Monday, October 30, 2006

Balancing of Days

I am really trying to find the balance in all my computer use and I find that the less I am on the computer the less I really want to be! :+) So, that is part of the reason I have not blogged since my prayer request.

Update on Grace: she is home and recovering from her nasty bout with sickness. Her baby is nursing again and is a happy little squishy clam. Grace's husband is happy about both of those things. :+) I can only imagine what he went through trying to feed a baby a bottle she did not want at all. Praise God she is doing well and in recovery mode now. God is good!



The older three children went with Daddy to Angel Island this Saturday with Cub Scouts and hiked all the way to the top of Mt. Livermore. The pictures here are taken from the top.  Above is the Golden Gate Bridge and below is Tiburon. The pictures and video from the summit were spectacular. (Unfortunately I had to shrink them to fit the blog space here, but even these pictures show you what a lovely day they had!) I had forgotten how pretty the Bay Area is. It has been ten years since we lived there and believe it or not the memory fades. The Sacramento area has truly become our home, summer heat and all.



We are in the midst of a gorgous fall day--slightly breezy and warm, but cool enough for candle burning. :+) I just love this time of year!


We celebrated the youngest's birthday yesterday. My not-so-little baby is now four. Four! It is amazing to see her growing so fast. Those of you struggling with babies--remember that it goes all too fast! I don't know when it all happened, but it is a good reminder to limit my time on the computer.


There we are! Full circle to the beginning of this post! I am limiting myself, and it has been liberating and wonderful. I even finished a brilliant book this weekend, North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell. What a lovely, marvelous,  rich, and filling book! The movie is very similar in the feelings it evokes, but of course the book is filling to the soul beyond the measure of the movie. (And the movie was wonderful!)


I think I am going to set aside my Victorian passion for a while and read something nonfictionish. I have not settled on it yet, but will let you know when I do.


Have a lovely week, all! We are off to a brilliant start.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Please Pray

My dear friend Grace is in the hospital with colitis as a result of the medication taken from two severe breast infections. She is now on serious medication that prevents her from nursing and the baby is at home and refusing a bottle. Please pray for Grace and for her husband Korey at home with a very unhappy baby and their three year-old. Thank you!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Eldarion to Christ

How many of you knew who Eldarion was? If so, you have read the various Appendices to The Lord of the Rings. (Can you tell I am a Ringer?) :+) I just finished this amazing work for the third time. With each reading it gets richer and richer and the characters come more alive to me. Reading the Appendices give me so much to chew on. That Tolkien would have written them at all shows you just how much he was truly living in Middle Earth. For those of you who have read The Silmarillion, you will know it even more.


The Appendices tell you what happened to so many of the people you encountered in Middle Earth. I say that like they are all real. They *do* become real the more you read it. You can see these Hobbits, Men, and Elves come alive in the work of Tolkien and it really is marvelous. There is no other fictional work I have ever read that has painted a picture so clear that you could walk into it and miss it when it was gone. I was sad today thinking of Arwen in the fading garden of Lothlorien after the passing of Aragorn--she gave up everything for her love of him. I was sad thinking of the death of Merry and Pippin, laying "...in Rath Dinen among the great of Gondor." 


How is it that a work of fiction can have such an impact on one's heart? I think the very essence of the fall of man is portrayed in these books--intentional or not. All of life is filled with great happiness as well as great grief. There was exceptional joy in these books and exceptional pain. Do we not live this very life? I think I so identify with the grief of Arwen or the sadness at the passing of the time of the Elves because life changes and moves on. But it was not meant to be this way. We are living in the world post-fall. What an aching reality! To know there was such a thing as a perfect world, God's most perfect place, set apart for us all, not marred by sin and death--and to have missed it all for the lust of the flesh, the pride of life. Ah, such grief! Such pain! So much we endure because of the choice of two people.


There is to be a better place, a future world not marred by sin and death--where there will be no tears, no more sorrow, no pain and suffering. It is truly hard to comprehend. I cannot fathom what that world looks like--but I know it will be! I have the promise of my King--my returning King! The battle though, is already fought, and the treasure of eternal life is already won. There will be no Black Gate to conquer and no great enemy to defeat. It is a joyous advent for those who know their King.


I think this is why The Lord of the Rings resonates so much with my heart. It is not that I think it is an allegory for it isn't, but because there is so much beauty and truth in it--and so much aching sadness that reminds me of this life. The aching sadness though, will pass away, and be a long lost memory in eternity with Christ.

