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Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Moments {On Housemates, Goals, and Talking}

Marsh and I are completely different from each other. On the surface, I love to read and she would rather watch a movie; She is crafty and makes some really neat projects, while I am not learning. She is short...I'm tall compared to her :). I love to work in the kitchen...she is learning to navigate her way around. She has straight brown hair, and I have wild curls that I attempt to control.

When she mentioned the other day that one of her goals {when she came up to the Great Northwoods as a teacher} was to be quiet--I laughed. Not because she can't be quiet, but because one of MY goals when I came up here was to be outgoing, vivacious, talkative....you get my drift.

That's why I love new beginnings. In specific, I love going to new places where I have no ties and meeting new people who have no foreknowledge of who I am. It is not because I have anything to hide, neither is it because I am a "social butterfly".  The number one reason is because I want to do more than just smile at people. I want to actually initiate conversations and be able to carry them.

I am by nature a shy person. My Mum tells me that I was quite the socialite when I was young, so I don't know when I started being a quiet, stand in the background type of gal, but that's how I would categorize myself now. I love and would rather listen to other people talk; it's only when they look at me and expect an answer or contribution to the conversation that I get nervous.

*Obviously this is not the case with my close friends who will tell you a different story ;)*

One of my goals when I went to college was to break out of my "shy" shell. Although it took me basically all four years, I was able to warm up to the people around me and make lasting friendships.

Anyway, when I came to teach up here in the Northwoods, I prepared myself. I was going to initiate conversations. I would greet new visitors and be solicitous with our own members. I would not "hide" from people; I would do more than smile.

Alas, I find myself the same as ever: Nodding and smiling to those around me.

And so, I find it completely ironic that both Marsh and I are completely different from each other...and that both of us had lofty plans of breaking the mold that held us bound to our said personalities. If anything, we have respectively been able to compromise and sometimes be that *person* we had such lofty goals for.

Our only hope? Move somewhere else!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

So Great A Salvation

Hebrews 2:3a was part of the sermon Pastor delivered this morning.

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation...

He challenged us to check our walk with God and see if we were drifting away. If we were leaving our first love by letting the cares of the world or the busyness of life get in the way.

In the last couple days, I've been pondering this thought. A sermon {preached during my college years} that has stayed with me and has been used of God in my life, was entitled, You are only as close to God, as you want to be. The Pastor took his text out of Psalm 119:20--

My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.


Just how much do I yearn for God to be in my life? How close do I want to be to the Lord? Is my soul filled with longing to know God more that it breaks when I sin, or drift from God?
 
Am I surrendered to Him, or am I clinging to a part of my life, no matter how small, so that I can do the things that I want?  Am I emptying myself completely of me and letting Christ fill my life?
 
 
None of Self, and All of Thee
 
Oh, the bitter pain and sorrow
That a time could ever be,
When I proudly said to Jesus,
“All of self, and none of Thee.”

Yet He found me; I beheld Him
Bleeding on th’ accursed tree,
And my wistful heart said faintly,
“Some of self, and some of Thee.”

Day by day His tender mercy,
Healing, helping, full and free,
Brought me lower while I whispered,
“Less of self, and more of Thee.”

Higher than the highest heaven,
Deeper than the deepest sea,
Lord, Thy love at last has conquered:
“None of self, and all of Thee.”

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Close To My Heart {The Art of Scrapbooking and Stamping}

Today I went to a Close to my Heart party. CTMH is company based out of Utah that provides supplies to scrapbook and card making lovers--of which I am not, at least not yet. There were some really cute stamps, paper, and stickers--as well as package deals to make scrapbooks "on the go". The company has also come out with an online scrapbooking feature which would be great for people who want to print out their pictures but are not into buying all the supplies and having to store it and such. Sort of like Shutterfly, or Arts Cow except with more options to be creative {at least that's what I was told; I've not used the program.}

We made a sample scrapbook page--I'll probably just put my student's class photo on the page and frame it. We also did a cute friendship card.

I like the idea of preserving memories in a cute way, but I don't know if I'll actually get around to making a whole book. I do like the idea of framing a page you've scrapbooked, so I may get into that eventually. For now, I think I'll stick to card making :) A lot easier and faster!

The only catch, at least for me, is that this company seems pretty pricey. The hostess, though, assured me that they have exceptional quality and she has never been disappointed with their products. And, being that I'm not a crafty person, I don't really know what the comparison of prices/quality is to other brands.

