Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tackle it Tuesday #1

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

My first Tackle it Tuesday is going to be my bedroom. Laundry, dirty and clean, has a tendency to get dropped on the cedar chest. The extra cedar chest has been blocking the doorway for almost a month. I just need to stack it under the other wooden boxes - which requires heavy lifting, emptying, and moving furniture....I wonder why I have put it off??

I know from experience that I am a much happier person if my room is clean. It is nice to have a peaceful haven in a household full of all boys. My husband is also neater if I give him an example. So putting away and cleaning in my bedroom is the challenge.

The finished product is so nice! Wonder how long I can keep it this way???

Monday, October 30, 2006

Monday Morning Recipe

We are a family on the run like so many others. I try to have hearty snacks with us to stave off the question "Can we stop at......(fill in with any fast food restaurant)?" This recipe is good for breakfast, lunch with soup, or it fills the bill as a portable snack.

Ham and Cheese Scones

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cut in:
2 Tablespoons cold butter

1/2 cup chopped ham (or turkey)
1/2 cup cheese (I have used swiss, cheddar, mixture all are good)
1 cup milk

Quickly combine to form a ball. Flatten into a 1/2" thick circle. Cut into wedges. Place on a cookie sheet, sprinkle cheese on top.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Laugh till you cry

Laughter is something that has been lacking in my life as of late. I am still working through my mother's death and suffering from mild depression. I know it will get better, it's just not there yet.

This evening at AWANA, a dear lady shared laughter with me. She is one of those blessed women that love, laughter and joy shine on her face all the time. It felt so good to sit and talk, we laughed over silly things that we had both done fairly recently. We laughed until we both had tears streaming down our faces. I had forgotten how good that feels. I am praying that laughter will return and that some day I will be viewed as a woman that emits love, laughter and the joy of Jesus.

Sunday Hymn Post

The boys and I are studying Revelation at Community Bible Study this year. It has been a very humbling experience to realize that the scroll God holds in His Hand can only be opened Jesus. He is the only one who is worthy. This hymn was taken from the verse Revelation 5:9.

Worthy is the Lamb

Worthy is the Lamb,” the hosts of Heaven sing,
As before the throne they make His praises ring;
“Worthy is the Lamb the book to open wide,
Worthy is the Lamb Who once was crucified.”


Oh, this bleeding Lamb, oh, this bleeding Lamb,
Oh, this dying Lamb, He was found worthy;
Oh, this bleeding Lamb, oh, this bleeding Lamb,
Oh, this dying Lamb, He was found worthy.

Worthy is the Lamb, Who shed His precious blood
To restore a world to happiness and God;
“When no eye could pity and no arm could save,
”Jesus for our ransom, Himself freely gave.


Worthy is the Lamb, the bleeding sacrifice
Who for Adam’s race paid such a fearful price;
Worthy is the Lamb, the Paschal Lamb of God,
For the world received “Redemption thro’ His blood.”


“Worthy is the Lamb,” let men and angels sing,
“Worthy is the Lamb,” let hallelujahs ring;
And when life is past, upon the golden shore,
“Worthy is the Lamb,” we’ll shout forevermore.


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Saturday, October 28, 2006

My Yarn Stash

Yarn....such a beautiful thing! I am finding it is very addicting to purchase. I can't just buy one when I go to look, I must add several skeins. The following picture is proof. I am currently knitting my first pair of socks, yet in my stash is enough yarn to knit at least ten more pairs. I should get very good at socks. I do not plan to purchase anymore sock yarn until this pile is depleted. Do you believe I can hold off???

Most of the above yarns are from Knit Picks. I think they have great prices and I was delighted with their selections until I started listening to the experts. Anyone who has completed a pair of socks is an expert in my book! They were talking of Socks That Rock and Lorna's Laces. What could these yarns be like? My LYS did not carry these brands. So the ever present and helpful internet came to my rescue. My first "expensive" yarn purchase was the STR in Lagoon - below, center.

Isn't it beautiful? Then I went with two different Lorna's Laces colors. I ordered them from Angelika's. I was thrilled with her customer service. I ordered on Thursday and the yarn was delivered on Saturday. Wow! The solid color is Harvest and the bottom is Camelot (an exclusive for Angelika), both are Shepherd Sock.

While I still like my yarn from Knit Picks, the STR and LL are calling. Which to use first? What pattern? Oh the decisions - how fun!

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Safety Warning

Do not put melted, boiling butter in an empty coke can! It can boil over, spew and cause one massive mess.

How do I know this? Last night I was making potato soup. I had the butter melting on the stove when one of my young knights needed something. (Hint, do not leave melting butter on a gas range unattended)

When I came back, a few minutes (15) later, the butter was burned...a horrible blackish brown. I knew I did not want to pour it down the disposal. So I looked for somewhere to put it.

There on the counter was the perfect depository...an empty Dr. Pepper can. I began pouring the melted butter in. Almost immediately, I heard fizzing and popping and the mess began spewing all over the counter. Evidently, the can was not quite empty...there were a few drops of DP left. That was enough to cause a minor volcano and a major mess of melted butter goo on my kitchen counter!

