Welcome to LOTS OF LITTLES ... a little blog about this and that.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

a little Merry Christmas

All of the kids helped with the wood-hauling this afternoon ...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

a little bit more

I forgot to include a few of our crafting items in my last post.
Buddy's snow-mask to protect him from the elements ... and yes, he did use it once :)

Foofie's bird ... I've been doing some cross-stitching and she wanted to sew too. I just punch a design into cardstock and she sews in the holes. Easy ... and the kids really enjoy it. Foofie is amazingly good at it! (In the past, we've done flowers, trucks, and so forth.)

Finally, the votive I crafted for my pig-loving mother-in-law.

Monday, December 15, 2008

a little house

Our most recent craft project was little paper "Christmas houses". I helped Buddy and Foofie each make one last night. I cut ... they colored ... I assembled ... then we glittered. (Halo missed out because she volunteered to help Daddy move some things ~ I think she was too restless to sit still and craft.) Anyway ... she wanted to make one today ... and I made one too ... and Buddy and Foofie each wanted to make another one. (Foofie's second one isn't pictured though ~ she didn't finish it yet.)

Here are the houses designed by the girls ...

Here are Buddy's houses ...

And here is our little neighborhood ...
Some other recent paper~crafts we've done ... lots of red cardinals (the kids have given some away), snowflakes (I love making snowflakes), and swedish hearts. I wasn't sure if I remembered how to make a swedish heart ... but I figured it out after all. It's funny how something so small ... the swedish heart in this case ... can remind one of so much.
For many years, the Covenant Church my family attended when I was a child had a grand swedish festival one Saturday in December ... Lucia Day. There was swedish food, music, decorations. I think they sold Swedish crafts as well ... little blue and yellow horses, hearts bearing the words "Gud Jul", and the like. The childrens' choir dressed up as little elves and gingerbread ... and we sang and danced. Some of the older girls would wear white gowns and the traditional crown adorned with candles ~ fake ones if I recall correctly. It was always such an exciting day ~ partly because we'd have to get up super early ... maybe five in the morning ... to get there on time. It would still be dark out ~ and painfully cold, of course ~ but it seemed rather adventurous to a child.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

a little about naming

I'm not the most decisive when it comes to naming children. Our first experience was fairly easy because I was set on a girl's name and thankfully ... we had a girl! Our son, our second child, was named pretty quickly ... but I wavered over his middle name and we ended up changing it several hours later. Our third child didn't even have a name until she was a week old! She arrived ten days early and I wasn't prepared for that ... but it's likely I would have struggled with naming her even if she arrived on time.

So ... now I'm expecting number four. My children ~ and my oldest daughter especially ~ have tried to brainstorm names a few times already. The last time went something like this ...

"So ... do you want a fancy and intelligent name like Victoria or Anitadene or Audrea?" Halo questioned.
"I don't think I want fancy," I replied.
"You know ... Victoria is a queen's name," she continued in her persuasive manner.
"Do you want a regular kind of name?" she asked next. "Like Bob or Harry or Larry or Jerry?"
(Now I'm thinking 'Veggie Tales' ... you know, Bob & Larry.)
"No ... I don't think so," I answered.
"The baby should be Kelly," said Foofie.
"How about Rick or Todd?" asked Buddy.
"No thanks."
"Kelly," blurted Foofie.
"But those are the names of the Polly Pocket boys! I like those names," he continued.
"They are fine names ... just not what I have in mind."
"Kelly. I want the baby to be Kelly."
"No, I don't think Kelly is the right name either," I concluded.

Don't tell my kids ... but I'm going to figure out names by myself ;)

a little bird feeder

My hard-working husband worked right through supper last night and was going to eat later ... after he finished what he wanted to finish. So ... the kids were restless and we needed a project to occupy us. How about milk carton bird-feeders? They're definitely not fancy ... but they're super simple ... and the kids thought it was really cool that they could make a bird-feeder on their own ... no saws, hammers, nails, wood. (It's a bit difficult to cut a milk carton though ... so the younger two needed some help.)

How to? Just cut "windows" in opposite sides of a milk cartion ... close up the top with staples ... poke a hole through the top and insert string or ribbon or a pipe cleaner ... fill the bottom with bird seed ~ that's the best part ... and voila!

We were hoping to hang them up today ... but it was cold, windy, and snowing heavily. Maybe tomorrow ...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

a little DNR encounter

This afternoon, the kids asked if they could shovel the snow off the lake so they could play around on the ice. Sure! Why not?

Then, my dear husband had to suggest plowing a patch of frozen lake with the ATV instead ... you know ... men and their love of motorized toys. So ... he and our two oldest kids climb on the ATV. They get driving at the wreckless speed of 5 mph ... and who should they immediately encounter at the end of the driveway? A DNR dude, of course, doing his best to ensure all lawbreakers are caught.

Jeff promptly learns that the ATV isn't registered, the children must have helmets on, and there can only be one passenger.

"Ummm ... it's my Dad's ATV. I never thought it might not be registered. He is always on top of things ... always registers everything ... this probably just got overlooked. And, as for my kids, I'm way more concerned about their safety than you are ... I was only going five miles an hour ... and I didn't even know they had to have helmets on."

Jeff's defense fell on deaf ears.

So ... how much did this little episode cost us?


