Tuesday, February 27, 2018


I've attended many leadership trainings over the years.  Through music and education and church positions I've been trained.  This scout training has taught me that I was actually looking at the wrong side of the paper.

I learned the idea of accommodate/assimilate at an education training.  The idea is that if you know what a cow is and then you see a kudu you can assimilate it and call the kudo a cow.  OR you can accommodate the idea and learn that this new animal is similar to a cow but is in fact a kudu.

I thought that leadership was getting people to do or learn what I wanted them to do/learn.  I thought organizations should let their most talented artists draw the banners, and most talented seamstresses sew the stuff.  Let the most talented at decoration do that job and let the best cooks cook.  Voila!  Fabulous event.

The idea I'm accommodating after this woodbadge training is that the end product is the increased skill, not the fabulous event.  It's helping me with my parenting and I hope it will help me in my calling with primary. 

Let those talented become teachers and let them raise the skill of others so that they can become the next generation of teachers.

G needed some repairs to his church pants.  I did fix the length but I let him decide whether he would hand stitch or machine sew the other part needing repair.  In the process of sewing up his pants, he had to learn to re-thread the sewing machine.  Bonus learning!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

losing things that I held dear

I had the opportunity to attend Woodbadge training this weekend.  I learned so much about leadership.  Apparently leadership is about training and raising up new leaders so that you are out of a job, not getting people to do what you want them to do so you look good.  Go figure!

It was so amazing.

And I lost something that I've held onto for at least the last 25 years.  I've carried this thing with me from city to city in church and other activities.  It's been so important to me to hold on to this thing.  And then I take it out in the woods and lose it.  The camp staff were crafty and I think it was their intention that I lose it.  Yep.  I lost my inhibition.  And it was hilarious!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Fried Chicken

I've never really made good fried chicken but tonight I nailed it! (insert cake wreck pictures of previous attempts).  I wanted to make chicken nuggets after seeing a video about it and reading the vitriolic comments.  I realized I didn't have any eggs too late.  But never to be stopped by silly things like not having basic ingredients, I made a flour mixture that included powdered eggs and it worked great.

I served up a BLT salad and strawberries with this plate of fried chicken and felt like such a great home maker.  I even talked the kids into just eating half of the chicken (still a lot) and saving the rest for later in the week when I won't be able to cook dinner.

Without the lure of binge eating chicken most of us drifted away from the table.  There were still a lot of strawberries and salad and I wondered if I'd made too much "healthy" food.  I came back to the table a little while later to find that the 3 youngest were declaring victory over the salad and strawberries.

Fried Chicken:
2 chicken breasts ~2 lbs cut into pieces the size of pink pearl erasers.
2 cups flour, 1/4c. egg powder, 1 TBS lemon pepper, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp garlic powder.

Fry until golden brown and dry on a paper bag.  The video I watched recommended the paper bag and I do think it helped make the chicken more crisp.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

March Nutella

We got this gigantic tube of Nutella for $5 earlier this month.  The kids know I'm budgeting our food expenses, and everything else.  G loves nutella and we've been limiting our consumption to 2 jars a month and it's always the Save a lot brand.  He's been very good about making sure to make it last.  When we bought this tube we had already bought our 2 jars and G thought that the faster he got through the 2 jars, the sooner we would open this tube.  So the kids freely used the nutella until it ran out on Feb 15.  G cackled and ran to the cabinet to get the tube.  I told him that was the Nutella for March.  Oh.

I love to treat them and I love for them to learn that a little goes a long way.

Grandma C gave them valentines that had ~8 foil wrapped hearts in each.  I let them each have 1 then quickly hid them all.  It's not that I don't want them to enjoy their valentine, it's that I don't want L to scream and cry until all the chocolate is gone and then scream and cry some more because he has managed to eat all of his and half of everyone else's.   

So sometimes we eat a little at a time to save money and have moderation.  And sometimes we eat a little at a time to save ourselves a heap of crying and misery and have moderation.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

love every day

We are so grateful for this family.  With G already 13 it feels like we have barely 4-5 years left of this sweet time together.  I hope we can cherish and build strong bonds in our family. 
I wrote to my friend HB recently what an amazing thing it would mean for marriages if women could believe and men could be believed when they say "You're beautiful."  I'm grateful to have a marriage where I believe.  I am grateful to receive and give that gift of trust.  When I thank P for supporting our family I mean with his time, talents, patience and example.  He believes me. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Good and Beautiful

I ordered Language Arts books for the girls and we're really enjoying the program by "The Good and the Beautiful".  They are being exposed to a much wider swath, much more consistently, and they're loving it.  M is learning to diagram sentences, geography, grammar, memorization, dictation, art, and shared reading of quality stories.  lP is learning spelling, phonics, grammar, geography and so many things.  It's overwhelming but the program itself is so organized that they don't feel rushed or overloaded.  When it's just me telling them to do activities, they can tell I'm just making it up.  But they are very willing to do all that is required in this method even though is is a lot.  They also really like that we're doing it together instead of only having me involved when they need help.