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Mother Was Right

My mom loved to sew. She kept telling me how much fun it could be and I should just give it a try. "A good machine makes all the difference" she would say. I never believed her.

My old blog has an entry describing how a sewing machine came to live at my house. It has almost been a year since she bought it for me. She was appalled that I paid someone to sew patches on Cowodie's cub scout uniform, so she bought me a Pfaff. "This is the last sewing machine you will ever need".

Little did we know then that she would not be around much longer and I would have her machines as well. Now I have three "good machines", the Pfaff, a Designer I, and a Babylock Ellageo. I have learned to sew on all of them. Mom's machines do embroidery along with sewing and I have learned how to use those features. The machines are actually smarter than me. I can touch the screen, tell it what I want to sew and the machine tells me which needle and stitch.

I wish I could tell mom she was right. I am enjoying using the machines and I am almost to the point that I can say sewing is fun.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Reminder to Self

Spunky over at SpunkyHomeschool had a wonderful quote that is worth repeating:

"The offers are all so very tempting. I would enjoy many of them and maybe even make some needed cash (for a new computer?) But in earning the extra money, I know I would be short changing my children. That's a net loss in my opinion. My time with my children is so short. It's hard to say no. But I'd rather say no to those who don't know me, than to the little ones sitting around me each day.

I must say "no" to others, so I can say "yes" to my children."

Say no to someone today.

Gray Friday Morning

We woke up this morning to gray skies and howling wind. It is in the 50s, but seems much colder. It is amazing how much the sound of the 20 mph wind plays into our thinking.

I had Taste of Home Entertaining party last night. Several friends came for fellowship and fun. We had a great time. Taste of Home is a wonderful cooking magazine, I have subscribed to it for years. The company has now ventured into the home party market much the same as Southern Living at Home. I was impressed by the quality of their products and they have several beautiful and unique things. I have to laugh, I remember going to Home Interiors parties with my mom as a child. Home parties have come along way since the days of "groupings" and "brass butterflies". Did your home have the brass butterflies? Not only did my mom have them, but both grandmas and just about every family at church!

I made some fun recipes that I had never tried before...one was the classic Knorr's spiniach dip. The other was a "4 cheese pate". I was a little put off by this one at first, isn't pate some kind of animal liver??? It was actually just a fancy cheese ball. Everyone liked it. I may post it as a Monday Morning recipe when it is closer to the holidays.

Cowodie's first Grand Slam!

Tonight the Braves had a make up game against a fairly tough team. Our records for the season were neck and neck and talent wise the teams were evenly matched. I was unable to attend, so RacerDad had to give me a recap.

The bases were loaded. The coach from the other team had placed his outfielders according to Cowodie's hit from the first inning. His first hit had gone to left field. He lined up to hit and hit a solid hit to the fence in the right field. There was not a player out far enough to field the ball. Cowodie had already rounded second before the outfielder got to the ball. He made it home without any problems.

Cowodie was so happy. The grin on his face as he told me about it was definitely ear to ear. What a hit!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Things to make you Smile

Cozy reader has some really funny one liners posted. Grab your kiddos and be ready to grin!

Cozy Reader: You Can't Read This Without Smiling#links#links

Thursday Thirteen #2

Thirteen Things I Wish I had More Time For

1.... Dates with RacerDad...We have a lovely sitter who comes for free, but currently the boys baseball schedules send us off in different directions on date night.
2....Playing games with the boys. By the time we finish with school, housework and various other activities, we have plenty of time together but not necessarily just playing.
3....Sleeping in....enough said.
4....Bible Memory. This I have the time for, but the memory is lacking!
5....To do puzzles...without sweet little hands "helping me" by carrying the pieces away.
6...Exploring new recipes with someone else doing the clean up.
7....Lunches/Dinners with girlfriends....lots of talking and laughing.
8....Reading, uninterrupted - into the wee hours. Then see number 3.
9....Bubble Baths
10..Relaxing vacations
11..Going to museums
12..Hobbies, maybe I have enough time to do them and my problem is that I have too many different interests!
13..Visiting and gaining wisdom from my grandmothers and mother...they are all gone now and I am too young to be the "wise matriarch".
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. http://justmyrambling.blogspot.com/
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. ItÂ’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Monday Morning Recipe

Cooler temperatures have caused me to bring out some of my favorite fall and winter recipes. Tonight we will be having Dijon Sirloin Tips. I got this recipe from Taste of Home magazine. My family loves the recipes I have gathered from that magazine, it is one of the best!

Dijon Sirloin Tips
1 1/4 pounds sirloin tips, cubed
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon cooking oil
3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup beef broth
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup whipping cream
In a large skillet, brown meat in butter and oil; transfer to a 2-qt baking dish. In the same skillet, saute mushrooms and garlic until mushrooms are tender, about 3 minutes. Pour mushrooms and liquid over meat. Cover and bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours or until meat is tender. In the same skillet, combine broth, vinegar and soy sauce; bring to a boil Boil for 2 minutes; set aside. Combine mustard, cornstarch and cream; stir into broth mixture. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Drain juices from baking dish into broth mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Add beef mixture. Serve over egg noodles.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Pumpkin Fun

Pumpkin guts too slimy for you?? Do your children agonize over every cut you or they make? Grab your darlings and head over to this interactive pumpkin carving. Guaranteed to make you smile!