(You know ... tickets always stink because it feels like such a waste of money. You get nothing for your money ... except frustration.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

a little sticky situation

This afternoon Foofie started playing with Grandma's "sticky tack" (a.k.a. poster putty) ~ which was being used to keep an old hutch door shut. She thought it would be neat on her ears ... as earrings. By the time I was aware of this, it was already a sticky, matted mess in her hair. I decided to try the old peanut butter remedy before resorting to the scissors ~ and thankfully, it did the trick!

a little shower art

Buddy showered first tonight and he left behind a finger drawing on the shower door. Then, Halo went into the bathroom to get cleaned up and called, "There's a guy on the shower door!" "I know," Buddy answered back with a grin. "It's Daddy ... with a big beard!"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

a little ice cream

I'm pretty particular about my ice cream. It's actually gotta be ice cream ... not some sad imitation concocted with who knows what. The local store here doesn't carry the ice cream I usually buy ... so I had to make my own!!! My in-laws have been trying to pass the homemade ice cream making tradition onto us for a few years now ... but I never really had the oomph to do it until last night.

First, I googled for recipes a bit until I couldn't stand the 42.6 Kbps internet speed another moment. (I was trying to find something slightly healthier than my in-laws' tried and true recipe.) Then, I called my friend who regularly makes homemade ice cream. She gave me her grandma's recipe and I decided to try it ~ with minor revisions. She said, "it's good," and then I imagine that she shrugged ... but she should have RAVED about it ~ it's beyond delicious!!! Jeff picked up the cream and the whole milk for me this afternoon and I made it right away ~ even though it was almost suppertime. It was very tempting to skip supper and go right to dessert!

4 pasteurized eggs ~ beat until foamy
then add:
2 c. sugar
1 quart whipping cream
3 c. whole milk
1 T. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
mix well

*put in ice cream maker (takes about 40 minutes) and ENJOY*

a little grilled pizza

Last night, due to a desperate desire for good pizza (since last week's pizza outing was so-so), I attempted to grill a frozen pizza. When I googled "grill frozen pizza", I was bombarded with links saying things like, "whatever you do, don't even think about grilling a frozen pizza". I discovered that most recipes for grilled pizza call for quickly grilling the crust first (no thick crusts allowed), then slathering on some sauce, and finally, throwing on the toppings ~ which must be minimal to cook properly ~ as fast as humanly possible. Unfortunately, I didn't have an oven or a fresh, unassembled pizza. I had a grill, two Carbone's frozen pizzas, and determination.

After a little more searching, I finally come across someone who said, "I don't know why the internet is full of failed attempts at grilling frozen pizza. It worked for me." Then, he shared how he did it. Turn all burners up high to preheat. Then, leaving on just one burner, put the pizza in and let it cook with indirect heat (not over a flame). Rotate a bit every several minutes and try to maintain the temperature around 400. Sounded easy enough and it worked okay ... but because it was so cold out, it was hard to keep the temperature over 325 ~ even with two burners going. It eventually got cooked and it was mighty tasty ... but ovens are definitely easier :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

a little policeman

My six and 3/4 year-old son was reduced to tears tonight. He likes to play that he is a "real pretend policeman" and this requires his vest, several badges, usually a whistle ... handcuffs and a gun ~ the last two each have a felt holder that he strings onto a large, flat lace and ties around his waist. He doesn't know how to tie bows though, only knots, so often there is a problem of trying to unknot the lace around his waist. This being said, he doesn't know how to tie his shoes yet either. He's had velcro or 'slip-on and cinch' style shoes for most of his life and we keep forgetting to take the time to teach him how to tie.

Tonight, however, after unknotting his waist string Daddy said, "You can't wear this string anymore until you learn how to tie so you can get it off by yourself." He immediately started crying ... "Then I can't be a policeman!" Sob ... sob ... sob. "You can be a policeman as soon as you learn how to tie your shoes," said Daddy. "It's too hard! I can't!" Buddy blubbered. "No, it's not hard. You could learn how to do it tonight," Daddy encouraged. "I can't do it!" More tears. "Yes you can ... and you are going to learn to tie your shoes right now," declared Daddy.

The shoe-tying lesson and practice session took about twenty-five minutes. Buddy was thrilled with his accomplishment and got his "police string" tied on all by himself! He thanked us and then made me seven little pictures (birds, a loon, and a gingerbread person) with "I LOVE YOU MOMMY" on the back of each one :) The small "love" notes were rather special because generally he just draws sheriff badges, walkie talkies, POLICE license plates, and the like ... to cut out and play with.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

a little evening "up north"

We hit the town tonight ~ dashing to and from buildings because of the chilly temperature of 14 degrees! We found the local library and thankfully it was still open for another 17 minutes! It was much nicer and larger than I expected, considering the size of the town. We scurried to find as many Boxcar Children books as possible and a couple of police books for our future police officer ... plus whatever else caught our eyes. (Halo is going to be able to survive a few more days now. She's been desperate for something to read!) Then, we had pizza at Rosalini's ~ unfortunately, it wasn't as good as it has been in the past. It was definitely overcooked ~ dry crust, dark at the edges, cheese more brown than golden. It was good to be out of the cabin, however, and the kids enjoyed the Christmas decorations in the restaurant and the festive lights on the streetlamps. Finally, we stopped at Paulbeck's Market to get some groceries and paper goods. Back at the cabin, we raced inside and Jeff hurried to get the fire roaring again.

"I feel like a real wood-burning heat person!" Jeff exclaimed after adding some logs to the fireplace. "Isn't it amazing that we're basically heating this whole place with wood? I mean, the whole power grid could go down and we'd be just fine because we're heating with wood!!!"

"You're like a real wood-burning heat person?" I clarify for my blog :)

"Yep. I'm going to start keeping track of how much wood we go through every day." Such exciting things we're doing here :)

P.S. Halo loves to help haul the firewood and stack it near the house and fill the copper tub when it gets low ... it reminds her of Laura Ingalls ~ who we are so fond of!

Friday, November 14, 2008

a little chicken

Last weekend, my mother-in-law kindly made a batch of her BBQ Chicken for us. It's one of my favorite things that she makes (perhaps my most favorite thing) ~ and it was exactly what my pregnant self was craving! It's a bit spicy ... and reminds me of Asian food (but it's probably missing some key ingredients that would make it such) ... nonetheless, it's delicious and the recipe is definitely worth sharing.


