Monday, August 29, 2005

From Basic to Baghdad ~ Katrina Thoughts

I recently finished reading the same book Spunky is reading, From Basic to Baghdad, and thought I would share her thoughts on it because, as always, I enjoy her thoughts, and they are essentially the same as mine. What a normal young man he is! It is refreshing to see no political motivation on the part of the author, but a genuine story of a fairly undirected young man growing into a bonified soldier with purpose. He is witty, sarcastic, enlightening, and sometimes a bit rebellious, but very honest and authentic. I enjoyed it very much and found myself laughing out loud at times.


I wish him well in his endeavors with his life and his book.


It is hard to comprehend the devastation Katrina has leveled upon the South. I am saddened for those who have lost so much. My heart goes out to them! What I do not understand is why people choose to stay in the area when they have been repeatedly told to leave. Some have paid the ultimate price too. I know it has been said before, but our lives are precious, a gift from God. How can we be careless with them? I hope those who did leave, and return to find their homes and businesses ruined can find their hope and peace in Jesus - the only sure reality in this world. May God go with you!


Sunday, August 28, 2005

I thought this article to be timely and frightening for all the residents that live there. Let's pray for all those caught in the path of Katrina and for the safety of the many who cannot escape the city.




The Lost City of New Orleans?
by Lori Widmer


Louisiana's marshlands, the only buffer for hurricanes that come out of the Gulf, are slipping into the ocean at an alarming rate. New search indicates that just one major hurricane could put New Orleans under water.

The Big Easy is in big trouble. New Orleans is sinking. And fast. But what's the big deal? Local businesses and residents have heard it all before. They've built levees to control the raging Mississippi. They've developed pumping systems to deal with rain and flooding. They've dug canals to move the water out of the city. And still they survive, wearing the battle scars earned from each hurricane and each flood as badges of honor.


New research by the U.S. Geological Survey, however, indicates that New Orleans is sinking faster than many realize and could be under water within 50 years. The city is facing a series of issues--disappearing wetlands that protect from hurricanes, levees that are too low to hold back flood waters, rising water tables, to name a few--that if not addressed soon could have New Orleans suffering the same fate as Atlantis.

Dramatic, yes. But not unlikely, according to Shea Penland, geologist and professor at the University of New Orleans. "When we get the big hurricane and there are 10,000 people dead, the city government's been relocated to the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain, refugee camps have been set up and there $10 billion plus in losses, what then?" he asks.

(The rest of the story...)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Classical Christian Homeschooling Boards

I am reposting Christine Miller's recent blog entry regarding her forums because I think they can be really valuable to those of us who Classically homeschool, or who use her curriculum. I encourage you to go to her boards and ask away! I for one would be happy to see this become a thriving online community. I just love her books and think she has a lot to offer the homeschool world.


Call for CCH curriculum questions
posted Wednesday, August 24, 2005 :: 2:29 PM

I am building a question and answer database for every book, book series, or curriculum recommended on the CCH website; which will be available to all visitors once we get it in working order. If anyone has a burning question about any curriculum recommended on the CCH website, please post it in the Curriculum Forum on the CCH Discussion Board.

Please start a new thread for each book, titled: CCH CURRICULUM QUESTION: *title of curriculum*; (this will help me find the questions, LOL) and in the body of the post, ask your question. 

My project this fall and winter (besides finishing The Story of the Ancient World) is to answer as many of these questions as possible. And the CCH webmaster’s project this fall and winter will be to post the question and answer database on the CCH website linked to each curriculum title. Yay!

Anyone who has used the curriculum in question and has ideas or suggestions, please also post your suggestions and comments in that curriculum’s thread on the Discussion Board! And anyone who has saved the discussions from my old CCH e-mail loop from years ago or who can find the archives on the Internet, please post those answers too!

(If anyone has a link to those archives, and would be willing to send it to me, I would be so grateful. I have already answered most of the curriculum questions once in that e-mail loop, but still homeschooling my children and writing the website and the Guerber histories, I wasn’t able to keep track of everything and have no idea how to get into those archives these days, or even where to look for them!)

Thank you!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A New Week!

Praise the Lord for good health! Thank you all for your prayers - we needed them! We are all healthy (I think anyway) and it is so very nice to feel like a human again. (Albeit a human in need of some coffee!) We had a great weekend as a family with a very kind and wonderful gift recently given to us. Five tickets to Marine World! While there I think we visited every continent via their varied animals. It was truly wonderful. There was an indoor butterfly garden with kinds from all over the world - some we would never see otherwise. Then of course there was a marvelous Killer Whale, Shouka, that did her duty to soak us through.