The Man in the Iron Mask

I finished reading The Man in the Iron Mask by Dumas this week. I have to say, I was sadly disappointed in this novel. I have enjoyed Dumas' other works that I have read: The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. I found this book to presume too much on the part of the reader. Characters were mentioned, but no depth was given. It was assumed you would remember the characters from previous novels such as Twenty Years Later. There were also political intrigue events that were left dangling.

I will admit that this is a novel about which I had preconceived notions. I have seen the movie several times and found it to be a very enjoyable plot. Typically, I read the book first and so the movie is a let down or at the least an inferior representation. This is a case where the title is practically all that is the same of the mediums. In the novel, the man in the mask, plays a trivial point in the plot. As a matter of fact, the character is barely discussed. He is the catalyst for events in the latter part of the book, but you are never aware of what happens to him.

When I researched others thoughts on the novel, I found that many loved the book and found it to be a fitting end to the Musketeers serial. I will go ahead and read other Dumas novels, maybe familiarizing myself with some of the lesser known works will give me a better feel for The Man in the Iron Mask. Right now, though, I am disappointed in a book I had long looked forward to reading.

Sunday Hymn

While on the campout this weekend, I had to get up and leave the tent in the middle of the night. As I was heading back, I looked up at the crystal clear sky, saw the millions of stars and all I could think was "Oh, My God. When I in awesome wonder consider all the works thy hand hath made."
How Great Thou Art

Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed;
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
When through the woods and forest glades
I wander and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
and hear the brook, and feel he gentle breeze;
And when I think that God his son not sparing,
Sent him to die - I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin:
When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home- what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, my God, how great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

Knitting in the Woods

Cowodie and I just got back from a weekend with his Cub Scout Pack. We went to a Scout Ranch, boy heaven not too mom friendly. This was our third year to attend, so I knew what I was in for. It is boy heaven because of wide open spaces, ditches and creekbeds to explore, caves, bb gun range and an archery event. There is also a "haunted" hayride - spooks provided by local Boy Scout troops. The scenery is fantastic and the stars were indescribable. I saw the Milky Way for the first time, truly a testament to God's Glory! Now for the not too mom friendly part....no running water, no electricity, everything you bring must be packed out and for the best part...LATRINES. Not very private latrines at that! I can do anything for one evening, especially for the thrill that Cowodie get when we go, it will be the topic of conversation for weeks to come.

The good thing? Lots of knitting was accomplished. I rode with a friend, so there was three hours of uninterrupted knitting time. I worked on the scarf during that time. It is over half done now. While standing in line for the different events, I worked on my 2nd sock. I found a fanny pack to be the perfect sock transport for this. My yarn was able to move freely and when I needed to put the project away it fit perfectly! This sock is now ready for the heel flap, I should be able to finish it and the scarf by next weekend.

Poor RacerDad, Speedy B and Smoda stayed home. Speedy B had baseball games. They were sad to miss, but when they heard how cold it was, they were glad to have had access to warm beds.

Friday, October 20, 2006

No more Tag??

Spunky has an interesting post about the children's game of tag. I don't think you will believe what she has found. I taught public school in my life before children and remember we used to tell the children no fighting on the playground...but no tag?

Christmas Gift #3 OTN

Here it is gift number 3. I can show it here, because the person it is for doesn't know about our blog. It is going to be a scarf. I have never used fun fur before, it is going quickly and is very soft. It is not exactly my style, but will fit the person it is for perfectly!

Yarns: Lion's Brand Fun Fur, champagne; Patons Katrina, oyster

Needles: size 15

Going from the DPNs size 1 to these size 15 is quite unique. I told my husband I felt like I was going from toothpicks to broomsticks!

Nature Study - Snake

This evening a homeschool friend let us come and see a snake they found on their back patio. It was the smallest snake I had ever seen. Slightly bigger than a large earthworm. The boys were delighted that they could hold a real snake. It was fascinating the head was so small and the forked tongue was miniscule. I believe she said it was a rough ground snake. I took some pictures, unfortunately they did not come out as clear as I would have liked.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Queen of Laundry

Laundry is the bain of my existence. I am grateful that we have clothes to wear and ever so thankful that I have a washer and dryer in which to clean them. But I hate to do laundry. I think the reason for my poor feelings is the fact that laundry is NEVER done. Even if all clothes are washed and put away, when my family of five goes to bed immediately there is another full load, if not two.

Mom was the Queen of Laundry. She was always on top of it and never understood why I could not be. I tried to explain to her that the problem was four additional people. She would calmly say "The trick is to do one load a day." I would smile and tell her that I did two if not three a day...she would never believe it. Whenever she came to visit, she would help with the laundry. It gave her a purpose and she felt that she was really helping out. Boy, was she! I would have loved her help today. I thought I had all the loads done about 10:30 this morning. Foolish me! RacerDad sent the boys up to straighten up their rooms, soon after I went into the laundry room. I couldn't even walk in there! The boys had piled clothes all in the floor, there was not even walking space. Oh, well...I guess I can call it job security.