You can check out their website, Close to my Heart to know some more.

All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon and evening, getting to know some of the ladies from my church a little bit better...as well as crafting :) 




{Scrapbooking page we all did. Almost everyone had their own unique twist on it. Except for me, I just did it wrong and had to improvise completely!}

{The sample card we made}


{My scrapbooking friend, Liberty Belle}

Yesterday

Yesterday, I watched the M kids while their parents took Baby Boo to the Doctors for some testing. It was a beautiful day outside, so we went to play in the snow. Supergirl stayed outside just long enough to get her fill of "snow-cream", before crying about her cold hands.

Since it was "Wii day", the boys played Mario Brothers, while the girls and I made things out of crafting clay. After supper, the kids wanted me to play Wii with them, so I tried my hand at it. Half the time they were making Yoshi "eat" me, and the other half I was looking at their players thinking it was me! Confused? So was I, so we cut it short and watched a movie and had popcorn instead.

So, by the time the parents came back home, it was close to midnight and this post had to wait until today.


{Supergirl}

{Superman}

{Big Brother}


{Big Sister}



{Goofy Sisters}

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What Would You Do?

When I read this story, it touched my heart. When I read anything about children with Down's or have a chance to interact with them, it resonates deep within me. This story in particular made me think of my childhood Sunday School class--when we had a lady who had Down's Syndrome in our class--and reflect on how we treated her. This story also brought back memories of my sweet little friend, LL, for the time I was at college. I saw how her little classmates and friends showed her kindness--and put to shame college students who didn't know the meaning of showing kindness to someone who was handicapped.

I am also hopeful for the time when my little sister grows up, and she will know that not everyone out in the big, wide world is mean-spirited...some actually care.

**********************************************************************************


At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: "He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?" The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. "I believe that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped, comes into the world, opportunities to realize true human nature presents itself--in the way other people treat that child." Then he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?"

Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team; but, the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in  spite of his handicaps.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play, not expecting much. The boy looked around for guidance and a few boys nodded approval, why not? So he took matters into his own hands and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning." Shay struggled over to the team's bench and put on a team shirt with a broad smile. His father had a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible 'cause Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing the other team put aside their desire to win for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over, the pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the head of the first baseman, out of reach of all his team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Shay ever ran that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, struggling in his efforts.

By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball--the smallest guy on their team, who had a chance to be the hero for his team for the first time. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions and he too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the way Shay!" Shay reached third base, the opposing shortstop ran to help him and turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run to third!" As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams and those watching were on their feet screaming, "Shay, run home!" Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the "grand slam" and won the game for his team.

"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "The boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world." Shay didn't make it to another summer and died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his father so happy and coming home and seeing his mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Dating Game ~ Waiting

So, here are more of my thoughts on dating. If you missed my first two posts, here  is the first one, and  this one is the second.

Waiting for "The One" is hard. I suppose I never really thought about it until friends and acquaintances of mine were getting engaged and married, left and right.

One of my friends and I would joke that there was "life after college", meaning that there are other guys in the world and if we didn't find our soulmate while in college--it was OK. A group of us decided to go on "deputation" after college to find our Knights-- of course, it was in jest. Still, you can imagine that as the years drew closer to graduation, and some of us found ourselves without a ring, this idea didn't sound so crazy after all ;) We sure did cook up some harebrained ideas.

My junior year I started dating...uh, let's call him George. Now THAT is a story for a another post...maybe even several. Anyway, during this time, PW said something that has stayed with me, and I will use in future relationships.

He said, "Elsa, whether or not you like him is not the main issue; you should drop him if you don't respect him. You must respect him if you want to go forward". My first thought was, "What?!? DROP him?" But the more I thought on it, the more I realized just how true of a statement it was.

I DIDN'T respect him in a sense that I could easily {not that it will ever be "easy", but you know what I mean} yield my will to his if we ever got married {which was thrown around a lot, so it was a possibility}. Because I'm the second oldest in my family of 11, I have a hard time respecting those who are younger--in the sense of me obeying them. Not to say that I don't respect those who are younger, because there are several people who I have a great deal of respect for and they are not older than me :) But these people had to earn my respect.

