Saturday, January 28, 2006

Healthy Banana Nut Muffins

I've made two batches of these this week. They are some of Billy's favorites. He says they taste like cake.

Banana Nut Muffins

6 overripe bananas
1/2 c. olive oil
1/3 c. thawed frozen apple juice concentrate
2 eggs
3 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
4 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
Broken nuts, as many as you want (we use a lot--pecans are our favorite)

Mash bananas, leaving small chunks. Add oil, concentrate, and eggs. Blend well. Mix dry ingredients together. Mix into wet ingredients. Don't over-mix--batter will be lumpy. Fold in nuts.

Fill greased or papered muffin tins full. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Makes 12 jumbo muffins.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

On Blogging and Technology

I've experienced so many benefits from having a blog. It's put me in touch with people I haven't been in touch with in a long time, it keeps family and friends updated, it's fun, and it's gotten me writing again. The writer's block I experienced for so long has broken away since I have been using this space for writing. I have several things in my files that I've wanted to write for a long time, that were borne out of things I blogged about.

It's a fine line though. Not just blogging, but internet use in general. Technology is wonderful, something I greatly appreciate and enjoy, but as one who was raised with strong roots in pre-technological times, I'm also suspicious of it. My suspicion is grounded I think. I read today that the average child spends 44 hours per week using TV, the computer, or other technology (I assume this includes iPods and the like). I don't want my children's memories to be always of me at the computer. Now I don't spend all my time at the computer, but still probably too much. Especially the past few days, it seems that the very moment I decide to sit down is the one that they decide to come in and find me here. I'd just as well they find me at the sewing machine, the stove, or in the yard.

I want my kids to be grounded in real life, real relationships, real books, real music, real creativity, real entertainment, stuff they can handle aesthetically, not just stuff on a screen. I want to be part of real life as well.

To that end, I'm cutting my computer time. My ideal schedule doesn't allow a lot of time for it anyway. I'll still be around, just not as much. All my family needs me, and one child in particular needs a little extra right now. So if you don't hear from me for awhile, don't give up! I'm here, just not at the computer.

Learning to Read

Elizabeth, who just turned 5, had a huge reading breakthrough yesterday. I have been teaching her letter sounds for a couple years and using "complete curriculums" that you find at Sam's. She has enjoyed all that, but reading has just not "clicked" for her. Recently she has really become frustrated. She would labor over pronouncing each sound, but the word just did not come together in her mind.

Since Christmas we have been using The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise. Yesterday Elizabeth started reading two and three letter words with very little effort! She was so excited. She also caught a vision for what it will be like when she is reading fluently. She finally has the goal of being able to read stories to herself. She has known that intellectually, but she has lacked the vision of what this really meant for her. After our reading lesson yesterday she carried our reading book all over the house, practicing her words. She was copying words out of other books, sounding out words that she came across, reading to Billy, and ready for today's reading lesson.

This has been a fun experience for me too. This is the first major thing that I have taught her in school, the first thing she has really taken and run with. Now she knows how to count and do all those basic things, but I feel greater confidence that I can indeed teach her! It's funny, having been homeschooled and seeing moms do this for years, I have still felt inadequate. Not only is Elizabeth excited about moving forward, I am too. I can't wait to see what she learns next.

Monday, January 23, 2006

And now for some good news

Want to read the good news about our military? Check out Camp Katrina .

Committing Demographic Suicide

In his January 8 piece in USA Today, "Is God Dead in Europe?", James P. Gannon draws an interesting correllation between Europe's rejection of Christianity and its declining population.

HT: Two or Three Dot Net

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Here is a wonderful and thoughtful essay by a woman who contemplated abortion but chose life for her child.

(Hat tip: After Abortion )


Tomorrow, January 22, is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.

I grieve for the millions of babies in my generation and those following who have lost their lives to abortion.

I grieve for the millions of women who have believed the lies that the children they have carried are only collections of cells, not real babies; or even that the children they have carried are indeed tiny humans, yet they still have the right to end their lives.

