Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Week

This has been an interesting week! My brother LeRoy with his wife Anna (Ania) and 2 daughters Sarah and Naomi were with us from Saturday night through Tuesday morning. Sarah and Naomi are 21 mo old twins. I am sad that I didn't take any pictures of them while they were here! It was nice reconnecting with LeRoy and Ania and beginning to know the girls who I never saw before in person.

Friday, the 19th we took Matthew to the dentist because he was experiencing such pain in a tooth that we knew had a hole in it. Dentist said, "Abscessed tooth. Needs to be extracted or a root canal done." We didn't want either option. We had some time ago gotten the book Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel, because of a friend's recommendation. Well, we got serious about following this book's advice this past week along with following our natural doctor's advice. A whole new venture in cooking that will need a separate post. 

The main thing we need to do right now until the abscess is healed is to avoid all processed sugar, grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Take 1 teaspoon cod liver oil twice a day.

Sunday evening was the annual church Christmas caroling. I think we went into a total of at least 21 homes that evening. We divided into three groups. A snack was served for the church afterward in the church basement. 

That concluded our two year stint on the food committee. I am responsible for one of the food groups at our monthly sisters' sewings and am responsible for the food at some of the picnics that the trustees are responsible for so it feels like I almost never get a break from food assigning. I am wondering if I will know how to act now. It just feels real good to be free from that responsibility. It was one I never desired to have and didn't enjoy it. Just did my duty without feeling any real confidence.

Monday evening we were scheduled to have Bible study at the jail for the women. A freezing rain was forecast-ed so I called it off and was so glad I did as it got pretty icy that evening. I hope the ladies at the jail had some blessing that eve!

Overall we haven't had the bad winter weather that some predicted. Thankfully. It has been really mild the last few days. Yesterday it was 58 degrees! So different from the last two or more winters. Happy me!

Tuesday afternoon the school children did a bit of caroling in the community. I worked on cleaning the upstairs of the church house while they were gone and the boys helped me finish when they returned.

Tuesday morning LeRoy & family headed to my parent's place and we followed Wednesday night, leaving after the evening milking. Christmas Day was spent there with the men working on cutting wood for my parents' outdoor furnace. None of us children live in their community and we usually try to get the wood pile done annually. 

In the evening we enjoyed supper with the Soukup family who live close by. They came to my parents' place. Peter Soukup (17) and our boys got involved in a table game while the adults visited. It was 11:30 until we got to bed that night. 

Friday saw the wood pile completed and a water leak from the furnace fixed. My sister Verina and family came that morning. We left for home in the afternoon and Verina's family took our vacated beds.

Yesterday I spent most of the day running errands. We needed groceries and I also picked up 40 lbs of meat that was butchered for us while we were gone. They saved a nice amount of soup bones for me also, for which I am most grateful. One of the recommendations of the tooth healing diet is bone broth.

Austin was sick with a bad cold yesterday. Most of the boys have colds to some degree. I have been putting sliced onions on their feet at night. Stephen stepped in a thorn that left his foot painful and swollen. He stayed home from church this morning.

We didn't do much school work this week. I was in school myself, researching and cooking for this tooth healing venture. I think I'm getting the hang of it. The boys helped with things that needed to be done in preparation for traveling.

Jesus is coming soon! Quote from the message this morning- "If you are not experiencing glory in your life today there will be no glory for you in the great beyond."

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


This is the book I spoke of in the last post. A down-home type of story that makes you laugh and cry. The main character is a priest who struggles with diabetes, loneliness and a feeling of inadequacy. Many other characters add to life in Mitford and make you feel like you are at home with them. Barnabas comes into his life, is stolen from him and reappears later. Dooley makes him wonder how to deal with young boys whose hearts are full of pain. Then Cynthia moves in next door and he wonders what he is to do with her.

 Almost Home was our first read-aloud this school year. A story of the Pilgrims leaving their homeland, of their voyage and their beginnings in the new land. Written from the life of Mary Chilton, a young girl who wants to know where home really is. She begins life in the new country "alone", her parents having died from the rough voyage and her siblings left behind in Holland. Fictional history that includes actual happenings. It made the things they went through so much more real than just reading the facts in a history book.

 Our second read-aloud was Amos Fortune, Free Man. The story of his capture in Africa, his life as a slave and his life as a free man. This book made the boys angry at the cruelty the blacks faced. Amos, fortunately, was taken into a good home, was taught from the Bible and though treated unfairly he kept a good attitude. He worked to free himself and then bought a wife who soon died. He bought a second wife who also died. His third wife and her daughter outlived him. Of course it took years to save up money every time he wished to buy freedom for one person. I cried a number of times as I read this book.

We are nearing the end of Madeleine Takes Command. The true story of a young girl who with her two young brothers, an old servant and three other men (two who can't be trusted) work to defend their fort in New France against the Iroquois. Both parents are away on a business trip, the Indians attacked suddenly, killing or capturing all the men in the field and woods. The only strategy the few in the fort have is to make lots of noise & keep ceaseless vigil. When help finally arrives six days into the siege the Indians have still not attacked, believing the fort to be well defended, and the little troop is utterly exhausted. A statue of Madeleine de Vercheres can be found in Canada today in honor of her bravery and wisdom.

