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Friday, August 31, 2007

Finished Object Friday: Jammin'

I've been having trouble with blogger today, so I don't know if I will take the time to post the photos just yet, but watch this space.

My finished objects for the week are the blackberry lime jam. I have at least one more batch to make, and my goal is to make two more. We will be picking crabapples tomorrow so I can make crabapple jelly and with that the majority of my Christmas gifts will be finished.

If you have one or more finished items this week, please sign Mr. Linky below and share all you have made. Your Finished Object(s) can be knit, crocheted, sewn, quilted, tatted, beaded, papercraft, woodwork or any other kind of craft. Show off what you have made! Please make sure you link to the exact post that shows your finished item(s) rather than just to your blog.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

See How Adorable They Are?

Well, since I have a whole bunch to catch everyone up on, here are the photos from two weekends ago. I have a cute picture of four of the children in the pool (Jerome didn't take to the pool until I got in and held him closely, and there's no way I'm posting a picture of me in my swimsuit, even with the distracting baby shots), but I didn't want to give the sickos out there a view of them, so you'll have to trust me on how cute they looked. We had a busy weekend that week. It started Thursday with the fair, then we went to Rich's company picnic on Friday, Saturday we went to a barbecue at a friend of Rich's from the airfield and Sunday after church we ate at our neighbor's house while our children played with their daughter, dog, ducks, cats, rabbits, etc.

At the fair, we brought a picnic dinner so we could buy one of each of the foods we wanted to share between us. I made steak and pepper sandwiches on olive oil bread, brought bottles of water and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies that the children helped me make.

Alexander holding a duckling. Dominic and Elijah also got to hold little creatures and pet baby goats. Amira was too afraid of the chicks. Yeah, she's a tough girl.

We found a haybale bull that the children enjoyed riding.

At the picnic on Saturday, Jerome was driven around in this wagon. He actually had a great time and smiled and laughed until we took the camera out. None of the pictures show him smiling. He smiles immediately after the click, though. Every time.

Here they all are together.

This is Amira spinning around near her brothers. It's a blurry picture, but I love it.

This one, and the next one were just pretty pictures of the children on the swings at the fair. We spent something like $50 for our children to ride four rides each. This is the low cost, county fair, too.


National Family Opinion

Perhaps you have seen this in my sidebar?

Be Rewarded for Your Opinions - NFO MySurvey.com

I am pointing it out to you in case you are one of the five people who isn't already signed up with them. In the interest of full disclosure, if you use that link to sign up, I get a kickback, about $1.50 worth of one.

This is one of the two survey groups I still belong to and participate in regularly. You don't get huge amounts of money for your trouble, but you get to share your thoughts with marketers and make a little money while hanging out on the computer, which you are doing anyway. I get somewhere between $40 and $60 a year, I think in an average year. We aren't putting the children through college on this money, nor are we going to take a family vacation with it anytime soon, but it does buy a sweater's worth of yarn for me on sale, or a child's sweater, things like that.

You don't have to take cash either, they have drawings and raffles, charity (though they haven't had a charity I wanted to support yet), as well as larger items you can "purchase" with your points if you save them up. I'm a skeptic, and I assume a place can fold at any second, so when I gather enough points for a check, I redeem it. You may think differently.

Anyway, if you are interested in earning some money or other things while surfing the net by answering some questions, think about joining them. I've been a member with them for something like nine years and they've always been good to deal with and steady.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Menu Plan Monday: August 27

I put up 18 jars of Blackberry Lime Jam last night. Finally! Our weather has been so weird, first so hot, then rainy, and I was getting worried that I wouldn't have any blackberries to make into jam this year, but we still have plenty. I'm planning on making at least that many more jars in the next week. This weekend, Rich is going to pick me enough crabapples to make four batches of crabapple jelly. Between that and the jam, I will have Christmas gifts covered. It's not much preserving this year, but it's something.