I grieve for the women who regret and mourn their decision to abort. I grieve for the women who don't.

I'd like to recommend two blogs that are wonderful and sensitive resources for women who have experienced abortion. Take a look at After Abortion and Abortion Hurts . Reading information like this helped me to see that not only babies, but women and men are also victims of abortion in a different way. It helped me to see women who choose abortion as people who are deceived, confused, or desperate, not cold-blooded baby-killers (as they are too often stereotyped). It helped me to understand the pain, guilt, and grief that so many women experience as the result of choosing abortion.

I still stand as strongly against abortion as ever, but I hope that I can do so with sensitivity and grace toward those who live with the aftermath of the choice to end the lives of their unborn children. I pray that I'll see the end of legalized abortion in my lifetime--for the sakes of precious babies and the parents who conceive them.

(Many thanks to Tulip Girl for being an advocate of the unborn and their mothers. Her blog is where I first found the links to Abortion Hurts and After Abortion.)

Friday, January 20, 2006


My dear aunt now has a blog where she will be posting encouragement for moms and wives. She has promised to keep it updated! I'm looking forward to reading more. Check out Keeping My Balance .

Thursday, January 19, 2006

One-Hour Dress

I don't have much time to sew these days. Monday when I made a rare trip to Wal-Mart I picked up some little girls' t-shirts on clearance and some coordinating $1/yard fabric. Yesterday I whipped up a t-shirt dress for Elizabeth in about an hour.

First I cut off the shirt to just longer than the length I wanted the bodice.

Then I took 1 yard of fabric and cut it in half. Zig-zagged the raw edges and sewed side seams (picture a large tube). I gathered the top edge and pinned it to the cut-off t-shirt, right sides together, then sewed it on. Finally, I machine-sewed a little hem. Cute as can be! Anyone can do this! Best of all, it only cost about $5.

One tip that an experienced seamstress gave me: Make sure that when you sew the skirt to the shirt that the shirt side is against the feed dogs and the fabric side is against the presser foot. That way the knit does not stretch and result in a maternity look. *L* It seemed to work.

Elizabeth has been twirling around in her new dress all day. She is such a girly girl and gets upset when we make her wear jeans. I love that she enjoys wearing dresses and being feminine. Now I'm looking forward to making some more one-hour dresses for her!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Five Little Violets

When she was first learning to count, Elizabeth loved this sweet little old-fashioned fingerplay.


Five little violets growing by the door,
A bunny ate one and then there were four.
Four little violets smiling at me,
I picked one and then there were three.
Three little violets, purple and blue,
Give one to a friend and there there were two.
Two little violets grow in the sun,
Pick one for jelly and then there is one.
One little violet grows all summer,
Making seeds to start another!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Next Martha Stewart?

At Christmas, I got to see Hannah, who is always a creative inspiration to me. She spins, felts, and dyes wool, knits, quilts, sews, and embroiders, makes cards and scrapbooks, makes jewelry, gardens, makes wreaths, and plays the fiddle, dulcimer, and piano, rides horses and takes care of other animals, volunteers in her church and community, loves children, and is a prolific letter-writer.

Did I mention that she is only 14?

And did I mention that she is my sister?

I love you Hannah! I'm proud of you!

Sick Days/Family Update

All 3 of the kiddos are sick, so I'm home from church once again. I haven't missed this much church in our entire married life. Silas and Sarah have nasty colds, and Elizabeth feels fine but tested positive for strep. Not sure what is up with that.

So the story of our life this week has been lots of gatorade and homemade soup, lots of wiping noses and tears, lots of inside play and big messes, lots of slimy hugs and kisses. Not very much sleep. Oh well. What can I say, it's been pretty uneventful.

Big news on the kiddie front is that Sarah is saying Daddy and Mama! It is so cute. She is also playing patty-cake. There are a bunch of other things she is doing that I was going to write about, but my brain is too tired to remember them.

