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Showing posts from August, 2010

Another One Off To School

My Entertainer Started Kindergarten.
My sweet, sweet little girl.  I'll always be here.
How we've had so much fun. You would sing and dance, I'd clap and laugh.
You have so many gifts, my sweet girl,
And I've selfishly enjoyed them all.

Now it's time you share these gifts,
I must let you go, but I'll always be here.

You'll make friends, you'll play and share.
Some may hurt you, some will love you.
But I'll always be here.

You'll learn and grow,
Give and take.
Have fun and play nice.

I see you blossom,
my sweet, little girl.
Remember, I'll always be here.

Small Successes Thursday

Oh, boy I'm late!  Here's a few successes for this last week...

1.)  HH took over figuring out what animal is leaving it's excrement on our front porch.  My success?  I get to focus on other things while he makes trip after trip to Menards to buy new kinds of traps.

2.)  Finished making space in basement for play area.  Kids love it, and I am working out every morning.  Yes, every morning.  It's a miracle.  Let the dry wall begin!

3.)  Finished school supply shopping and uniforms are complete.  Finished all doctor forms, registration forms, handbook forms and drug policy compliance forms....yikes....it's like signing mortage papers!

Have some to share?  Go Here.

Saying Good Bye to Summer in a Butterfly Garden

A trip to the zoo yesterday gave us a wonderful chance to say good-bye to Summer.  It's been a fantastic summer.  We accomplished a great deal.  Remember the Big Purge?  I'll never forget the Garage Sale Success stories, the Canning of Sssssssalsa andstart of our basement remodel.  
We took a few moments at the zoo to see things we had never spent much time on before.  We enjoyed the butterflies, saw a grizzly swimming, watched the dolphins perform and got to touch and feed some sting-rays.  It just doesn't get better than this.
As we went out for dinner after the zoo, I couldn't even eat my delicious salad.  I looked around me and took a mental picture.  We were exhausted, sweating from the miles of walking we did at the zoo, and ordinarily, we'd head home quickly before the kids lose their cool.......but the kids were joking, laughing, and playing with each other at the table.  They are growing up.  Even I can see that.  The times of constant correction at the res…

Honest Pay for Honest Work

Once again I find myself in unfamiliar territory as the matriarch of our little clan. Real world life lessons are so difficult to teach when I see them as still babes in my arms. I just want to give them all they ask for, hand over all my pocket change when they want a full piggy bank, or hold them away from the world for their whole lifetime. And then I wake up from this dream, and logic kicks in. I have to prepare them for the world. I have to ready them for what they will encounter...and little of my heart breaks.


This is the conundrum. My mothering instinct is to shield them, but my mind says at the same time, I must ready them. Balancing these two realities makes me feel like that circus performer on a tight rope....leaning left, then right, and then a quick dash to safety....looking back at the success or failure behind me. I think I'd enjoy it much more if I'd be able to wear all the glittery sequence, sparkle make up and a great looking costume. At least I'd look t…

Summer Comes to an End

Our summer is nearing its end, and with only one more week to go, I find myself looking forward to the schedule that the school year always brings with it. Now, I love summer as much as the next Mom: no schedules to keep, late mornings that turn into easy swimming afternoons or soaking up the sun with a good book. I absolutely adore the great discussions we have had this summer, those spontaneous questions about the world we live in, or our great God and His participation in it all. There's a freedom in Summer, and I love the time to rest, rejuvenate and gear up for yet another academically challenging school year.

School begins in about a week, and with four of the children going to school for a full day, I am often sitting wondering, what in the world will keep me busy, since I'll only have Babe left at home with me. I'd love to finish up some sewing projects, finish up the basement re-model, and have some time to simply enjoy the littlest one's comedic personality. …

Picnics and Battles - Gender Differences

Early dinners and bath time has always brought with it something interesting for reflection. After the children spent time outside, getting plenty sweaty and dirty, they cleaned up, ate dinner, and then were allowed some play time before bed.


As the four older children played their imaginative games downstairs, I took time with Babe in the upstairs hallway. As the baby of a family, myself, I can relate to often being overlooked, and I make it a point, some days, to give him some of his own special time. We played ‘picnic’ with the play silverware, toy plates and plastic food.

I also like to use this kind of special time to instill a bit of academics and see where he’s at without much instruction from me. Yes, he’s only two, but they pick up things quick, and I was curious, how much is he really picking up, since his speech is a bit more delayed than what I remember from the girls.