What is on your menu this week?

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September Color Swap: Yellow

The deadline for registration this month is 12:01 a.m PDT. August 31, 2007. This is Thursday night. If you wish to sign up, send me an email me at arabianknits at gmail dot com with your full name, mailing address, email address that you check regularly, and blog url. This is open to knitters worldwide, but I am going to make a big effort to pair people within the same nation or at least continent, since there is only a month in which to allow for something to arrive. I am going to limit the swap to the first 50 respondents. Please feel free to spread the word about this, though.

The first thing to come to mind in terms of color is, of course, yarn, but please don't limit yourself to that. Handmade cards, candles, soaps, bath salts, stationery, candies, chocolates, knitterly tools or gadgets, knitting themed accessories and roving/fiber for those who are spinners as well are all good idea for gifts. Knitting something for someone would be a lovely gift. Including shipping, the minimum price for this swap should be considered at $25 (remember, that includes shipping and any packaging). I know how difficult it is to determine the monetary value of something handmade, or handspun or hand dyed, and I do not consider those things as cheap, but please keep in mind a general sense of the price of the package being sent. Participants should expect to receive one package and to send out one package for each round of the swap. Packages should arrive by the end of each month, preferably earlier.

Remember that registration for September ends 12:01 a.m. August 31, 2007 and the color theme is Yellow. Have fun! I will have assignments sent to you by the 3rd of September.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Look! Knitting!

That is about how far I am on my ballerina top. It is a pattern from Southwest Trading Company, and it is designed for their bamboo yarn. I got the pattern free when I bought some of that yarn, for a friend to make a shawl. I had some Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Columbine Blossom which knits at the same gauge, and most likely won't stretch like the bamboo does (that's why it was for a shawl and not a sweater).

This is a little closer to the actual color, but it's hard for me to get a good picture of it. I've been zipping right along on it, while we drive to church, at bible study, watching movies at home, but now I've been knitting baby gifts for our friends who are due in October.

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Jerome's Birthday Breakfast

Last week was Jerome's birthday, and we did a birthday breakfast party of blackberry cobbler and ice cream.

He liked the looks of it, and the fire on the candle certainly interested him.

He blew out the candle with help.

The proof, though, was in the cobbler. He wanted to know why we didn't give him ice cream and blackberry cobbler sooner in his life.

Yes, he is eating in his diaper and a bib. Blackberry stains.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Finished Object Friday: Perhaps I Should Say Saturday

We have been living in a sick house since Wednesday. All five children are sick. Rich and I are fighting the same cold. We have not been sleeping much, each taking turns with different children at night. It appears that nearly all the children from church are sick also. It is for this reason that this post is so late.

However, I do have a finished item to report. I finished a baby hat for our friends who are having a baby in the next month. They live toward the desert side of southern California, so I made it out of Cotton Twist, and a lacy pattern. Since Jerome is sick, I modelled it on Amira's dress up kitty.

Here it is lying flat.

If you have one or more finished items this week, please sign Mr. Linky below and share all you have made. Your Finished Object(s) can be knit, crocheted, sewn, quilted, tatted, beaded, papercraft, woodwork or any other kind of craft. Show off what you have made! Please make sure you link to the exact post that shows your finished item(s) rather than just to your blog.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Menu Plan Monday: No Little Babies Here!

Jerome is no longer a little baby. He turned one on Saturday. We celebrated with a birthday breakfast of blackberry cobbler, vanilla ice cream, candles and song. He had a wonderful day, and got to play outside while Rich worked on the fire pit and the boys helped.

Rich's folks were supposed to come around noon, but ended up having trouble leaving town, and didn't get here until dinner time. They were passing through on their way to visiting another set of friends they have a little north of here.

We are still in preparation mode for school beginning in two weeks. Most of our books are ordered and arriving, and we've gotten all the school supplies. I've set a rough schedule, subject to change once we see how it works in daily life, and the children are raring to go.