We were really wet! The children thought it was great fun. We got to feel a stingray - and that was really something. They are like squishy jello and very very soft. We watched four sleek dolphins and got to engage with a friendly walrus! It was really something wonderful. Of course Daddy and the children enjoyed a few chosen roller coasters, and we came home with three new T-shirts. It was a true blessing to have the gift of the tickets!  


It was also really wonderful for ME to get out of the house that has been a den of various sickness for so long. It was a wonderful much-needed family rejuvinator for us all. I realized again how very much I love my children, love teaching them, love being with them all the time, and how precious our relationship is. It was the perfect beginning to our new school year. God is SO good to give us those jump-starts when we need them so much. I look forward to this year and our new school schedule.


On Sunday Daddy brought home a baby polydactyl! Nope, we are not the proud owners of a new dinosaur, but of another kitty! She just has more than the normal toe count for a cat and hence the name. I just loved the term and really thought it sounded like a dinosaur! She is very brindled in black, brown, tan, and cream and has a stripe down her nose. She has six toes on each of her front paws and looks like a baby panther.  We have named her Pebbles because she looks like a riverbed. We hope she and Pippen will be good friends, but at this point he is pretty skeptical!


Have a lovely week now!


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Catching up with me

Well, I HAD hoped to remain above the sickness that seems to plague our house this month, but to no avail. I did sucumb to its wily ways and am certainly much further down on the health scale than I was at the beginning of August. I would appreciate any prayers made upon our behalf, and will update you further when there is anything to update.


Achy but smiling,



Sunday, August 14, 2005

Marvelous Maven and Wonderful Words

I am a lover of words, word origins, and words that we no longer use. I just love them! I love to read them in books and pick up their meanings because of the way they are used. I didn't always know what a trencher was, or a flagon, or a noggin, and I didn't know that people wore drugget; did you? But this great site helped me with all those funny words. Sometimes I wonder what words our great great grand children will think are amusing or odd when they read our blog posts from 2005 - should they be around by then! I imagine I will be viewed as a rather odd gal myself.


In honor of a dear and wonderful woman I love, Amelia Harper, I am posting here a poem that our very own Jen Ig wrote for her. I just loved it! I hope you enjoy it too.

The brilliant glow of an Elven dawn
Vividly blushes its glory upon
A poetic soul with thoughts to inspire
A deeper journey in respect to the shire


And so this day of Mia’s arrival
We gladly visit her friends for awhile
Those Hobbits and Thinguts; those Elves and Lords
Of Rings and Kings and Daggers and Swords


The flutes! The harps! The drums! now begin           
Trumpet the joy that we have in our friend
And thankfully praise the One who’s brought
This assembly of comrades, I bless the whole lot

Happy Birthday to you, Amelia, my wonderful elven friend!




My heart breaks for these families

As I read this article this morning it was hard to get through it for all the pain that it represents. I cannot imagine what this would be like and as a mother, all the more. Let us pray for these families for the peace that passes all understanding and may God be real to them today.


From Foxnews today:


48 Children Among Dead in Jet Crash
Sunday, August 14, 2005


GRAMMATIKO, Greece  — A Cypriot plane crashed into a hill north of Athens (search) on Sunday, killing all 121 people aboard — a third of them children — in Greece's deadliest airline disaster. At least one of the pilots was unconscious when the plane went down, apparently from lack of oxygen.


The Helios Airways flight ZU522 was headed from Larnaca, Cyprus (search), to Athens International Airport when it crashed at 12:05 p.m. near the town of Grammatiko, about 25 miles north of the Greek capital, leaving flaming debris and luggage strewn across a ravine and surrounding hills.


The Boeing 737 (search), carrying 115 passengers and six crew, was to have flown onto Prague, Czech Republic, after stopping in Athens. There were 48 children on board, most of them Greek Cypriots, Helios spokesman Giorgos Dimitriou told reporters at Athens airport.


The cause of the crash was unclear, but it looked like a technical problem — possibly decompression — and not terrorism. "The first indications, in Cyprus and in Greece, are that it was not caused by a terrorist act," said Marios Karoyian, a spokesman for Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos.


Family members wept in anguish as they waited at the Athens and Larnaca airports. When news of the crash emerged at Larnaca, relatives swarmed the airline counters, shouting "murderers" and "you deserve lynching." One woman, Artemis Charalambous, said she was the mother of one of the pilots.


