This was sent to me by a fellow homeschooling mom, and I just loved it. Mike and I explored more of Tim Hawkins' comedy online, both on youtube and his website - he's very funny on a variety of topics (with clean humor). If you need some good laugh therapy - do check him out. Enjoy!
Saturday, December 15, 2007
December 15, 2007
Click the above for your listening pleasure while I tell you that "TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY!"
I knew I would have a good day when while still in the shower this morning, the shower curtain was slowly drawn back slightly by my darling husband who held out a fork with a chunk of brownie on the end ... fresh from the oven still oozing and warm to wish me a "happy b-day"! Fresh baked brownies for breakfast (!??), certainly not the norm here, but a fun and romantic surprize to be sure! He's just that way sometimes, could I be more lucky?
I had a very nice day, that included being sung "Happy Birthday" to at church potluck, Christmas caroling, and an enjoyable Christmas party that I helped plan and coordinate at the church.
This evening I am alone and will soon watch a movie I have been wanting to see. My kids are having a slumber party in one of their bedrooms, while Mike took our extra kiddos for a visit with their mother - they departed this evening (late) after the Christmas party and will return Sunday night.
Maybe after I conclude this post I'll enjoy my pan of birthday brownies, or some of the scrumptious chocolates I received as gifts from my crew. Or maybe I'll listen to my lastest addition to my Christmas CD collection (a b-day gift tradition since my first year with Mike)... who knows - maybe I'll just go all wild and crazy and hop in bed all by myself and sleep in late while the kids gorge themselves on candy from the Christmas party loot..?!
After all.. I SAY IT's MY BIRTHDAY!
Who else may claim..."It's My Birthday too, yeah!"... you may wonder? Since you asked, one famous fellow I've always known shares my birthday is Tim Conway, legendary funny man from my youth. Name doesn't ring a bell.. see the post below.
This song has spoken to me each Christmas for a long as I can remember. Recently we heard it on the radio and my son Christopher commented, "That was a really good song Mom" and I knew he understood the deeper meaning held within the lyrics and I was moved by his sensitivity. I have never mentioned my fondness for this song to anyone previously, so his comment was genuine, and all his own.
Tonight I did not expect to discover the film above while exploring what was to be found on youtube to accompany this music. I thought long about whether to post this video on my blog... or not, due to the upsetting and disturbing images it includes... but ultimately I decided that is the very reason it should be shared with others.
As much as I enjoy celebrating the birth of Christ each Christmas, it is of utter importance that we not stop there, but remember the lessens he taught and the message he preached during his life here; and when I take pause to look beyond my own "little world" into the much bigger one that demands all of our attention, I long for the day Christ will return again and there will be no more tears.
May this serve as a reminder for all of us who live in a country where it is easy to forget about the war, famine, poverty, and weeping "over there" that so many suffer everyday - even Christmas Day.
" And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Rev. 21:4
Friday, December 14, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I was blessed enough to WIN 6 free tickets in early October, after trying to purchase them in August, to find them sold out for all nine performances - and was placed on a cancellation waiting list. I was incredibly disappointed when I thought we would be unable to attend, then was elated when I received an email several weeks later notifying me of winning FREE tickets - it was certainly a "God thing", because I NEVER win anything... ever - and the email was discovered at the end of a particularly challenging day. I felt it was a direct gift from Him to me to lift my spirits and remind me he cares about even the little things that matter to us.
Justin, MJ, and Fawn spent the weekend with a lovely foster care couple here in the Brainerd area that have a horse ranch (40 total) and 5 dogs. This is an older couple with adult children who adore kids. Their home was so decked out in Christmas decor I was even amazed! The kids of course had an absolute fabulous time and are asking when they can visit them again...
Meanwhile, our now "small" family of six set out in the seemingly empty 12 passenger van to Minneapolis where we spent the weekend in the home of our good friends Jim & Jan Hiner. We never tire of their company and our kids adore them... plus Jan makes the best vegan food - how can you go wrong? We were honored to help Jan celebrate her 52nd b-day on Sunday morning with a lovely vegan brunch that Jim did the majority of the cooking for.
While there, we attended the church where Jim is the pastor and got to enjoy his sermon, we also spent time shopping Saturday evening at a fun toy store, a fabulous book store, Maegers and Quinn, that I highly recommend, and the Whole Foods Market and Byerly grocery stores for fun food.
On Sunday we attended the concert which was full to capacity, and were in the fifth row on the floor! Great seats! We have enjoyed the Fargo Symphony Orchestra which is very good on many occasion, and also the Heartland Symphony that travels through our current area.. BUT I must say that the MN Orchestra is without a doubt exceptional - so much so, they were just nominated for a Grammy Award for their CD release of Beethoven's 9th.