I mentioned at church a week ago how good homemade bagels are, and was informed that they needed to appear at a coffee hour in the near future. So, I'm thinking that when my in-laws return on Wednesday, I will get to work making bagel dough. I read somewhere about freezing them after boiling them in water, so you can have fresh baked bagels any time you want, and I plan on making three or four batches of the dough so we can bring some to church, have some at home, and store some in the freezer. I'll keep you posted.

What is on your menu this week?

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Sewing Machine Blues

See this:

That is Amira's eyelet ruffled top. All the pieces, including the elastic for the back, are cut out. I have my machine threaded with the right thread, the bobbin is very unevenly wound. It turns out this is partly because of my treadle, which needs to be repaired or replaced. I also need to get the machine a general tune up, but I could have made this without that. So, it sits.

It's a good thing that Simplicity children's patterns run large, because I think Amira will be wearing this next Spring and Summer rather than this year.


Gymboree Giveaway!

Alright, you only have a couple hours. I realized I'd forgotten to link back to the contest, so here it is:

If you love Gymboree, you should enter, and get some new things for your little ones. Good luck!


Finished Object Friday: Aspirations

I always vaguely hope that I'll have something finished for each week. You know, a baby hat, or a UFO that I resurrected and did that last seam on, or knit the collar or something like that. Well, no such luck this week. Although I do have two projects that are pretty much at that stage, and could always knit a baby hat for someone.

I did finish a helping of blackberry cobbler with two scoops of ice cream last night.

The St. Martha's Guild ladies will be here tonight, so I'm hoping to get some progress on my ballerina top. The one you haven't seen yet, because I'm still fighting with the photo server. It's lovely, and I enjoy the knitting. I bought some Southwest Trading Company bamboo yarn for a friend, and was able to get this pattern for free. I didn't want to use the bamboo for it, so I'm using Cotton Fleece in Columbine Blue. It is so pretty. My goal is to have it finished in time for me to wear it next summer.

If you have one or more finished items this week, please sign Mr. Linky below and share all you have made. Your Finished Object(s) can be knit, crocheted, sewn, quilted, tatted, beaded, papercraft, woodwork or any other kind of craft. Show off what you have made! Please make sure you link to the exact post that shows your finished item(s) rather than just to your blog.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Religious Humor

I was going to post a picture of my July Red Box which came this past week, and some photos of my newest knitting project, and the pieces of Amira's top which are still not sewn together, but the photo server is acting strange. So, instead, I leave you with this joke:

A seminary professor called in the computer support tech, and told him

"This morning I printed out the syllabus for my course on The Synoptic Gospels, and it came out fine. This afternoon I tried printing out the syllabus for my course in Postmodern Hermeneutics, and all I got was gibberish."

The tech looked around, said

"Well, what do you expect from a Canon printer ?"

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Theological Ditties

I promised I'd post these, so here they are. They were first posted to the comboxes of Mark Shea's blog. I hope you find them as entertaining as I did.

Superchristological and Homoousiosis
To the tune of "Supercalafragalisticexpialadocius"

...Um diddle diddle um diddle ay
Um diddle diddle um diddle ay

Superchristological and Homoousiosis
Even though the sound of them is something quite atrocious
You can always count on them to anathemize your Gnosis
Superchristological and Homoousiosis

Um diddle diddle um diddle ay
Um diddle diddle um diddle ay

Now Origen and Arius were quite a clever pair.
Immutable divinity make Logos out of air.
But then one day Saint Nicholas gave Arius a slap--
and told them if they can't recant, they ought to shut their trap!

[chorus] Oh, Superchristological and Homoousiosis...

One Prosopon, two Ousia are in one Hypostasis.
At Chalcedon this formula gave our faith its basis.
You can argue that you don't know what this means,
But don't you go and try to say there's a "Physis" in between!

[chorus] Oh, Superchristological and Homoousiosis...