To my surprise, as I asked him to find the blue ice cream cone, he picked up the correct color, presente…

Ssssssssalsa - Can't Miss

Okay, you asked for it, here you are....and Yes, with HH's blessing. 
Canning Salsa 16 lbs tomatoes (processed)
8 t. salt (can add to taste)
2 & 2/3 c. vinegar (can add to taste)
8 med. onions
7 t. oregano
32 jalapeno peppers (+6-8 chilis to make it hotter)
12 cloves of garlic
4t sugar (can add to taste)
3 18 oz tomato paste (can add if you need thicker)

Cut all into large chunks. (I advise using food processor, makes smaller chunks)
Cook to boiling for 5 - 10 min. Place in jar (leaving 1/4 inch headspace) and seal.

Just a few added notes:
We always make a mild batch and a hot batch. Mild has less peppers. We test the thickness of the salsa before placing in jar. We test by dipping salsa onto tortilla chip, if it drips right off, it's too watery, and then we add more tomato paste to thicken it up. It shouldn't fall right off your chip!
What does that "tomatoes processed mean"?....Well it means you must blanch your tomatoes to get skin off. Then you cut them up, crush them t…

Small Successes Thursday

1.)  Threw out 5 more Huggie boxes of garbage.  When did I become a pack rat?

2.)  Canned salsa and crushed tomatoes over the weekend.  Am secretly addicted to snacking on the salsa.

3.)  Taught 9 year old Thinker the importance of privacy, our conscience helping us, and how to set a good example for others.

4.) Been taking weekly trips to library, kids are loving books.

Have some to share?  Go here.

A 5 Year Old's Temptation

Last night as HH puts Entertainer to bed, including good-night kisses and hugs, she asked for a short, yet profoundly interesting small chat with her father.
Entertainer:  Dad? HH:  Yes? Entertainer:  Ya know, sometimes (she points down to the floor) the snake tells me to go into Mom's purse and use her chapstick. HH:  Really?
Entertainer:  Yes, and I know it's wrong.  Why does he tell me to do it?
HH:  Well, he wants to make Jesus sad....and disobeying Mom would make Jesus sad.
Entertainer: Oh.  I better not listen to him.
HH:  Right.  Good girl.


I have often wondered at the sensitivity of children who have even a small understanding of good and evil in the world.  Does little Entertainer truly hear the voice of evil tempting her to do wrong things?  I don't know.  What is clearly evident to me, is that she recognizes temptation.  Not only does she see temptation, she wonders at its purpose, and makes a concrete decision to discern the source of the prompting and it's mot…

Blanching Tomatoes - Freezer Ready

We start with an assembly line process....many hands make quick work!
Wash gently....Entertainer loves this job.
Remove ends and blemishes with sharp knife.


Place tomatoes into boiling water for only about 20 - 30 seconds.
You'll see the skin splitting on sides of tomatoes, remove tomatoes from hot water.
Have your ice water bowl ready.
Place your splitting skinned tomatoes into bowl for cool down.
Skins are easily pulled off.
Using sharp knife, begin cutting up tomatoes.

Have your Freezer Ziploc bag ready and labeled.
Fill a bag and freeze it. 
We tend to put off canning salsa, tomato juice or spaghetti sauce until winter, and these frozen fresh tomatoes make the most delicious sauces! Perhaps this winter I'll be motivated to post the canning process as well. Wait for snow!

The Harvest is Great.....

But The Workers Are Few

New Stages of Big Purge - Sentimental Values

I never thought I'd blog so often on this Big Purge project, but alas, here I am again, doing more purging than I ever thought possible.


After the massive garage sale, our basement space has improved immensely, and HH decided to actually finish a REC room down there. I caught him measuring out the space, envisioning where to frame the room and dreaming of a flat screen TV mounted on the wall. After all his help in this purge, how could I resist dreaming with him for a bit.

Now these plans require a more aggressive approach to the purging. Things I was unsure of, I planned to keep, store down there. Well, if we are to actually finish a space, dry wall, paint, carpet and all, then I see, I am going to have to take more action on some of these remaining things.

Preparing for the sale was easy, or so now I think it was, as I was certain of most things that I needed to part with. Now, these things left over, I find myself changing my mind again and again...."I might need that one…