George was a nice guy, but nice is not enough to build a relationship/marriage on. One of the biggest reasons why I ended my relationship with him {among many others} was the fact of me not being able to respect him as the head of our household. I would've had to constantly watch my attitude, and obedience--and I'm sure I would've pulled the "trump" card--"Well, I'm older!" Sounds really petty, I know, but respect is one of the basis of relationships--and it doesn't even have to be with a guy/girl. Just respecting people in general. I definitely don't want to be the type of wife spoken of in Proverbs who is like a continual drop of water...ANNOYING.

It's hard to obey/listen to people who you have zero respect for. Most of us have to earn the respect of others--it is not just "handed" out. I don't expect people to respect me instantly, and rarely do I respect others upon meeting.

I remember praying and asking God to let me marry a guy who was older than me. It would be funny if I ended up falling in love with a guy younger than me, but I know respect would be one of the basis because it is part of my DNA.

Now, for all those out there who's husbands are younger, I do have admiration for you. I've always been very intrigued by guys who dated older girls and girls who dated younger guys. And if it works for you, than great! I have several friends who have spouses that are older, and their marriages are exemplary.

I just know, for me, I can't do that. So, here I wait--sometimes patiently, sometimes impatiently, but always trusting for God's best. When I hear of friends starting to date, or have gotten engaged, or have sealed their love in marriage, I am happy for them--and anticipate the day it is MY turn!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Moments {What A Night!}

It snowed today here in the Great Northwoods. But not enough for us to have a snowday. Yes, the wind was blowing and snowdrifts were piled high--But the storm warnings were only in affect until noonish.

Anyway, after school, I headed off to Wal-Mart. Peanut's birthday is on Wednesday and I need to get some other things...and knowing myself, I probably wouldn't have been able to go or get everything done before her big day {She is turning 5!}.

I had three of PJ's kids in the big Green Turd {seriously, that's what they named the van} and we headed off a little bit after 5. Let me tell you that the roads were not the greatest. After having warmer temperatures this past week, and hardly any "big" snowfalls this winter {we haven't had ONE snowday...well, at least not because of snow, anyway--just b/c the power went out}, so I grossly underestimated just how Northwoods snow*storms* could be.

I should have turned around, but after a unanimous vote to keep moving forward, that's what we did. I just prayed fervently that God would protect us. And He did, obviously, because here I am writing this post :)

Anyway, I had a gas card to get gas, but when I pulled into the station {after I had missed the first entrance and had to go down the side street} I stopped at the pump that had a bag over the nozzle. Oh boy. I felt stupid, and just left--telling myself that I'll just get some gas on the way back.


On our return, the needle on my tank was getting quite low, so I was thankful to see the lights of Hawkins. I once again pulled in, and stopped at a different pump than earlier. Only this time, instead of a bag covering the nozzle, I couldn't pump any gas. I checked to make sure that it was not a pre-pay, or anything like that. Finally I just went in {nobody was around :} and told the guy in charge that it wasn't working. He was an older gentleman, and told me to just go ahead and pump--he would authorize it and I could just come back and pay. I had given him my card and told him the balance, but he still wanted me just to go pump, and come back.

So I did. I came back in, swiped the card--and the register flew open. Oops. That wasn't supposed to happen. Then he punched in the balance that was on the card, $28.98, and told me to swipe again. Nothing. Finally, he just took the card and said that he would do it himself. So he swiped. He said that the register wasn't reading the card. What?! How is that possible!?!

The card was for a different gas station {wow, did I ever feel blonde at this moment!}. In my defense, the gas station used to be a BP when it was across the street, and I had not gassed at the station SINCE they moved. How was I to know that it was different? I suppose I did see the sign, Northwoods, but it must have never clicked that they were DIFFERENT than what they used to be.

He was really gracious, as I'm sure he realized that I was confused {I'm sure the other two people behind me were wondering where this bumbling ninny had come from}. We finally got things squared away, but I know that I will never forget this night!

I wonder if I had blonde roots as a baby?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Soldiers...Of Christ

During our Sunday night services, we have been going through the book of Hebrews. We are currently in the "Chapter of Faith" and tonight, Pastor's dad taught on the "Cost of Faith".

It was really good to be reminded--and challenged--of the thousands of men and women and even children who have died for their faith--to be reminded of our Baptist Distinctives. I remember reading Fox's Book of Martyrs as a child, and being horrified at what they had to go through.