Um diddle diddle um diddle ay
Um diddle diddle um diddle ay

Now freedom and autonomy are something to be praised,
But when it comes to human sin, these words must be rephrased,
For Pelagius was too confident that we could work it out--
And Augustine said *massa damnata* is what it's all about.

[chorus] Oh, Superchristological and Homoousiosis...

Heresies are arguments that you might find attractive,
But just remember in this case the Church is quite reactive.
So play it safe and memorize these words we sing together,
'Cause in the end you'll find, my friend, that we may live forever.

[chorus] Oh, Superchristological and Homoousiosis
Even though the sound of them is something quite atrocious
You can always count on them to anathematize your Gnosis
Superchristological and Homoousiosis

-Lyrics by Dan Idzikowski

I am the Very Model of a Modern Unitarian
by Christopher Gist Raible
Sung to " I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General" from "Pirates of Penzance."

I am the very model of a modern Unitarian,
Far broader than a Catholic, Hindu, Jew or Presbyterian.
I know the world's religions and can trace their roots historical
From Moses up to Channing, all in order categorical.
I'm very well acquainted, too, with theories theological,
On existential questions I am always wholly logical,
About most any problem I am teeming with a lot of views,
I'm full of fine ideas that should fill our church's empty pews.

(Chorus members:
We're full of fine ideas that should fill our church's empty pews.
We're full of fine ideas that should fill our church's empty pews.
We're full of fine ideas that should fill our church's empty empty pews.)

I quote from Freud and Jung and all the experts psychological.
I'm anti nuke, I don't pollute I'm chastely ecological.
In short, in matters spiritual, ethical, material,
I am the very model of a modern Unitarian.

(Chorus members:
In short, in matters spiritual, ethical, material,
We are the very model of a modern Unitarian.)

I use the latest language; God is never Father or the Lord,
But Ground of Being, Source of Life or almost any other word.
I never pray, I meditate, I'm leary about worshipping.
I serve on 10 committees none of which accomplish anything.
I give to worthy causes and I drive a gas conserving car,
I have good UU principles (although I'm not sure what they are).
I'm open to opinions of profound or broad variety,
Unless they're too conservative or smack of righteous piety.

(Chorus members:
Unless they're too conservative or smack of righteous piety.
Unless they're too conservative or smack of righteous piety.
Unless they're too conservative or smack of righteous pie-piety.)

I formulate agendas and discuss them with the best of 'em,
But don't ask me to implement, we leave that to the rest of 'em.
In short in matters spiritual, ethical, material,
I am the very model of today's religious liberal.

(Chorus members:
In short, in matters spiritual, ethical, material,
We are the very model of today's religious liberal.)

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August Swap: Pink & Peach

I sent out partner information last week. If you still haven't received yours, please e-mail me.

Our participants this month are:

Please feel free to take one of the buttons above for your blog. Also, remember that at the end of this I will have a prize for one of the people who designed a button, one skein of yarn for each color theme of the year. You can send me an e-mail with a jpg or gif. Thank you!


Monday, August 13, 2007

Interesting Reading

I've been meaning to write about this topic for some time, but just can't pull my thoughts together, so I will direct you to what Rachelle has written about it. A related post on another blog can be found here.

There are so many hilarious theological ditties to be found online, some born out of serious discussion even. I will post a couple of them in their own entry, but these two, which were found in the comments section of an older Mere Comments Entry just tickled me:

1. "Onward, faith-based people!"
(Sung to the tune of "Onward, Christian [sic] Soldiers [sic]!"

Onward, faith-based people!
Moving toward "relevancy,"
With theological substance
re-imagin'd expertly.


2. Our Community's Stated Purpose"
(Sung to the tune of "The Church's [sic] One [sic] Foundation [sic]")

Our community's stated purpose
Is gracious mass-appeal,
It's in our Mission Statement
Reflecting how we feel:
No "lifestyle choice" appalls us,
C'mon you're welcome here!
Throw out that moral compass,
There's no one here to steer.
-written on the fly by Fr. Robert McMeekin

One last thing. Jessica has written a wonderful post about Christian marriage that I thought might be edifying to others besides me.


