Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Crusades

So I've done it. Last night I finished all 620-odd pages of Zoe Oldenbourg's "The Crusades". It was a fascinating read and I must say that my mind is still whirling. I think Erik might also be glad that I'm done as he won't be subject to me dialoging on the Crusades at 10pm while he's trying to fall asleep. I found that if I didn't process out loud what I was reading I dreamed about it all night long and let me tell you, the Crusades make for some interesting dreams. I also spent a good part of yesterday, while the kids were watching a movie trying to recover from colds/snotty noses, researching online different things from The Crusades that the author assumed were common knowledge but that I did not know. And then I got caught up in researching Vlad the Impaler. I had researched him some in high school and was curious as to where he fit in in history in relation to what I had just read. He comes later...about 1450-60 during what are also called Crusades but are any war against the enemies of Latin Christianity.
What's next you may ask? Well, this morning I started "Many Infallible Proofs" by Arthur T. Pierson, D.D, written about 1886.
I found this one in the church library too. Church libraries are fascinating things and deserve a post all their own, so someday I may write one...but don't hold your breath.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Alphabet Scavenger Hunt

Some days I feel as if I am just sliding by, waiting to put the kids to bed so I can breathe on my own for a few minutes before I fall into bed myself, continually hoping that maybe tomorrow will be better than today. I don't like this. I want to enjoy my children, I want to enjoy laughing with, playing with and teaching them. I do enjoy my children immensely but if I'm not proactive in keeping this goal in mind I find that the everyday tasks required to keep up with a house of four children start to take over. I find I'm frustrated with my children when they won't leave me alone long enough for me to finish the dishes or sweep the floor.
Along these lines I am working on a song for my kids, so far I have this:

"I want to dance with you.
I'll hold your hand.
Tell me all your stories and your dreams.
The dishes and the laundry will wait,
this house won't crumble down
while I spend these moments here with you."
Hannah has helped with the tune a little.

But back to the story at hand:
I really was not looking forward to today. Erik is gone most of the day at a Rope Rescue Drill and I always look forward to weekends when he's around to help out. He's amazing at helping out and when he's not here I miss that (and him); sometimes so much that I turn grumpy. So last night I prayed for creativity and the ability to live life and not react to it. I'm so glad that God cares about these little things too. Right before falling asleep I had an idea; why not go for a walk through Manzanita and see if we can find objects or letters for each letter of the alphabet?! Fun and educational! So this morning after a yummy breakfast of pancakes we headed to Manzanita and started looking. I'll admit to helping a little and receiving help from a man that goes to our church who was out walking and the nice ladies at T-Spot but Hannah and Ivan were really excited to play and did quite well on their own too. We also had to cheat just a little for Q, X and Z.
This is what we found:
Alpaca yarn/toy
Bank, building, birdhouse, burritos
Coffee, car
Flower, fence
Grass, gate
nit, kite
ight, Left Coast
agazines, motorcycle
ehalem Valley Historical Society sign
top sign, sand
ulip, tree
ino, vacancy
ater, whale bench
meXican resturant
ManZanita, SyZygy

I must say that we are blessed to live in a creative town that gives their stores interesting names; that helped to.
I've found that "learning to live life instead of react to it" is a common theme in my life; one that I have to learn over and over and over again. But it's a good lesson to learn and I don't mind the review.
My kids don't mind so much either; we've had a lot of fun so far today.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spinach Feta Pastries

I actually got my menu all planned out for the week.
I try to do this every week and invariably there are gaps but oh no, not this week. This week I was on top of things and I tried a few new recipes.
I didn't have nearly enough spinach for the Spinach Feta Pastries but they still turned out quite yummy and having some extra dough I made mini peach pies.

Spinach Feta Pastries from Nourishing Traditions:
3 cups cooked chopped spinach, squeezed dry
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup crispy pine nuts (I left these out, I didn't have any)
sea salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg
2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1 recipe yoghurt dough (recipe to follow)
unbleached white flour

Mix spinach with onion, pine nuts, and nutmeg. Season to taste. Form dough into 1 inch balls and coat in flour. Roll into rounds. Place a tablespoon of spinach filling on each and top with 2 teaspoons crumbled feta cheese. Fold up edges to create a three-sided pastry, leaving a small hole in the middle for air to escape. Place on well greased cookie sheet and brush with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden.

