

Several of you have asked me about the homeschool convention. I'll keep it brief. My frustrations were unfounded. The Deceiver really didn't want us to be joyful there, looking back on it. While we only attended one day (the girls were in-tow, and while they really held up well, it would just have been too much to ask of them to return on Saturday), we did glean some important information.

Three breakout sessions in particular were extremely helpful:

Rebecca Keller, author of the Real Science 4 Kids curriculum spoke about teaching, well, real science. She encouraged parents to not hold back. Get to the "tough" stuff. Don't be afraid of it. Make it interesting. Encourage scientific thought and discovery. I learned about geckos. It was fun! So at breakfast yesterday, I tried to explain the water molecule to the girls. I know they are only 5 and 3, but I want to raise girls who are fascinated by God's amazing universe. Mrs. Keller's educational background is impressive, and the curriculum she has written is as well. We will be implementing next year for first grade. This is an answer to prayer, because we were having a difficult time finding science curriculum which we felt honored God's design for the Universe and upheld scientific principles.

David Quine of Cornerstone Curriculum addressed my greatest fear: HOW TO TEACH MATH. (Cue the screaming banshee sound effect.) I came away with a strong sense of validation for choosing Miquon Math. After his session, we talked with his wife for a bit about worldview. The worldview curriculum he has written (appropriate for a Sunday School, etc.) kind of leaves The Truth Project" in the dust (nothing against the Truth Project, don't get me wrong). It is a THREE YEAR course in western civilization. Plus he quoted Francis Schaeffer several times. Bonus points.

Shirley Solis spoke about simplicity as a way of life. Simplicity with a Purpose: freeing up your time for service to the Lord. This was the only "non-practical" session that we attended, and might be the one that left strongest impression. What are we doing with our time, people?! Aaaack. This question cuts me to the core. Why am I watching TV? Aaaack aaaack! Why do I have a closet full of clothing that I NEVER wear? (And I don't mean our cold weather gear...we can't dump that we might get posted to another cold-weather base, and it would be poor stewardship to dump it and re-invent this very expensive wheel.) She's an amazing lady who loves the Lord. Joy just spills out of her face.

true beauty

[W]omen should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness--with good works.
I Timothy 2:9-10
A week ago, my ladies Bible study listened to a compelling talk given by Carolyn Mahaney on the topic of true beauty. Here's a link to that recording. I would encourage you to listen. It is not a downer, it is not a bash fashion session. It is admonishing. The bottom line is this, Ladies: what are we spending our time on, and to what end? Why are we exercising? Why are we eating what we eat? Why are we thinking so much about what we are eating? It's just like every other area of life. We are here on earth to bring God glory. We are here to do good works for God's glory!

Here's a link over to the newly-revamped GirlTalk site and the plethora of resources there.

10 things for which i am thankful

In no particular order, I am thankful for...
  1. Carlos, an elder at our church whose first words at each greeting to the church are "Jesus is coming BACK!" I ditto his enthusiasm... This one IS in order.
  2. family-sized pizza from New York Pizza -- even if it weren't so delicious, its very size would be entertainment enough and worth the price.
  3. that my girls absolutely love to color, and that Ingrid can tell the subtle differences between 10 different colors of blue in the most-ginormous Crayola crayon set.
  4. Chad's desire to learn about a topic from all angles, inside-out.
  5. Excedrin Migraine, Advil and easily-available caffeinated beverages.
  6. cordless phones.
  7. Ravelry's free and neat crochet patterns.
  8. quality swimming lessons at The Y.
  9. that I have been blessed with the ability, motivation and desire to homeschool Ingrid and Ilsa.
  10. the washer and dryer, dishwasher and microwave.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Our garden bounty is really starting to pile up now. Two baby red potatoes (emphasis on baby). Every bell pepper has rotted on the vine. Our beans died. Tomatoes are languishing. Those promising watermelon are rotting one by one -- we had ten fruit, and are now down to 4 healthy specimen.

Gardening in Almost Mexico, AZ is definitely an uphill battle. If we were going to be here for years and year, I know we would do a lot more to make this work, perhaps some adjustable sail shades to shield the burning sun, permanent irrigation, etc. I know one thing: I have gained much respect for those who have developed skill gardening in the desert.