Best Freecycle Score!

Have I mentioned how much I love Freecycle? I love Freecycle.

This past month I 've been able to get rid of all sorts of things that were cluttering up our house. I'm still working on emptying out our closets and drawers of things that we don't need, that others might find useful. We are making room for the things we use and want, this way.

Well, I also use Freecycle to pick up things we could use or have been wanting and I recently picked up something I've been wanting for our family for some time. Someone was offering a Riverside Shakespeare, and I got it! It is as big as a family Bible, and the pages are as thin as a Bible's. I've been enjoying reading through the plays and poems and can't wait for the children to be old enough to enjoy reading them (as opposed to seeing the plays, which I think anyone can enjoy).

If you haven't yet discovered Freecycle, check them out. You can help others by offering the things you have and no longer need, it stays relatively local, and the landfills don't get filled up with your discards.

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To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets cakes. and books, to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. - G.K. Chesterton

So, how did it all come about? Are we angry at the children's private school? Have we become anti-school?

We did not leave the school because we were in a huff or angry with them. Although we had (and have still) some concerns about specific issues, they were not insurmountable, and we still do believe in the mission and goal of that school. We are prepared to teach the children through high school, but we are also both ready to put them back into a good private school if we see that it would be best for any individual or all of them.

First of all, we had already made a compromise on the type of schooling our children were receiving. We had wanted them to be in a Classical Christian School from before we had children. However, the closest one to us was almost two hours away. We then looked into other private Christian schooling. We considered teaching them some of the methods and subjects of a classical school in addition to their normal education, but thought they wouldn't exactly be thrilled at coming home and doing more school, so we pretty much let go of that idea.

A couple years ago, we thought about homeschooling the children, and we had been planning on homeschooling Elijah, at least for kindergarten and possibly first grade, anyway. However, Rich thought it was good for me to have a break during the day to catch up on rest, housework, and have one on one time with our younger children. We are in a better place now to make sure that I get time alone or with girlfriends, and we have found several local homeschooling groups and co-ops (which was my only prerequisite, that I have the support and advice of local people who were also homeschooling).

The reason we have chosen to do this now is that Alexander and Dominic's new teacher at school had actually taken Alexander a step or two back in his academics, and was just progressing with advanced kindergarten with Dominic. We adressed this in parent-teacher conferences, but didn't see much of a change. Now, Alexander was going to move into a class with the teacher he had had the year before who really challenged the children and was just excellent as a motivator and educator, but we knew he would be entering third grade with a handicap, because he was no longer used to the rigorous work. Dominic, meanwhile, would be continuing with a lot of the basic stuff he knew, and both of them would well be on their way (and already were) to seat warming, goofing off and a strong dislike of school. I was sick of seeing all the busy work they were doing, I can imagine how they felt doing it!

I don't want to make their teacher sound like a bad person. She was not. She was caring and seemed to really love children and teaching, but she used to be a kindergarten teacher, and it seemed to us she was still teaching at that level. There was also a marked decrease in the religious instruction the boys were receiving. We, of course, had been teaching them at home, but a big part of why we were sending them to a Christian school rather than the public school or a secular private school was that we wished them to be exposed to prayer, Bible reading and a Christian worldview in their daily work. This was less and less evident, and on top of that, we were seeing the children exposed to a variety of worldviews without them being given a Christian context to work from so they just ended up confused and with a watered down, feel good kind of Christian sentiment, which we think is more dangerous than secularism. There was also a great deal more disorganization this year with the school and activities, and I finally tallied up all money we were spending the fees, tuition, fundraising, field trips, required purchases, etc, and found that for two of our children, we were spending approximately $950 a month, not including school supplies or gas money, it was going to go up the next year, and as I told Rich, I knew I could be disorganized for much less than that.