The concert was extremely enjoyable and it's theme was sleigh ride songs from around the globe throughout history. There were also other pieces intermingled within and amazing performances by a ballerina from the MN Dance Theater and dancers performing to a Russian Dance, as well as enormous puppets (the kind with people inside of them), and the String Students from MacPhail Center for Music joined in on the last piece (Beethoven's 9th). As a former Suzuki method family, it was amazing to see between 80-100 children of all ages play the violin beautifully alongside the Grammy nominated orchestra! Inspiring!
All of us enjoyed the entire concert immensely, little Ruby was absolutely transfixed the entire time. Following the concert we ate at a pizza kitchen, then hit a coffee house and savored delicious cups of hot minty cocoa (w/soy) topped with whipped cream and crushed peppermint candy canes. Can you say... kids gotta BUZZ????
Then the journey home - listening to Christmas songs all the way...
"oh what fun it is to ride in a.... great big empty van! Hey!"
Notes about the concert:
Sleigh rides guided by many composers will help you travel from one country to the next. In Russia, you'll find highlights from The Nutcracker. In Germany, watch as In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre brings to life the “Evening Prayer” from Hansel and Gretel. Celebrate the New Year as they do in Japan, with the stirring finale to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, featuring a “chorus” of young violinists.
December 9th, 2:00 Orchestra Hall
Leroy Anderson Sleigh Ride
Sergei Prokofiev Troika, from Lieutenant Kijé Suite
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky Selections from The Nutcracker Suite
Miniature Overture • March
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy* • Trépak (Russian Dance)*
Minnesota Dance Theatre*
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart The Sleigh Ride, from Three German Dances
Englebert Humperdinck Evening Prayer and Dream Pantomime, from Hansel and Gretel
In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre
Johann Strauss, Sr. Radetzky March
arr. Percy Faith/orch. Lee Norris Brazilian Sleigh Bells
Ludwig van Beethoven Finale, from Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Choral
String Students from MacPhail Center for Music
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
I LOVED this video when I saw it and wanted to share it with everyone - and was elated when I saw someone had created a "G" version! Enjoy a glimpse into the life of a vegan, with my buddy Steven! And yes, you do get questions like these believe it or not!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Some of you may remember a few years ago the joy our family experienced in being able to bring a dog into our family for Christopher, who had dreamed and hoped to have one since he could say the word "dog". Due to Christopher's pet allergies it was not something we could consider for many years, and because of his simple hope and strong faith we began to work with his (and our) diets and doing as many things as we could to prepare his immune system to be able to handle a dog. For many months we looked at and planned to adopt a greyhound, or another short haired dog. We lived in Moorhead at the time and could not even consider an outside type dog and had a small house, so we needed something small, or at least lazy. God as always, had other plans for us though...
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
To make a long story short, I was diagnosed with damaging/tearing my Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in the middle back of my knee and put in a knee immobilizer to prevent further damage in the area during healing. This monstrosity was quite something to wear and while probably helping my injured knee, was sure taking it's toll on my good knee and hip due to the fact I had to walk around like Quazimoto.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
by Michael S. Glaser
Let me stop to say a blessing for these woods: for crows barking and squirrels scampering, for trees and fungus and multi-colored leaves,
for the way sunlight laces with shadows through each branch and leaf of tree, for these paths that take me in, for these paths that lead me out.
Tap - Tap says the woodpecker in the tree
Robins sing beautiful songs
One night in New York City, an Italian man named Giovanni was snorkeling in a public fountain because he was stealing coins that people had tossed in. He happened to look up and saw a police officer beckoning to him with one hand, and with the other he held a pistol pointed directly at him! Hopelessly Giovanni just stared at the officer dumbfoundedly until the law enforcer fired his pistol causing a bullet to zip by just two tiny inches from his face! It was so alarmingly close that it actually hit his snorkel tube causing Giovanni to to have water fill his mouth. Energetically he spat his water in the policeman's face. Giovanni was confused; he could not figure what he had done wrong since he swam in the fountains in Italy often.
The angry officer kept his gun raised while Giovanni asked his pardon, but before he could do anything else the officer had him by the scruff of his neck and was dragging him along when suddenly Giovanni howled "Wait! I need my hat!" Then he quickly snatched up a Santa Claus hat that was lying beside the fountain. Next the law man put Giovanni in the back of his car and drove him off to police headquarters. Upon arrival he was taken to a room to be searched - even though he was only wearing swimming trunks?????? They discovered coins from the fountain hidden in his speedos (which had a secret hip pocket sewn into them)! After this he was taken to jail until the time of his trial, sadly his orange prisoner suit did not match his Santa hat.