Thursday Thirteen #1

Thirteen Things I Love About Fall

1…. The colors...the grass begins to green up after a blistering hot summer, leaves start to change...

2....Pansies...I guess this should go under color.

3....Pumpkin pie

4....Waking up under a down comforter

5....Chilly morning temps

6....Fires glowing in the fireplace

7....Yankee candles, all the "spice scents"

8....Hot tea all day, not just for breakfast

9....Cozy evenings at home knitting

10...The World Series

11...Evening walks under clear starry skies

12....Thick, chunky socks

13...The Holidays are coming

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. http://www.amychristopher.blogspot.com/
2. http://mentalmommy.blogspot.com/
3. http://zumfamily.blogspot.com/
4. http://fourbzboysmom.blogspot.com/
5. http://www.patentprincess.com/

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Batting Jacket

Now that I have learned how to program names and work a bit with the embroidery software, RacerDad is putting me to work. He purchased a batting jacket for Speedy B and asked me to put the team name and B's number on it.

I must say this one took a bit of thought. I had only practiced on flat pieces of fabric, I did not have to work around sleeves and neck holes before! It didn't turn out too bad. I know if we had purchased it at a local embroidery shop we would have spent $25 - $30. This way it was just the cost of the jacket and my time.

Number in the center back.
Team name on the left side.

Not too bad for a first attempt at a garment. I did have to pick the beginning of the "S" out one time, for some unknown reason it started sewing in white (bobbin color). I rethread everything and it was fine. Go figure!

Monday Morning Recipe

This is a favorite of the boys. They are not hard to make, just slightly labor intensive. I set it up assembly line fashion and each boy takes a part. The good thing, if you double or triple the recipe, you will have cinnamon rolls for several teas or breakfasts.

Mini Cinnamon Rolls (single recipe)

18-20 slices decrusted white bread

Combine for filling:
1 t. vanilla
1 egg
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar

In one bowl:
1 1/2 sticks melted butter

In one bowl:
1 cup sugar
2 T. cinnamon

Flatten each piece of bread with a rolling pin. Spread filling mixture on each slice. Roll up jelly roll style. Roll each in melted butter, then in cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place 5 rolls on a sheet of foil. Wrap and freeze overnight or longer.

When ready to bake, slice each roll into 5 pieces. Place on a cookie sheet, cut side down. Bake at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes. Turn over and bake an additional 6 minutes or until golden brown.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunday Hymn

Amazing love! How can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me? Beautiful words from a current praise song that plays quite frequently on Christian Radio. I love to have those words running through my head. But the rest of the words to the old hymn they were taken from are just as beautiful.

And Can it Be That I Should Gain

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.’
Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Charles Wesley wrote this hymn in 1738. The boys and I learned quite a bit about him and the material for the hymns he wrote in a book called Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers. A very easy reading and fascinating way to learn about the hymns of the Christian faith.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Pillowcase and Baseball

I was able to use the Babylock to embroider names. It was not easy, I had to walk away several times. You don't just use the sewing machine, you actually program on the computer, download to a floppy disk and then put it on the computer. I was pleased with the results. There were lots of compliments at the ballgames today. I even had some ladies place orders for Christmas presents. My mom would be laughing to know that I am considering sewing as a way to earn some extra money...me who would never even consider sewing!

Pillowcase that matches Smoda's boxers.
Speaking of ballgames, Speedy B's team split with the other team today. The first game we lost, though the boys were able to come back from a 7-0 deficit to end the game 8-9. The second game they were over their slow start and they won 9-5. Their coach consistantly calls them "The Cardiac Kids". Today they lived up to their name.

Speedy B catching

Cowodie's team won as well. They beat the other team 20-1. It was a shame. RacerDad and the head coach always work hard to encourage the players on both teams and there was a mother on the other team who was giving RacerDad a hard time as he pitched. RacerDad takes his job very seriously. He wants the boys to have success, but he does not push to the disadvantage of the other team. The heckling of the mother has really bothered him. I wish that people in the stands would think before they speak.

RacerDad Starts Vacation

Let the cheering begin..... One full week of work at home projects can now begin. We moved into this house at the beginning of April. Of course baseball was in full swing and we had our old house to get ready to sell. So until July, our focus was get the old house ready to sell. God was so good and within 36 hours of putting the house on the market, we had a contract for full asking price.

We still have several projects we would like to finish...a ceiling fan/light in the library, storage shed, flower beds, RacerDad's car. This is the week.

I hope to report on lots of progress!

Friday, October 13, 2006

What a Friday!

Today has been one of those days when I have to work really hard at remembering how blessed I am. It started with us frantically trying to get schoolwork accomplished and the house picked up so that I could have another lesson on the sewing/embroidery machines. Things were going along fairly well....if you could ignore the delightful bickering in the background.