8 - 10 chicken breasts or tenderloins (more if using tenderloins?)
2 T. oil

dredge chicken pieces in flour and brown in oil. place browned chicken in shallow baking dish. mix the following and pour over chicken. bake at 350 for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

1 c. ketchup
1/4 c. 57 sauce
1/4 c. Worcestshire sauce
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1 - 2 T. cider vinegar
3 garlic cloves ~ minced
1 medium onion ~ minced
1 tsp. salt

Sunday, November 9, 2008

a little about Barbie dolls

I'm not overly fond of Barbie dolls. I wasn't into them as a child either. Nonetheless, I allowed Halo to purchase one this summer ... and she played with it a couple times at most. Then, she asked for more Barbies for her birthday ~ and she received two. She brought all of them up to the cabin with us this weekend.

As Halo was opening the boxes, she read, "Barbie and friends are all about fashion, style, and friendship." Oh, wonderful ... I think. Then, she informed us what each of her dolls have as their fashion motto (according to the boxes). "A touch of sparkle works with everything." "It's all about the shoes." And, "Never underestimate the power of the perfect outfit." What wisdom!

The first thing the Barbie dolls did when they were all unboxed and ready for play, however, was go to church. Halo sang as she danced them around ...

When the sun comes up ... when the sun goes down ... I'm gonna walk in the light of Jesus all the way ...

After "church", Halo went back to reading The Bobbsey Twins while her little brother and sister played Barbies. Buddy promptly made a wakeboard for the girl in the swimsuit out of blue cardstock. He also constructed a boat to pull her behind ~ it worked somewhat. Then, Foofie wanted to put the bikini on another doll and she was having trouble getting the bottoms on. I told her that Halo said the swimsuit didn't really fit the other two dolls very well. "Yes, it does," she said. "I got her top on already. See? She has bumps too!"

Thursday, November 6, 2008

a little excitement

Today was an exciting day for us! My husband FINALLY finished his first rehab house and got it listed! It's still a bit unbelieveable ~ sort of like a pregnancy ... how it often feels like the baby will never arrive ~ it felt like this house would never really be completed. But it is! Hooray! And to top it off, our realtor got a call ~ within just four hours of listing ~ for a showing this evening!

Other excitement: Halo turned nine today ~ she's growing up too fast! We went to Olive Garden for supper and then to the mall for a bit. (She had a lovely party this past Sunday at Grandma T's.)

Friday, October 31, 2008

a little harvest fest

The kids whooped it up at the Harvest Fest at our church this evening. We had a ballerina, a pirate (Disney's Captain Jack Sparrow ~ I hope he's a good pirate), and Snow White with us. Unfortunately, we didn't get a good picture of our beautiful ballerina.

Monday, October 13, 2008

a little more foofie

As I was helping my three year-old in the bathroom today, she said, "Be careful wiping my butt ... because my butt is special."

Later, we were talking about an old doll of mine, named Twinkie.
"I got Twinkie when I was a little girl," I told her.
"Was I the Mommy then?" Foofie asked.
"Was I a kid?" she questioned.
"Where was I?"
"Nowhere yet," I responded. (only in the mind of God, I thought)
"I was somewhere," she insisted.
"Well, where do you suppose you were?" I questioned.
"In church or in heaven."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

a little mishmash

Hello!!! It's been awhile ... so I've got several stories and snippets to share from the past few weeks.

One afternoon, after some shopping (and trying items on) at the mall, we were finally back in the car. Foofie declared, "That was sucking me out!" "Oh," I replied. "You mean it was stressing you out?" "No, it was sucking me out." She repeated.

A few days later, Foofie was studying a ruler that has photos of all of the U.S. Presidents on it. After a bit, she came running over to me and pointing to President Eisenhower, she exclaimed, "That's Pastor King! That's Pastor King!"

Last week, we went to visit Great-Grandpa. There was a traveling petting zoo at his nursing home. After seeing the cow, the llama, the pony, the sheep, the goats, the chickens, the ducks, and the rabbits ... Foofie asked, "Are there elephants here?"

A few nights ago, Foofie ended her bedtime prayer with, "And thank you for the yummy squash. Amen." "But," I reminded her, "You didn't eat any." (She didn't even try it.) "I loved it!" She told me. "Buuuuut ... I didn't like it. But I did see YOU eating it!!!"

Just this evening, we were watching the Presidential Debate ... and Foofie asked what someone's name was. "That's Mr. Brokaw." I answered. "Why did God made his name Mr. Brokaw? Is he broken?" She asked.

This is somewhat obvious, but most of my current funny stories are about my three-year-old ... mostly because she's three. Really young kids often aren't even aiming to be humorous ... they just are ... partially because they have a smaller vocabulary and understanding of things. My older two provided me with plenty of comical sayings and doings to record when they were two and three and four. All this to say, I have less anecdotes at present about my two older kids. Here, however, are a couple of stories about my son and one about my oldest daughter.

We were in the restroom at Target last week. Buddy said, "I remember when I used to be scared of the black-seated potties." (I never knew!)

I was trying to squeeze a bit of a walk in one evening last week. It was almost dark and I was just going up and down our street several times. Buddy was biking by me and a neighbor girl was following along with us. Buddy started singing, "K. T. I. S. Come, now is the time to worship." Then he said to the neighbor friend, "I have a radio on my bike."