A few weeks later at his trial he explained that each year on St. Nicholas Day (December 6th) he honors the memory of this special man by placing gold coins in the shoes of poor children just as St. Nicholas had done. Since he was from Italy and only had coins from there, he realized at the last minute they'd be useless to American children, so he desperately began trying to gather American coins. Noticing the fountain and all that it held he decided to collect them to distribute. The judge was so deeply touched by the man's kind intentions that he set him free from bondage to follow in the footsteps of the great Saint Nick.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
All the kids enjoyed the activity, but I'd have to say Ruby did most of all. This little girl just loves to paint and will do so for very lengthy amounts of time. There is not a week that passes when someone from homeschool co-op does not approach me and share with me how amazed they are with her artistic tendencies as well as her attention to detail and level of focus/patience during her classes. Ahh, the wonder child? Future Artist? Who knows.. but she sure does love it!
This evening, even though she had painted her entire tree completely (ALONE and better than several of the other kids) she continued to paint and touch-up for another 30 minutes after the rest of the kids were long gone from the scene. We finally had to drag her away for Pj's & storytime. Below is a short video of Ruby during this evening's family project... enjoy.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
For several years we used that traditional recipe that took over a dozen eggs, and all the other usual ingredients with some rum flavoring, and it continued to be enjoyed at the yearly holiday parties and gatherings that we regularly took huge batches of it too.
As years passed, and children came along, we weren't so interested in giving our kids a drink so full of raw eggs so we began buying some of the egg nogs sold at the store. These were okay and the kids enjoyed them as part of winter traditions. Soon, with the elimination of milk from our diets, we converted to the Silk brand "Soy Nog" which we have been enjoying for the past several years; but yet, Mike and I were still mourning our original nog recipe that was far superior to anything store bought.
In October I accidentally created a recipe that has revolutionized our family's "Nog Experience". It has become such a favorite with ALL SEVEN CHILDREN, as well as Mike & I that we felt we must share it in case any of you are searching for a more satisfying, delicious, and healthy nog option that will knock your socks off! I have been told it is "THE BEST NOG" that any of them have ever had AND they request it several times a week for dessert, therefore I gladly make it... when you see the ingredients you'll know why!
It began when one day I cooked up a big batch of butternut squash and then decided not to serve it with the meal, so needed to find a use for it the next day. Somehow a smoothie recipe popped into my mind that I had made over a year ago that called for sweet potatoes and I thought I would find the recipe and see what I could possibly do with the squash instead. When I looked over the recipe I decided to give it a try and make a few changes - and of course since I was preparing enough for 9 people, I do not measure and just dump and add stuff until I think it tastes good. When I did this, what I created was incredibly different from what we originally had the year prior, and to my astonishment it tasted like... egg nog!??? I said nothing about the ingredients and served it up to see what kind of response I might get from the gang, (I did not even mention that I thought it tasted like egg nog). The feedback I received was one of overwhelming delight. Everyone loved it (Mike too) and declared it the "Best nog ever!"
We continue to make it and they do not grow tired of it... maybe we'll try it out on guests during the holidays to see how others may like it. I also shared it with my childbirth students who were struggling to get their orange veggies into their diets. This is a fabulously healthy, yet super yummy concoction. Don't be put off by the ingredients... the final product is surprising!
Below is the original recipe, accompanied by my changes. I do not follow the measurements and add way more squash than called for. I also add more ice when I want to make it cold and frosty (the best!). Throw it all in your vita-mix or blender and enjoy! Make it your desired thickness.
1 medium sweet potato, cooked peeled, and cooled (I have used butternut or delacata squash thus far, but plan to experiment with pumpkin and sweet potatoes)1/2 cup milk (I use Silk brand Soymilk with DHA added)
1 banana (I use FROZEN bananas)
1/2 -1 apple (core removed)
1/8 tsp nutmeg (I use freshly ground or good quality pre-ground, and add extra to taste)
1 Tbs honey or other sweetener to taste (I use raw honey)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 cups ice cubes
Thursday, November 08, 2007
By: Christopher Amick
Octupi, squids, cuttlefish, and nautiluses... these are the creatures who make up the species known as cephalopods. Amazingly cephalopods can quickly change their color, texture and shape, as well as defend themselves using ink that their bodies create,or by squeezing through minuscule spaces! They have three hearts and blue blood making them very different from other species such as mammals. Zipping along the ocean floor they can propel themselves at a tremendous speed! Regarding location, cephalopods can live in all oceans, no matter how yawning, or in any temperature of water. Cephalopods are more intelligent than their variety of cousins the oysters, clams, and garden slugs; yet their senses rival ours. Many sagas and epics have been inspired because of cephalopods since recorded history, including the classic story 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea which stars a giant squid. Cephalopods are indeed a unique group of creatures.