A man whose cousin was a passenger on the plane told Greece's Alpha television he received a cell-phone text message minutes before the crash. "He told me the pilots were unconscious. ... He said: "Farewell, cousin, here we're frozen," Sotiris Voutas said.


The head of the Greek airline safety committee, Akrivos Tsolakis, described the crash as the "worst accident we've ever had." He said the plane's black boxes had been discovered at the scene, containing flight data and voice recordings valuable for determining the cause.


"There apparently was a lack of oxygen, which is usually the case when the cabin is depressurized," Tsolakis said.


The plane lost contact with Greek and Cypriot air traffic control 23 minutes after takeoff. Two F-16 fighter jets were dispatched shortly after the plane entered Greek air space over the Aegean Sea and did not respond to radio calls — a standard Greek practice.


When they intercepted the plane, the jet pilots could see the co-pilot slumped over his seat. The captain was not in the cockpit, and oxygen masks were dangling inside the cabin, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said.


He said the jet pilots also saw two people apparently trying to take control of the plane, but it was unclear if they were members of the crew or passengers.

(The rest of the story.)


Friday, August 12, 2005

In Sickness and in Health...

You know, there are days and weeks of a person's life that are better than others. This week, particulaly last night, will not be counted among the top 10 - nor even the top 100. We had not one, not two, but three children throwing up last night - in the *middle* of the night. Vomit is not my friend - just in case you were wondering. I am beginning to wonder if it thinks it is - it is like a visitor who never leaves. I have been giving it hints for some time and it continues to ignore me. Nasty guest.


However! God is still on the throne, and this did not blindside Him. I am still grateful for His sovereignty! I would like to ask for your prayers for our health. It has seemed to hit us harder than normal recently - and has lasted for weeks off and on. We seem to be tricked into thinking we are well and then boom, a midnight laundry session is in order.  Even I have not been 100% - and how can the house function without me, right?!  :+) We would just really appreciate your prayers - and for my stamina!





Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I don't usually do this...

but I really liked this email from my Aunt Nancy. Sometimes we all need a good reminder to live life while we have it.







I learned that I like my teacher because she cries when we sing "Silent Night".
Age 5


I learned that our dog doesn't want to eat my broccoli either.
Age 7


I learned that when I wave to people in the country, they stop what they are doing and wave back.
Age 9


I learned that just when I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes me clean it up again.
Age 12


I learned that if you want to cheer yourself up, you should try cheering someone else up.
Age 14


I learned that although it's hard to admit it, I'm secretly glad my parents are strict with me.
Age 15


I learned that silent company is often more healing than words of advice.
Age 24


I learned that brushing my child's hair is one of life's great pleasures. (Mostly!)
Age 26


I learned that wherever I go, the world's worst drivers have followed me there.
Age 29


I learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it.
Age 30


I learned that there are people who love you dearly but just don't know how to show it.
Age 42


I learned that you can make some one's day by simply sending them a little note.
Age 44


I learned that the greater a person's sense of guilt, the greater his or her need to cast blame on others.
Age 46


I learned that children and parents are natural allies.
Age 47


I learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
Age 48


I learned that singing "Amazing Grace" can lift my spirits for hours.
Age 49


I learned that motel mattresses are better on the side away from the phone.
Age 50


I learned that you can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
Age 51


I learned that keeping a vegetable garden is worth a medicine cabinet full of pills.
Age 52


I learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you miss them terribly after they die.
Age 53


I learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.
Age 61


I learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
Age 62


I learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catchers mitt on both hands.  You need to be able to throw something back.
Age 64


I learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you.  But if you focus on your family, the needs of others, your work, meeting new people, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.
Age 65


I learned that whenever I decide something with kindness, I usually make the right decision.

Age 66


I learned that everyone can use a prayer.
Age 72


I learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.
Age 82


I learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone.  People love that human touch-holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
Age 90


I learned that I still have a lot to learn.
Age 92


Monday, August 08, 2005

To be or not to be...

Some days it is so rewarding to be a crafty mom. I am not nearly crafty enough for my children's pleasure, but today we were! Enter stage left... good old William Shakespeare. We are finishing up the Renaissance/Reformation with Good Queen Bess (also known as Queen Elizabeth I):



 and dear old Will.