Last but not least, my oldest daughter planned a spelling bee. Actually, a spelling match ~ between herself and Daddy. She was going to spell some of her school spelling words and Daddy was going to spell words from a list she made. Some of his words were: microsoft, outlook, document. She was sitting at his desk :) She also selected some words from the dictionary. Buddy was the scorekeeper. Daddy officially won, but Halo did very well. She's a swell speller :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

a little sick

Foofie has a cold. Tonight as I was holding her at bedtime she said,
"If I'm just a little sick then I won't go to heaven. If I'm a lot of sick
then I have to go to heaven ... ... ... Mama, am I a lot of sick?"
"No, honey." I answered. "You're a lot of cute."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

a little about autumn ~ a little bit early

I love tank tops and flip flops ... ice cream and baked beans (especially if my Mom made 'em). So, I'm a little sad that summer is already saying farewell.

The cool, fall weather seemed to arrive in a hurry. I don't think I've ever used my car seat-heater in September before!

My first thoughts about autumn are: less sunlight, cooler temperatures, squash, back to school, and shopping ~ because the kids have outgrown most of their clothing. The best things from this list are squash (I love it!) and school. The "big kids" were bubbling with excitement to go back to their homeschool group on Tuesday ... and we started our own school on Wednesday. A new beginning is always nice!

Here's a little story about the last item on my fall list ~ shopping & outgrown clothes.
Foofie and I were going through some of her old clothes.
She would pick something up and say, "I can wear this!"
"That's too small now." I'd respond.
Then she'd find something else. "This is good for me!"
"No honey, that's too small now too."
(This continued on for a while ...)
Finally, Foofie grabbed some green pants and hopefully declared, "These are not too small now, Mommy! These got big and fat! See? BIG and FAT!"
They were too small, but I didn't want to quash her enthusiam.
"Perhaps we can just fold them up on the bottom and you can wear them as capris now." I offered.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

a little tumbling

Today I accomplished something very trivial ... but it was something that delighted my kids immensely. I did my first headstand ever! And not just one ... but five! The longest headstand lasted for ten seconds ~ maybe eight if I was counting a tad fast.

How this came about is that the kids were doing a bit of tumbling and trying to help each other do handstands by lifting up each others' feet (as they'd seen Mr. Ericksen do with Lars). I told them to work on tripods instead and then maybe ... they could try to do a headstand. (It seemed safer than dropping each other on their heads.)

So, as I showed by example how to do a tripod ... and then how to transition into a headstand ... it went better than I ever imagined possible ~ I actually got my legs up in the air!!! My children immediately began screaming and squealing as though I was a "limpian" (as Foofie calls the Olympic athletes) ... then I crashed on the floor ... and Foofie ran over and jumped on me and yelled, "Ma-meeeeeeeeeeee!" Then, of course, they clamored for more :)

The repeat performances were like the "replay" button. I did the headstand, the kids hooted, Foofie landed on me, "Ma-meeeeeeeeeeee!". Replay. Replay. Replay.

Did I mention my sore head???

Thursday, August 21, 2008

a little perspective

Nothing brings things into perspective like death does ... particularily the death of a child.

One week ago, some good friends of ours lost their precious seven year-old son ... and I can't imagine a more difficult valley to go through. I was thinking of journaling about how unpredictable and fragile life is ... how our family has been impacted ... how it's difficult to balance living in this physical, temporal world with knowledge of eternity ... the importance of the true gospel ... and probably more ~ but it seems like too much to sort through just now. Scripture, however, is superior to my musings anyway ...

"It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting." Ecclesiates 7:2

"The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." Job 1:21

"For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom."
1 Corinthians 1:25

Saturday, August 9, 2008

a little cabin life

Our time "up north" has provided much to blog about. Here's a few snippets of our cabin life:

Friends ...We had some friends up to visit and I asked my family what some of the highlights were. My husband said, "Iron-sharpening conversations and late-night games." To my surprise, the "big kids" both said water-skiing ~ even though it brought them both to tears and they wanted to stop right away. Foofie said, "Having friends here." One of my highlights was swimming across the lake (and it's a good-sized lake) with Mrs. Johnson. It was just scary enough to be exciting. We swam for at least 75 minutes ... maybe closer to 90. We almost had to do a repeat performance because we forgot to time it ... but alas, we were too sore. The next few days felt like I'd done a half-marathon without any training.

Family ... I learned how to ride the motor scooter and used it to fetch the mail one afternoon. That was a hoot! I almost crashed ... but only once ... after that I was just fine!

We celebrated another "happy anniversary" ~ complete with lakeshore dining!

My husband likes the small town feel here ... and stopping at the local bakery when he has an errand to do. He's getting to grill a lot ~ and it's a treat because we don't have one back home. He enjoys the expanded viewing options via satellite ~ we saw Flip that House for the first time last night. (It's a rehabbing show that a few people have mentioned to us ~ kind of interesting.) And of course, he is very energized about the remodel he is working on ~ it'll be quite a transformation!

Overall, we are just relishing the slower pace of life ~ it's calm & peaceful here.

Fishing...We took the kids out on the boat to go fishing on Thursay night with corn, marshmallows, and a few worms for bait ~ no success. On Friday night, however, Halo and Buddy each got three sunnies right off the dock ~ using bee larvae (grubs) for bait!

Daddy had sprayed a big bee hive on Thursday night and took it down Friday afternoon. Then for a science lesson, we took it apart and examined it. The hive is made of a paperlike substance. And there was two combs inside full of bees-to-be. Daddy popped them out ~ and the fish sure gobbled 'em up!

On Sunday, we used a saning net and caught a few dozen minnows to use as bait ~ this minnow catching was exciting in itself. Then this evening, the kids tried the minnows ... Buddy caught a small large-mouth bass (too small to keep) and then he had a larger large-mouth bass (about a pounder) ... but it got away. Halo decided to put one of the minnows in the tank with Bubbles (her beta fish). So ... Bubbles now has a pal (or enemy?) named Flossie. Halo thinks its beneficial because Bubbles is getting exercise by being chased around a bit.