I cannot believe we are already this far into November! The days pass by so quickly as an adult, unlike childhood when time seemed to crawl along at a painstakingly miserable pace.
The calender has been filled with classes, teacher conferences, appointments and events. Last weekend we took in the fall festival at our church and happily returned home cake walk winners (we sorta loaded the wheel up with all of us - how could we not win?) as well as the owners of many prizes. Mike was in Utah on a business trip for several days, therefore missing this fun, but thankfully arrived home safe and sound with many funny stories to share... including seeing entertainment such as "The Dancing Grannies" and "The Cowboy Poet" - entertainment meant to be taken seriously, but was actually hilarious.. if you know what I mean?
Looking ahead to the Thanksgiving meal.... what to make? We'll be having Mike's mom join us which will be nice. We haven't seen her for some time now.
I am so looking forward to the end of November this year because we will be on break from teaching childbirth classes and from our homeschool co-op until January. This will free up two days of our week for the month of December... Yippee!
Well... on to the school work.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Christopher is a regular reader of the Redwall books and found his inspiration from the many stories and characters he has enjoyed within those pages. He was also inspired by a another classic story that you may be be familiar with... see if you can bring it to mind as you enjoy Christopher's original installment to the Redwall writings!
Reed the Red Becomes A Better Fox
by Christopher Amick
A long time ago in the Moss Flower Woods where clan animals lived, there was a certain clan that had an utterly vain fox. Since *culled at birth to be known as Reed the Red he was chief of many ferrets, weasels, stoats, foxes and rats. One day two scoundrels, a stoat named Black Fang and a ferret called Jade Eyes decided to try to procure leadership of the clan with a bold plan of deception. Enthusiastically the deceivers went to the chief, Reed the Red, and said "Because we are talented tailors, our desire is to create a cloak for you that is exceptionally glamorous! The material would possess the wonderful quality of being invisible to the simple-stupid-headed creature." Reed the Red thought that this would be stupendous even though he already assumed most of his clan members were dull-witted, he thought it could still prove useful. Then the fox chief, who was a bit stingy inquired, "How much will this magical cloak cost?" Regarding this question, the stoat named Black Fang stepped forward and answered, "It will cost many sapphires..." "And cold coins!" added the ferret. "Let it be done, but it must be ready by the time of my clan feast six days from today in Moss Flower Woods," Reed the Red decided.
That night the two fablers used bone needles falsely sewing and clipping away at thin air, they continued this for three days. Now it came that Reed the Red wanted to know how the cloak was coming along, so he sent his captain to check on progress. As the captain arrived, the tricksters were cutting imaginary fabric with their scissors. Dramatically they pretended to hold something as the captain approached them. "Doesn't it look colorful?" they questioned. "Oh yes!" the captain replied, even though he could not see a thing. The false weavers explained the patterns and colors of the cloak in great detail to the captain before he departed. He did not want the chief to think him a fool so he reported all that the cloak weavers had related to him of their three days of work. The next day, Reed the Red came with his captain to view the cloak. The chief could not see the cloak, but agreed with the weavers about everything, then left. About morning the cloak was finished. Reed the Red merrily waited for the cloak weavers to show up. When they arrived, he asked if he could try it on. Black Fang and Jade Eyes pretended to adorn the chief with the cloak. Reed the Red then suspiciously stated, I cannot feel anything on my shoulders." The vermin weavers replied, "that is because the material is so light." They proceeded.
When the day of the feast arrived, Reed the Red was wearing his new cloak (although he really wasn't) and all the clan beasts were praising it, even though they honestly could not see anything of the sort! Forbid they be thought stupid! Anxiously they continued to praise the chief and his supposedly fabulous cloak. A ratling (which is what they call baby rats), suddenly squealed, "there is no cloak!" Everyone stopped eating, slowly every other creature began to agree, even the rat captain. The chief fox slowly realized what was truly happening. Clenching his teeth, he immediately ordered his guards to bring forth the lying stoat and ferret, and sentenced them for life to a newly created official court position... Master of sock,diaper and underwear wash and repair. They were supplied with plenty of real fabric and thread to sew with until the end of their wretched lives. Throughout his lifetime Reed the Red always remembered how proud and vain he had once been, and became a better fox because of it.
*culled: named, called, christened