We used the above Treasure Chest (that just happens to be on clearance sale) and had a ball printing our own play posters with the replica sixteenth century printing set. We were all stars of Romeo & Juliet and didn't even have to remember our lines! My girls were pretending to be printing apprentices to Gutenberg in light of our recent reading, Ink on His Fingers. It was quite humorous to hear them chattering about not pleasing "The Master" with their work. Historical fiction does its secretive work yet again!


We are heading into American History this year for the first time and look forward to it very much. At the same time though, I would not trade our time from Creation through Reformation for anything! It has been wonderful to learn of the amazing ancient cultures and all their strange customs, lifestyle, dress, and religions. People have always been fascinating, and those that came before will always influence those that come after. This was even more so during the tumultuous Reformation time period. What a blessing it has been to meet some of these remarkably brave and inspiring people. Would that I had their abilities!


We look forward to learning of the men and women that forged a life for us that we enjoy today, here in our own land. We want to know these people and to know our history, and we look forward to it!





Sunday, August 07, 2005

Bean Recipes!

I have been discussing bean recipes with Jo and decided to post a few here. I sure would appreciate any other good bean recipes from your kitchens too! All of these recipes as-is would serve our family of 7 for one meal. I hope you find something you like!



Kate's Kitchen


(Key: t = teaspoon, T = Tablespoon, C = cup, can = small regular can)


Tamale Pie


2 cans kidney or pinto beans (or 3 heaping cups home-cooked kidney or pinto beans)
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 cup corn (frozen or 1 can regular, drained)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t cumin
2 t chili powder
½ t oregano
½ t salt
1 C cheese

4 ½ C water
1 ½ C corn meal
½ t salt


Mix beans, onion, bell pepper, corn, garlic, spices, and salt together in a cooking pot. Heat through, but do not cook long; just until hot. Pour mixture into large pie pan or smaller rectangular baking pan (double recipe for 9x13 pan). Sprinkle cheese on top of mixture. In a pan heat the 4 ½ C water with salt until boiling then add corn meal. Stir until thick then pour over top of cheese. Preheat oven to 350 F and bake for 30 minutes until cornmeal is baked through and the bean mixture is bubbling. Slice and enjoy!


Chicken/Feta/Bean Burritos

(can be made without chicken, but better with!)


3 pounds chicken breasts, cut up into bite-sized chunks
2 t ground cumin
1 t salt
½ t pepper
2 cans of black beans or 3 heaping cups home-cooked black beans
2 T oil
1 C feta cheese (or other if feta is disliked, but feta is yummy!)
Flour tortillas


Sauté chicken in oil until cooked through. Mix beans with spices and heat in pan; then add chicken. Warm tortillas if you like, lay bean/chicken mixture in center of tortillas, add feta, and salsa. Roll and enjoy!


Black Beans with Turkey and Rice


1 T oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 C onion, chopped
1 C green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
2 T soy sauce
1 T lemon juice
1 T mustard (Dijon preferred, but other is fine.)
1 t chili powder
3 C cooked black beans, rinsed if canned
3 C freshly cooked brown rice


Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add turkey and cook until done, but not crispy. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook five minutes until tender. Whisk tomato sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, mustard, and chili powder until blended. Stir into turkey mixture along with the beans. Reduce heat to medium low and cook 20 minutes until hot and flavors are blended. Serve over hot brown rice.


Crockpot Chili


1 bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cans (or 3 heaping home-cooked cups) kidney or pinto beans **
2 pounds ground turkey, cooked  **
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t salt
1 t cumin
2-3 T chili powder (to taste really – more if mild chili and less if strong)


Brown ground turkey and add to all other ingredients in the crock pot. Cook on low 7-8 hours or on high, 4-5. (The last hour will depend on how your crockpot is.) Serve with cornbread.


** Note: You can also do 3 cans of beans (or 4 ½ C home-cooked) to 1 pound of ground turkey – your choice.




8 cups your own pinto beans, cooked or 2 large cans refried beans
4 C Grated cheddar cheese
2 cans chopped black olives
2 avocados, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
Sour cream
15 corn tortillas
1 C oil to fry tortillas in


Cut up all topping items. Heat up oil and fry tortillas. Lay them out on a brown paper bag to drain. While frying tortillas, heat beans. If your family likes refried and you don’t want to buy them, cook your own pinto beans and make them yourself in the blender. I use mostly beans, enough of the bean water to make them blend, salt, garlic powder, and any other spices I might like to throw in. A friend uses a small can of mild green chilies and blends that in with it. I have not tried that yet. Once you have your beans; heat them up. Now is the time to decorate your tostada. Take a fried corn tortilla, spread beans whole, or refried, on them, add cheese. Then place any topping on it that you like, olives, avocado, onion, tomatoes, and then top with salsa and sour cream if you like. Eat them with your hands and enjoy!