Money wasn't really why we decided to do this, it just helped us to look at what we were getting for what we were paying. So, we started researching homeschooling methods, availablility, the law in our state, the opportunities available to us, and found that our biggest obstacle was going to be limiting what we do, rather than finding enough to occupy us. Our cost for starting up with four children, including school supplies, is about $2000, which is about two months' tuition and fees for our two boys, with a sibling discount. We expect to pay another $500-1000 as the year progresses, and probably about $1500 a year for the elementary years. This, along with the lowered gas requirements of homeschooling, has allowed us to hire a housekeeper to come help me around the house once a week, and for us to seriously look into more extracurricular activities for the children. These are things we've wanted to do, but put off for financial or time reasons. Homeschooling also allows us to take our vacations when we wish, rather than when we need to for the school year, as well as allowing us to continue with at least some of our lessons as we travel. We will be able to join Rich on more business trips, visit museums we wouldn't otherwise get to see, and take a more relaxed approach with their formal education during seasons of the church year that are more intense. It also means that we don't ever have to consider their school year over. If the children want to keep learning, it will just be a natural part of their daily lives.

Before we made the decision to make this change, we did discuss it with Alexander and Dominic. They are old enough to understand and to have input in this kind of shift in their live. I was concerned they wouldn't be interested, but they thought it was a great idea, especially when they found that they would still be able to see their friends, and go to Boy Scouts, play soccer and baseball, and all of those things that they love. All summer, they have been asking when we can start homeschool, so I've been giving them history books and math stories for them to get a head start on the work we will do this year. I've been playing Latin CDs and pointing out the roots of words to them, and it is making me excited about learning again, too.

On the advice of many homeschooling, and former homeschooling friends, I am making good use of my library. This lets me take a look at many of the books I am curious about before shelling out the money for them. It also keeps me from buying every little kid story version of the Iliad, or Greek Mythology, since I can save our purchases for the really good versions and borrow the simpler ones for now.

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Menu Plan Monday: August 13

I think we are home every night this week, which is quite unusual for us. Sunday night Laudate will be here to roast marshmallows, sing hymns and play games. Since we'll have to get the fire pit going anyway, I thought it would be fun to roast hot dogs with the children.

What is on your menu this week?

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Finished Object Friday: Aran Braid Socks!

I have finished my Aran Braid Socks! (I always end up typing Arab Braid Socks and having to correct that.) It has only taken me two years to make a pair of socks for myself. This is the second pair of socks I've made for myself, and the first pair of fine gauge socks for me.

I used a lovely blue Koigu for these, knit them on size 1 dpns and broke something like three needles while making them. I've had them all replaced. They are snug, I like my socks knit at a tight gauge for better wear, and I like them made a touch smaller than my foot so they don't scrunch and slouch. On the first sock, I found a mistake that I had made before I started the heel, but I found it after finishing the heel flap. I decided I would just make a note of it and do the same mistake on the second sock rather than undo all the work. Well, on the second sock I figured out two ways I could have fixed it without going back, so I learned something I guess. I still made the second one with the mistake, because the first one was finished already. I'm trying to decide if I will use this pattern again and do it the right way, or just move on to another design.

Here they are on my feet:

I did the last knitting on the the last night at the county fair while I looked at the exhibits with the children. Since it was late, and I always need help grafting, I decided to wait until this morning to graft the toe. That way, I could look at a chart and read directions while I did it. Hooray! Now I just need some sock wearing weather.