We now begin reading of what goes on in George Washington's world. Stories of his life and the lives of others who lived at the same time he did; in the U.S. and in other parts of the world. A full report may follow later.

A quote for you today-
Leap, and the net will appear. JOHN BURROUGHS

Sunday, December 7, 2014

First week of December

December 1, 2014
I rolled out of bed at 5 am today. The call? It is time to go home! After dressing myself and packing up the rest of our clothes, lunch packing occupied an hour of my time. Apples to clean and cut, ham and cheese sandwiches to prepare, banana bread to slice. A bag of potato chips and leftover raw veggies from last eve completed the fare.

We fed our faces with cold cereals, loaded the vehicles and rolled out at 7:35. Austin and Thomas were the drivers today. I usually try to stay awake for the driver's sake but today I succumbed to sleep for awhile. For maybe half the way I read to Thomas from the first book of the Mitford Series, At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon.

We got to Mom's apartment at 12:35 - exactly 5 hours. We unloaded her vehicle and stuffed ours with boys. And then HOME - blessed home! The day was a balmy 60 degrees. We emptied the van, emptied our suitcases and then relaxed awhile. The younger boys' "relaxation" involved a football. We had a little history time this afternoon but otherwise no book lessons.

Christopher and I planned our menus for Dec. We cook on Monday & Thursday. We had leftover vegetable soup for supper, accompanied by Herbed Onion Focaccia and raw veggies with dip.

I washed a load of shirts and dresses and feel like I am on my way to conquering the laundry.

Now that we are home, another storm is moving in. The forecast is for a wintry mix tonight and tomorrow. Snow, sleet and freezing rain. We will see how that affects things.

My nephew Mervin is here for the night. He and the boys are wanting to try their luck at shooting deer. I would be so very GLAD for some freezer meat! I have no burger in the freezer right now and that is not a happy feeling. I may have to go out there and get some myself yet. Ha.

Exciting news yesterday was the birth of a new niece in Texas! Sister Doris, husband Arnold and daughter Maxie welcome Gwendolyn Regina to their home. She was a hefty 9 1/2 pounds!

Dec 2, 2014
Another gray day. I declare, I don't know when I last saw the sun! Probably on Saturday. The predicted ice and snow turned out to be just all rain, thankfully.

Thomas was at work all day, beginning another phase of renovation in a house he has been working on periodically for a good while now. Soon she (the owner) won't have anything more for him to do . He is replacing carpet with hardwood floors and doing painting. He had Stephen and Austin help him this forenoon to move furniture and tear out carpet.

We did a full day's work of lessons and then worked on regular household things like laundry, cleaning and cooking. The boys filled out the menu calendar (for Dec) with their choices of meals. The lack of burger in the freezer makes it harder to plan meals. It is hard for me to pay grocery store prices when there is so much meat running around in the field. I keep dreaming up ways to raise beef of our own. All the cattle here belong to my sister's family.

Austin and Melvin served us soup (Cheesy Chicken Chowder) and salad for supper. Good food!

This evening I took Melvin out for mother/son time. We went to the Goodwill to see if we could find him some snow pants. We didn't find much but the cashier said she would keep them back for him if some come in. We tried getting a few groceries at Food Lion but had to leave the cart sitting there full of food because the debit card was denied. Ouch! Embarrassing.

I found a game of Probe at Goodwill. It brought back memories of family times when I was growing up. Maybe we can get some happy family times out of this one too. Other finds included small clogs (Crocs) for one of the boys, a few shirts, a couple pairs of pants (always in demand!), a coat and pajama pants for Melvin, and shoes for me. Every time I think everyone is fitted out with pants one boy or another will declare he has no pants without holes to wear. Or they've outgrown everything.

Dec 3, 2014
We actually saw some blue sky and sun later this afternoon! And a big moon tonight. It isn't full moon yet, though. The Geminids - a meteor shower- begins just soon and peaks on the 14th of December. Keep your eyes peeled when the night sky is visible! There can be up to 80 falling stars per hour. The last ones can be seen Dec 18 at the rate of one per hour.

Austin helped Thomas at work today, hauling furniture to the thrift store and loading flooring for the job. They came home mid-afternoon. 

Lots of laundry occupied my non-school hours. Stephen and Matthew cooked up supper, leaving me time to get other things accomplished. They served us macaroni and cheese (made from scratch with real cheddar- for real!), green beans, chunky applesauce and cottage cheese. 

The boys are still hunting (but not full-time). They seem to be learning some things and getting wise to the hunt but so far all deer have escaped their stalking.

We had Bible study/prayer meeting at church this evening. The main thought of the study was concerning choices. We choose to forgive and be happy or we choose to remember the hurts and be miserable. We choose to let someone take our joy or we choose to keep it. We choose to use the talents we have been given or we choose to bury them. We choose to allow the Holy Spirit to work through us and give us spiritual gifts or we refuse to acknowledge Him and we hoe our own row. 

