Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Guten Tag - Good Day

Guten Tag Frau Barker!
That is how my children greeted Mrs.Barker when she came to our house to teach us all about Germany.
This year we are using My Father's World and learning about Countries and Cultures. For the past couple of weeks we have been 'in' Germany. What better way to learn than by someone who has lived there?
We began by enjoying a German feast. We had bratwurst, fries, buns with Nutella, a German apple drink, Ketchup and Mayo from Germany, Cucumber Salad, and Milchreis for dessert. We made a dairy free version and a regular version and both were fabulous!
Anything centered around food is a huge hit with my children. I think we all are looking for anything to put the Nutella on, it's good stuff.

Mrs. Barker told about growing up in Germany. We learned about their culture, customs, religion, and family life. She also shared her photo album of her life in Germany. Little Samuel was born in Germany. Unfortunately she mentioned about religious practices involving levitation and Erik thought that might be pretty cool. He got 'stuck' and could talk of little else, even knowing that it was using witch craft and evil spirits. He thought it might be like using the 'Force' from Star Wars.

Children in Germany make lanterns and then take them outside for the festival of St. Martin. We made the lanterns and I let the children take them out to our play set with real candles. I did not want to take the little girls out for a parade because the wind chill was so cold.
The lanterns were really time consuming and the Milchriest was even more time consuming but both were worth every second we put into it. 

The children were all thrilled with their projects (which does not usually happen). The candles in the lantern show through the transparent paper and look really pretty. Aaron made his more authentic by finding a stick and attaching his lantern to the stick using wire. They were all sorely disappointed that I would not let them take the lanterns to bed.
Danke Schon Frau Barker for all your time, effort, energy, enthusiasm and knowledge!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Valentine's Day

I love to look for ways for my children to serve others. I am very uncomfortable in nursing homes and I want them to understand that we do things for others even if we don't really like it ourselves.
We decided to make Valentines and goodies to pass out to the residents at a local nursing home. My friend Shelly, regularly takes her children to play music for the residents.

We visited with them and gave them our valentines. Ruby loved talking with the ladies. She chose the woman with the perfect hair and pretty lipstick and 'let' her hold her baby doll.

Ellie played the piano, Amy and her children sang a beautiful hymn and we recited Psalm 1. After passing out snacks we headed to Amy's house for a Valentine Party of our own.

Luke's face pretty much sums up how much fun we all had! We passed out our own cards to each other, ate way too much candy and played hard. It was bitterly cold outside with huge wind gusts that knocked the little kiddos over. Only the bigger kids got to play outside on the trampoline. Ruby found a friend her age and they were like two peas in a pod playing dress up. The boys loved wrestling and sword fighting and the babies played kitchen, with Libby serving Justus everything he did not want. It was wonderful to have Taylor hang out with the women and fit in nicely.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Give Me A Break!

Give Me A Break.

Ian's ankle is healing quite nicely and not much keeps him down. Erik can hardly stand the sling and tolerates wearing it as long as he can still ride his bike and play Legos. Taylor was out jumping on the trampoline Saturday and her and Aaron collided mid air, and she couldn't walk. We decided to wait until Sunday and take her to urgent care. We waited as long as the ER but a little more cost effective. Her Xrays were inconclusive and they think it is either a hairline fracture or a really bad sprain. We were off to Goodwill to buy some crutches and we wrapped and splinted her ankle.
We enjoyed some time together and she kept herself occupied while I had coffee with some friends. Then, on our way home we were chatting happily and I looked over at something and when I looked back there was a deer standing in the middle of the road! I hit the poor thing and drug it about 200 yards. It did not get up and run away, but it wasn't dead either. We called 911 and they came to deal with the problem. Now I have kids with 2 bum ankles and bad shoulder and a van in need of a new grill and radiator. I sure hope next week is better.

Friday, February 18, 2011

2 Boys + 2 Injuries = 4 Hours in the ER

I Declared Thursday a no school day. We were planning on cleaning and playing games. We were going to have Ben and Syndi over for games and lunch. 
big kids cleaning upper cabinets
Wednesday evening Ian was jumping on the trampoline and landed wrong on his ankle. Ian often falls and is a bit dramatic so I decided to wait and see if he would forget about it. He didn't.

little kids cleaning lower cabinets
I feel like regular cleaning of things that often get neglected is essential to not losing control.  I also think it is vital for all the children to be involved and invested in the cleaning (even if I could do it faster and better with out them). The added bonus is that when they are working they are not messing up what was already done, or getting into trouble. OK so that isn't an added bonus that IS the bonus.

Liberty always wants to help. When she couldn't find a free space in the kitchen she got her rag out of the bathroom and went to clean the table. 