I realize now, just how spoiled I am. How "good" I have it being in a country that has religious freedoms {for the time being}.

I am truly thankful for our "rights" to worship God how we ought, but sometimes {especially after tonight's message} I wonder if some persecution wouldn't be good for me; for us as Christians. To cause us to be on fire for God, instead of living apathetically.

Just how would I respond, if persecution came my way? How would you?

Isaac Watts knew it well when he penned these words:

Am I a Soldier of the Cross

Am I a soldier of the cross? A foll'wer of the Lamb?
And shall I fear to own His cause, or blush to speak His name?

Must I be carried to the skies on flow'ry beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas.

Are there no foes for me to face? Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace, to help me on to God?

Sure I must fight if I would reign--increase my courage, Lord!
I'll bear the toil, endure the pain, supported by Thy Word.

Endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ--2 Timothy 2:3

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Choco-Caramel Delights

I have a confession. Today I had an "oopsie" moment. I was looking in my book for the goey, chocolatey, carmely cookie recipe to share with you...when I came across a completely different set of ingredients than the one I had made. Crazy. I knew that the ones I made were not hard, and did not have a lot of ingredients, so I flipped back a few pages and found what I was looking for. They are surprisingly similar in looks..The cookies I made for the Valentine banquet are different than the ones I made last year.  While the ones I made last weekend were not complicated, the Choco-Caramel Delights are superior. Anyway, here are both recipes.
Choco-Caramel Delights

Ingredients
1/2 c butter or margarine, softened
2/3 c sugar
1 egg, separated
2 Tbs milk
1 Tsp vanilla extract
1 c flour
1/3 c cocoa powder
1 c finely chopped pecans
Caramel filling {recipe follows}
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tsp. shortening

Directions
In a small mixer bowl, beat butter,sugar,egg yolk,milk and vanilla until blended. Stir together flour, cocoa and salt; blend into butter mixture. Refrigerate dough at least 1 hour or until firm enough to handle.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat egg white, slightly. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Dip each ball into egg white; roll in pecans to coat. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Press thumb gently in center of each ball. Bake 10-12 minutes or until set. While cookies are baking, prepare Caramel Filling.

In a small saucepan, combine 14 unwrapped light caramels and 3 tablespoons of whipping cream. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth.

Remove cookies from oven; press center of each cookie again with thumb to make indentation. Immediately spoon about 1/2 teaspoon Caramel filling in center of each cookie. Carefully remove from cookie sheet; cool on wire rack.

In small microwave-safe bowl, place chocolate chips and shortening. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute or until softened; stir. Allow to stand several minutes to finish melting; stir until smooth. Place waxed paper under wire rack with cookies. Drizzle chocolate mixture over top of  cookies.

Picture courtesy of Google


Chocolate Sugar Cookies
3 squares Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate
1 c margarine or butter
1c sugar
1 egg
1 Tsp. vanilla
2 c flour
1 Tsp. baking soda
1/4 Tsp. salt
Finely chopped nuts {I use pecans}
1 package Kraft caramels
2 Tbs. milk

Directions
Microwave chocolate and margarine in large microwavable bowl on HIGH 2 minutes or until margarine is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir 1 cup sugar into melted chocolate mixture until well blended. Stir in egg and vanilla until completely mixed. Mix in flour, baking soda and salt. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in chopped nuts. Make indentation in each ball. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes ore until set. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

Microwave unwrapped caramels with the milk on HIGH for 3 minutes or until melted stirring after 2 minutes. Fill centers of cookies with caramel mixture. To drizzle with chocolate, place semi-sweet chocolate in zipper-style plastic sandwich bag. Close bag tightly. Microwave on HIGH about 1 minute or until chocolate is melted. Fold down top of bag; snip a tiny piece off 1 bottom corner. Holding top of bag tightly, drizzle chocolate through opening over cookies.



Enjoy these turtle-like cookies!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Feasting Friday's {Meat 'N Potatoes}

Today I had a craving for mashed potatoes, so I based my meal around that. I was looking in my Taste of Home book for a meat dish to accompany my potatoes, when I came across the recipe for "Double-Decker Burgers". That was a bit too much {I'm not much of a meat fan} so I adjusted it to suit my taste. Here's the original recipe:


Double-Decker Burgers


Marcy Schewe's man-sized sandwich looks as delectable as it tastes. "We like the flavors in the special spread," says the Danube, Minnesota field editor.

