Thursday, October 30, 2008

* BFS Assignment #107- When There’s No Tomorrow (Mercury) *

Assignment: We only have today. Should God take you today, have you accomplished everything that you wanted to, needed to. Have you said all the things that needed to be said? Let’s have no regrets, let’s make sure we get to those things, so that when we’re standing before the Lord, the only thing we need to do is to worship him.. and not regret not getting to that thing on our to do list. Stop - go take care of that thing…. then, come tell us what you choose to share. Don’t embarrass yourself or any of your loved ones

I'll be honest - when I think about standing in heaven, I have a hard time imagining that I will have any thoughts of this life at all. But if I do, I imagine it will only be not spending more of my energy on knowing Him and making Him known to others.

It's funny that this topic came up, because one night earlier this week, after I'd shut off the light, I scribbled this thought in the dark, "What will I regret doing or not doing in my life?" But the things I wrote down aren't things to be done in a day. They are habits of heart and mind, like, "Making the most of my relationships, especially with Erik and the kids" and, "Spending more time with God than I do on the internet."

This is a good reminder to me today as I am weary from another week of Erik being away, and I'm tempted to find a media babysitter for my kids and curl up in a ball til he gets back. But I know in the long run the time I spend with my kids is something I won't regret. That's why I took this picture of my daughter wearing my shoes - this is my "tomorrow" shot. Someday she'll fill these shoes and the things I do today will impact the woman who fills them.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Blogger Friend School Assignment #107 - Have It Your Way

Memory Verse: Isaiah 40: 1- Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.

Intro: “Have It Your Way” (Burger King) - As cooler weather approaches and the winter eases into our doors I like to lounge by the fire after a hot shower. I love to make soups that are brimming with a rich and full flavor. In our home there’s nothing better than a hot bowl of soup or and a hot cup of coffee or cocoa on a cold winter night.

Assignment: Tell us all about how your have “your” relaxing time, more especially how during the cooler months you take time to curl up with your favorite movie, book, Bible study, and what your favorite warm drink would be.

My passport is ready for pick up. After 10 years my old one was filled with nearly 100 entry and exit stamps and visas, and two sets of additional pages because the old ones were filled. I'm incredibly thankful for all the opportunities we have had to travel, and to live in two fascinating countries outside our home culture.

Yet of all the places I've traveled, if I truly want to relax the best place anywhere is at my parent's house back in Rochester, MN. True, if I want to relax after a tough day a hot bath and a good book are a great thing, as is a cup of Russian Tea (I'll post the recipe below). But there's something about my parent's house that makes every care seem far away. Maybe it's because my parents are easy going people who open their home to others. Maybe it's because there are lots of cozy spots throughout the house, and always a book within reach (my parents gave me my love for books!). Maybe it's because their attention to my kids means I can relax knowing they're in good hands. All I know is that I feel the most comfortable there.

Alas, their house is 6,000 miles from mine. To my joy, in only about a month I will be relaxing there again while winter swirls around outside. We'll have fires in the fireplace and I'll play carols on the piano. We'll go outside and get chilly, and come back inside for hot cocoa. It'll be glorious.

But one thing all my travel has taught me is that even though I can experience great comfort here, it is not my home. C.S. Lewis said, "Our Father will refresh us with many pleasant inns on the journey, but he would not encourage us to mistake them for home." In heaven I will find my truest and deepest rest and comfort. So I guess I'm thankful that I retain this feeling of unrootedness that I've developed from living overseas.

Russian Tea

  • 1/2 cup instant tea powder
  • 2 cups orange-flavored drink mix (e.g. Tang)
  • 3 ounces lemonade-flavor drink powder
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Mix all ingredients together. Add 2-3T of the mix for each cup of hot water. I don't care much for tea, but I could drink this forever!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Blogger Friend School Assignment #106 - M'm M'm Good

Intro: M’m M’m Good (Campbell’s Soup)
The fall is such a wonderful time of year. The beautiful foliage and cool, crisp morning air is such a wonderful change from the hot summer. I also love the M’m M’m good smell of fall cooking and baking. The wonderful fall veggies, fruits and Thanksgiving foods.

Assignment: Post your favorite fall recipe/recipes to share. I love trying new recipes, do you? It can be baking, main dishes, veggies, dessert or anything else you can think of. There are no limits. Mmmmmm..I can’t wait to take a look at some of those recipes.

Fall . . . fall . . . nope, not ringing a bell. Wait, does it have something to do with changing your clocks? Or maybe something about leaves falling? Oh right, fall - that time of year when temperatures dip and the trees are ablaze with color. I used to love fall. I still do, but honestly I can't remember what it feels like. You see, I haven't experienced fall since 2003, before I moved to the land of perpetual summer. So while I would love to hunker down with a big bowl of soup, it's hard to want to do that when it's 90 degrees outside.

But this time next year, I will (barring any unforeseen circumstances) be enjoying some cooler temps again, and I'm looking forward to foods that warm my belly and put me to sleep. Back when I used to cook for this time of year (I did grow up in Minnesota, so I'm no stranger to it) my favorite thing to make was this:

Wild Rice Soup

2 can cream of potato soup

2 pints 1/2 and 1/2 (I cheated with low fat milk)

2 c. grated American cheese

5 slices bacon (can be omitted, but then it's just not as good!)