M felt that she had memorized a poem because she could recall the words using a card with each word initial.  I let her know that she could do better and actually memorize the poem.  We talked about meter and I showed her the section of the Hymn book that listed the song meter.  We were able so sing her song to 4 different tunes including "Joy to the World".

We use this method for history as well and I like how the children are being exposed to content that I would not think to show them.  My grasp of History is frankly weak so I'm learning with them which is one of the great things about homeschool. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Letters to myself

I got a mysterious email that I realized was a calendar notification I sent to myself.  For some reason I thought it was actually from google and was a little creeped out that they were suggesting I go to these lengths to celebrate Valentines day.  But I've been blessed several times in scouts or callings and now family celebrations, by having a reminder show up a few weeks before an event.  After an annual event I set up a calendar notification to remind me next year to do various preparations that helped and tips on new things to try.  It's amazing to get these letters because I usually completely forget about these things and I'm like "Oh wow!  good idea!"

Here's the mystery letter I got today:


1) Secret CupidThis is a tradition that my mother started in our family when we were young. Basically at the beginning of the week, my mom put the names of everyone in the family on slips of paper in a bowl, and we’d each draw one out. It was then our mission to surprise that family member each day in the week leading up to Valentine's Day.
Since we were too young to go to the store by ourselves, she set-up a “Cupid Store” in her bedroom. She spread Dove Promises, York Peppermint Patties, festive Pez dispensers, and small stuffed animals across her bedspread. We went into her bedroom alone and got a certain number of tickets to “spend,” and I remember agonizing over what to buy for my special person. (You could modify your Cupid Store for older children, depending on their interests and the unique hobbies of your family.)
My mom also encouraged us to sneakily serve one another throughout the week, making beds, picking up toys, and hanging up wet towels that had been left on the floor. Finding creative ways to serve each other was often the most fun part!
This tradition remains a highlight memory of my childhood and something I now do with my own little children. For more details, you can read my sister Sarah’s detailed blog post about it here.
2) Love Letters to Your Children
You don’t have to be Shakespeare to write down some sentimental thoughts about your loved ones every once in a while—and what better time than Valentine's Day?
Take a few minutes during that special week in February to write your kids “love letters” about all the things that you adore about them. Try to be specific—explaining the qualities that are unique to them and that you admire about them. Share a memory from the past few months that you loved sharing with them.
Make a copy of the letter to give to them and save a copy for yourself. You could keep these letters in your journal or in a binder that you add to each year on Valentines Day.
Even if your children are babies who are too young to read your words now, or they are teenagers who will pretend to be embarrassed by your sappiness, this tradition will create a meaningful, precious keepsake in years to come.
You can read a love letter that I wrote to my infant son here.
3) Valentine's Dinner at Home
If you can’t find a babysitter to get away with your sweetheart, plan a fun Valentines dinner at home for the entire family! A friend of mine has done chocolate and fruit fondue with her little kids, and they loved it. I have another friend who has made heart-shaped pizzas (and I hear that many pizza places deliver heart-shaped pizzas that day if you aren’t the type to make a homemade one)
You could set the table fancy with candles, glitter, and goblets — or even better, you could delegate this responsibility to your children if they are excited about tasks like this.
You could do a game night, with Valentine's Bingo and Memory, or a family movie night with a family-friendly romantic comedy, such as Little Manhattan.
You could also do service, such as “heart-attacking” a lonely neighbor by cutting out paper hearts and writing loving messages all over them, then sneakily taping them to their door.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Barbara Manatee

 Today we drove down to DeLand to see the manatees.  We went 2 years ago, arriving at lunch time and had to wait an hour just to get into the park.  It's nice that the park limits the number of people because it really would be unpleasant to be trying to see the manatee with hundreds of people. 
So this year we arrived at 8:30 and went right in.
 G was grumpy to be waken up early.  He said he only slept for 5 hours which means he didn't go to bed until 2am.  Great.  He eventually came around and I'm glad he was such a helpful and loving young man to be around.
 lP was blessed by her thoughtful sister M.  M found this manatee doll for $1 at Haven Hospice.  She thought to bring it along for the little ones.  lP carried it around the whole time.  Many small children asked their parents to get them one from the gift shop. 
 The children enjoyed standing on this tree stump at the spring head.  It was so nice and nobody cried much.  L has a cough but no fever or green snot.  Still it's a bad cough.
Later at the playground the big kids were all on the tube while L climbed through.  He's such a lucky kid to have 4 big siblings that adore him.