There, Libby found a spot to help clean the kitchen.
When I got down on my hands and knees to scrub the floor I noticed lots of dust bunnies collected on the feet of the fridge. I pulled the fridge out from the wall and Erik spotted some long lost walkie talkies. He proceeded to dive through the dust to be the first to lay claim on the coveted toy. In the process he dislocated his shoulder on the fridge. 
Erik, Ian and I on our way to the ER
Fortunately, Syndi was already at my house (it is a true friend that you let see behind your fridge). I took Erik to the Doctor and they told me the severity of the injury required and X-ray and a trip to the ER. I took him home, packed lunches, Ipod, coloring books, and books. Then I cancelled Ian's appointment to have his foot Xrayed later in the day and took him with.

trying to keep the patients comfortable.
The ER doc was very good with the children and was relatively quick for the Emergency Room.  Erik did not need an X ray after all, his shoulder went back in on it's own, which 'Almost Never' happens. They told him to let it rest for a few days then he should be good as new. I wonder if climbing the play set, riding your bike one handed while talking on said walkie talkies and rolling your stiff shoulders around counts as 'letting it rest'?
Ian had his foot X rayed and they were surprised that it was not fractured but they could see swollen, stretched tendons and ligaments. They said to immobilize it and gave him a pathetic brace 5 sizes too big. I ended up wrapping it with an Ace bandage. I declined the crutches that were offered figuring that they would cause him to fall and/or become a weapon. Ian is jumping or crawling wherever he wants to go and I figure that we will all be better by Monday.
So there you have it, a sprained ankle on the trampoline, and a dislocated shoulder on the fridge.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

An Arrow for Aaron

Last Friday Aaron earned his Arrow of Light award.
Arrow of Light is the highest award that a boy can earn in Cub Scouts. All of boys in Aaron's Webelos Den earned the Arrow of Light.

I was unaware of the Super Achiever Award in which the boys earn every badge in the Webelos Book. I was sorely disappointed that I did not know about that. Aaron earned every badge except one! Oh well, we still have 2 boys to go.

Sean and I made the Arrow for Aaron and he is very proud of his achievement.

This is about a much of a smile as we get these days. Trust me, he was both nervous and excited and especially honored that Geaba came to the Ceremony along with his whole family.
We are very proud of him!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Delicious Homemade Granola
Not too long ago we ate Oatmeal for Breakfast almost every day. I am a firm believer in meal planning and I also need to feed my children economically. Breakfast was one of those areas where I would fall drastically behind if I tried to make pancakes, or something else, it just took too long.

I have 2 children who are gluten, dairy and egg free which makes our choices somewhat limited unless I want to make two different meals. I tell you that just doesn't happen. I have considered making our whole family eat that way but again it just is not economical. I will choose recipes as I can that we can all eat. Hence my adaptation of a Delicious Granola Recipe.


16 cups Oatmeal (not quick cooking)
1 3/4 Cups Brown Sugar
1 - 2 Cups Flax
2 Cups Toasted Coconut
2 cups Slivered Almonds
2 cups Sunflower Seeds
1 Cup Raisins
1 Cup Oil
1 1/2 Cups Honey
4 tsp Vanilla

I begin by toasting the coconut (Usually I will buy it in bulk and toast a whole bunch then let it cool and store it in freezer bags to save time later).
Next, I mix the oatmeal, brown sugar, flax, almonds, and sunflower seeds in a large bowl.
In a saucepan combine oil, honey and vanilla until bubbling. Pour Liquid over dry ingredients. Spread loosely in a greased pan (I like the Pampered Chef 9X13 and the Deep lid). Bake at 325 for 24-32 minutes stirring every 8 minutes.
After the oat mixture is cooked add the coconut and raisins. I continue to stir while the mixture cools or you will end up with a hard clump.
This recipe usually lasts my family 2 or 3 days. We enjoy it with yogurt, coconut milk or cows milk.

You could easily half this recipe or substitute wheat germ instead of flax.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Today, Sean and I are celebrating our 14th Wedding Anniversary.
We are diligently praying that we are leaving a legacy that our children will want to emulate. We try to honor God in all areas of our lives. Our relationship looks very different now, than when we were first married. We have been blessed abundantly and with each blessing comes more responsibility. We have been molded into a new creation, we have become one. The shaping has been painful and yet beautiful.
My desire is that we become more like our savior, more united and stronger in our faith. I hope that we are leaving a legacy of love, honor, and a spirit of forgiveness and grace.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Be Prepared

Ian (from Simply Made)is not sure where Ruby is going to land.
Life can take you by surprise if you aren't prepared.
I feel like this has been the theme of my week.
I have blogged before about Teri Maxwell's Managers Series, then I fell off the bandwagon. I have spent time preparing for our school, meals, activities, then I just quit. I know the things I should do and I know the results when I don't do it. 
Needless to say, this week has been tough spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I am reading posts here, and here, and dedicated myself to spending some time preparing for the direction our family is trying to achieve.  I have been spending time in God's word praying for goals for each one of our children, for our family, and for myself. I know I will be called to "be prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:16 and "Be self controlled and sober minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:7-8
I am thankful that I have a savior who will forgive all my transgressions and allow me to start over. I pray that my children will love God and serve Him with their whole being despite my deficiencies.
I would love to pray for you, will you pray for me?