Billy got out dog pen finished yesterday to keep Tibodeaux in. His name should be Houdini. He was out again this morning. He clearly didn't dig through all the wire mesh lining Billy laid around the edge of the pen, so we are trying to figure out if he went over the top or found some more creative way of escape. He is not a good fit for our family, but the kids would be devastated if we found him a new home, so we are not sure what to do.

The kids did get to go out for awhile yesterday afternoon since it was warm and sunny, and that tickled them to death. Their current favorite outdoor game is Misty of Chincoteague. Silas is Paul and Elizabeth is Maureen. It's a refreshing change of pace from the usual princess/wedding games that have gone on for so long. I think Silas was really growing weary of those. They are also really into playing The Sound of Music. Elizabeth says, "I'm Liesel. I'm 18 and I don't need a governor." Silas says, "I'm Friedrich. I'm innocent." For those of you who are familiar with the movie, you will see why this is so outrageously funny. Silas also likes to be the CapTAIN, pronounced like that, with the accent on the second syllable. Elizabeth, however, is always Liesel. They know a lot of the songs and run around dancing and singing them. "Cuckoo" is their favorite.

Well, family news is boring this time around, but maybe next week will have more exciting events to report.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Be a Good Citizen, Have Babies

I read Pat Buchanan's The Death of the West a few years ago where he explained that most countries of the Western world are reproducing below replacement level whereas the third world, especially Muslim countries, have exploding populations. France has provided monetary incentives for parents who have a third child, and Australia implemented a Large Family Supplement as well. Now, in light of such information, Jennifer Roback Morse has written a piece that should encourage us moms of several children, especially if we stay home with them.

She closes her article with this:

"So, stay at home moms, don’t let anyone tell you that you are wasting your talents. Without your contribution of a healthy, functioning next generation, all the strength of the U.S. military won’t be enough to protect us from the primal force of Islam that believes in itself enough to replace itself. Your actions show that you believe in your civilization enough to invest in its future."

(Hat tip: Barbara Curtis )

*Ok, the link to the France article is not working. I'm not sure why.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Oh My

Knitters, stay away from this. This kind of list could be addictive. Then you wouldn't get any knitting done. Or anything else. For the record, I've only checked out a couple. Inspiring! And who knew that guys knit?

Homeschool Carnival

I was going to blog on why I homeschool as recommended by the good people at Homeschool Blogger, but since I'm short on time today, I'll save that for another time and just link to their fabulous Homeschool Carnival. Wow! It could keep me reading for weeks!

Monday, January 09, 2006


Growing up, Tucson's library book sale was the high point of our year, as good as Christmas. It became a little less fun as they prices got higher (dollar books instead of ten and fifteen cent volumes). When we moved to Waco we quickly found the local library book sale there too.

After Billy and I married, I indroduced him to the wonder of used book sales, filled with bibliofanatics. We've become one of those crazy couples who mark the sale on our calendar weeks in advance, and then wait in line for hours with our folding chairs, snacks, and strollers, so we can be among the first to get in. We have maps and strategies and lists of special books to look for. We divide the children, almost run to the favorite and most promising sections, and squeeze ourselves between other book-lovers who all pretend they are the only ones scanning dingy covers for that perfect find. Used book shoppers are far worse than city drivers. The only way you can get into the lineup is if one of them leaves. Consequently, getting there first is of utmost importance.

Where we live now, we actually have two great book sales, one in the spring and one in the fall. By accident we stumbled across another, smaller sale recently and found some amazing titles for only ten cents.

Last night, though, I made an even greater find. Some of our church ladies had cleaned out the church library, which has not been in active use for many years. The books I looked at haven't been checked out since the 70's. They tried to sell them at a fundraiser garage sale, but I guess no one buys kids' books at garage sales because there were four large boxes left, free for the taking. How had I missed this? I was hesitant to take too many, but one of the ladies assured me, "These have been here for a long time and everyone has had a chance to look through them. Take all you want."

I came away with some beautifully illustrated books I've never heard of as well as old favorites like King of the Wind by Margeurite Henry and A Baby Sister for Frances. Silas has looked through a colorful retelling of David and Goliath many times already, and while we waited for Billy to finish his meetings, Elizabeth sat down with a stack of new favorites. I'm running out of room, but I remember what my friend Valerie always says: "There's no such thing as too many books, just not enough bookshelves."