6 Servings Prep/Total Time: 25 min.

Ingredients

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds ground beef
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 teaspoons prepared mustard
4 teaspoons dill pickle relish
6 hamburger buns, split
Shredded lettuce
6 onion slices
6 tomato slices

Directions

•In a large bowl, combine the eggs, onion, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 12 thin patties. Broil 4 in. from the heat for 7-8 minutes on each side or until no longer pink.

•In a small bowl, combine the cheese, mayonnaise, mustard and relish; mix well. Spoon 2 tablespoons on each burger. Return to the broiler just until cheese softens. Serve on buns with lettuce, onion and tomato. Yield: 6 servings.

My Patties

Saute 1 onion, 1/4 green pepper, 1/4 red pepper in a tablespoon of olive oil. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix thawed ground beef, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a slightly beaten egg. Add the onion mixture, and thoroughly mix.
Form patties {I got about 9} and fry in a frying pan until no longer pink.
I was going to add cheese, but I forgot. I will add cheese to the ones I have.

I peeled about a pound of potatoes, put them in a saucepan and covered them with water. I added 6 garlic cloves and let it all cook until very tender. I didn't have to drain any of the water because I only put enough to cover it, so when they were done cooking, I added a couple tablespoons of milk, salt, pepper, and butter. I used my new mixer {that I got for my birthday} and blended everything together. So yummy! I added baby carrots to my plate for extra nutrition.





I made these for the Valentine banquet and wanted to share the recipe with you...but I forgot my book at home and all the recipes online are sooo complicated compared to mine. Here are the pictures for now; I'll post the recipe for these tomorrow.





Have a great night!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Left Me Scratchin' My Head

In our kindergarten class, we have been learning addition. Starting with the small numbers, we have gradually worked our way up to the 6 family.

Last week, the "missing numbers" concept was introduced--and boy did we have lots of trouble. Their little minds could just not grasp the concept of figuring out which number was missing in the combination. For instance, we had problems such as: 2+2=4, 5+1=6....as well as: 3+___=5, and 2+__=6. I went over and over the concept; showed them how to do it; let them practice; and finally gave them their worksheets--which we did together.

Today, I went over their papers, and reviewed the concept and wanted to see how they would do on their own. Surprisingly, they got most of them. One of my boys was having a harder time in his corrections, so I did a little tutoring session with him at my desk. I went over it, using different examples, and he gave me all the correct answers so I sent him to his desk to write in the correct answers. He had three problems to correct; soon he raised his hand and came to show me his paper. One was still not right--he had originally had a "7" for the answer to 2+__=6, which he now changed to a five {although he did give me the correct answer when at my desk just a few minutes before!}. We went over it again; he told me the correct answer and I sent him to his desk yet again to write in the right number. He came back up and had a "7" in place of the "5"!!

By this time, I was getting just a mite bit frustrated, so I asked him why in the world he wasn't getting the right answer! Especially since he would tell me the answer before going to his desk--not even a foot away!

He tiredly rubbed his forehead and sighed, "Peanut is attracting me".

WHAT?!?! Did I hear that right? "Attracting" me? Whoa, buddy--he's only 5 years old!! He seriously can't be serious!

And then I caught myself--before I said anything stupid. He meant she was DISTRACTING him....whew! Good thing it was lunch time right about then!

*****************************************************************************************

During reading time today, one of the boys read a story about a game. This little guy is really good at reading. I'm even surprised at his reading grade level. He picks up on words quickly, and I would venture to say that he reads better than some of the older students.

Only thing is, he's not so good at comprehending. He will read a story, but is unable to answer the most obvious questions.

Today he read a story about a baseball game...here it is:

The Game

Win, team, win!
Bat it, Joe!
Joe hit it.
Run, Joe, run!
His team did win the game.

Not complicateded at all.

Then I asked him some questions: "What kind of game was Joe playing?"...."batter,batter baseball" was the answer. Huh? He changed it to just baseball.

O-kkay...

Next was: "Who won the game?" This one stumped him. He worked his tongue from side to side, brows furrowed in concentration. "Joe?"....it was close, but not what I was looking for--especially with the last line being so explicit.

But then he just started pulling winners out of the air, mixed in with "I don't know's". He mentioned Kate, from the previous story, and lots of other doozies. His next answer topped them all:

He looked up excitedly from his book, eyes wide, and exuberantly said, "The Packers!!"