Fun ...Halo & Buddy have discovered that they enjoy fooseball ~ and they're very competitive about it. Halo also located a Monopoly game ~ a character in one of her books likes Monopoly ~ and she promptly started hounding us to play "Mon-Poly" (rhymes with Ron-Jolly). We played an abbreviated game so she could get the hang of it ~ she thought it was pretty neat. Now she is trying to teach her brother to play it with her ~ great idea!

Furry Captive ...We captured a chipmunk in one of Grandpa's traps and it became a constant topic of conversation for the kiddos ~ here's a small sample ...

"It didn't even bite me when I put his water bowl in."
"He's cute. We're keeping it."
"His name is Chip."
"He is not afraid of me 'cause I'm the one who always feeds him."
"Look at him laying on his side and resting."

"Can I take a picture of him?"
"He might get cold in the night."
"I'm gonna make a leash for him."
"I opened his door for five seconds and he didn't even try to come out."
"Can I feed him some more sunflower seeds?"
"Maybe I can shoot at it."
"No, we have to keep it to show Jed and Grandma & Grandpa."
"They've seen a chipmunk before."
"He loves it when I put a stick in there with peanut butter on it."
"Do you think he's friends with that other chipmunk?"

After catching it, we didn't know what to do with it ... and that became a big discussion. The cage is designed for drowning the pests you capture ... but Daddy thought that seemed kind of cruel. He also thought we shouldn't let it free because it's familiar with our kids ~ and might not have enough fear of us now ~ and would be more bold to follow us into the garage or something. Anyway, Daddy decided to free the chipmunk (so he'd have a fair chance at least) and then shoot at it ~ but Daddy missed ~ so it's free now after all. Halo thinks it is probably still afraid of us though because it was shot at. This afternoon, the big kids had some shooting practice ~ and Buddy can't wait to do it again!

P.S. Daddy said he missed because the gun is off.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

a little Scrabble chat

I think it's so wild that I can play Scrabble with people from all over the world ~ from Argentina and Australia ... from New York and California ... from Florida and Canada. And sometimes ... we have a lively "conversation" alongside our game.

I've tried to share the gospel while playing online Scrabble a couple times in the past. Tonight, however, I was playing with a fellow believer ... and we had an encouraging "chat". Here's an excerpt ... you can listen in ...

danajet: hi:) who ya winning for?
win4him: hi. the lord of course.
(then I used all of my letters ... we call this a bingo ... it was fainter for 77 points)
win4him: vn (scrabble code for very nice ... about my bingo)
danajet: thanks.
danajet: do you mean YHWH?
win4him: yes. are you a believer?
danajet: yes, i'm born again.
danajet: where do you live?
win4him: rancho mirage, california
danajet: so ... what kind of a Christian are you?
win4him: well, a faithful one i hope. i go to a non denominational church.
danajet: a big one?
win4him: 300
danajet: heard of way of the master radio?
win4him: no
danajet: it's an excellent radio show
win4him: cool
danajet: today's show was really interesting
win4him: thanks I'll check it out
(then I got another bingo ... equines for 91 points)
win4him: wow you're killing me
danajet: it's mostly about evangelism ... but today's show was more about some current events
win4him: definitely living in interesting times
danajet: no kidding ... crazy world!
win4him: great score thanks for playing may god bless you
danajet: u 2
win4him: ty (thank you)
danajet: share the gospel!
win4him: amen
win4him: i try to all the time ... and sometimes i even use words
danajet: we always need to use words when sharing the gospel
danajet: i know it's not easy ... but if no one ever used WORDS the gospel would never have spread in the first place
win4him: absolutely
danajet: we'll play again sometime
win4him: thank you good night

There's this extremely popular quote from St. Francis of Assisi that he likely was alluding to. It says, "Preach the Gospel at all times ~ if necessary, use words." Lots of Christians have eagerly embraced this idea ~ which is not substantiated in the Bible ~ and unfortunately ... they end up seldom, if ever, using their words. This quote provides an easy justification for staying silent ~ but I know I can never be good enough or nice enough for someone to magically understand these things: their exceeding sinfulness, their destination because of sin, their need of a Savior, the holiness of God, what God has done to cover the sins of those who repent & believe, and how to get forgiveness. Yes, we should try to be nice and do good ... but not to the exclusion of proclaiming the gospel.

In junior high & high school I tried sharing the gospel by my "lifestyle" ... and never once did I actually verbally share the gospel. "Lifestyle evangelism" is a sham, a cop out. Just think how many people I passed by because I was taught that this was an acceptable way to make disciples! Satan must love this "lifestyle evangelism" because it basically just shuts us up! We almost get ashamed of proclaiming the gospel and that should never be ... "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes." (Romans 1:16) When we reach heaven, it will be too late to proclaim the good news to those who are perishing ... the only time to do it is now.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

a little about craigslist

Now I've heard that some people have gotten some really sweet deals on craigslist ... but I'm not one of them. Tonight, my dear husband went off to purchase another craigslist find for me. Thankfully, he didn't have to drive to Apple Valley or Elk River this time ... the bargain happened to be in our own city.

This time, the "find" was a bike for my oldest daughter ... and once again my husband returned home with a P.O.C. (piece of ... and the third word rhymes with wrap and trap). The seat is torn, one of the brakes is out, there is rust on something, the tires are worn and are full of slits or grooves ... I think they'll bust open sometime soon.

I said ... "Ummm ... that looks pretty bad." Husband said, "I can fix it. If I can build a house, I can fix a bike."