Distractions Part Two

Thank you to all the commenting ladies in the previous post. You all gave me something to think about and it helped. I think it really is about self control--one  of the basic things I teach my own children! Thankfully I have finished all I need to do with review products for a while, sent out all contest copies to TOS winners, and have some real honest-to-goodness non-work days ahead of me. It is something to be caught up!


This week we are striving to get back on the school schedule. Why is it that fall is the time of year that school starts up again? There are pumpkin farms to visit, fallish crafts to do, five birthdays amongst our family, Thanksgiving and then Christmas to plan for! How come fall is when fall is? :+) I do love fall, and all its trappings, but it sure makes it hard to stay on the school schedule! Apple cider anyone? :+)

Friday, October 20, 2006


I don't know about any of you, but I am so easily distractable. The internet is a difficult thing to grapple with for me. It is so much easier to read blogs, boards, the news, etc., than to really deal with the very real life in front of me. I think I am going to have to sincerely limit myself. I do it to my children so why not to myself? I really don't want my children's memories of me to be the back of my head as I read another news story.


The "Information Age" is really not all its cracked up to be in some ways. There is so much instant information, shopping, pictures, videos, help, chat, article after article of available knowledge and all for the taking! Now I know full well there are negatives to the net too, but it can really be an addiction. (And I am not talking about the gross stuff, but the truly helpful or enjoyable things here.) I am dealing with the symptoms now. Are you?


1. How often do I click "send and receive" per day? Does my work really take that much time?

2. Does it really matter if anyone has commented underneath my post on the board? Does it benefit anyone at all or is it only for my own benefit?

3. Did that person respond to my comment I left for them on their blog?

4. Will the news website *really* have an update on the story I just read after only two hours? Does it matter if they do?

5. Does blogging take a more important role in my life than learning [insert subject here] with my children?

6. When I have extra money am I imagining what I can buy with it on the net?

7. Does it really matter how many people come to my blog every day? (Yes, you do matter, but should I care so much if my counter is low?)


These are humbling things I am asking myself. Yes, I have to use the internet for my job. I know that, but I have been using it as an excuse in my head for spending more time than I need to. Why is it hard to do this? Do I feel like I will not be important somehow if I drop out of the great internet discussion? I am not being sarcastic here, I am really asking myself these things.


How do you limit yourself on the computer--especially if you work from your home as I do? I would love to hear how you have limited yourself--and I will only read your responses when I have done what is truly important here at home. :+)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Wolf Scout Mama

I am officially a Wolf Scout Mama. I took the place of my husband tonight at the den meeting of my Wolf Cub. It was nice to see the inner-sanctum of scouting for the first time. We will be attending his pack meeting next week as a family because he will be getting some awards. He has been working really hard with his sister and his daddy to get the requirements done. He really is a special boy and I adore him.


Tonight they had to write a guess for an experiment they were doing. I looked later at his paper and in addition to his guess he had written in little boy capital letters, "I love Cub Scouts." It made my heart melt. He almost missed it tonight because Daddy was just not feeling well. I said I would go and I am so glad I did. Time is marching on with my son. He is growing up. He is seeing things with new eyes and honorable men to guide him. It was really wonderful to be there with him. He is my little soldier and I love him.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

There's gold in them thar hills!

And we struck it! Well, some of us did, anyway! We spent most of the day at the Coloma Gold Rush Live on Saturday and it was truly a marvelous event. Here is some of our day...


Panning for gold, of course!



Look what John found! We're rich!



Well, OK, maybe not quite so rich...



That circled one there, that is our treasure. Yes, that bigger one is real gold, discovered in this valley by a real miner. He said it was worth upwards of $4,200.  Ours is, well, not so much. :+)


Guess who we ran into in full costume and cooking (below) over a hot fire?

One of my favorite Unit Studies gals, Jennifer Steward!



These are some of the things she was cookin' for the menfolk!



On the spit was beef covered in rosemary. It was very tempting to smell!

In the ovens below were chicken and dumplings, beans and a pie. They had already cooked one pie. There was really a science behind cooking in the ovens. I hope to do it with our own sometime.


We had an honest-to-goodness trapper tell us the life of a trapper in the "olden days." She was a character and she shared how they slept with buffalo pelts, what they ate, and how they started fires. She was really a character.



We could not resist buying our little goldrushers period hats:



Are they just too cute for words? I am, admitedly, rather partial. :+)


We got to listen to the doctor tell us all about how these tools were used:




This ought to make you pale. The big saw on the right was used for chopping limbs off when nothing else would work. The instrument above the box that looks like a wine bottle opener is the item that opened up the skull. Can you say it with me, "THANK GOD for modern medicine?!"