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Hound of Heaven

Francis Thompson's poem The Hound of Heaven has always meant a great deal to me because it describes so well my own experience with God. When you're raised in a Christian home, it's sometimes difficult to discern just when Jesus becomes real to you. I've never been able to put a date and time on the beginning of my real walk with God, but I know that it happened sometime during the summer I was thirteen. I sensed His relentless pursuit of me until I quit running. My life has never been the same.

Last night I was talking to a couple people who were familiar with the term "Hound of Heaven" but unfamiliar with the poem. Here's the first verse:

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat - and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet -
"All things betray thee, who betrayest Me."

Read the rest here .

Friday, January 06, 2006

If You're Awaiting an Email from Me

For those of you who are waiting with bated breath and checking your email every ten minutes and wonderful why in the world I haven't written you (come on, you know who you are)...My email is acting up and a lot of people aren't getting the emails I send. So bear with me!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Techie html Question

Why doesn't my Blog Roll column line up with the Links column and those following? On my template it's all lined up the same way. Silly me, this is driving me crazy! How do I fix it?

Aunt Rachel

Aunt Rachel died a few days before Christmas. She wasn’t my aunt. In fact, I never met her. I heard about her though, from my friend Linda, her niece. Aunt Rachel never had children of her own, but she mothered all the children in the family. She loved Jesus and served others. She fasted and prayed. In spite of all the hardships she experienced, she kept a great attitude. She was an inspiration and a beacon of love to her family.

She was diagnosed with cancer just months ago. Her small form faded to skin and bone. “It won’t be much longer now” Linda told Billy and me a few weeks ago. “We’re going to visit Aunt Rachel this afternoon.”

Linda had only been at her side for a few minutes that day when Aunt Rachel began to whisper. “Light,” she said. “Light.” Only moments before too weak to speak, now with one hand she shielded her eyes against the brilliance that only she could see, and with her other, reached toward heaven. Then she slipped away in perfect peace.

When Linda told me about it that night, tears came to my eyes. I thought of the verse that says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Aunt Rachel lived a faithful life. Although she had no idea, the ripples of that life reached out and touched me, even in her death. What more powerful evidence of heaven than one who’s on her way there and can ever-so-briefly tell us what she sees? What greater earthly tie to eternity than those who have gone before, who have stepped over what they realize in the last moments of life is really a narrow line that separates us from another Country? In her death, Aunt Rachel renewed my hope and infused my life with a fresh view of heaven—one I knew but had forgotten. One day I’ll not only see my Savior Jesus, but also those who have gone before—my grandparents, the sister I don’t remember, my babies who died before birth, the godly friends and friends of friends who have already made the journey. I’ll get to meet Aunt Rachel then. And I’ll thank her.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

More New Blogs!

Hurray, Billy has a blog!!! Dating God's Way

As a pastor, Billy has been inundated by people asking questions about dating a relationships lately...So he figured it would be cool to have a place where he could answer some of those questions. He and I had a non-traditional relationship (read: courtship), but we recognize that it's not about a formula and there's no foolproof way to have a perfect romance. The important thing is to relate to others in a way that glorifies God, wherever you fall on the relationship spectrum, and that's what he looks forward to sharing about on his blog.

Another cousin blog: Binnion5

And more family blogs coming, I hear!

A friend blog: Collin Wimberly

Collin and his wife Gina are special to Billy and me since they are the ones who thought we'd make a good match and introduced us. Collin is a pastor, and latest up on his blog are recommendations for systematic theologies.

My New Life

Well, today is Day 2 of my new improved and improving life. Yesterday, the first day I tried to stick to my routine, was really frustrating. I went to bed too late the night before and consequently I was ready to crawl back between the sheets by about 8:30...AM. I didn't of course! But I ran an hour or so behind all day. However, I still got more done than I usually do and I determined to stick it out even though I felt discouraged, the house wasn't like I wanted it and so forth.

