Friday, December 12, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Little Like Christmas

It's been a loooong time since I've participated in Kelli's Show & Tell, but in the midst of the mess of fixing yet another water problem, I've decided to spend a few minutes contemplating some lovely things.

We have some sweet Christmas ornaments and my youngest son still enjoys decorating the tree with me and reminiscing over each one as it's unwrapped. Here are just some of my favorite ornaments (some are hand-made, some old and precious - and some are both!)

This star ornament is from Greg's childhood. Waaay back when those big lights were all anyone had, this ornament was to be hung just above one of them and the heat rising from the bulb would cause the whirly-gig inside to turn. Cute.

And this beaded ornament is also from Greg's childhood. It honestly looks like something someone might make today.

This Victorian-looking ornament was made by yours truly nearly 20 years ago.

I needle pointed this bird many, many years ago -- probably 25 or more. Memory fades.

This was stitched up (along with several others) in the early 80's -- when candlewicking made a come-back. Does anyone do candlewicking anymore?  Does anyone know why it's called candlewicking?

And here is a sample of some crewel work that I used to love to do. Again, over 20 years ago. I'm not sure I have the eyesight or the patience to do this kind of work today, but I do love it.

And I made a number of these sweet little cross-stitched, sampler ornaments...oh, about 15 years ago, I'd guess.

I stitched up a bunch of these bears almost 20 years ago (using a variety of Christmas prints) when a friend and I decided to sell some hand-made goodies at a craft show. I've given so many of these away -- I wonder where they have all ended up. ;^)

This was one of the first ornaments the boys and I did together (it's older than it looks).  We made several.  We simply took an old jigsaw puzzle, glued the pieces together, spray painted it green, added a bell and a bow and voila! A cute little wreath.

And the boys and I made these a couple years ago. Just a white feather and some white/clear sparkles in a glass ball. Very simple.  Kind of elegant.

And I've saved my favorites for last:

These two store-bought balls are probably from the 60's. I'm amazed they have been preserved so well.

And this geo-ball (below) was ahead of its time. It was made lovingly by Greg's mother many years ago out of old Christmas cards - and I'm glad she passed a couple of these along to us. I want to try my hand at making one someday. I found this tutorial on-line and it doesn't look too hard, but I like ours better. I think the different-textured gold cards make this one look beautiful.

Hope you enjoyed a small sampling of ornaments from our tree. Visit Kelli at There's No Place Like Home to see what others have decided to show and tell this time around.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Taking Stock

Ben has one 4-H project for next year done already! I think that might just be a record - for this family. This stock car model with many, many decals is the hardest model he's worked on to date.

That little guy is Tony Stewart, in case you wondered (or if you're like me and didn't have a clue who #20 was.)

The big guy is Ben - who's pretty pleased with a job well done!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Older I Get, The Harder I Hurt

Here's the owie I got recently:

A displaced complete radial collateral ligament avulsion with associated injury to the sagittal band of the metacarpophalangeal joint of the small finger, if left untreated, may result in chronic pain, instability, weakness, and deformity. A case of a displaced radial collateral ligament that ruptured through the radial sagittal band of the small finger, with resultant injury to the extensor mechanism, is described and discussed with a review of the literature. Proper identification of this injury by physical exam and imaging studies along with surgical repair is associated with good outcome. Keywords Metacarpophalangeal - Collateral ligament - Avulsion

Translation: I hurt my pinky.

Actually, the worst part of my injury was between the joints of my third and fourth fingers.  I pulled a ligament and with the ligament came a bone fragment. I saw it with my own eyes - on the x-ray.  I makes me a bit queasy too. Amazingly, though, the treatment is to tape the two fingers together like so:

It's not very dainty, but it works and I am so glad the doc expects it to heal up on its own --- eventually.

Greg was really hoping the doctor was going to tell me to lay off the computer for a while. Imagine his surprise when she said typing on a keyboard shouldn't hurt it a bit - as long as I'm not causing strain to the injured area on my hand.

It took me a week or so, but I eventually learned to type with this minor limitation. When I get really impatient, I untape the top of the fingers, but most of the time I keep them faithfully snugged together. And I sleep in a custom made splint that keeps my hand bent at a 90 degree angle (or that's the idea, anyway). I shudder at the thought of what that little baby is going to cost.
Meanwhile, ring man and tall man are getting real cozy and familiar with each other and my pinky is as free as a bird -- even if it does get a little cold from time to time.
And I've learned to never try to stop my fall (up the stairs) by flinging my hand wildly at the door frame. The door frame is not going to help me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Joel played on a co-ed homeschool soccer team this fall. It was a great season for this team's first. They won half their games and the last game was a tie.

It's hard to get really great pictures on our little digital, but here are a few highlights:

Tell me that boy is not getting ready to elbow my son!

Run Joel!


This is why co-ed soccer shouldn't be. Joel insists she was shoving. The girls on any co-ed teams we played were notorious for shoving.

And of course, our boys were perfect gentlemen.