From where that came from, I have no idea...but I now know where his football loyalties lie.

Go Cheeseheads.

As for the real answer...we, uh, eventually got it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

25

A



 QUARTER




 OF



 A



CENTURY

 Thanks to everyone who called me, wrote me, or messaged me birthday wishes. I had a super day and truly God gave more abundantly than I even imagined. Many made my day really special!








All pictures courtesy of Google Image.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday Moments {Falling In Love...}

With Strawberry Raspberry Cream Cookies




{In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy}



{Beat in egg yolk and vanilla}



{Add flour and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.}

{Shape dough into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Make an indention--I used my finger--in the center of each ball; fill with about 1/4 teaspoon of jam. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.}

{Photo courtesy of Taste of Home}

Delicious. And, I'm hard pressed to find a cookie that's not chocolate, and end up loving it. Plus, you could change the jam flavor...the recipe originally calls for strawberry, but I perfer raspberry. You might like blueberry. Or, you could use several different flavor jams to fill the centers to suit everyone's taste--and it would look stunning on a platter.

Strawberry Cream Cookies

INGREDIENTS
1 cup butter, softened
1 package {3 ounces} cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Seedless strawberry {or any flavor} jam

WHAT TO DO
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla. Add flour and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.

Shape dough into 1 in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Using the end of a wooden spoon handle {I used my finger b/c the handle did not make it wide enough}, make a 1/2 in. deep indentation in the center of each ball; fill with about 1/4 teaspoon of jam. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.

According to the recipe, it yields 5 dozen...I got a little over 3. These were very good! I would definitely make them again.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What Joy, What Love!

Tonight is a very special night. A night that will be remembered for all eternity. For tonight, a dear lady found the greatest love--the Love of God. There is joy in Heaven and there is joy in our church. Praise God for such a miracle!

The Love of God

The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star, and reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled and pardoned from his sin.

{chorus}

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure,
The saints' and angels' song.

When years of time shall pass away and earthly thrones and kingdoms fall;
When men who here refuse to pray, on rocks and hills and mountains call;
God's love, so sure shall still endure, all measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam's race--The saints' and angels' song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made;
Were ev'ry stalk on earth a quill, and ev'ry man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole, tho' stretched from sky to sky.

Reach out and accept God's love. If you search for a love that is unconditional, a love that is complete--find it in the Lord. He will never fail you! God loves you and me so much that He sent His only Son to die on the cross for our sins. His is the greatest love. There is no one too "bad" for His love, and no one who can live without it. His love is rich, pure, measureless, and strong. His love is free for all who come to Him. Come to Him today!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bella Notte

Whew. We can all breathe a little easier now that our Valentine's Day Banquet is over for another year.

It was wonderful. The Ives were here from Oshkosh, and they sang, serenaded us during the meal, performed skits--along with Crazy Lady--and were just a blessing.

One of the skits was so funny. Mr. Ives and Crazy Lady sang a love song while a couple from our church lip synced at the front of the room. Mr. Ives sang in his deep voice and the Lady would move her lips and look adoringly at her husband. Then, Crazy Lady would jump in when it was the Husband's turn to sing!

In between skits and songs, we served Zumba soup, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Tossed Salad, Garlic Bread {Yum!}, and for dessert--Tiramisu. The chefs did an amazing job and everything smelled and looked delicious. This was the first time I had tasted tiramisu, and I thought it to be a cross between cheesecake and fake eclair. There was supposed to be a mocha taste, but I didn't taste it until after I finished with the dessert. Still, it was really good :)

I was part of the serving crew and only managed to get a few pictures. Initially, I had it on the wrong setting so a lot of my pictures ended up being blurry/dark--here are a few I was able to salvage.

 {Hard at work? or hardly working? ;}





{Mr. Ives dressed for a skit; Two Italian waiters; The Lady and Husband lip sync to words sung by Mr. Ives and Crazy Lady}

Bella Notte!

Friday, February 11, 2011

AHHHH!!!

Today is normally my day to sleep in, run errands, clean my house...doing things that I don't really have time for during the week.

Instead, I was over at our church setting up for the Valentine banquet that will be held tomorrow night. {Technically tonight, but b/c I've not slept yet, it's still the same day :}

From wrapping silverware, sorting through the greenery and separating ivy from flowers, to tying bows on the candle holders, sewing and ironing bow ties, things were hopping since noon today. Also, the aroma wafting from the kitchen made our stomachs growl in anticipation of tomorrow's dinner.

