Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What the COLD looks like here






























































































































When I asked,
the girls assured me that they weren't cooking their babies,
but making warm beds for them.
Hm...

Doesn't the garden look great?


























And check out these icicles!!






















Proof that he works when he's home ;-)


































This is "the office" when it's not the guest cabin.






















My boys scouted out a Christmas tree on our own property.
When they found the perfect one, they shoveled a path to it so I could come see it.







































































And the tree-cutter.























 Stay tuned for the tree setting-up episode!

First Thanksgiving at Marvel Hill

This helper informed me that I better not let her "lick too much" or she'd be sick.
This suggestion arrived after her spoon and bowl were spotless.  Everything but her face!

















We decided to go simple this year so as not to make too much work between only 2 mommas
 with 9 kiddos.
But...
So much for simplification.
We both got a little carried away with the festivities :-)


























I found a King size flat sheet at a thrift store and remembered some fabric markers I had buried someplace.
It made a fun table cloth and awesome entertainment for little people (again I emphasize AWESOME!)
as they drew while they waited for food, and again after while we brothers and sisters enjoyed quiet conversation (!)



























































 Then there is that job which I rely on the big fellows for:


























Now HERE is the thing I found most humorous; that our "kiddie" table was the large one:


























And we big people were relegated to the tiny off-to-the-side table :-)






















Our "simple" dinner fare included:
Turkey
Mashed potatoes
Yams
Cranberry relish
Cranberry sauce
Olives (for the fingers, of course)
Rolls
Stuffing.
Cheese ball and crackers
Cheese, mini sausages, crackers
Apple pie
Chocolate pie
and
Martinelli's Sparkling cider.

I think our Grandma's and moms would have been proud.
And I'm glad we' didn't "go all out" this year ;-)

I am SO THANKFUL for my brother and sister and our precious cousins
as we are snowed in at Marvel Hill this Thanksgiving!

Thank you Lord.

(Also at the TOP of my Thanksgiving praise is that I no longer have to tramp through the 

snow to use the potty.  YaHOO!  More to come on that later...)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas Decorating A'Natural

Some people put up Icicle lights...
We just spin a little sunlight and cast it through the icy glass already hanging from our eves!


Who would have thunk?


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankfulness is a way of life.

This is a very special picture to me.


























Clayton drew it for me when I was in the hospital 2 years ago.
All my children drew pictures for me, but Clayton worked away at this for hours.
Can you imagine his dedication to detail each and every rain drop like he did?

He presented it to me on Thanksgiving day 2008, just after I had arrived home
and was tucked comfortably into the couch.  I couldn't keep my eyes open because of
the pain medications which made me sleepy, but I listened to all the bustle and activity
with a heart overflowing.

That saga in my life is now a distant blur with only fond memories attached.

This, my life today, is the part of my life I live in.
I have found that almost no matter the circumstances,
a perspective that is viewing moments and seasons through the lens of eternal value
and a heart determined to worship and glorify the Lord,
can choose to be thankful.

There's usually more to be thankful for than what I see
when tragedy or turmoil blindside me;
doldrums or depression cause a dark curtain to cloud my vision;
or the common annoyance inconveniences me.

It may sound cliche, but counting ones' blessings is a good practice.
It will form a habit,
and eventually a way of life.
A thankful way of life and a heart of gratitude in all kinds of circumstances.

Amongst the things I'm thankful for tonight...

That AJ will be home day after tomorrow.
That Carolina will soon complete her potty training.
That I can shower at my brother's until my pipes are thawed.
That I can wash my dishes with hot water
because of frost-free valves in the yard, big pots, a propane stove.
That my composting toilet will be usable in the near future.
That the snow isn't high enough to need to dig a path to the outhouse.
That without so many modern conveniences, I have cell service and Internet (?!)
That wipies are a workable alternative to a real hand washing.
That my children think this the greatest adventure EVER!

They certainly have the right perspective:-)

This is the Psalm which warmed my heart and enriched my meditations today:

Psalm 70:4
"Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: 
and let such as love thy salvation 
say continually,
Let God be magnified."


Indeed.
Let God be magnified!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

No...no blizzard.

I'm pretty sure we didn't get blizzarded, but it HAS been cold.

Still... one can't be too cold with this guy standing out your front waving and smiling all the time like the world is perfectly right!






















I think he knows :-)

Today has been a cozy day of projects indoors (for those not still stacking firewood)

Girls made Hot Cocoa mix



























































Then we had to make up the leftover little bit that didn't' fit in a jar...


















First worthy taste-testers:



































And a few other darling hot cocoa sippers

 
































We put our cocoa in jars and made them pretty






We had another helper...























































And there was one sorting buttons too.  That's a very important skill to have!






