Yoghurt Dough

1 cup plain whole yoghurt
1 cup butter, softened
3 1/2 cups freshly ground spelt or whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
Cream yoghurt with butter. Blend in flour and salt. Cover and leave in a warm place for 12 to 24 hours.

Mini Peach Pies:
I grabbed a jar of peaches and drained the juice. Cut the peaches up and added a little sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and a handful of flour; mixed it up and put maybe a 1/4 cup in each round of dough that I had gently coaxed into my muffin tins. Folded the overlapping dough over the filling and baked them for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. They turned out yummy too and it was nice to have a bribe to get the kids to finish lunch... though Hannah and Ivan ended up liking the spinach pastries.

Project: Deck

You might get one or two posts today as I finally got pictures to upload this morning and there has been a lot I've wanted to share with you that requires pictures. I'll start off with yard work.

We sold our wonderful gas guzzling Suburban a week ago or so and are using the money to build a deck out our french doors. We had poured cement steps about a year and a half ago but these were not well thought out and not very safe so I have been dreaming for awhile of a deck but we just didn't see our way to affording this very expansive (no, I did not spell expensive wrong, I mean large) deck I had in mind. Then my wonderful parents gifted us the van I grew up riding in and we decided to sell our Suburban. We definitely believe in saving money but we talked about it and realized that if we are going to sell our house we needed to do something about those unsafe back steps,so away went the steps:Watch that first step it's a dilly...

And with a few days off work this week; up went the framing:
Our local lumberman Lance at Nehalem Lumber Co. was kind enough to also find us some used but still in really good condition decking for half the price of buying it new! I think the kids might start complaining when the decking goes on though; they've enjoyed playing in/on/under/around the framing:

I'm so very excited about all this and very thankful for an awesome, handsome (not that that really has anything to do with it, he just is) husband who willingly builds these crazy projects I come up with.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Singing Praise

Psalm 8
O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
above the heavens.
From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies
to silence the foe and avenger.

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.

You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:
all the flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

This Psalm was on my mind today as I drove down to Tillamook with all my kiddos. I didn't have the radio on at all and it was a very peaceful ride for Hannah spent the entire trip singing. She makes up her own songs and it's times like this that I wish I could just pause time and listen to her for awhile. I hope you are blessed by her words as much as I was/am.
..."From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise"...

"Do you want to play a song for God?
See all the trees
Do you see all the trees?
God made the trees
They're so wonderful.
Do you want to sing a song for God?
See that hill
Do you see that hill?
God made that hill.
It's big.
But God is bigger.
He's bigger than everything he made.
Do you want to sing a song for God?
He made the grass that I see.
He made the cows and the sheep.
He made people and he helps them make the road we're driving on.
Do you want to play a song for God?
He is wonderful and everything he makes is wonderful.
He made the ocean.
He holds it all in his hand.
He's wonderful.
Do you want to sing a song for God?
He helps the workers build.
He made the flowers.
He made the butterflies,
do you see the butterflies?
He made the sky.
He made the stars.
They are wonderful.
Everything he makes is wonderful.
Do you want to play a song for God?
Please help me see what you want me to see God.
Please let me see what you want me to see.
'Cause I can see.
It is wonderful.
Help me know what you want me to know.
You are wonderful.
Do you want to sing a song for God?
Do you want to play a song for God?
He is wonderful.
He is amazing.
He loves me.
I'm singing a song for God."
Hannah Dante age 5 5/6 years

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Camera News

"It's just stuff, in the grand scheme of life it does not matter. It may teach me patience. I have lived thus far without it I can go awhile longer." I've been repeating this as needed today.

As many of you know I have been counting down the days until my coveted Canon EOS Rebel XSI camera arrived in the mail. Yesterday was that day. It was set on my doorstep by the dependable UPS man at 4:23pm. Joy! Smiling I grabbed it off the porch and carried it to the kitchen table. It was perfect timing. The kids had been banished from the kitchen for an undetermined amount of time due to an incident involving the honey and my tea had just finished brewing. I had a few moments of peace and quiet to open my prize. The sun was streaming through the open doorway, a slight breeze was stirring also, wafting the first scents of spring into my house. It was lovely. I pulled out the battery and the charger, plugged them in and settled down to browse through the manual while it charged. I got up and made dinner and tried to distract myself from the little red light on the charger, willing it to turn green so that I could take that very first picture with my new camera. I waited and waited. We ate dinner and the kids ran outside to play. I waited some more. Then finally...GREEN light! I inserted the battery, made sure the cover was closed. Inserted the memory card, made sure the cover was closed. Hung the camera around my neck and flipped the switch to ON.