We were interrupted in our progress by "these really cool birds" that Speedy B saw in the front yard. Everyone went running outside to look, myself included. The biggest crows I have ever seen were in our yard and on the neighbors rooftop. During our little science lesson outdoors, the lady who was coming for sewing called (actually she had her husband call) to say she was not going to make it today. This was five minutes AFTER her expected arrival time. Why can't people be considerate and if they are going to cancel on you, do it in a timely manner?? Oh well, I went upstairs and tried it on my own. I was able to figure a few things out. I was able to put Smoda's name on a pillowcase that matches his boxers. I also figured out how to do a rolled hem, I am wanting to make some Thanksgiving napkins. I think I can do it.

We went to piano lessons, ran errands and had lunch. One of my errands was to the sewing center to figure out why I could not use the Viking software that I have. Evidently I am missing this little piece called a dongle. No problem I should be able to replace it.....for $550. I have to rebuy the software and the dongle. The dongle is the "security device" to keep people from pirating the software. Mom would have had it plugged into the USB port of her computer, I wasn't the one to pack the computer and no one else remembers having seen it. So for now I am using the Babylock instead of the Designer I.

Tonight, I went to get my "Mystery Gift #1" out to show RacerDad. It was complete, I was so proud. It was gone...no longer in my bag. The last time I saw it was at piano lessons. I have traveled many miles since then. I am just hoping it is at the music studio and that when I call them tomorrow, the answer will be "of course we have it".

Such a Friday.....time for bed!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Knitting Rules - My Review

I just finished reading Knitting Rules by The Yarn Harlot. It was a delightful read, as well as practical. I don't know how I really classify as a knitter... Intermediate Beginner, I guess.

I have knit for years off and on, more off than on. Dishclothes were my mainstay, easy to knit, quick and appreciated as gifts. One day I decided to make a shawl following the same plan. It worked and the shawl will be great if I am ever stuck outdoors in a blizzard (not likely in Texas!) - I envisioned an ethereal lacy cobweb and ended up with industrial thickness and strength. I decided to try again, the next attempt was better. Third time was the charm. I actually worked with a pattern that included knit togethers and yarn overs, I have had many compliments on the end result. The problem with this shawl was my knitting location. I have never had a problem KIP until that project. 100% alpaca and Texas summers outdoors do not go together well. The shawl was my baseball project and I just about died with the heat! So my knitting journey made the detour to socks...socks led to internet searches....resulting in finding the Yarn Harlot...ending in reading her book.

I would definitely recommend her book. The directions are clear. Each section covers different projects..hats, scarves, shawls, socks, etc. Projects are simple with suggestions for variations. Interspersed thoughout the book are witty stories and reasons to (or not to) knit each project. I found the tone of the book to be friendly even for a beginner. I followed her basic sock pattern for the toe decreases in my first sock. I am almost finished with a stocking hat from the book as well. If you are looking for a fun read on the topic of knitting I don't think you could go wrong with Knitting Rules.

Smoda's Pirate Story

Smoda sat at the dining table and diligently worked on a picture before dinner. As soon as he had drawn the last line, he told me he needed me to write the story. The following is his creation.

Once upon a time there was a pirate called Samuel. He was surprised by a bad pirate called Burr. They fought. Samuel won the fight. He said "Argh".

Now this will never qualify as classic literature, but I am sure proud of his first writing attempt!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bible Study, Sewing and Tea

Wednesday mornings the boys and I attend Community Bible Study (CBS). This year we are studying the Book of Revelation. It was pointed out that it is the book of Revelation not Revelations as we in the Southern part of the US are so apt to call it. I really had never thought much about it, I know I am guilty of calling it Revelations. But the point is, John only had ONE revelation and thus the name of the book. This book can be a dividing point among many Christians...does it reveal end times, has it already happened, should we study it, just to name some of the differing points. Our teaching leader made an excellent point this morning, that really applies to the entire Bible. What does this book (chapter, verse, etc.) teach me about God? What does this book (chapter, verse, etc.) teach me about myself. If I stick to those questions and not worry about the "mystery" of the book I will learn alot this year.

Halloween boxers made for Smoda

The boxers are bitter sweet for me. My mother always made boxers for the boys. It was one of the things they really looked forward to receiving. Last year, at this time, she made the last pairs for the boys. She was never happy with the waistband. They worked, but not to her liking. On the very last pair she made she got the waistband "right". In January, we talked about making the boys some Valentine's sleep pants together. She was going to teach me the elusive waistband trick. Needless to say, she passed away before we had a chance to do the pants. I hadn't even thought of doing them alone. Then the other day we were at Hobby Lobby and Smoda saw this fabric. He HAD to have it. When I asked him what he wanted to make, he informed me boxers. Well, I did it. I think my mom would be proud. She always wanted me to sew.

Getting Smoda to stand still for the picture was next to impossible. He started dancing as soon as the boxers were on his body!

He wasn't the only one doing the Happy Dance. I received an order from Teavana today. I wish you could smell the tea....oh, so heavenly! The one on the left is Almondina Biscotti, it actually has slivers of almonds. The other is Phoenix Dragon Jasmine Pearl. I don't think you can see it, but each tea leaf is rolled into a tiny pearl shaped ball. It relaxes as it steeps and is absolutely delicious. The tea came just in time, we are going to have a cold front pass through tomorrow. I can just picture the day...curled up in a chair reading to the boys, drinking yummy tea.