Not just anyone can sort buttons and do this:

 
























What a perfectly wonderful day to be inside enjoying my little ones!
I have to tell you a little secret though; I love this season of having to go out to an outhouse.
At night the snow makes the landscape just glow.  it's amazingly beautiful.
I know myself, and I'm pretty certain I wouldn't go outside just to go look at the snow up close.
That outhouse gets me out and one day when I have the luxury of not going out,
I'll look back with fondness.
So why not be fond now?

I told you; that snowman knows!

Monday, November 22, 2010

My First Blizzard.

...And I'm SO EXCITED!
So, like...blizzards are really real?

(this is NOT a Blizzard, but a nice, light, beautiful, feathery dusting of snow)



































My Great Guy is out of town
This morning I got 5 children ready to go to Auntie's house by 8:15am.
Auntie was graciously willing to watch them while I got a bunch of dental work done.
Even though Auntie has 3 of her own Bugs and is expecting #4 in two weeks.
AND Auntie has pretty-much a one room cabin.
Add to this that  it.  was.  frigid.  today.  reallyreallyreallyreally COLD outside.
As they are filing out the door, Olivia threw up.
Oops.  Change gears in quick time.
Uncle Char let her sleep in the office/guest cabin while he worked, so I could still go.
"Going" meant borrowing Uncles Suburban because it is 4 wheel drive.
You just never know.
But I can tell you... I needed it today.  No way the van would have made it down the road.
We have this one spot called Cardiac Hill. 
It's a little steep.
Even after it was completely re-graded last year.
Wider, and a little less steep, but still with it's former name.
I let the logging truck pass me before he stopped to chain up.
He probably has more experience on Cardiac Hill in the Winter than I do.
(I don't plan to have much experience there in the Winter.)
The Dental staff treated me good.  They got me in for a slew of fillings all at once.
It meant laying in that chair for a couple hours, but it sure is worth it if I can shorten the number of visits!
They saw Clay at the same time.
Clay grinds his teeth at night and all his baby teeth are pretty nubby.
(Does anyone have any good solution for the teeth grinding?)
The dentist didn't have much help for me regarding the grinding
since Clay is losing baby teeth and getting bigger adult teeth
at a rate that makes it hard to get a good fitting teeth guard.
Anyway, he said it looks like Clay's been taking great care of his teeth.  That about made my day :-)
Afterward we couldn't get into the Burb.  The locks were iced up.
Prayer and perseverance meant we continued on with two errands
It was BITING COLD!  The windchill was... chilly!
WalMart was out of lock de-icer.  I guess I wasn't the only one today.
Homeward bound and praying all the way up the hill.
Oh you WONDERFUL 4 wheel drive!  How I love you!!
I took a hot shower at Auntie's when I picked up the chiluns.
My hot water froze up yesterday.
When I got home and unloaded the Burb (and rejoiced a prayer of THANKS LORD!)
I discovered that my cold water pipes had froze too.
WHILE the water was left running in the sink spiggot.
Hmm.
I am so grateful that AJ had frost-free valves placed out around the house!
That means that I CAN get water - even if I have to carry it in in pots and heat it for washing.
That brother of mine.  Sheesh.  Who could ask for a greater guy.
He carried 4 big pots of water up to the house for me.  Thanks Char:-)
The boys nearly cried when I asked them to get some wood on the porch,
The girls DID cry when I sent them out to go potty before bed.
I didn't wash dishes tonight.
I'm playing my Wild Card without embarrassment.
I checked the weather tonight and there was a Blizzard Warning.
So I thought. "Wow!  Blizzards are real?"
This is some of what I read:

...BLIZZARD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM PST TUESDAY...
* WINDS: NORTH 20 TO 25 MPH WITH FREQUENT GUSTS TO 35 MPH WILL DEVELOP THIS EVENING AND CONTINUE OVERNIGHT.
* IMPACTS: THE COMBINATION OF SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW WILL CAUSE NEAR WHITE-OUT CONDITIONS. TRAVEL WILL BECOME VERY DANGEROUS BY THIS EVENING...AND BITTERLY COLD WIND CHILLS OVERNIGHT WILL LEAVE STRANDED TRAVELERS VULNERABLE TO EXTREME WINTER CONDITIONS. TRAVEL IS HIGHLY DISCOURAGED ON INTERSTATE 90 IN EASTERN WASHINGTON.
* WIND CHILL: READINGS WILL DROP BELOW ZERO THIS EVENING AND REACH VALUES OF -10 TO -20 LATE TONIGHT AND TUESDAY MORNING.
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...
A BLIZZARD WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. FALLING AND BLOWING SNOW WITH STRONG WINDS AND POOR VISIBILITIES ARE LIKELY. THIS WILL MAKE TRAVEL EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...HAVE A WINTER SURVIVAL KIT WITH YOU. IF YOU GET STRANDED...STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE.



You know, just FYI.