2-3 T. chopped onions

1 c. wild rice (uncooked)

Bake wild rice in 2 c. chicken broth for one hour. Brown bacon (crumble) and onion. Add all ingredients to rice and heat until cheese melts. Do not boil.

When we lived in China, I bought what I thought was wild rice at the store. I neglected to rinse it, and when I added the milk, I discovered the rice had a dark dye to it, so I had purple soup. I drained and rinsed the rice and tried again, but I still ended up serving slightly purple wild rice soup to all my friends that Christmas. Lesson learned: there is no substitute for Minnesota wild rice, especially not at a Chinese grocery store.

Sometimes, to remind me of fall, I put a pot of water on the stove, throw in cinnamon sticks and whole cloves, and let it simmer. I think I might go do that right now! All this talk of fall has made me nostalgic.

I'm excited to see all the recipes people post and store them up for the future!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Kid Tested, Mother Approved - Gooney Bird Greene

I don't know if I've mentioned this book before, but it's one of our favorites, and the other day at the library we picked up the next two in the series: Gooney the Fabulous and Gooney Bird and the Room Mother.

The kids like the stories because they're fun. I like them because they peak my kid's interest in writing and gives them great examples of how to do it. The first book teaches them how to write interesting title prompts, and to tell stories well. The book we're reading now, Gooney the Fabulous, demonstrates how to write fables. I could have said to my kids, "Hey, let's write some fables" and I know I would have had moans or blank faces. But after reading a few chapters, I suggested we write fables - both of them ran off and wrote one (both with the moral "help your friends"). Megan even wrote two, and one of them we wrote an alternate ending.

The third book at a quick glance looks to be about a play, so I'm hoping we can use it to act out our own little play, or even write one. If you're looking for a fun activity for language arts, or just a fun book to read, these are great.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Blogger Friend School Assignment #105 - Never Leave Home Without It

In the memory verse Jesus tells us that He will never leave us, not even at the end of the world. He assures us in this verse that He will be with us and that means through everything we go through in life. I thought it would be interesting to write about the things we would never leave home without. For some it might be baby needs, others it might be a gym bag and bottle of water, and for some it might be your Bible and a notepad or small journal, maybe even your son or daughters favorite blankie! I’d like for you to write about something that you would never leave home without.

For all my organizational skills, this is one area of my life where I'd love to improve - I just can't seem to remember everything that's important to me when I walk out the door! It's probably because I'm impatient and always on the go. So rather than write what I DO take with me, I'm going to make a list of what I wish I DID have with me. Maybe it will inspire me to action:

1. My wallet (which must contain cash, my NETS card, an EZ link card and our library cards)
2. My cell phone
3. a small notebook
4. my pencil case with several pens/pencils, bandaids, lip balm, nail clippers, lotion
5. kleenex and/or wipes
6. sunscreen - I'm on the equator!
7. water and snacks for the kids and me

Wow - now that I think about it, I do carry most of those things with me. My problem is that I have traveled and shopped in too many markets where cheap purses are available, so I'm constantly changing from one bag to another depending on my outing. I would post a picture of my collection of bags, but my new computer doesn't like to read my photo cards so you'll just have to imagine it.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Squidoo mania

I suppose most of the people who look at my blog are other homeschoolers who do the Blogger School Friend class, and they all seem to be spectacularly brilliant people who have creativity and wisdom oozing from them. Which tells me that they've probably already found this website. But for those of you who like me, are still figuring out this homeschool gig, here is a GREAT website: Warning: it will suck you in with all the ideas and possibilites. I've bookmarked more pages than I can count, have printed off ideas, have the beginnings of a lapbook on England going from it, a lengthy Amazon wishlist from books I've found there, and a brain spinning with future plans. I'm feeling a bit manic about it to be honest. But what a blessing to find this resource!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Blogger Friend School Assignment #104 - Wacky Week

Have you done something crazy in your homeschool? Do you fingerpaint with your toes? Do you let your children do your hair? Do you wear your pajamas during homeschool? Oh, the list is endless, but it’s up to you and how much fun you want to have.

I'm late in doing my assignment this week because I've spent most of the week sick. And if I'm too sick to write, then you know I'm sick! Armed with a fresh load of drugs from my allergist, today I'm able to look at a computer screen without covering it with spray. Rejoice in all things!

What do we do in school that is wacky? The pure fact that I'm homeschooling my kids feels a bit wacky to me. When I tell people that's what we do for school, I get that brief bewildered look and then the obligatory comment that implies I'm some sort of saint. Well, the Bible does say I'm a saint, but not because of anything I've done, and certainly not because of homeschooling.

But back to the wackiness. Since it's taken me awhile to get into homeschooling, we haven't ventured too far off the beaten path. On occasion we mix things up and write all our subjects on pieces of paper, then pull them out of a hat to see what order we'll study things. The kids enjoy that.

This year I think I've become more relaxed, so we've had days where I said it was ok to watch the Olympics for two hours during our normal school time (it's educational! and the coverage here was incredible). The wackiness for me (which probably seems quite normal to people who've been gung ho about homeschool from the beginning) is seeing all of life as teaching, and not being so wound up about seeing tangible, boxes I can check, kind of learning. That gives us the freedom to follow rabbit trails throughout the day.

Oh, and the best kind of wackiness - the freedom to call a "teacher mental health day."