Sounds dandy ... I just don't think he'll get around to it in the next few years though. He's too busy fixing POC houses :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

a little MacArthur

John MacArthur Clip
I joined my husband tonight in one of his favorite activities ~ watching sermon clips and related interviews online. Share in the fun by clicking on the above link :)

P.S. It's really brief.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

a little humor

My husband likes to make me laugh. Then, he when he succeeds ... he often says, "I can still make you laugh after x years of marriage." (He doesn't say 'x' of course ... but whatever number we're on. Right now, it's "after almost eleven years of marriage".) So ... here's a recent story that made me laugh.

As my husband was pulling into Menard's ... he spotted a familiar, navy-blue van that belongs to Erick, an electrician friend of ours. As my husband got nearer, he noticed that Erick was sitting in his van. (This doesn't matter ... but I like details ... Erick happened to be in the passenger seat and his assistant was behind the steering wheel. They were drinking pop.)

Then, my husband got into his super secret stealth mode. He slipped in next to the van and hunkered down. Finally, in what he imagined to be a criminal voice ... he said, "Gimme all your electrical wire."

Erick saw my husband in the side mirror and stuck out his hand ... for a handshake.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

a little backyard ... mice, berries, & gardening

Buddy, my son, is on his way to a promising pest-control career. (It might have better success than his enterprise of selling sticks for kindling ~ no one stopped at the "store" he set up ... which was made by tying colorful yarn around three trees to form a triangle pen where he and his sisters waited for customers with little bundles of sticks tied together.) Anyway ... to my surprise, Buddy killed a mouse in our yard on Monday. Then, to my greater surprise, he captured a second mouse on Tuesday! I'll spare you any further details .... except that Halo gets credit as the assistant in this mouse-catching affair. (I sure hope there were only two mice residing here!)

The girls and I went berry-picking last night ... and it was the first time I brought Foofie along this summer. She was really into it ~ and talked about it for the rest of the evening until her very late bedtime. Above, she is happily displaying the evidence of a berry sweet time.

Our garden appears to be coming along rather nicely despite many issues: a novice head gardener with little time for gardening (I think that's me), pesky and persistant weeds, hordes of ants (fire ants?) trying to set up house in our garden, and numerous deer and that visit our yard ... with only a dilapidated chicken-wire fence to deter these animals. (My children have gradually trampled the fence almost down to the ground.) The deer and/or rabbits gobbled everything up last year ... so I'm amazed that the plants are still around!

When we spontaneously decided to try a garden again this year, we just planted what we had on hand ~ oodles of cantaloupe, several carrots, a few beans, and a couple of squash. Food plants amaze me ... the way God has created a tiny seed and "programmed" it to grow into a larger plant, and bear fruit, and make seeds to grow more ~ it's simply fascinating!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

a little about jam

I made a second batch of strawberry freezer jam this week ... and I just love it! It's rather easy (no straining out the seeds), it lasts for a while (it'd be pretty hard for my family to polish off five jars of jam in a few days ... unlike say ... cookies), and it's healthier than any jam I can find on the shelf at Rainbow. Plus, since the berries aren't cooked, I'm under the (hopefully correct) impression that the fruit still retains its vitamins. To top it off ... the jam is just as good slathered over vanilla ice cream as it is on toast. Actually, it's probably tastier on ice cream.

More about jam ... I've been stealthily picking some black-raspberries this week as well ... and to my surprise I've already gathered enough for what else ... but a tiny batch of jam! Last year, it took all of the berries I could locate just to eek out a tiny recipe of black-raspberry jam. However, I recently discovered another bush, and it produces pretty sizeable berries to boot! (I've also gathered a few dozen mosquito bites and a fair amount of scratches ~ but it's worth it.)

I only need two cups of black-raspberry juice to make two coveted jars of yum ... but it takes about five, maybe six, cups of berries to get the two cups of juice. So late last night, I spent fifty minutes just mashing the berries through a strainer to remove the seeds ~ and I had exactly enough! Can't wait to drizzle it over a big bowl of Blue Bunny! Pure YUM!

P.S. Blue Bunny PREMIUM All-Natural Vanilla tastes how ice cream really ought to taste! All it contains is: milk, cream, sugar, dry milk, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and vanilla beans! It can't be beat ... so we always get about eight cartons whenever it's on sale.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

a little doggie blog

I've been thinking lately about the relatively recent elevation of dogs (which many believe is a result of Darwinism) in our society ... and I wonder how far people will take it. Perhaps some will eventually request that their dogs/cats/pets be included in their medical coverage ~ remember, I said it here first :)

A few weeks ago, we talked about what it means to be human in our Sunday School class ... "made in the image of God" ... and naturally, the teaching included how we differ from animals and plants. Our teacher talked about how dogs, for example, don't have feelings like we do ... if they get poo on the carpet, it might look like they feel bad, because they've been TRAINED to do that ... but the dog really doesn't care a bit if there is poo on the carpet or not. After all, as Proverbs 26:11 says, "a dog returns to its vomit".

This is probably scandalous to say, or write, but perhaps dogs are more like plants than people. Dogs, like plants, are living ... but dogs, like plants, don't have a soul. They're makeup is only physical ... not spiritual. They don't have a conscience. People are often confused about all of this because they treat their animals as though they are people ~ and some then begin to assume that dogs can have human emotions. Yes, there is some minimum level of interaction that can occur between a human and an animal ... which does not occur between a human and a plant ... but the animal is still an animal.This doggie-love {animal-love} diminishes the value of human life ~ and our uniqueness as being "made in the image of God".