Absolutely nothing.

Ever hopeful I pulled out the extra battery I purchased thinking maybe, just maybe the battery was a dud. And so I popped that one in the charger and waited. And waited. Finally, once again...GREEN light! Repeating the above steps I then flipped the switch to ON.


Hopes destroyed.

This morning I called Customer Service. My options? Exchange it. Send it back and wait some more. I'm glad I have that option but in the words of Indigo Montoya, "I hate waiting."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Friday, April 9, 2010

Someday Ivan, Someday

It must have been a month ago or so; we were standing up singing at church and Ivan was standing on the pew next to me with his arm around my shoulders and I had the oddest sensation of "flash forward". It was almost as if my brain stopped because it couldn't handle the thought of my little boy (okay, so he's never actually been that little...he started out at 9lbs 10oz) growing up. But I stood there thinking, "Oh please Sir Ivan, please put your arms around me like this when you actually get this tall; and please let me call you Sir Ivan then too." He's growing up. He's 4 1/4 years old and only an inch shorter than his older by a year and a half sister. He knows all his letters and letter sounds and probably could read if he wanted to.

Today he wanted to be grown up. He wanted to be like his daddy. I don't mind that so much.

But today he tried to shave like his daddy.


He grabbed the razor off the bathroom counter and put it to his naked little chin leaving two parallel tiny slits in it's wake.

I gently sponged off the blood with a wet towel and promised him that when he's older his daddy will teach him how to shave.

After I took his picture that is:

Monday, April 5, 2010


Easter sneaked up on me this year. I knew it was coming, mind you, but I just wasn't prepared. I thought of just forgoing any sort of Easter basket/ plastic egg mayhem but eventually bowed to commercialism and bought playdoh and balloons for the kids and filled plastic eggs with a few chocolate chips and change from the change jar. We did make it past Easter without loads of chocolate and candy for which I am very grateful. We did have a great talk with Hannah and Ivan about Jesus rising from the dead as the reason we celebrate Easter and I was tempted to leave it at that but then I got thinking about all the fun Easter traditions I remember from growing up. I remember matching dresses with my two sisters and hats for Easter, dying hard boiled eggs, hunting plastic ones in the yard or house and breakfast potlucks at church.
Hopefully I'll get better at this whole "making fun family traditions" thing because I do think it's important to make special days, well, special and what could be more special than celebrating the day that our Lord and savior conquered death so that we might live forever with him!
The kids had fun, they enjoyed a lunch of hotdogs and Kettle chips and searched for plastic eggs and then we went to Poppie and Nana's house to search for the Easter baskets from them. And hopefully I will get better at remembering to take pictures, here is the girl's attempt at matching for Easter(this is the only picture I got yesterday); we were all wearing white shoes. Hannah was very thrilled, she has her first pair of "high heels" (you can barely see it in the pictures, it's about 1/2 inch). I tried to get a picture of Miss Moddy with her very first pigtails but she wouldn't hold still so you'll just have to believe me when I tell you she looked adorable.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tales From the Parking Lot

True Story:
Saturday evening we all headed to Fred Meyer in Tillamook. Erik needed to get his glasses fixed and I needed to get more Step-able plants (ones that don't die when you step on them) for one of my many projects. When we got to the store Clayton was not thrilled with having to walk on his own two legs into the store and proceeded to let us know by trying to kick his rubber boots off and loudly proclaiming,"I no hold your hand, I no want to hold your hand, I not!" over and over. We made it safely across the parking lot and approached the entrance with it's many shoppers scurrying in and out, all the while Clayton was trying to escape the fatherly grip around his wrist. There was a grandmotherly woman stepping quickly out of the store carrying her purchases when without warning she suddenly stopped, turned about speedily and pointed at the ground and said loudly and sternly, "Out dog! You don't belong in there, get out you silly dog!" At which point Clayton (and everyone within earshot) stopped and stared. I was wondering if I was witnessing a sudden mental breakdown when she turned to us; and Clayton who was now voluntarily holding Erik's hand, smiled and said in a cheery voice, "Works every time." I laughed loudly all the way into the store. That was the best thing I've seen in awhile.