A season well played, Soutside Thunder! Looking forward to next year!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Baby's a Teenager

I am now the mother of three teenagers. And I have to confess...

It's pretty terrific.

Ben turned 13 today and I think had a very successful transition into teen-hood.

Here he is cutting up "green peppers" for his birthday cookie.

And here he is preparing "black olives".

What kind of birthday cookie is this you may be wondering?

A PIZZA Cookie!

Okay, the butter-cream frosting "cheese" is a little too yellow and the whole thing was pretty sickening sweet with all that frosting and candy, but we thought it was clever nonetheless.

We used berry fruit roll-up type candy to make the tomato sauce and pepperonis. Cut-up green gummy worms to make the green peppers and sliced tootsie rolls with a hole cut out of the center to make black olives. And, of course, the gummy fish are anchovies. Fearing it would be too sweet, we decided to go for the understated look and not being able to figure out how to make mushrooms, we contented ourselves with a less than "supreme" pizza cookie.

But we thought it was a success -- even when we realized we had no candles. Ah well. It didn't stop us from singing and ushering our youngest man-child into his teens.

Happy Birthday, Ben!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Creation Museum

We visited the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky (near Cincinnati, Ohio) in late August with others in our homeschool group. And what a great start to the school year it was.

While the museum doesn't waffle on whether or not creation as spelled out in Genesis is true, I felt it took a pretty respectful tone toward the creation/evolution debate.

Clearly, the challenge to every visitor to the Creation Museum is to consider that one's worldview has a huge impact on how one views the evidences (fossil finds, geological formations, etc.) of earth's history. In other words, nearly every exhibit and program there emphasizes that scientists on all sides of the debate (creationists, IDers, and evolutionists of all stripes and persuasions) all have access to the same evidences, but the lenses through which one approaches the evidence has great influence on the interpretation of those evidences. To come away from the Creation Museum and not understand this is to have missed a huge point of this museum's existence.

Certainly, no one could complain that the facility isn't top-notch in its design, attractiveness and effective layout. The dinosaur models were eerily real.

I'm pretty sure this one hadn't had lunch. I was a little nervous snapping this shot. Just a few seconds later it growled at me.

But then something else grabbed his attention and I was no longer the tasty-looking morsel I was imagining myself to be.

I'm not sure which Ben considered more fun. Running back and forth over this suspension bridge dozens of times, or...

...Meeting Buddy Davis. Ben talked about singing, "Billions of Dead Things" with Buddy Davis for days. Ben (on the right - Buddy's left) and his friend, Chris, pose with Mr. Davis. It was a highlight of the trip. Buddy Davis is the creator of many of the dinosaurs on display at the Creation Museum. An artist and a musician and a great story-teller, to boot.

The Planetarium was probably the highlight for everyone, though. We've been to various planetariums over the years and always learn something new, but I have never seen a planetarium show of this caliber before. The quality was stunning, but the perspective of how huge our galaxy is and yet how small in comparison to the known universe was thought-provoking. The perspective of how small our sun is to stars like Betelguese and Antares was breathtaking. Really, the overall feeling one had when leaving the planetarium show was one of being awe-inspired and desiring to know more. In comparison, other planetarium shows that we've attended, I believe have been overly cute, too simple to inspire, and well...dull. I have been ruined for anything else, I fear.

It was a great day in all respects. And a perfect start to a school year in which Joel will be studying Astronomy and Ben, Zoology -- among other good things for our noggins.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I just called to say I love you....

Got a call from Nate today. He just wanted to say "Hi" and "I love you" (does it get any better than that?) Filled with warm fuzzies, I realized that I had never posted pictures from his last day at home/first day at college this year (sophomore year). We took some pictures just before he and Greg got in the car to leave and then....just like that - we were Nathan-less once again.

This picture perfectly depicts (in caricature) our three very different sons. I'll just let the picture speak for itself.

Greg sports this dazed look most of the time these days.

Poor Dad.

Unpacking and making himself at home.

Nate was very glad to get back to college to see his chums and have a social life again. I guess working 40 hours/week and taking an online class and trying to catch up with everyone on facebook in the wee hours didn't cut it for social stimulation. Not to mention most of the summer was spent living amongst the chaos of boxes and furniture (I'm happy to say the flood of 2008 is becoming a distant memory)

And I'm not the least bit bothered that home can't compete with the social life of even a tiny little college campus. I'm very much at peace that Nathan is thriving as he grows into the man God is shaping him into. I pray for him more -- not because I worry exactly, but because it's really the only thing I can do for him sometimes. Our children outgrow so many needs, but they never outgrow their need of our prayers.

I guess it's good to still be needed. ;^)

Friday, August 1, 2008

How does your garden grow?

A recent gardening thread on the Indiana Homeschoolers yahoo group made me think of my dad and this trellis he made out of PVC pipes (in 1986) so I had to go looking for some pictures of it.