I did keep a log of my day to see where I might have mis-scheduled and where I was losing valuable time. I found that I did great till about 2PM when I became rather directionless and spent most of my time undecided about what was most important to do. Today I have a list for that time so I know exactly what I'd like to get done this afternoon. It may not all happen, but at least I have direction.

Today is going much better all the way around. I would still love to be accomplishing more and I'm still behind in my time, but I can see progress. We have had two great school days which is encouraging after the holiday break. I'm reading A Charlotte Mason Companion and incorporating some ideas from that into my teaching. Very helpful. I will be adding more ideas (such as picture study and more narration) as time goes by. Anyway, I'd better get busy if I don't want to waste the whole afternoon!

For Windy

And any others of you who are now Goops fans...

Goops Unlimited

Monday, January 02, 2006

Cool Cousins

Well, not only are my sister and brother-in-law blogging, now so are 3 of my cousins! Check out Lyonscubs, Reece's Pieces, and AzFamilyLife3. At this rate my entire family will be blogging soon. Welcome to the blogosphere everyone!

The Goops

All five of us were required to memorize this growing up. I don't know if it helped with table manners, but it stuck in my brain! I quoted it to Elizabeth last night at supper.

The Goops

The Goops they lick their fingers,
And the Goops they lick their knives;
They spill their broth on the tablecloth --
Oh, they lead disgusting lives!

The Goops they talk while eating,
And loud and fast they chew;
And that is why I'm glad that I
Am not a Goop -- Are you?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year's Reflections

Happy New Year everyone!

I'm home from church this morning with sick little ones. This is a rare occurrence because my kids are almost never sick. They feel OK today, but they are still very congested and probably contageous.

I had a few hours last week just to reflect and plan for 2006. It was a great time just to be able to scratch notes and think through my life and the direction I want it to take this year. Not that my thoughts were that profound! They mostly centered around getting my home and family routines in order. These are things I have always struggled with, but since Billy was sick for most of this year, I lost most of the ground I had gained in regards to managing our home. We have all just been in survival mode, and God has provided so much grace. We're just thankful that Billy is well now and we are ready to move forward in every area.

I got Clutter's Last Stand by Don Aslett for Christmas (A rather ironic gift at this time of year, don't you think? But it wasn't a hint from someone, it was on my wish list!), and in the book he points out how much time and energy it takes to manage excessive amounts of stuff. Decluttering is the one aspect of home management that I've resisted, mostly because I didn't think I had time to declutter. However, I've noticed over the past few days how much unnecessary time I spend looking for things or just maintaining the excessive stuff in my house. So one of my biggest goals for this year is to declutter my home and get it in order. Don't worry, Billy, I won't be decluttering your stuff, just mine and the kids'! *G*

I also want our family to get into more of a routine. I'm not big on rigid schedules, especially with little babies in the house, but I do see that we need to have better guidelines to go by, especially now that Elizabeth is in kindergarten. I scratched out a daily routine as well as a weekly school routine, housecleaning routine, and menu plan. For right now, at Billy's suggestion, it's just 7 reasonably healthful meals that we'll repeat each week, and as I get things running more smoothly I'll introduce more variety. I want to incorporate a daily walk and weekly errand day back into my life.

I've tried Flylady before, and it worked great when I just had one little child and few demands on my time. I still appreciate a lot of what Flylady has to say and I'm incorporating many of her suggestions into my plans. However, our life is so nontypical that all her suggestions don't work for me. I'm getting other good ideas from Large Family Logistics, even though I don't really have a large family yet. LFL addresses the unique challenges that face a homeschool family, which is where a lot of my efforts have broken down.

In any case, I'm looking forward to this year. By 2007, I hope to have made great strides toward having a consistently orderly and peaceful home, which will result in greater peace for me and my whole family. I know that it will take discipline and determination, and those are things that I'm willing to invest. I think of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians, one of which is self-control. Discipline is mine if I am just willing to appropriate it! Onward!