Christmas Gift #1 is OTN

I began Christmas gift #1 yesterday. I found it rather ironic that I finished my first sock, with decreases, heel flap, gussets, Kitchener stitch....and then couldn't cast on 102 stitches! It took 5 times to get the cast on correct. Who would have figured????

I am using size 8 needles and a hunter green Encore yarn. Can the serious knitters figure out what I am making??

I will post a picture later.


Smoda began Kindermusik class yesterday. Poor third child, up till now he had no scheduled activities, other than AWANA which we did as a family. He has been a trooper going to endless baseball games, pitching lessons, baseball camps, piano lessons and cub scout activities.

Then it happened, two weeks ago he looked at me and in a sweet little voice said..."When do I get to do something?" Boy, talk about a guilty feeling on my part. The other boys had done various little classes geared to their ages, but not Smoda. So I found a Kindermusik class for him.

Talk about excited. He got up yesterday morning and drew a picture for his teacher. His music bag was by the front door by 9:00a.m. He wondered all day what instrument he would play. We listened to the CD endlessly.

After class, he was all smiles. He loved it! When does he get to go back. I am so happy I made the effort to find the class. It is the little joys like this that make being a mom worth it all.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Lego Robotics Class

Monday I had Lego Robotics class. We worked with NXT, NXT are the new Lego Mindstorms. Mindstorms are normal Legos with motors, sensors, and a brain. We program them to do tasks. Monday, we made a robot that went around shoes. It did the task, but it moved the shoes. The shoes were the course. We made a bumper so it didn't tear up the shoes.

Speedy B (in the gray shirt) and his partner SW. The robot is behind the red and white shoe.

Lego class is a bunch of fun.

by: Speedy B

The Raggedy Man

The poets and poetry that AmblesideOnline exposes us to is just one reason I love the AO curriculum. I am learning as much as my children.

The Raggedy Man
by: Jame Whitcomb Riley

O the Raggedy Man! He works fer Pa;
An' he's the goodest man ever you saw!
He comes to our house every day,
An' waters the horses, an' feeds 'em hay;
An' he opens the shed -- an' we all ist laugh
When he drives out our little old wobble-ly calf;
An' nen -- ef our hired girl says he can --
He milks the cow fer 'Lizabuth Ann. --
Ain't he a' awful good Raggedy Man?
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

W'y, The Raggedy Man -- he's ist so good,
He splits the kindlin' an' chops the wood;
An' nen he spades in our garden, too,
An' does most things 'at boys can't do. --
He clumbed clean up in our big tree
An' shooked a' apple down fer me --
An' 'nother 'n', too, fer 'Lizabuth Ann --
An' 'nother 'n', too, fer The Raggedy Man. --
Ain't he a' awful kind Raggedy Man?
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

An' The Raggedy Man one time say he
Pick' roast' rambos from a' orchurd-tree,
An' et 'em -- all ist roast' an' hot! --
An' it's so, too! -- 'cause a corn-crib got
Afire one time an' all burn' down
On "The Smoot Farm," 'bout four mile from town --
On "The Smoot Farm"! Yes -- an' the hired han'
'At worked there nen 'uz The Raggedy Man! --
Ain't he the beatin'est Raggedy Man?
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

The Raggedy Man's so good an' kind
He'll be our "horsey," an' "haw" an' mind
Ever'thing 'at you make him do --
An' won't run off -- 'less you want him to!
I drived him wunst way down our lane
An' he got skeered, when it 'menced to rain,
An' ist rared up an' squealed and run
Purt' nigh away! -- an' it's all in fun!
Nen he skeered ag'in at a' old tin can ...
Whoa! y' old runaway Raggedy Man!
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

An' The Raggedy Man, he knows most rhymes,
An' tells 'em, ef I be good, sometimes:
Knows 'bout Giunts, an' Griffuns, an' Elves,
An' the Squidgicum-Squees 'at swallers the'rselves:
An', wite by the pump in our pasture-lot,
He showed me the hole 'at the Wunks is got,
'At lives 'way deep in the ground, an' can
Turn into me, er 'Lizabuth Ann!
Er Ma, er Pa, er The Raggedy Man!
Ain't he a funny old Raggedy Man?
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

An' wunst, when The Raggedy Man come late,
An' pigs ist root' thue the garden-gate,
He 'tend like the pigs 'uz bears an' said,
"Old Bear-shooter'll shoot 'em dead!"
An' race' an' chase' 'em, an' they'd ist run
When he pint his hoe at 'em like it's a gun
An' go "Bang! -- Bang!" nen 'tend he stan'
An' load up his gun ag'in! Raggedy Man!
He's an old Bear-shooter Raggedy Man!
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

