Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Calvin and Hobbes

Years ago Jared bought me the complete collection for Calvin and Hobbes and we also have a few extra smaller collections around.  The boys have discovered them recently and laugh and laugh and laugh. Also, it does my heart good to see the boys reading to each other.  It is sweet. 

Friday, April 30, 2021

Worse before it gets better.

I started organizing all of my recipes. This is the first step. They had grown too big for one binder. I removed all the recipes that I have never used or that we didn't like. Next steps is to use the adobe scan app and take pictures of all my Cook's Country recipes that I love and organize them in the correct categories because I am having trouble remembering what recipes are in which month of the magazine.  Maybe you will get an update when I finish... in ten years. 

Monday, April 05, 2021

I have a couple other post, a detailed list of my meal plans for the last three months and my food budget, some craft posts, some new favorite recipes, and a few house projects, but they all seem vapid. I miss writing about my life, but I also don't have the time to devote to it. I process things better when I am writing things out. 

The last few weeks has been rough. A good friend of the family died, people we know have been in the hospital (with Covid and strokes and brain tumors), Jared is in the midst of his last two classes for his Master's degree, my in-laws downsized (and I spent 50-60 hours packing), etc. And those are simply the externals. Four kids has been way more overwhelming than having three. Tailoring school lessons to specific children has taken up so much of my time. And I always feel like I am behind. Always behind. 

A good friend reminded me once that we all have stuff going on.  It isn't as if any of us is problem free or doesn't feel the weight of the world every once in a while (or all the time). 

So maybe you need to hear this as much as I do. The boys and I have been memorizing hymns for school.  Last month was All the Way My Savior Leads Me. It has been so encouraging to hear the boys humming in around the house or have it pop into my head throughout the day. What a blessing it is that we have a Savior that walks beside us each day, that gives us grace for every trial, and does all things well. 

All the Way

All the way my Savior leads me; What have I to ask beside? 
Can I doubt His tender mercy, Who through life has been my Guide? 
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort, Here by faith in Him to dwell! 
For I know, whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well, 
For I know, whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well. 

All the way my Savior leads me, Cheers each winding path I tread, 
Gives me grace for every trial, Feeds me with the living bread. 
Though my weary steps may falter, And my soul athirst may be, 
Gushing from the Rock before me, Lo! a spring of joy I see, 
Gushing from the Rock before me, Lo! a spring of joy I see. 

All the way my Savior leads me; Oh, the fullness of His love! 
Perfect rest to me is promised In my Father’s house above. 
When my spirit, clothed immortal, Wings its flight to realms of day, 
This my song through endless ages: Jesus led me all the way, 
This my song through endless ages: Jesus led me all the way.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Faithful to the End

She was my age when I met her. That is hard to believe because she seemed much older that I feel now. Time is a funny thing. 

I was about ten when she invited my family and another family for dinner. She was brave and warm and welcoming to all 9 of us kids. I don't remember many events in my childhood, but this one has always stuck out to me. Maybe it was the Kinder Joy Egg that she gave us at the end of the evening (the official kind from German with the chocking hazard parts inside). 

She had a pool at her house. Anyone was welcome to use it at anytime. One time I went with some of her neighbors while she was on vacation. 

It is incredible to me how many people knew and loved Mary. But she treated them all like family and it was a joy to be around her.  

--- I want be a joy to be around and open my house like Mary. 

She had a job with FexEx in management or something (10 year-olds don't remember these details). But what I do remember is that she left all of that to go back to school to be a math teacher at an under-privileged school in our area. She taught 5th, 6th, and 7th grade math and I can guarantee you that she was the best teacher that they had. She loved her students and was involved in many of their lives. 

--- I want to love others like Mary. 

My brother was born on Christmas. And I don't know if she felt sorry for him because he was gypped the birthday or because he was an only brother with four sisters. She came from a large family and she understood these things better than most people. Whatever the reason, she brought him a homemade pizza for many of his teenage birthdays.  

When I had my fourth baby she was one of the first people to hold her.  Shortly after she called and said she had a meal for me - I expected some of her famous pizza, but instead she brought authentic German noodles and chicken. What a treat. 

My sister is in the Air Force and would bring the boys these chocolate stuffed Hippos from Germany when she went.  One day I ran into Mary at a baseball game and we were talking about my sister and I mentioned the funny hippos. Several months later she showed up at my door with a huge package of these chocolate Hippos.  