Sure, dogs can be fun and cute {especially the little ones} ... but all of the dogs in the world put together have less value than one human life because only the human has a soul and bears the image of God. For example, we heard this radio show once where the host (who happens to have a dog that he likes) was asking random people ... if they saw their dog and a person they didn't know both drowning at the same time ... and they were only able to rescue the dog or the person ... which one would they choose to save? "My dog," was the resounding and shocking answer. These people placed too much importance on their pets ... and too little value on human life. They didn't view their pets in light of Scripture. A dog is not a child ... and when I hear things like my neighbor saying "There's Daddy!" to her dog, as her husband joins them outside, I can't help but think what a crazy world this has become. Thankfully Adam and Eve had children ... and didn't just "adopt" some cats or dogs ;)

Don't get me wrong ... I really like animals. Birds are fascinating. I enjoy watching the deer prance through our yard. It was even rather delightful to see our fish, Bubbles, wiggle into his little castle the first few times.

In February, we went to the "Believe" show at SeaWorld ~ and it was almost like worship of the killer whales! The whales were kissed, lauded, and praised ... but their Creator ~ who thought these things up and merely spoke them into existence ~ was not. This was a secular show of course so I didn't expect God to get any credit ... but my point is that the animals are viewed as though they have evolved themselves into something wonderful ... as though they deserve some recognition for their unique characteristics and fantastic abilities. Sure, these whales have been trained to do awesome stunts ... but God gave them the ability in the first place. Yes, the whales are amazing ... but their Creator is infinitely more amazing and awesome. The way that animals are so cleverly crafted should point us to worship and praise the Creator.

Our family has occasionally been viewing some of the DVD series, Planet Earth. It is also secular ... but it does an excellent job of showing how incredible this planet really is. God made each animal perfectly suited for its habitat. Some animals are funny looking and some are beautiful. He gave animals the instincts to know what to eat, how to mate, and how to care for their young. Isn't that amazing? Penguins, rabbits, squirrels, dogs, caterpillars, pigs, zebras, mice, cats, turkeys, bears, snakes, and more ~ all are cleverly made & and each was created by God for a specific purpose ... and none of them were intended to be like sons and daughters.

Furthermore, God made amazing fruits and vegetables which contain seeds to grow more! Berries, mangoes, melons, grapes, and kiwi! Carrots, squash, onions, and green beans! These foods are so interesting ... and create by God just for us! Similar to animals, the focus should not be the foods in themselves ~ they should point us to our Creator! Who, but God alone, could invent thousands of unique animals and plants ~ each for a designated purpose in His creation ~ and create them with a word?

This earth is only temporary ... we can't make it last forever no matter how much "green stuff" we do. Yes, we are to take care of God's land and animals ... and not trash it or be cruel. But someday God is going to make a new heaven and a new earth that will far outshine what we know here!

P.S. We also saw a dolphin show at SeaWorld ~ and it was superb! They have great rides there too :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

a little Bible lesson

This is Halo at 29 months. "Adam and Eve, they sinned against God. HE says, 'Don't eat this fruit, or even touch it, or you will die.' 'You will not die,' said the serpent."

a little ham

Old videos are often the funniest. Here's a classic!

a little persuasion

My almost six and a half year old son asks me, "Can I go to lego dot com and look at the lego kits?"
"I'd rather not have you do that," I respond, "it's not really necessary."
"I haven't done it for a long time though, Mama. It probably was one week ago." He says.
"One week is not a long time." I reply.

"Well, it probably was two weeks ago ... or ... I could go to the world's largest lego store online."
(he had seen something about this in one of his lego direction booklets and was curious about it)
"Then we wouldn't have to go to the store and look at the legos ... and we'd save some gas!"
"Oh fine." His persuasion won.

Monday, July 14, 2008

a little camping trip

We returned yesterday, late in the afternoon, from our first-ever family camping trip.

I must concede that camping is a bit nutty ... we trade our comfortable, clean home & all its conveniences ... for a dirty, cramped tent (where you usually don't sleep very well) & increased difficulty in accomplishing some of the simplest tasks ... like washing your face or prepping vegetables for supper. You enter your abode through a rather tight, zippered opening ... then leave your shoes outside or at the edge of the tent to hopefully prevent the sand from gettting all over ... and finally, you skillfully maneuver towards your sleeping sack. (By the way, my sleeping spot was nothing like my sleep number bed. The king-sized air mattress my husband picked up at Menard's didn't work too well for us. I always felt like I was about to roll down a hill ... and my husband's side had a leak so he'd wake up a couple times a night and blow it up some.)

Furthermore, camping is a lot of work. It's a lot of work to get all packed up and get to the park, it's work to set up your camp, it's work to take down your camp and pack up again, and it's work when you get back home too. There are items to air out, things to hose off, and big bags brimming with dirty laundry. As I grab items from the laundry bags in the mud room and carry them to the washer ... the floor gets speckled with grass, sand, leaves, even a couple of bugs. The kids' shoes really need to be washed as well ... and as for their socks ~ I brought fairly old ones ~ they're ready for the trash. Everything is damp and dirty.

The centerpiece of this camping weekend was supposed to be the fantastic beach at this state park ~ but the weather made that impossible. We went to the beach the first afternoon ... and it was downright chilly! The kids jumped in and were ready to call it quits in under a minute. The second afternoon, when we tried the beach again ... it was incredibly windy. When I set up my folding chair, it immediately toppled over. Sand was flying nonstop. Conversation was nearly shouted. Thus, the swimming was ever so brief again ... and we hastily retreated to a calmer spot on the side of the building that houses the restrooms and dressing rooms. We had a lovely afternoon anyway ... snacking and visiting and watching our kids run around.