If you have one or more finished items this week, please sign Mr. Linky below and share all you have made. Your Finished Object(s) can be knit, crocheted, sewn, quilted, tatted, beaded, papercraft, woodwork or any other kind of craft. Show off what you have made! Please make sure you link to the exact post that shows your finished item(s) rather than just to your blog.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Menu Plan Monday: August 6

I don't know if I mentioned that we will be homeschooling our children starting this fall. We are. The children are all so excited about it. Alexander and Dominic keep a countdown for starting, and they ask almost every day if we can't start now. So, I've given them several books about history and some science experiment books that they've been reading and working through this summer. This week, I am ordering some of the curricula that we will need for the year, we bought school supplies last week, and we're working on our schedule for school, housework, field trips, library days, boy scouts, sports and ballet. A good friend of mine really wants to join with me and a few other homeschooling families, so we can pool our funds to hire an art tutor or other such instructor for our children to learn those things together which we feel ill equipped to teach. It is a thrilling time here. I'll write more about our decision making later.

Last night, I saw another cousin of mine who I haven't seen in over 10 years. He brought his wife and two children and we went out to dinner. It was nice to catch up and meet his family. We took a walk on the docks while we waited for our table to be ready and afterward, we came home to eat a blackberry cobbler I'd made with blackberries that Rich and Dominic had picked. Dominic was the only child who picked diligently and filled his bucket so I could make the cobbler. It was very sweet to hear him describe it. He said he ate about 13 berries and then thought "Wait a minute! I came out here to pick!" So, he went to it, and just worked his one spot until his bucket was full.

Anyway, we stayed up too late talking, and the children all ran around the house, playing and laughing. They got along swimmingly, which was nice to see. Even though my cousin's boys are growing up in Qatar, they go to an American school, so it seems they speak as much Arabic as our children do. Though, they understand more of it. My cousin's boys look almost exactly like he and his brother did when they were children. It was striking and a little odd. His wife was delightful, and it was obvious that they were a good team.

Since we had quite a bit of the cobbler left, Rich and I had some at lunch time and the children had more for dessert tonight. It's time for them to go get me more, I think, so I can make another one. It's also time for me to start making blackberry lime jam. I think I will make a quadruple batch this year, so we have enough to last us the whole year after gift giving. Rich also has plans to pick crabapples for me again, so I can make jelly. Don't you wish you were on my Christmas list?

What is on your menu this week?

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New Color Swap Buttons

I received these last month, and was either out of the house or sick so much of the time that I never posted them. Please forgive me. I will post all of them when I post the participants in this month's swap.

Please download them to your own server and use these if you wish!


Friday, August 03, 2007

Finished Object Friday: Toeing the Line

I am getting surprisingly little knit or sewn this summer. I have about three repeats of the cable pattern left on the foot of my second sock, then the toe. That's it, but it seems to be taking a long time. Mostly, I've just been too tired in the evening to work on it, and I've only been a passenger in a car a few times this week. I did get some knitting time in at the restaurant, the other night. Anyway, so I still have nothing to show you. At least here. I could post a picture of my almost finished sock, and probably ought to, so you have pretty pictures to see.

If you have one or more finished items this week, please sign Mr. Linky below and share all you have made. Your Finished Object(s) can be knit, crocheted, sewn, quilted, tatted, beaded, papercraft, woodwork or any other kind of craft. Show off what you have made! Please make sure you link to the exact post that shows your finished item(s) rather than just to your blog.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Belated Birthday Celebration

My birthday was last Tuesday. We had home group, and we were still feeling sick and basically were exhausted, so I thought we should postpone our celebration. Our priest's family made me a big birthday card with the our children during home group, and we pulled out ice cream, chocolate syrup, chopped nuts and whipped cream for an impromptu sundae party and that was about it. It was fun, and it was about all I could take.

Well, little did I know that Rich had actually been planning with them for a dinner that I've been wanting to do for some time. If we hadn't been sick, we would have done this last week.

Last night, I got home late with the children after visiting with some friends. I'd called Rich and asked him to start dinner so we could feed the kids in a hurry and get to home group. He was making dinner when I came home, and had most of it plated when we arrived. Only there wasn't anything for him or for me.