We met a wonderful woman who made spectacular baskets from pine needles and raffia. Here she is explaining it and some of her work is below.




(This one took 50 hours to make!!)



Sweet Carmon is a docent at Coloma's Sutter's Mill and she was there in full dress with her whole family. Below is the docent schoolmaster and sometimes pastor, Rex Ruth. (They are very serious, you know, because they are in period form for the camera!) :+)



This is Miss. Em that Carmon sometimes blogs about. She was so sweet and very talented. She made her dress herself and the following half-scale dress you see below in front of the sewing tent. It was beautiful!




We got to listen to a beautiful hurdy-gurdy played by a man I would swear was Donald Sutherland. :+)



And we were wondering about this Mountain Man. He was a HOOT!



John was ready for the hunt. :+) We had such a wonderful time. The docents worked so hard, but really looked like they were having a wonderful time. I have to say though that I am SO glad I don't live in the goldrush days! I love to visit, but coming home to my nice house, comfy mattress and electric lights, well, I am a spoiled gal. I sure did love the smell of campfire I left with though. It was a warm and cozy smell. Maybe that life wouldn't be so bad after all...




Such times as these, they are precious and appreciated.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Gold Rush Livin' in Sutter's Mill, Coloma!

We'll be there, will you?


Coloma Gold Rush Live - Sat, Oct 14, 2006 - Sun, Oct 15, 2006

For two days Coloma will be packed with images, sounds, and hands-on experiences dating back to the 1850s. Step back in time and experience the California Gold Rush. Live history tent encampments recreate Gold Rush history in this authentic setting. Attend talks about the gold discovery and Sutter's Mill. Visitors will enjoy live music, historic trade demonstrations and a merchants market. There will be gold panning contests for kids and adults as well as sawmill demonstrations and historic re-enactments so you can feel as if you are rubbing shoulders with the adventurers and historical figures that helped create the world-wide rush to California. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. For more information contact (530) 295-2170 or (530) 622-3470.

Random Round Up

I discovered this site through a link some time ago and just thought it was a great place to learn to save money. I love the name--and how can you not? Hillbilly Housewife is the site and I highly recommend it for those cutting the costs at home. Aren't we all? :+)

"Who has controlled the Middle East over the course of history? Pretty much everyone. Egyptians, Turks, Jews, Romans, Arabs, Greeks, Persians, Europeans...the list goes on. Who will control the Middle East today? That is a much bigger question." This interesting blurb came from a link that was shared with me. "See 5,000 years of history in 90 seconds." I cannot endorse the website as I don't know anything about the group, but the flash map that this link takes you to changes and covers the whole course of written history in the Middle East is really very interesting. (Especially for you history fans!)

For those of you studying the San Francisco earthquake, you will find this devastation picture engrosing. It is a huge picture and make take dial-up folks a while, but you can scroll and see the whole city from a camera that was raised by balloons after the fire had died down. It is a dramatic picture.

For those of you who like to understand some of the stories in the news from a creationist viewpoint, you might find Answers in Genesis' new News to Note helpful. I have found it to be a worthwhile resource for understanding some of the evolutionary stories we hear so much about as well as helping to grapple with the more horrific stories like the Amish shootings.

Hunting for Geography sites? This one is pretty substantial and full of great resources. Paula's Archives is also a huge wealth of information from book lists to Latin and Greek roots, to non-homeschooling topics. It is really something and I have only scratched the surface! Are you looking for educational games for your family? Well look no further. I was amazed at the selection here.

It is fall. Huzzah! To celebrate we have been lighting candles every day and enjoying the warm scents provided to me by Homestead Originals. I can now say with authority that her Gingerbread and Homestead Kitchen are absolutely the BEST! Especially Homestead Kitchen! If you like your home to have that wonderful cinnamony yummy warm smell then that is the one for you. For only $4.00 for a half pint soy candle that lasts for, no kidding, 45 hours--well, you just can't find that anywhere. I will be buying more before the end of winter at the rate we are using them! What fun!

And I leave something for us all to chew on. I really like this quote and may have put it here before, but it bears mentioning again. I hope you have a wonderful family-filled weekend!


"We think of God as a miser of happiness, keeping back from us all that would make us happy. We think that by running away from Him we will be happy, wild, and free. But it doesn't work that way. Instead of happiness we find misery. Instead of freedom we find the debilitating bondage of sin."
- James Boice

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Celebrating 36 years

Today is my birthday and I am celebrating! My dear and precious, sweet and wonderful friend Kolbi sent me these gorgeous beauties (and that is chocolate in the green package!)