I was all ready to send my boys out to finish stacking the wood in the shed tomorrow too.
I guess it would be bad to send your little boys out into a Blizzard.
That just doesn't seem right.
Here were Charlie and I discussing the fact that Winter is just starting out,
so we'd better gear up for the "real" cold.
We two were casually easing into it,
When all along this is not the usual cold for up here.
AJ told me that our contractor friend 30 minutes North of us called
and offered to drive up here to take care of anything I might need.
Does he think I might turn into a block of ice?
(Or is he feeling guilty that he didn't help facilitate the completeion
of my indoor commode with a little more fervor?)
Truly though, we are blessed with precious precious friends.
All glory to the Lord - over and over again!


I am glad to hear that Blizzard warnings with a predicted windchill of -20 are not normal.
Maybe the Winter is destined to warm up from here out ;-)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Multiplication - the bane of my exsistance


















And I don't want it to be that way for my children.

They understand the concept,

but memorization is required.  It is just plain necessary.

I tried to memorize my multiplication tables by many methods.

My mom had lots of multiplication gizmo's, gadgets, and games...

...and flashcards.

I detest multiplication flashcards.

I repeat  "I DETEST..." etc. so on and so forth...

I have always thought myself unmathmatically minded,

but I suspect it was that one roadblock of memorizing my Mult. tables that sealed my fate

as a self-proclaimed dis-liker of Math.

So I have put off making my boys use flashcards because

I'm afraid of killing their potential love of Math

But such things can be put off only so long, and this week I brainstormed.


How might I have memorized those tables?


What would have made it stick?


What is it about flash cards?


What method do I best memorize by today?

.......................................................

These and other questions filled my head as I scrambled for a solution I could immediately employ.

I think multiplication drill pages are the thing.

AJ came up with the same answer.

He remembers going through workbooks of nothing but drill pages

-it was a sort of contest to see who could complete the most pages,

or time yourself and best your time.

and said "let them have the key" because they'll use it

until they tire of looking up the answers and memorize them.

BINGO!

I remember  learning my simple addition this way and I really LOVED it.

...............................................................

So here's my question for the day:

Where can I get books full of drill pages?

ie. 7 x 8 =

I would prefer to order workbooks at this point as opposed to printing free downloads,

but I would loveloveLOVE to know if you have found this kind of workbook,

OR please tell me what method of memorizing Multiplication tables works for your kiddos?

Pretty please?

...............................................................

Okay - you see that jar pf pencils above?

I only bought one packet because I want to know if they really are the worlds best pencil

as they proclaim themselves to be.

Good news was that they sharpened beautifully in a battery powered pencil sharpener

which I thought was going the way of Other-Worthless-Gadgets-We-Have-Purchased.

maybe my sharpener is just a pencil snob. ;-)

These pencils can be purchased at any grocery store or stuff-mart.

The graphite in them is wonderfully soft and so far they sharpen without throwing a fit.


Now...

Do you think they'll continue residence in the jar?  They are SUPPOSED to.


Nahhhhh!


































Bryce watching through the window as his big brothers and sisters sled.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Yes Shauna,

I think it's the "wet" kind of snow!

The kind that makes a good snow man and keeps little boys happily employed for... oh, a long time.
(to say nothing of their peeping mother).



























































Huh.  Why I never thought to use a Machete to round off rough edges?










































"Mom!  These rocks are not sticking for the eyes"


































I might have just the thing... wait here a moment.


















Ah... THAT'S better!





























































"Now if we just had a top hat......"

Um.  Sorry fellas.  I don't have any top hats in stock today.



























Not only is it wet, but I was informed:

"I guess we have the right kind of snow here, Mom!"


I think so boys.  I think you might be right.  It sure looks good to me :-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It has ARRIVED!


*** The Snow ***


 
And just as I suspected, we are enchanted.

bewitched with the first blush of love.

In the morning, the first sound I wake to is a restless buzz of excitement

the joy of awe and wonder displayed on each face.

I myself am infected

infatuated

inspired
 
*

*

*

The days had been starting out dark and very gray

but any light in the atmosphere reflects off the glistening frozen white

so the mornings are more welcoming with snow

and even a night with no moon seems to glow luminescently.

Breakfast is "got-through"
 
and school is beyond hope 

until children see if 2 inches of snow will mobilize their sleds.

I have to curtail the fun early in order for wood-stacking chores to comence

otherwise cold fingers win.
 
Don't worry children O' mine,

There will be more snow tomorrow.

And if not,

surely our Winter will be fuller of snow 

than eve YOU can think of enough uses for!

*

Here's one more best thing about snowy days...


.....a warm fire with my favoritest little people :-)


Dear Rain,

I'm not sure how I could have been 

so sad to see you go

but since I have to give you up

I'm thankful for new glistening snow.

***