This is not the best picture of Greg and me, but it shows the size of Dad's cucumber trellis. I'm amazed he had the patience to build this thing.  And he had it rigged up with some type of irrigation system. Dad was a plumber so that probably wasn't as hard for him as it sounds to me.  Besides, he was a pretty smart cookie.

I remember Dad talking about being able to walk inside and pick cucumbers overhead. And that gravel pad inside makes me think he and Mom may have put lawn chairs in there to enjoy their little cucumber house. Isn't that just too cute?

And here is Dad inside the trellis. This is a great picture that shows more details of the trellis's construction.  Is that elaborate or what? And you can see my handsome dad too.  :^)

While I was searching for pictures of Dad's PVC cucumber trellis, in the same box I uncovered this picture of my Grandma A (Dad's mother) working in her garden:

On the back side of this picture someone wrote, "Surely Heaven will have a few small garden spots just for people like this great lady!"

I love this picture. An elderly lady in a flowery dress with her hair braided and pinned up outside gardening (by the looks of those large squash growing in the background, I'm guessing it might have been in September sometime.) 

And just to show the nut doesn't fall too far from the tree, below is a picture of me c. 1970 hoeing my zinnia garden. I would have been about 11 years old in this picture, but I remember this like it was yesterday - growing zinnias for 4-H. I also remember that shirt I was wearing.  I can remember the feel of it.  Isn't that so weird?

I don't remember, though, that my zinnia garden was so pathetic looking. What I remember is being so proud of it. Ah well. I'm still trying to figure out how to get things to grow.

Happy Gardening!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


In recent discussions about what to do with our new family room, someone suggested we get a big plasma TV and a Wii. At first I balked, but after watching this video, I'm inclined to consider it

Be sure your volume is on.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I think I can.....

It's amazing the difference carpeting makes to a room. The echo is gone and the room is cozy (well, as cozy as you can get without furniture). In case you're wondering what color we painted with (or even if you're not), we'll just call it our classic beige-a-vu. Okay, so we're pretty tame when it comes to painting the rooms of our home. There are worse things. Like black wallpaper and pink roses, that's what. (Don't ask unless you really want to know).

Actually, we painted with Sherwin Williams Beach House (darker shade on the brick wall) and Kestrel White (lighter shade and gloss trim). The paint brochure said it was an airy look. To me, it just looks like beige-a-vu.

Now -- the last push to paint three inside doors (both sides), a set of french doors (inside only) and window trim on two windows begins.

Can we do it?

I think I can....I think I can....

A new view of where the rains came down and the floods came up.

I used a latex gloss on these bookshelves. Now I read that I may need to wax them (with car wax, of all things) to keep paint from sticking to books. (sigh) Oh well. I think I can....I think I can....

I'm envisioning two cozy chairs in front of the fireplace. I'm also envisioning a gas log in there. We don't own those two cozy chairs or gas log yet, but I think I can....I think I can....

This little alcove is the space where I'm going to try to fit all our homeschool stuff (at least the stuff that remains in the family room.) I think I can....I think I can....

The boys are envisioning a pool table of sorts in this spot. I did too at one time, but I'm beginning to think.....I can't....
Ah well...we can finally see the light at the end of this tunnel and it's getting brighter every day.

Monday, July 21, 2008

It's a Blue Ribbon Day!

We're lightweights anymore when it comes to 4-H, but it's always good to bring home a ribbon or two from the county fair.

Joel received a Reserve Champion on his Shooting Sports poster. Joel loves Shooting Sports. Hates making posters. Joel learned that the gal who beat him out of a Champion ribbon won because the judge liked the pink border she added to her poster. I'm not sure how useful that information is since Joel is not likely to be adding anything pink to anything anytime soon. (What can I say.... he has never understood the draw of the "real men wear pink" club.) He also doesn't care for quiche.

Hmmm....I just noticed that Reserve Champion ribbon is pink. (snicker)

He's smiling not so much because he got that pink Reserve Champion ribbon, but because completing this poster also earns him the privilege of 3 extra "shoots". That was a club incentive. It worked better than any cajoling on my part ever did. When he's happy, I'm happy.

Ben was a good sport this year -- not really crazy about shooting sports, but willing to make this his 4-H club in order to simplify our running around. He'll tell you his favorite events are archery and rifle and pistol. And in the shotgun event, he hit his first clay he ever took aim at and likes to say he has a perfect record with a shotgun. Truth is, he does not like the kick of a shotgun, so he never picked it up again after he shot that first clay. Ah well.... Ben earned a Blue Honors with this poster on basic gun safety.

And Ben learned a lesson (again) about the subjectivity that goes into the judging of 4-H projects. His older brother had earned a Champion ribbon on this same submarine several years ago,but Ben decides to smile over his red ribbon. Did I already mention what a good sport he is? Every fair time is an opportunity for my guys to learn to not put too much weight on the judgements passed on from another person. THAT is a valuable life lesson. They seem pretty strong and unconcerned any more when it comes to project judging. And that makes me a happy mom.

And most importantly.......4-H is over for another 7-8 months -- well, except for those extra shoots. ;^)

~Happy Mom.