The Estate of Marriage

I attended the Nebraska Christian Home Educators Association (NCHEA) conference and curriculum fair this past weekend.  We have Kindergarten books (and ant hills, classical CDs, and math rods) in hand.  I even got some workbooks for Elsie, who will be doing 3 and 4 year old preschool this year.

One of the best quotes I heard this weekend was in the class “What Do You Do All Day, Dear?” by Betsy Ray.  This quote is from Martin Luther during the third part of his three part sermon entitled “The Estate of Marriage.”

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“Alas, must I rock the baby, wash its diapers, make its bed, smell its stench, stay up nights with it, take care of it when it cries, heal its rashes and sores, and on top of that care for my wife, provide for her, labour at my trade, take care of this and take care of that, do this and do that, endure this and endure that, and whatever else of bitterness and drudgery married life involves? What, should I make such a prisoner of myself? 0 you poor, wretched fellow, have you taken a wife? Fie, fie upon such wretchedness and bitterness! It is better to remain free and lead a peaceful. carefree life; I will become a priest or a nun and compel my children to do likewise.”

What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels. It says, “0 God, because I am certain that thou hast created me as a man and hast from my body begotten this child, I also know for a certainty that it meets with thy perfect pleasure. I confess to thee that I am not worthy to rock the little babe or wash its diapers. or to be entrusted with the care of the child and its mother. How is it that I, without any merit, have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? 0 how gladly will I do so, though the duties should be even more insignificant and despised. Neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labour, will distress or dissuade me, for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight.”

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Hope this encourages you as much as it did me.

Cast not your stones…

I know, I know.  5 people have told me in the last 3 days that I should blog more often.  Here’s what I’m doing these days:

1.  Elsie is turning 3 on Friday.  I wasn’t going to have a birthday party.  Now there will be 20 kids plus their parents and our extended family there.  It’s a Wizard of Oz themed bash, and I’ve been cutting, pasting, cooking, shopping and sewing for the party…so far!!

2.  I joined the Zion Church Arts Committee.  We organize events like art shows, concerts, etc.  We have a book lecture and art exhibition called “God in the Gallery” on October 18th.  Guess who’s in charge of food?

3.  Zion’s Fall Fest is on the 26th of October.  I’m in charge of/singing in the bluegrass band.  We haven’t practiced yet

4. We throw a super big Halloween/Reformation Day party every year. And my costume kicks butt this year. As does the children’s.

5.  Tess will turn one (!!!!!!) on November 6th.  I have to do something for her 1st birthday.  This time I’m seriously only inviting close family and making some cupcakes.

6.  Another Zion Art deal – Matthew Smith and Indelible Grace will be at our church on November 20th.  Also in charge of refreshments for the band.

7. I teach sewing lessons every Thursday night.

8. We’re going to St. Louis for Thanksgiving, Dallas for Christmas, and our dear, dear friends are coming into town from Japan for Christmas, but mostly just to go to/be in a wedding. I’d like to have a New Years Party as well in there.

So, bear with me. Once the weather cools we will be spending more time inside, so that will be more accommodating to blogging. Until then, my friends…hang tight.

Here’s Tess’s 10 month pictures from JC Penney a few weeks ago. They have improved by leaps and bounds.

Let the Games Begin

It’s official…we are a home schooling family. This past Monday we started a very loose preschool program with Pete.

I have some workbooks that build on each other, 6 in all, that we got at the home school curriculum fair back in August. The first book is learning how to follow directions and take your time, then we’ll move on to cutting and pasting, left and right, opposites, big bigger biggest, etc. Pete had nothing but good things to say about it to Mike that evening at dinner.

We have school on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons while the girls are sleeping. It works for our schedule. It take about 30 minutes or so, which is just right.

Mike hung our chalkboard and did a fantastic job.

Here are some pictures from our first day. Enjoy!

Two Questions…

1) What in the world am I supposed to do with all these cucumbers? Mike likes the vinegar-sugar approach. Me, not so much. Does anyone have any good recipes that involve cucumbers and don’t taste bad?

I get this every day out of the garden. At least.

2) What is it about the Bee Gees that I love so much?

The Joys of Home-Making

One of my favorite things to do to make our home “better” is to hang clothes on the clothesline outside. I can fit a good two and a half loads on there. I like it that I get just a little bit tan with very minimal effort. I like it as an “excuse” to get outside with the kids, and still feel like I’m accomplishing something. I like the crispness of our clothes, and especially the towels – which, by the way, are so much more absorbent from hanging on the line. I like watching them dance in the breeze.

I especially like it that I save between $1 and $1.50 on each load I hang outside. For us, it yields about $365- $547 in savings each year!

Also, since I’m super nerdy and apparently have oodles of time on my hands, here’s a video. Enjoy!

Party Planning

If for some reason I wasn’t a wife or mother I would have a career as a party planner. There is almost nothing in the entire world that gives me as much pleasure as planning a party. I don’t care if it’s friends coming over for wine and cobbler (wink, wink) or a sit down dinner with umpteen courses. I love the planning of it.

This weekend is the last weekend for two of the families involved in our Community Dinner group before they move. I am planning a BBQ. Now, I know that there is probably nothing less fancy than a BBQ…but then again. If you think that I’m going to have even a BBQ and not let it be fancy, then you might not even know me. I live for FANCY.