An' sometimes The Raggedy Man lets on
We're little prince-children, an' old King's gone
To git more money, an' lef' us there --
And Robbers is ist thick ever'where;
An' nen -- ef we all won't cry, fer shore --
The Raggedy Man he'll come and "'splore
The Castul-halls," an' steal the "gold" --
An' steal us, too, an' grab an' hold
An' pack us off to his old "Cave"! -- An'
Haymow's the "cave" o' The Raggedy Man! --
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

The Raggedy Man -- one time, when he
Wuz makin' a little bow-'n'-orry fer me,
Says "When you're big like your Pa is,
Air you go' to keep a fine store like his --
An' be a rich merchunt -- an' wear fine clothes? --
Er what air you go' to be, goodness knows?"
An' nen he laughed at 'Lizabuth Ann,
An' I says "'M go' to be a Raggedy Man! --
I'm ist go' to be a nice Raggedy Man!"
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

From Wikipedia: James Whitcomb Riley (Greenfield, Indiana October 7, 1849July 22, 1916), American writer and poet called the "Hoosier poet" and America's "Children's Poet" made a start writing newspaper verse in Hoosier dialect for the Indianapolis Journal in 1875. Some of his phrases remained in the popular repertory after the poems were no longer read: "when the frost is on the punkin.

My Library

It has always been my dream to have a library. I always figured it would be a closet somewhere, never a full fledged room.

When we moved into our new home, the formal living room was destined to become the "schoolroom". RacerDad put the bookshelves in for me. I ordered three of them from Staples, put them together and set them up. He thought we could fit a fourth, I wasn't sure. Measurements proved that a fourth would be tight, but it would fit.

I ordered another bookcase, put it together and had it ready for RacerDad to put into place. It was too tight! Unfortunately, our walls are not square. Whose are? That did not stop my creative husband. He was sure that removing the baseboard on one side would solve the problem. Well he removed the baseboard on both ends and we were still lacking 1/2" from the perfect fit.....any fit. Out came the hacksaw. I wasn't sure what he was going to do with a saw, in my schoolroom, late at night. I should have known he would not be stopped by a little thing like a 1/2". He began trimming the foot of the bookshelf. Little by little, the sawdust pile grew, then it was enough. Needless to say, we now have custom "built-in" bookshelves.

We had the room painted a beautiful shade of gold, actually Manored Gold by Sherwin Williams. Then we put in a stone-look tile rather than the cut berber. My schoolroom was finished. The more I looked I determined the room needed a better name than "schoolroom". Rarely do we do school in there anyway. Then it hit me....I finally have a library. It still lacks a big comfy chair. Not sure where that would fit anyway. We are about to need more bookshelves!

My Middling One

My middle knight is Cowodie. Seated at the piano is where you will find him much of the time. He loves to play and requires very little prompting to complete his practice.....now theory is another issue!

Cowodie also plays baseball and is a very active cub scout. I am delighted that he enjoys so many things and does not limit himself.

His favorite school subject is science/nature study. We are currently reading The Burgess Animal Book. He loves to learn about the various animals and then spends time drawing them for his notebook. As a matter of fact, he chose the weasal as the animal to research for cub scouts.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sock Number One DONE!!

Are you ready for this??? My very first sock. Kitchener Stitch and all. It was much easier than I thought it would be and quite enjoyable.

Basic Beginner Sock pattern

Yarn: Knitpicks Dancing

Needle size: 1

I am already ahead of the game, I began sock number 2 right after I finished the heel flap on the first one so that I would remember what I was doing.

Please let me know what you think!

This Weekend's Baseball

Speedy B and Cowodie both had baseball games this weekend. We tend to live at the ballfields on Saturday. This weekend was a little different, we were able to finish early...all three games were done by 1:30. Woo Hoo!!

Speedy B's team, The Stingers, won both of their games. Unfortunately, this fall, the league did not have enough 10U teams register, so his division is mainly 9U teams. The team they played Saturday was one of the 9U teams that did not have much experience. It was very painful to watch. I hate to see a team lose by as many points as they did.

Cowodie's team, the Braves, also did well. Cowodie hit a 2 run in the park homerun. Of course he is elated. RacerDad is pretty proud as well.

New Injection System

As most of you know, RacerDad is building a new front engine dragster. On Friday, his new injection system was delivered. He could hardly wait to open the box. Now did I know what I was looking at??? Of course not! But the excitement on his face helped me make the appropriate comments. Men.......boys with much bigger toys!

Monday Morning Recipe

I love all things pumpkin. Since it is fall, (who would know here in Texas!), I am ready to pull out my pumpkin recipe stash and experience the warm cozy feel they give me. This is a new recipe for me. A friend of my mother's shared it with me recently, I am giving it a try this week.


1 - 15 oz. can of pumpkin
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 - 12 oz. can evaporated milk

Mix the above ingredients together and pour in greased 9X11 cake pan.

Sprinkle yellow cake mix over pumpkin mixture.

Sprinkle pecans on top of cake mix.

Melt 2 sticks of oleo and pour over top of cake mix and pecans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 - 60 minutes.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Columbus Day Activities

A great easy book to introduce Christopher Columbus to your children.

This site has a brief secular account of Christopher Columbus. It does include some printable crossword and word search puzzles.