Thursday, August 04, 2005


WHAT is the publishing world - supposedly "Christian" publishing world - ?! - thinking here? Pyromaniac, as honestly as ever, shares this utterly absurd story with us. He was so frustrated with the utter inanity of it all, and I can completely see why. I cannot comprehend what the "Christian" world is coming to when God's word is so terribly distorted and perverted. How can the publishers do such things to God's word? How can everyone entirely unhinge when the Koran is even remotely tampered with, yet God's holy word is treated in such a way? How can God hold back His contempt with man is what I want to know. How long, oh Lord, how long?




Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Books! Books! and More Books!

I just love to read - truly - it is a pleasure that is a marvelous gift to me - unlike anything else. I compiled an interesting list the other day of one of my favorite genres; the 18th and 19th century romantic.  Most of my friends can identify with the attraction of these books, and it was fun to put together a list of the ones I have read, watched in movie form, or wish to read. While searching for these gems on Amazon, I discovered a lot I had not even heard of. Everyone knows about Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, but not everyone has heard of E. P. Roe and Charlotte Mary Younge. In my research I discovered, I am embarrassed to admit,  that George Eliot was really a woman and her pseudonym! Aww, the things you learn from Amazon.


I would really like any input on the list below - am I missing any great literary works that I have forgotten? (Or any great movie versions of the same?) Mind you, I did this list late at night, and by the end I was blurry in the eyes. It was great fun to poke around, put this together, and to discover yet *more* books I must read! I do know that those of you will know some I have forgotten, and we cannot forget great literature!


I appreciate your help in my romantic addiction.



What I Have Read:


The Daisy Chain (Charlotte May Younge)
Adam Bede (George Eliot)
Pride & Prejudice (Jane Austen)
Sense and Sensibilities (Jane Austen)
Emma (Jane Austen)
Mansfield Park (Jane Austen)
Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen)
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
Agnes Grey (Anne Bronte)
Lorna Doone (R. D. Blackmore)
A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)
A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)
Far from the Madding Crowd (Thomas Hardy)
Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne)
The Red Badge Of Courage (Stephen Crane)
The Earth Trembled (E.P. Roe)
The Three Weavers: a Tale for Fathers and Daughters (Annie Fellows Johnston)


What I Want to read:


Persuasion (Jane Austen)
Lady Susan (Jane Austen)
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne Bronte)
Shirley (Charlotte Bronte)
The Professor (Charlotte Bronte)
Villette (Charlotte Bronte)
The Green Dwarf (Charlotte Bronte)
Wives and Daughters (Elizabeth Gaskell)
Middlemarch (George Eliot)
The Mill on the Floss (George Eliot)
Silas Marner (George Eliot)
Mary Barton (Elizabeth Gaskell)
Cranford (Elizabeth Gaskell)
Ruth (Elizabeth Gaskell)
North and South (Elizabeth Gaskell)
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (Charles Dickens)
Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Thomas Hardy)
Ivanhoe (Sir Walter Scott)
Barriers Burned Away (E.P. Roe)


Movies of this time period I have seen:


The Mayor of Casterbridge
Wives and Daughters
Nicholas Nickleby
Jane Eyre
Wuthering Heights
Lorna Doone
A Tale of Two Cities
A Christmas Carol
Oliver Twist
Great Expectations
Pride & Prejudice
Sense and Sensibilities
Mansfield Park
Little Women

Happy reading!


Monday, August 01, 2005

Prayer for Abigail



We just returned from the chiropractor and she is just fine! She was WAY out of alignment and needed a few adjustments, but she is now walking completely normally and I am SO glad! Praise the Lord!





Hello all,


I would like to ask for prayer for our daughter, Abigail. She has displaced her hip or subluxated it, and we are taking her to our chiropractor today at 3:00 pm, California time. Please pray that it is something minor and that he can realign her again without any trauma. We have every confidence in our chiropractor as we have seen him for upwards of nine years and he has always been gentle and kind and especially so with children. He has always been very helpful. I just ask that God have His hand upon both the doctor and Abigail and that there will be no bigger problems.


Thank you for your prayers!