The weather report ~ it rained a whopping five times during our sixty-six hours there. It rained the first night shortly after we got all tucked in ... it rained and thundered heavily the first morning (my husband and our friend Mark were working to erect a canopy over our table area during this ... Foofie & I were in the tent waiting for clothing for over an hour). Later that morning, a gal from our group stopped by to tell us that most everyone was headed into town to eat lunch at Pizza Hut and see the new Disney movie ~ she invited us along. I replied with a smile, "Ummm ... our family is camping." The rain did let up that afternoon ... but it was very gray and overcast ... like a damp, dreary, fallish day. That evening, the rain returned with vigor. Mark and family came over to make and eat supper in dryness with us ~ and we were all thankful for the canopy as we supped underneath. The second full day was much like the first. Rain in the morning and more rain in the evening ~ later this time though ~ around 7:30, and we happened to be indoors at the Pavilion (a meeting hall at the park). Our last morning there was dry ... but still cloudy and cool.

On Saturday night, there was a program at the Pavilion that many in our group attended and also some campers we did not know. The program was this old, white-bearded, accordian-playing man who sang a couple songs (like the Ladies are Pretty ... the Liquor is Sweet) and told a few stories (one about an old logging camp). It was a bit hard to hear him and difficult to understand most of what he said. The whole event was a bit goofy. The sad thing is that this guy is probably paid to do this with tax dollars. Following this, a few families went to the nearby gas & convenience station for ice cream ~ we'd had our fill of marshmallows the first two nights. The temp was 54 degrees ... so we stood outside the gas station and shivered while we ate ice cream cones.

Although camping is dirty and difficult ~ and the weather can be disappointing ~ there is still something alluring about it ... about working and playing and sleeping right in the midst of God's incredible creation. All in all, we had a good time. We enjoyed much laughter, pleasant conversation, friendly neighbors, and tasty eats ~ such as homemade pancakes, sweet corn on the cob, yummy grilled chicken, and hobo hamburger.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

a little girl's birthday

My darling daughter turned 3 yesterday ~ and I just can't believe it! I was a little sad ... our "baby" isn't a baby anymore. Anyway, the first thing she said this morning was, "Can I have a drinky please, Mommy?" I was definitely glad that she said "please" ... but my heart smiled when I heard her say "drinky" ~ I guess she's not so big after all.
She had the longest birthday party ever experienced by one of my children ~ and loved every minute of it ~ except for the bee sting she got on a finger (first ever) ... and when the fireworks got started. She was a bit scared right away ... but after being assured that they were not going to hurt her ... she was okay.

The city's firework display was followed up by more firework fun at G & G's. We had some vintage fireworks that an uncle of mine got some years ago ~ they were lit by my fearless brother-in-law. Then, the kids waved some jumbo-sized, and rather erratic, sparklers. And finally, my brother lit a few fountains and tanks that ~ to my amusement ~ were just purchased by my sister-in-law. Fireworks are a funny thing.

Since my daughter was born, many people have told me that the 4th of July is such a fun day to have a birthday ... and they were right!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

a little deer

About 2 weeks ago one of the kids saw this sight out of our window and exclaimed, "Look at the baby deer!" It was so darling! We saw it 2 more times that first week ... but not since. We're still on the lookout though ~ (I wanted to get a better picture than this).

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

a little happiness

My husband was working rather late this evening (until about 9) ... he really wanted to finish the deck he was building. So ... since I hadn't had any exercise yet today ... my kids and I took an evening "bike-walk" by the nearby lake. "Bike-walk" is a term we have used for years and it means: one or more children are on bikes and Mommy walks ~ usually pushing a stroller ~ or occasionally jogs. As we were bike-walking along ... I asked my oldest daughter (who is now 8 2/3) to finish this sentence with something about her day today.

Happiness is ... and she said, "Playing with dolls and playing school." (This surprised me a bit as she usually is reading OR listening to Adventures in Odyssey.)

Then, I asked my son (who is about 6 1/3) ... and he said,
"Happiness is going to the lego website and looking at all of the lego kits."

My youngest daughter ... who will be 3 on July 4th ... agreed with her big sister and said, "Happiness is playing with dolls."

Then I said, "Happiness is strolling along the lake listening to my little girl sing Skip to My Lou, Jesus Loves Me, and God Gave Me The Countenance." (the last one is original to Foofie ... that's my little one's main nickname ... we also call her Foofie-Kins and Foofoo/Fufu ~ I don't usually spell these ... so I'm not sure how they're spelled ;) )

Then we went on and took turns saying other happinesses ... it was a good way to get into their heads a bit.

I also said, "Happiness is a long summer evening." I love summertime ... and it always seems to zoom right by. It's never long enough. This got me to thinking about heaven ... I think/hope it will always be summertime there.

For me ... happiness is NOT when my son does stunts on his bike or scooter. I don't really like it ... and I wish he'd just use things the way they are intended to be used ... but alas, HE'S A BOY!

So ... when we were pretty close to getting home ... he had a new idea ... "Look," he shouted, "I can bike with my eyes closed!" He quickly crashed into the curb before I could tell him to stop being so foolish! I was a bit slow to respond because I wasn't sure I heard him right. Surely he wouldn't be so foolish, I thought. My counsel was something like, "Use the eyes God has given you to SEE with ... you never know how long you'll have them. Do you think biking with your eyes shut is wise or foolish?" Thankfully, he knew the right answer ... and thankfully, he wasn't injured.

Friday, June 27, 2008

a little blog

Let's Start at the Very Beginning ... I was on the phone with my dear sister this morning and she encouraged me to start a blog because she wants to read someone else's blog that she actually knows and she wants me to be able to leave comments on her blog. I had already thought about creating a blog some time back ... but decided against it because:

I think I'd rather play online scrabble if I have a bit of leisure time late at night.

I didn't want to have to figure the whole thing out ... think up a title ... remember another password ... learn how to put pictures on and all of that.

There was probably a third ~ and very compelling ~ reason not to start a blog ... maybe it was just that I didn't know what I'd write about.

NONETHELESS, here it is in all of its splendor ~ or ordinariness I guess, considering this first post ~ but hopefully it will exhibit some splendor sometime ....