I also get excited about lists. And my list for this weekend has 4 pages front and back on a legal pad of sketches and articles clipped out of magazines and “Honey-Do” lists. I’ve got a great honey. This morning I made a sketch of our backyard so I would know where I’m going to put tables and lighting and chairs and candles and food. I drew a sketch of the serving table and how I’m going to arrange things. I made a mad list of everything I want done, from hanging Christmas lights to trimming bushes to throwing all the baby bikes and such into the garage.

I found these great decorations at Target when I went last night. They’re from Isabelle de Borchgrave’s Botanical collection.

That’s the table cloth. I also got a runner and some gift bags for a treat at the end of the evening and napkins. The best part? It was 75% off. Yay! I thought that getting the plates would be overkill on that pattern, so I got off white plates.

I found this board, for lack of a better term, in the top of our garage and it’s this primitive, distressed looking green-painted long board. I’m planning on serving off of it. On the one hand, it needs legs and sawhorses would do the trick, but I don’t really want saw horses at my party. On the other hand, if it’s either saw horses or not having a table, I’ll go with the sawhorses. I suppose that the table cloth would cover it.

I’m making Margaritas from scratch and serving them in a great sun tea jar with a spout on the end. I was going to get Cointreau, but it’s $40 a bottle. Yikes! I’ll stick with Triple Sec and hope for the best. I did get a nicer Tequila. Hopefully it will make up for the Triple Sec. I’ll have salt for the rims, and I personally can’t wait to try one.

Margaritas

  • 1 1/2 ounces tequila blanco, 100% agave
  • 1 ounce freshly sqeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce Triple Sec/Cointreau

1. Combine tequila, lime juice, and Triple Sec, and stir together.
2. Rim a rocks glass with salt (optional) by pressing the glass into a wet paper towel, then dipping it into a plate of salt.
3. Serve on the rocks.

I’m So Green

So, Mike and I are about as conservative as they come, but we’ve been doing some crazy things lately.

Like using canvas bags for shopping. When I go to Garage Sales, I try to snap up as much as I can. They usually go for 5 cents or so. This is after Wal-Mart the other day:

We also have a garden that we haven’t put any type of pesticides on. We’re starting to get real vegetables from it! We even put our grass clippings and discarded foods (apple cores, potato peels, etc.) in a compost bin.

Mike has been biking to work 3 days a week. We’re saving a bunch of money, and he’s getting in pretty good shape.

We also stacking our newspapers together and actually recycling them!

Now, if the Wittmanns can do it, I know you can!

Sweet Retreat

I love this time of day. About 1:30 in the afternoon.

I grab some reheated something, or maybe if I’m feeling feisty some Pizza Rolls and a Mountain Dew.

And I sit. I give myself the time that it takes me to eat my lunch to just sit.

I can blog (you know, now that I’m so cool and I have a blog)

I can read blogs

I read people.com (a guilty pleasure)

Really, I can do anything I want as long as it’s not work – like paying bills, researching a recipe.

I enjoy this time. Elsie is down. She’s been putting herself to bed for her nap recently. I have the kids wait until everybody is done eating before they get down from the table, so Elsie has taken the option of just going to bed several times. She heads to the potty, washes her hands and crawls into bed. Two hours later she comes bounding down the stairs saying something like, “Good morning, Mommy. Peez have gummies? Where Peeyer [Peter]?”

Tess goes down at the same time. Although she doesn’t put herself down quite yet, she really isn’t any trouble. The way we do things for Tess around here is when she first wakes up (morning, naps) she gets nursed. Then she plays around until the next meal is ready. She eats with the family, plays for a bit more and then goes down. I don’t rock her to sleep, though I do rock her and sing a sweet song and give her her blankie. Done. Off to Sleepy Town.

I let Pete watch a movie and drink a little bit of something sweet – juice, tea, Sprite – which is a real treat. He’s pretty easy going. He just doesn’t need a nap and it’s more trouble than it’s worth to make him lay down.

Then I sit. For a good 30 minutes. Then it’s back to the field.

You’d Think I’d be Better at this by Now

I’ve been out of it, for lack of a better phrase, lately. My house always seems to be messy, we never have anyone over, I start each morning feeling more overwhelmed than when I went to bed. I feel like I’ve been in a fog or something.

This week, I’m really starting to feel better. Mike helped and encouraged me this past weekend by telling me that I did a good job at various things. It worked, you know?

I started Monday with a bang. The kitchen and main living areas were spotless when I woke up, and it just jump started my day. It made me feel like I wasn’t drowning. I could actually make some progress in our house.

I know that it’s only been two days, but I feel like I’m on to something here. This morning we cleaned Elsie’s room from top to bottom. Cleared out clothes that were the wrong season (yes, I know it’s July) or too small. Put her toys where they belonged. The throngs of dress up clothes were (probably temporarily) contained. I feel awesome.

Plus, check this out:

I can probably count on one hand how many times that’s happened in the last six months.

Now, on the one hand, I should be doing this stuff all the time, you know, a clean house and what not, but it’s just really, really hard for me. Plus, when you go to other people’s houses it’s usually for a party or something, so they’ve spent extra time cleaning and you feel completely inferior.

Ladies, what say you? Is your house always clean or are you barely keeping underwear in the drawers (wink wink)?