Dec 4, 2014

The sky had color this morning! So beautiful. Now this evening it is snowing. The kind that will probably turn to all rain.

The boys had music classes at school this afternoon. Stephen gives the students scale practice. Mervin came home with them again for more hunting. 

I waged more war on the laundry and did kitchen work. I served Comforting Chicken Casserole, cranberry salad and peas for supper.

Here's my recipe for no-sugar-added cranberry salad.

1 bag of cranberries
1 can of apple/raspberry juice concentrate
1/2 navel orange
5 small apples, peeled and chopped
1 20 oz can pineapple (I used slices and made them into tidbits)
2 packets Knox unflavored gelatin
1 cup water
1/2 cup pecan pieces

Put cranberries, juice concentrate and orange, thinly sliced, into a blender pitcher. Blend it to your desired size. Let it set for an hour. Add apples and pineapple with juice. Sprinkle the gelatin over cold water in a small saucepan and let it set for a few minutes. Heat it just enough to dissolve the gelatin and add it to the salad. Chill until firm. Pecans are optional. Put them in or on the salad or leave them out entirely.

I whipped up some cream (from off our raw milk) added a bit of stevia and lots of vanilla. We scooped that on top of the salad. Yum!! I should have taken a picture of it. You wouldn't want to see it now.

I've been on a search for tickets for my brother Paul's family to fly from Honduras to TX in Jan. Thomas is helping his mom go over her money matters. The boys are "flying"- with the simulator. I think I will go put clean sheets on my bed and climb in. I may read awhile.

Dec 5, 2014

The most significant things today-
P.E. at school for the boys. Chiropractor and shopping for me. Thomas accompanied me to town and we had a couple subs afterward with some time to talk about important issues. 

The sun didn't even shine and it was a great day for ducks!! 

Austin took aim, fired and.... missed! -a deer. Just about we had some meat for the freezer. 

I didn't have the groceries on hand that Austin & Melvin needed for their planned meal so they made cornbread and ate it with peaches and milk.

Dec 6, 2014
Another duck day. Oh the rain!

I ordered tickets this morning for brother Paul's family in Honduras. They will be flying to TX on Jan the 20th, Lord willing. We are all getting excited to be together as a family after years of not all being together.

A few more loads of laundry today and that job will resume on Monday. Thomas ran lots of errands, the boys did dishes, cleaning, bread baking and helping with laundry. Stephen & Matthew made supper- haystacks and baked apples with whipped cream. When the boys cook, it is a tremendous boost to me. I am able to catch up on some other things I don't have time for when I'm cooking.

Austin determinedly sat in the cold rain today, hoping for one more chance to shoot a deer. No such luck. Aww!

Dec 7, 2014
A sick day. But sunny! Had sunshine all day! Makes you almost forget the rainy, dreary, gray days. Notice I said "almost". 

I woke up feeling  like I couldn't get up. When I finally did make it out to the "crazy room" (family room/kitchen in a finished garage) overwhelming waves of nausea hit me. I managed to hold it in but had diarrhea. I got the turkey into the oven for lunch but then crashed. The others went on to church. Late morning I sat on the toilet and held the trash can with the sickness coming out both ends. Misery! Twice that happened and I am weak and hungry tonight. Lying here sucking on crushed ice. 

Everyone left me and went to church for the annual Christmas community singing at church. Lots of friends and neighbors usually come for that and there is a snack afterward. I wasn't able to fix any food but sent a couple jars of pickles and some fruit for a platter if they need it. Mom Lapp said she would make enough so I don't need to make anything. I was a bit worried though because out of the 8 ladies who usually bring a sweet snack only 3 will be there this evening. 

Being head of the food committee I feel like I am majorly slacking my duty this eve. My partner will do well though. After-all she will need to take over in a few weeks. I am looking forward to being free! Will I know what to do with myself? Oh yeah!

Lots of people are traveling. Winston Millers flew to OK rather suddenly because his brother Dwayne is in the lot for ordination there. 

Before the others left this evening one of the cats brought a chipmunk into the breezeway through the pet door. Christopher caught it and put it out in a tree but the dog is just sure it is still in here. She's been running herself ragged trying to find it. Too bad she can't understand what we try to tell her.

Thursday, December 4, 2014


Venus is a hot volcanic planet. Thus the information was recorded on the clouds of a volcano. 

Now are you curious enough to do your own research to find out how long a Venus day is, what it's atmosphere is like and what phases it goes through? 

Quote for today- "Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers." - VOLTAIRE

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Fall photos

I just couldn't resist posting these fall pictures. It was such a beautiful fall. These were all shots around our yard. Enjoy!

Orchard on right (fenced)

Dogwood by parking lot

Beside the lane

The boys' "climbing tree" (large one)

Along the edge of yard/woods "Climbing tree" on right

Close-up of trees in photo above