I may or may not post's hard to post pictures of nothing. Well, I decided they are:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

caveat emptor!

I took down the video because it was covering too much of the side bar. Here's the link to the humorous, but sad video, "United Breaks Guitars".

crochet update

Thanks to Yarn Jeannie for her help on my most-recent project. I did something a little simpler than the beautiful pattern she suggested, but am going to use her suggested pattern soon...I have quite a few baby blankets in the queue!

Well, here's the blankie I finished for Baby Collette, who is probably on her way as I am posting. It's definitely not heirloom quality -- little raggedy ends just popped out all over after I washed it. I just don't make tight stitches (I even undersized the hook by a size) and subsequently, the ends don't remain hidden. I think my problem is that I like using lighter-weight yarns. I did like the color combo of this blanket, though: I called it "strawberry cream chocolate bon bon" over on my project page.

10k e-mails

My husband just deleted 10,000 e-mails from his Outlook Express inbox. Just thought I'd share.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

convention woes

Homeschool convention is this weekend. I have mixed feelings. I'm looking through the breakout seminars, and honestly, not much is jumping out at me. Ginger Plowman pulled out due to a family emergency, and she was the one I was looking forward to hearing the most. I am happy to see Rebecca Keller, author of the REAL Science 4 Kids curriculum, is speaking on Friday. I know I'll go to that one. I need to pray that my attitude changes soon.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

a shout-out to yarn jeannie!

HELP YARN JEANNIE! Give me some encouragement, or else pray that I wouldn't be so scattered!

I'm going to a baby shower TONIGHT and have re-started this small baby blanket 3 times now.
1. Started as a large standard granny square which I frogged.
2. Went to a waves pattern which I frogged.
3. Began a standard Project Linus pattern of sideways shells which I loved, but frogged because I realized I didn't have enough yarn.
4. Switched back to the granny which I hate because it's so you have any ideas to jazz-up a granny square beyond the dc 3, ch 3 at the corners; dc 3 ch 1 on the sides? I just can't think I'm so frustrated! I'm working with 3 colors: soft pink, soft chocolate brown and a muted raspberry...think "chocolate covered cherries".

I think it's a given that I will be giving a card with a note at the shower tonight, explaining that the blanket is in the works...

Friday, July 10, 2009

it's just rust-ic-uhh-lous!

Ingrid is trying to clean up the family room before Daddy gets home, and Ilsa just won't help (this is a different issue altogether that I will be addressing with her when I'm done with this post). But I just have to laugh, as Ingrid has now picked up a phrase from me: "it's just ridiculous!"; however, she exclaims in Ingridese, "it's just rust-ic-uhh-lous!" I'm secretly laughing in the office.

On a happier note, here's my most-recent Peter Reinhart creation: poolish*-method focaccia (or in Ingridese, "oh-catch-uh". I topped it with an herbal infusion of garlic, fresh basil, rosemary and Italian flat-leaf parsley from the garden. *A poolish is a pre-ferment similar to a biga or a sponge. Flour, water and yeast is mixed minimally to only moisten the flour uniformly; then you sit it on the counter in the bowl until it is bubbly and foamy -- 2 - 4 hours -- and then refrigerate it overnight or longer. It adds lots of flavor and a chewy, hole-filled texture.)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

some days just go well

I have been able to read today...working on my book (technically book-and-a-half) for book club this Saturday: Black and half of Red by Ted Dekker (we'll be finishing up with the second half of Red, and all of White next time we meet. While the writing engaged from the first page, I had a hard time buying-into the books until two or three chapters in. They are a hybrid of fantasy, science fiction and Christian allegory. I just have to keep convincing myself that, like C. S. Lewis and Tolkien, not everything is a symbol...sometimes a house is just a house and a room is just a room. However, much of the book is allegory, and I had to seek out some insight from reviews on the web. Interesting books...Tom goes to sleep in one reality, and is immediately awake in another; the scenario swaps and he as confused as can be. An MMA phenom for a hero, a pandemic-level virus, trees that glow, fruit that heals, damsels in distress, ugly guys with bad skin dwelling in tents in the desert, screeching black bats, white furry flying creatures, green water, religious "compromisers" [sic] who turn out to be the truth-keepers. You know, everyday stuff. *If you don't know what this is, ask your hubby...he will know if he's anything like mine.