--- I want to take the time to let people know I care with thoughtful gifts like Mary. 

Mary helped to run a ministry that built ramps for people with disabilities. We had discussed the boys coming to help her in a few years when they were a bit older. It is a huge loss that they will never get to serve with her. 

When ESL was short a teacher she would sub on short notice. She loved the ministry and would talk about volunteering more when she retired from teaching. We will miss her cheerful face.

In high school Mary asked me to join a committee at church. It was one of the first times someone had treated me like a member of the church and a soon-to-be adult. I really respected that and it made a huge impression on me.  

--- I want to spend my time serving others like Mary. 

Mary loved baseball. Maybe we both loved a deal; we often ran into each other at $3 Monday nights at the local baseball stadium. We would chat about how we had eaten dinner before we came to avoid buying the overpriced food and laugh about how few people came out on Mondays. It happened so often that we made plans to sit together in the Spring of 2020. It never happened. So we started planning for Spring of 2021. Now it will never happen either. I will miss her every time I go to a baseball game and expect for her to pop up and say hello. 

There are very few people that I can think of that I would have all good things to say, maybe that says something about me more than the people around me. But I can honestly think of nothing about Mary that was bad. I have never heard her complain. She always showed up and she always loved people well and showed us all the love of Christ. What a wonderful example. 

This weekend my kids will receive their own Kinder Eggs (the fake US kind without the chocking hazard parts) in memory of Mary.  She was faithful to the end. I wish they could have known her.  I want to be more like her. 

I will miss her until we can meet again. 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Warm woolen mittens

Aren't these the cutest?!? And the warmest too! I'm in love with these mittens that I made using this pattern from IkatBag: 

I keep them in the car and use them for driving and loading groceries, but I keep stealing them out for daily walks around the neighborhood too.  They are wool on the outside and pink fleece on the inside.  It was a super fun pattern to make and you might see a few more pairs in the future (probably the Fall) once I get my hands on some more fleece. 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Garage - Before and Afters

Four years ago when we moved from a much smaller house (that had a big shed and attic space) to a larger house (with a little tiny shed and no attic space) we just dumped everything in the garage. As we have done more and more house projects it has progressively gotten worse.  Here is what it looked like: 

For years we have been meaning to clean up the garage and organize it better and throw away anything that we don't need for projects anymore. This is in hopes of starting a mudroom in some of the garage space in the next few years. 

1. Take a load of trash to the dump (expired carseats, doors that we have removed, old paint and light bulbs that the previous owner left us...etc.). 

2. Move all the Christmas stuff to the weird closet space.

3. Build a workbench and mount old kitchen cabinets to the wall. 

The after pictures: 

We still need to scrap the rest of the old flooring off the floor.  

My outside plants winter in the garage. 

But just look at all that space! And it is so easy to find things now. It almost makes me want to start a new house project. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021


The baby's Christmas present. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

A few frugal things

1. The button that turns on/off the tea pot broke (after 11 years or almost daily use). The plastic dry-rotted where it was meeting the switch contact. I disassembled it and everything else was working well, just I had no way to turn it on any more. My oldest son wanted to whittle something and I asked if he could make me some sticks to insert into switch contact. We are about three weeks in and his little whittled sticks have worked out great! 

2. My sister gave me a printer for Christmas last year and I love it. I have printed so many free worksheets and purchases PDF workbooks for the kids school this year. However, the toner ran out WAY before the specified number of pages. So... after a bit of research online I found out that I could manually reset the gears on the toner to trick the printer into thinking it was still full.  And that still didn't do the trick so I found our that I could reset the printer by pushing an odd combination of buttons in a weird order while opening and closing various drawers. And then I waved a magic wand and the printer started working again and has given me another 300 pages of prints since then. 

3. I ordered a toner refill kit for $8 instead of a new toner cartridge for $58.  

4. I made italian bread twice this week. Once to go with soup and make chicken salad sandwiches. The other two loaves were turned into french bread pizzas for a quick dinner. 

5. My neighbors left for Florida for a few weeks and gave me a box of random opened perishable food. For example: I used up two opened bags of shredded cheese on the pizzas, half a bag of spinach and some romaine lettuce in salads, some bits of extra bread in french toast, and heavy whipping cream in a soup and on top of french toast.