I got to use a circular power saw and a power drill too :) Way better than wrapping silverware!

Things are not quite finished yet, but be on the lookout tomorrow for our wonderful Italian night!

I'm off to make cookies! And maybe a pot of coffee.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Updates

Remember my post about family and I had a news clip of the Bates family? If you didn't watch it, you should; it's really cute. Anyway, they have 18 children now, and want 2 more boys to make it a total of 10 boys and 10 girls. Well, just a couple days ago, they announced that they were going to have another baby!

Their website is http://gilbatesfamily.com Congratulations to them!

***********************************************************************
Ever since that fateful Tuesday when the crafting lessons in knitting, crocheting, and cross stitching began...it's all I hear about from my two girls.

When they come into the classroom first thing in the morning, it's "May I knit/cross stitch now?"

During break time, I hear "May I bring my knitting/cross stitching down and do it after I eat my snack?"

They quickly finish their papers in hopes that I'll let them get out their perspective craft and do it in class.

They would rather sit and work on their craft instead of playing with the other kids.


They would rather stay with me after school, instead of going home. All so they can get in a few minutes of knitting or cross stitching.

I think someone, or someones in this case, are addicted. I know what they'll be doing in the nursing home 75 years from now--sitting in their rocking chairs, hands gnarled and eyes dim...but those needles will be flying.


*******************************************************************

I am going back to Canada. Now, why would that be such a shocker? Because I've not been home in the last two years because of my paperwork. It has been such a long, difficult, process...I hope to have everything settled by this Fall. I'm going to leave after kindergarten graduation, and hopefully be back by October. I say "hopefully" because in government matters...things are never guaranteed.

My lawyer was so funny. She asked me if I was dating. I said no, why? Apparently it only takes 3 months to get a visa if you're married to an American. Huh. Too bad my Knight is still out riding.

This is what I've had to trust God about. And really pray about. I want to be doing God's will, and I believe that He will show me the pathway, even when it is obscured from my view. When my future becomes hazy, He still has a perfect view.

I heard of Benjamin Everson towards the beginning of the school year. He sings a lot of A Capella and he sings all the parts by himself! I love the words to this song--some parts are very aptly suited to me right now. I couldn't find a video of him actually singing it {I have the CD, but don't know how to put it on here} so I wrote the words out and added a video of him singing another song. You can always look him up online, as well.

These are the words:

The Pilgrim
Mysteries and shadows, questions and fear
Must this way I travel be unclear?
The path ahead is dark, I cannot see.
But there is One Who knows it perfectly!

{chorus}

My Father planned it all, ahead of time for me.
Each circumstance, each step and path selected carefully.
When night begins to fall, and I can barely see
My eyes cannot discern the right,
So, I'll trust His perfect sight.

Some trails and valleys, days of great pain
Wrestling and hurtful loss, dreary rain
For joy and laughter; cherished dreams come true--
all perfect gifts that only come from You.

Looking back, I see His guiding hand.
His works of love were hard to understand--
Now, cherished tokens of His love for me,
Reminders that He gives what's best to me.







Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Teacher Stuff

Last year was a lot of "new" experiences: New church, new school, new responsibilities, new faces, new procedures, and I was a newbie teacher.
My poor kids last year--they were definitely guinea pigs!  I fear that although they were only 4 & 5 years old,  I treated them more like 4th and 5th graders. Perhaps I expected too much out of them, yet, I'm amazed at how far they progressed throughout the year because of it. I don't think I pushed them more than they could handle, and they showed that they are made out of strong stuff, in spite of my blunders.

My youngest girl was SO shy. She would barely talk to me at all and didn't really interact with the other students. But, she grew out of that and today is really talkative and sweet. She still can be shy at times, but it is only with new people--she has come out of her shell a lot. She is my Sunshine. Her nosy inquisitive nature is hilarious, as she comes up with some unique questions. She does not beat around the bush, but tells how it is. She has an infectious smile and giggle. She is the type of child you just want to squeeze in a hug.