My new Peter Reinhart white bread recipe rocks. There used to be eight rolls, now there are four. The sandwich bread has a substantial crust, but the crumb is delightfully soft and flavorful. Rolls and bread from the same recipe. Mmmmmmm.

On Monday, I had made PR's Italian bread (a two day process) and it was so good that it disappeared in no time flat. Definitely a re-make.

The girls have been coloring all day. This morning they took their stuff outside and colored at the picnic table ala Princesses. You can see our tree behind Ingrid, leaning a bit east...but it didn't fall over in the serious monsoon storm yesterday. I would love to know how much rain fell. It was, by far, the most-substantial storm I've seen since the first year we were here. It rained consistently for about three hours. This morning, I went outside to check the condition of the yard (there was some heavy wind at the leading edge of the storm) and all was fine; however, I'm glad the wind led the storm and didn't follow, as the rain completely saturated the ground, and the mesquite is leaning a bit. We are definitely going to have to add a third support pole. By now (two years in the ground) the poles really shouldn't be needed, but for some reason, the roots have just not developed strongly enough to secure this tree upright. I think the ground dirt might not be dense enough as they probably scraped the entire caliche layer off of the front yard when they planted.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

how not to decorate a 4th of july cake

Here's my very own 4th of July cake wreck...looks like it got hit by a roman candle. It started out so promising -- but then I actually tasted the red frosting. I should have known it would be awful considering I used an entire jar of "Christmas Red" paste coloring for 1 cup of frosting. There is about 1/4 of red frosting on this cake right now. I had made a shell-edge around the top and had planned on shell-edging the bottom as well. Glad I only had completed the top edge. I scraped off as much as I could, but couldn't get it all, so I just "swirled" it into the good-tasting white frosting.

Friday, July 3, 2009

happy independence day!

I recently posted this memory and posed a question on my favorite homeschooling message board, The Well-Trained Mind.

I have such fond memories of family picnics. Nothing fancy, but the stuff of smiles: a big bucket of KFC, watermelon, grapes, Grandma's perfect raspberry pie in the park. Fireworks were always a part, too (before we became a terrified society): poppers (those little things you threw on the ground), sparklers, "ground bloom flowers", and those messy snakes that started as pellets of something or other and stank when you lit them up. But ground bloom flowers were my fave because they were pink.

I got to stay up late to go see the fireworks on downtown Mercer Is., WA where I grew up (until they moved them to another day so as to not compete with the big Seattle fireworks displays). My Dad and I would wait in line for what seemed like a whole hour at Baskin & Robbins to get cones and we would bring them back to Mom and Grandma. Sousa marches and patriotic music were actually played on the radio -- the "regular" stations. If it was a super rainy 4th (which did happen - hey, it was Seattle, we would watch the National Concert live from DC, or the Boston Pops concert with Arthur Fielder on PBS. A couple of years the Kiwanis Club placed thousands of little flags overnight up and down the main road on Mercer Island (this was COOL!)...

So, how do you celebrate our Nation's Independence?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

red white & blue

In honor of Independence Day, I painted the girls' hand-nails and footer-nails (Ilsaisms) (notice mine aren't even done).

maybe we'll start a watermelon farm

I finally found a produce item that agrees with these blue swimming pools: watermelon. This picture was taken June 26:Woo hoo -- this is the same fruit today, July 2:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

top 40 christian books for 2009

World Magazine has just published their list of the best forty books of 2009. Click here and start drooling, fellow book lovers! I'd say that their number one pick is a winner...I'll give you a hint: it's the best selling book of all time in my new favorite version.

portuguese sweet bread

I'm kind of surprised. I'm the only one in the family who liked this Portuguese sweet bread from my new Bread Baker's Apprentice cookbook. It is SO GOOD -- slightly sweet with hints of citrus and a creamy crumb. The crust is soft, not burned like it appears...that's just caramelization from the higher sugar content. Go figure. I have a second loaf of dough in the fridge. All the more for me!
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