I am SO grateful for all I have been given; flowers, friendships, family and my Savior.


I am going to celebrate it with my most precious gifts here for you:


My wonderful husband and I in our Sunday best:



My happy blue-eyed sweety:



My smiling fallish girl:



My one and only Wolf cub:



My brown-eyed pixie:



My smallest smallish bear girl:



Am I not blessed on this my 36th year? Thank you, Jesus, for the life I lead.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Literature to Movie

I asked a homeschooling board if they could help me come up with a list of great movies that were also classic works of literature. I think most of the list below qualifies. The top portion are the ones I thought of myself.


Pride & Prejudice
Our Mutual Friend
Jane Eyre
Sense & Sensibility
Mayor of Castorbridge
Mansfield Park
Wives and Daughters
Bleak House
Northanger Abbey (They are making a new one of this!)
Wuthering Heights
Lorna Doone
A Tale of Two Cities
A Christmas Carol
Little Women
Great Expectations
North and South (Gaskell)
Nicholas Nickleby
The Last of the Mohicans
The Count of Monte Cristo
Vanity Fair 
The Lord of the Rings

Oliver Twist 

The Three Musketeers


These were all suggested to me:


Martin Chuzzlewit
Hard Times
Horatio Hornblower
The Scarlet Pimpernel
War and Peace
Anna Karenina
Dr Zhivago
Les Miserables
The Man from Snowy River
Winslow Boy


The Moonstone and The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (a contemporary of Charles Dickens) - this was totally new to me--another Victorian novelist, yippie!


"If you like Oscar Wilde I would add An Ideal Husband, The Importance of Being Earnest, and A Good Woman (Lady Windermere's Fan)."


"The Inheritance (based on Louisa May Alcott's book)."


"A Simple Twist of Fate. It is a retelling of Silas Marner..."


Cyrano de Bergerac


Can you think of any good classic literature-to-movies out there? 

Monday, October 09, 2006

Family Favorite Christmas Books

Christmas is approaching, ready or not! (And I am not even close!) We love to read Christmas books and enjoy taking them out each year. We always choose one advent-type of book and last year we read Jotham's Journey: A Storybook for Advent. We hope to read the next in the series this year.


What are your favorite Christmas books? Here are some of our favorites:


Annika's Secret Wish is one that we also really enjoy. Love of family and sacrifice for one another--it is a very touching story.


This next one is really fun. You have to read it with several different accents and the children get a complete kick out of it. The Legend of Papa Noel: A Cajun Christmas Story


We loved this next one when it first came out and we still very much enjoy it today. 

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey


Two more we really enjoy are these: One Wintry Night and Letters From Father Christmas.


Are there special things you do for Christmas? Do you like to check out the newest Christmas books each year like me?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Vision Forum Goodies

Life in a Shoe is hosting a fantastic contest for a whole lot of Vision Forum products. If you have not seen her post, click on that link and check it out! There are mnay wonderful products available at Vision Forum.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Weekend away means weekend of play

We had a grand weekend away. Much play, relaxation, good food, and fellowship was had. Here are some shots, courtesy mainly of my daughter, and her newly-received digital camera. I am constantly on guard now--must be freshly done up or ready with the delete button. :+) (Or suffer the consequences!) LOL


First the children enjoyed removing the very green underwater green plants growing off the dock. This *may* look like work, but it was not to my harvesters.



Look at those clumps! They grow from the dock down to the bottom of the river and are not native to the Delta.


Then they did lots of playing in a neighbor's playhouse put up for his grandchildren. This was such a fun-looking set! I think it is from the Disney Bears.



There were family walks (that is my mother next to me in the red) and she is next to my almost-as-tall-as-me eldest daughter. The man to the left is my mother's wonderful husband and Abigail is next to him. Little Emma, who is not really so little anymore, is holding onto my hand.



Trampoline jumping with flips in the air...



(Hannah above and Abigail below...)



Hesitant dipping in the river on the blustery day...



Huck Finning on an improvised boat...



Sliding down the levy and flying kites in the wind...




Quick to sleep this night!



Up early to walk along the levy...



And quick to jump on anything that moves...




Tired but very happy children.



Tired but very happy Mommy and Daddy.



God is GOOD!


Today, 37 years ago...

God brought into the world, courtesy of my mother-in-law, my collaborator in parenthood, my comrade in silly behavior, my dearest friend and most precious husband, Mark:



I love him dearly.


Happy Birthday, my love!