Today was her first day in the craft class, and she wanted to knit. She wanted ME to teach her. I am not a knitter; I can crochet, but not knit. Well, by trial and error--and many laughs--we got it. I was so proud of her.  Then, after school, she wanted to sit in the classroom and knit instead of going home. She wanted to come to my house instead so I could help her with her knitting "with two needles". {We basically only learned to "cast on" today, so I wouldn't have had any idea how to help her!} She did go home, but I'm sure that tomorrow I'll hear requests for knitting time :o


Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Moments

The last couple weeks have been so crazy and really eye-opening. I am really learning to rely on God completely, and trust Him for the outcome of the whole situation.

I can't tell you all about it {my situation} quite yet, but I hope to soon. I know...you're not supposed to say that you have something to say, and then not say it. Actually, I just had the same conversation with one of my five year olds in class today.

He started by telling me of the wrist band his sister had at birth. Then he asked me why she had that--"So people won't steal her?" is how he answered himself :) Anyway, this got the whole class talking about when they were born and the events they remember were told by their moms and dads.

In the middle of it all, Bear glances at me, says, "you know what else?"...then turned all shy and embarrassed and said, "never mind".

After my little lecture of it being wrong to spark someones curiosity and then not tell them, he decided to go a head and say what was on his mind.

"When I was a baby, my diaper exploded all over" he impishly says. Maybe I shouldn't have persuaded him to tell me because then all the stories began to go downhill.

"Class, it's time for Bible!" Can't let them get too talkative--you never know what other stories they want to share with their class!

They are so funny and sweet, as well as a bunch of STINKERS--nonetheless, a great group of kids that I'm completely in love with.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Family

Big or little, a family is a blessing from God.

I love my family. I love having seven brothers, and my three sisters are so cute. Some people look at me funny when they find out how many siblings I have--they're amazed how my parents can clothe, feed, and take care of us. With others I find myself swapping "big family" stories. There's really never a dull moment :)

Someday {soon, I hope} I will take pictures of my family so you can see them all in action--until then, I leave you with this news clip interviewing the Bates family. I have only recently learned of them, and think their *big family* is a great blessing.

Enjoy~




Psalm 127:3
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Winter Dawn



A Winter Dawn

by Lucy Maud Montgomery



Above the marge of night a star still shines,

And on the frosty hills the sombre pines

Harbor an eerie wind that crooneth low

Over the glimmering wastes of virgin snow.



Through the pale arch of orient the morn

Comes in a milk-white splendor newly-born,

A sword of crimson cuts in twain the gray

Banners of shadow hosts, and lo, the day!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Revamped

*I've revamped my Friday posts. Instead of every Friday being "Feasting Friday's", I'm going to post recipes I've tried out every other Friday.* 


In other news. Since Valentines Day is in just 10 days, I decided to make my Valentine cards this year to hand out at our school Valentines Day Party.

I'm making these for the girls and will add chocolates; for the boys...I'm not sure yet if I'm going to make the same things or make something different.

Here's what I got done tonight:









It's always such a busy time during the month of February. And it's short--so you gotta pack everything in!

Anyway, next Saturday is our annual church Valentine Banquet {Italian themed} and I want to get all my cards finished by then. I'll post a how-to at that time along with the completed project.



Thursday, February 3, 2011

Team Spirit

I don't have an opinion on football...I don't hate it, but neither do I like it. To me it will always be an "American" sport, simply because it's everywhere here!

We had "Team Spirit" today, and everyone was supposed to wear the colors of their favorite football team. Well, I don't have a favorite, so I just wore green and white to support the Packers--since I am teaching in Wisconsin.

 There were others who went all out to show their love for the team of their choice.




Some dyed their hair...one painted her face--and designed her own...hat?....and almost everyone had the black stripes on their cheeks.


There were many Packer's fans...and a few odd ducks were cheering for the Steelers ;)





And this little girl, I just love. She is so cute. And she cracks me up everyday in class. I missed her when she was sick earlier this week--I'm so glad she's back!


Now it's just going to be up to the game on Sunday to see who is going to have team bragging "rights" during school next week.

Go Packers!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Crafty Arts

A mom and her two daughters, from our church, offered to teach cross stitching, crocheting, and knitting to the students in our school.



{Bean's first time cross-stitching}


{She seemed to catch on fairly quickly!}



{Beans is really into crafts, and so she enjoyed doing a "project"}



{Crocheting}





{Here's the knitting Crew!}






Everyone had such a good time, and each one learned something new!

See, school's not always boring.