The Library of Congress site has some wonderful pictures that would be good to print for a Book of the Centuries. There is also brief bit on how the holiday came about.

For older students, The Columbus Navigation page offers some excellent studies.

Sunday Hymn

O Worship the King
O worship the king all glorious above,

O gratefully sing his power and his love;
Our shield and defender, the ancient of days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

O tell of his might, O sing of his grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space.
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
And dark is his path on the wings of the storm.

The earth with its store of wonders untold,
Almighty, thy pow'r hath founded of old;
Hath stablished it fast by a changeless decree,
And round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.

Thy bountiful care what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air; it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills; it descends to the plain;
And sweetly distils in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In thee do we trust, nor find thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend!

O measureless might! ineffable love!
While angels delight to hymn thee above,
The humbler creation, though feeble their lays,
With true adoration shall lisp to thy praise.

Sir Robert Grant wrote a hymn which is considered one of the greatest in the English language. Reading William Kethe's translation of Psalm 104 in a 1561 psalm book prompted Grant to write his own version of the psalm, familiar to millions of church-goers. Written July 9, 1838, this hymn has stood the test of time.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

My Youngest Knight

This is Smoda. The youngest knight at my hearth. He loves to have his picture taken and is always so amazed when he sees the immediate digital image of himself. He can't believe that he has the same clothes on!

Smoda does not formally "do school" yet. But on days when his little four year old heart desires the "formal" learning we sit down together and do "Get Set for School" by Handwriting without Tears. It is a fun curriculum that incorporates lots of songs and easy activities for teaching the letters. Perfect for my very busy young man.

One of the activities uses the block shapes to make "mat man", of course there is a cute song that goes along with the activity. "Mat man has one head, one head, one head......" After the child has sung the song and built the character with blocks, you have them draw their own mat man. Here is Smoda's:

He was so proud of his creation. I was too, I especially like the way he wrote his name!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Knitted Dishcloth

I have done many dishcloths in the past, but all of them were the same.....knit, increase two, knit...makes a very serviceable, square, BORING dishcloth. I decided to venture out of my comfort zone and try a pattern. I am so pleased with how it turned out. I actually finished this one back in January and had given it to my mother. She thought it was too pretty to use and it became a placemat for a plant. I forgot I had it tucked away in a drawer and found it today.

Now that I have a place to share it, I figured I would.

This and That

Unbelievably sad bumper sticker I saw yesterday....Let the rapture come, we'll have the earth to ourselves.

I finished sewing patches on a cub scout brag vest for a friend late last night. It is typically easy sewing, quick and mindless. This one proved to be a challenge. My invisible top thread kept breaking every patch or so. It wouldn't have been so bad it I didn't sew on around 30 patches!

My sweet husband has trouble with his ears today. He spent most of last night trying various things to unplug his ears. They just seem to have gotten worse. He can barely hear out of one ear and not at all out of the other. But like a lot of men I know, he refuses to go to the doctor. As he left for work I offered to call and make an appointment for him. An emphatic no was the answer, then he said "I may go to a clinic at lunch". I hope so, as sweet as he is, illness makes him a bear!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Have you checked the Girls?

Mom and I after her first chemo

October is National Breast Cancer Month. I can't stress enough what a difference early detection can make, it might save your life. You would think that with all the information available women would realize the importance of doing self exams and having regularly scheduled mammagrams. That is not the case.

Unfortunately, my mother died in February of breast cancer. Her doctor had never given her a mammagram, in fact he discouraged them. He felt the results were inconclusive and too many times issued false positives. The doctor held these beliefs even after his own wife had breast cancer, fortunately for her, she is a survivor. Am I bitter, yes. But I don't believe that the fault is solely the doctor's. My mother was an intelligent woman, well read, current on issues and even worked in a hospital. Like most of us, she was busy and neglected to take care of something simple like this. Don't let the same thing happen to you.

By the time they found my mother's cancer (December 29), it was Stage 4 and had gone to her stomach. We did not find out the prognosis until the day she died (February 2). Mother never asked and I am glad she didn't. She was able to do the things she enjoyed when she felt up to it, instead of worrying about getting things in order. I am an only child and she would have spent her time concerned about how I would handle everything.

I believe that God is in control of all things. My mother's death was in His time and purpose. I don't have to like it, but I accept it. I try daily to see what I can learn from this experience. How I can help others when they have trials. Can I be more compassionate. Most of all, I need to make the most of each day with my husband and children.

Please get regular check ups. For yourself. For your children. For everyone you love.

Entering Blogger World

This blog is going to be a conglomeration of things I love....my boys, cooking, reading, knitting, bible study, baseball and anything else that pops into my little head. These are things I used to share with my mom. Since she passed away, I lost my best friend. My husband is wonderful, but being a man, if something has gone wrong in the day he wants to fix it. Sometimes I don't want it fixed, I just want to vent. Sometimes I want to brag about my children and you can only do that so much with people who aren't grandparents.

I know I won't have life changing comments. I am not necessarily profound nor witty. I am just a mom in a household of all men and I need a way to express my 1,000,000 words a day.