Now, I was starving. I hadn't eaten much during the day, because I had been so busy. I'd had three dried apricots, two chocolate chip cookies and a hot dog. A mushy, not so nice slurry hot dog at that. So, I started making up a plate for myself. Rich told me not to fill up because he had dinner taken care of.

We had about half an hour before we needed to leave for home group, and after I asked him where it was and he just replied that he had it taken care of, I said that we didn't have time to stop to pick up something, and I was starving, so I was going to eat. He just said not to eat too much. I told him he'd better tell me what was going on, because I was on the verge of a low blood sugar headache.

He said we were going to home group, but we weren't staying. He had reservations for The Melting Pot for dinner and our priest's family was going to watch our children for us as a birthday present. They have a summer deal and I'd wanted to try it for a couple years now, but we just haven't had the chance and the money at the same time, and Rich had talked to Fr. Joseph about how he wanted to take me there, and we'd need babysitting, so Fr. Joseph offered to watch the kids with their children, so we wouldn't have to hire a babysitter. They had been scheming this for a little while, I guess, and so Rich made the reservations, and we were set.

We had a cheese fondue with bread cubes, vegetables and green apples, then a salad, then the meat fondue in a court boullion with potatoes, zucchini (for me), mushrooms (for Rich) and broccoli. The meats we had were shrimp, salmon, beef tenderloin, chicken and a teriyaki marinated sirloin. I had a very expensive cocktail, which was lovely, but not really worth the price, it was only because it was my birthday party that Rich said I should go for it. It was made with PAMA pomegranate liqueur and cranberry juice and a couple other things along with a lime wedge. I will look for that liqueur to bring home.

As if we weren't stuffed with the food we had already eaten, along with the pace of the meal (it takes a little while to eat it, so you actually feel full, instead of stuffing yourself beyond capacity before you can even tell), we finished off with a chocolate fondue. It was a flaming turtle. Chocolate, caramel, chopped pecans and flambeed at the table. We had a cheesecake slice to eat with it, as well as pound cake cubes, strawberries, bananas, pineapple, and marshmallows, vanilla and chocolate. Since we couldn't take it home with us, we decided to finish it off, even though we were so full. It's a good thing we had a little walk to where we parked.

edited to add: I forgot to mention that our waiter was a great fellow. When I mentioned something about our children, he asked how many we had. He didn't even flinch when I said five, so we knew he must be a family man. He had four - all under five. He had a four year old, twin two year olds and a two month old. It was nice talking to him a little bit about parenting small children who are close together.

The evening was lovely and was only marred by one thing. We learned the value of the valet parking. Although we locked up our windows, doors and trunk because we were in downtown Tacoma, and we have a dirty, older model, minivan, which is usually enough deterrent from someone stealing, we forgot about one thing. When we got into our car, and Rich turned the ignition, the little ding went off for low gasoline. Someone had siphoned the gas from the car.

Fortunately, since we were parked on a hill, there was enough in there to get us to the gas station before we went to pick up the children. Also, I take a little bit of pleasure in the fact that the criminals went to all of that trouble for about three gallons of gas, since we were just shy of a quarter tank and they left probably a half gallon or more in the car. We had already been planning on getting gas, and didn't have enough time to do so before we dropped off the children, for which we are now thankful.

We live in a small town, and it is pretty safe and relatively free of crime. We don't even have to lock our car here. On top of that, we live in the ultimate gated community on the airport, and have security people who come through a couple times a night. So, it just doesn't cross our minds that people would steal the gasoline out of our car.

Anyway, we called the Ramos' and told them we'd be later picking up the children and why. Fortunately, with six children of their own, they know what it is to look after children and weren't worn out by having ours so late (it was 11:20 when we arrived at their house). Their oldest had already gone to bed when we got their, but their next two quizzed me on our dinner and wanted to know that we had had a good time. We definitely did, and we will not be eating out for quite some time now, but it was worth it.

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