Thursday, July 31, 2008

Junior's Purple Period

After homeschooling for many years, you seem to collect a lot of crayons. You probably have a box like this one:
Yesterday, Junior Asparagus came to visit. This is what I found when he left:

Hmm. Must be going through a purple phase. Or maybe his Daddy read him Harold and the Purple Crayon yesterday afternoon?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Old Home Week

My sister was in town last week from Arizona. We did so many, many things! But I think she took 'way most of the photos. The few that were on my camera were *pitiful*, if I was trying to make you understand the fun, Fun, FUN we had.

Monday last, Janny came over for supper. Lily brought over some of her scrapbooking equipment, because I had purchased a vintage photo album (you know, the kind with the black pages) to use to make a Yo-Yo Sisterhood scrap album. This is what we call our little sisterhood, and, yes, it's like the movie of the similar name. Only take out the mental illness/cr*ppy childhood things. Keep the great memories/coming of age/love abounding stuff.

We had some photos of our previous gatherings that I wanted to put in the Book. I found out that the fancy "white" pen I bought (archival, acid free, etc. etc.) didn't work as well as a plain ol' white crayola crayon. The idea for this book is not to be archival (although my parents' old photo albums are still in as pristine condition as when they put them together) but just FUN.

So we put the pages together, and I glued some fabric yo-yos on the cover, and put in big green glitter letters: The Divine Secrets of the Yo-Yo Sisterhood:

Tuesday night was the meeting of the Sisterhood. Four members were present--my sister and I, and my two brothers' wives, Robin and Debbie. We met at Janny's hotel room, and had the pool and whirlpool to ourselves for a long time. We then went back to the room for the yummiest food you could get "to go"--chicken salad on croissants, broccoli/raisin salad, berries, good cheese. For dessert we had creme brulee, introduced to us at the 2003 Yo-Yo "convention" by our Auntie Marylin. We share this dessert every time we meet in our town.

We shared gifts, including Chocolate. We shared little bits of those girlie books that have quotes and poems and little stories about being Sisters or Mothers and such. We talked and talked and laughed and laughed--girl style. It was a beautiful evening, made even more beautiful because of the blessing of four sisters who love the Lord and have loved each other for decades.

Wednesday was Janny and Barbie Day. We wanted to make it special, but not too far away. We chose to go to Huntington, a town 25 miles away, where my father was born, and forty-seven-twelve thousand other family members lived. We first went to Plaster*er's Antiques (take out the asterisk and you have my maiden name). It is run by a distant cousin, the grandson of Eiffel Plasterer and his wife. We had a wonderful time, talking family history. Edward (the cousin) and I could both rattle off the "roll" of our family genealogy in America--Heinrich, Conrad, Conrad, George, Henry, Richard, Robert (my Dad) and Barbie. That makes me eighth generation, and my grandbabies tenth generation Americans. Edward's line diverged after George, but what is really cool is that we could still feel the connection--we are "blood" relatives. Kinda puts that boring Numbers and Chronicles stuff I've been reading into perspective. I realize that all those Biblical genealogies were important--at least to the Israelites, right?

Janny and I both bought two teacup-and-saucer sets for our collections. We then went to Elizabeth's Tea Room (no website, but a super-cool place) for lunch. It is in a historical home, and was "atmosphere sublime" for chicks. I don't think they mean to cater to men...well, the guys have their "sports bars" for that purpose, right?

Wonderful time lingering over lunch, talking and talking together.


Thursday, we had Janny to dinner at my house again, and it was her chance to visit with my children (and grands!) and my one lone nephew in town. Lots of laughter and talkin' goin' on. AND...she brought me my fabulous birthday present. (which I will share when I have a photo...)

Friday, I think all we did was to have lunch together. We were pretty tired by that time, after all.

Saturday morning, Janny went back to Huntington, to the Indiana Room at the Public Library, where they have an enormous file on our family. She chose several things to photocopy and share with us. Saturday night, my brother had all of us siblingsand spouses over for a cookout. (He makes fabulous ribs!) We had wonderful fellowship around the fire, as well. A great ending to a full, full, "family" week.

Now, it's back to laundry, dishes, and the myriad little chores that keep the house running. I'm also working on lesson plans for the fall semester (a little late, but, oh, well...). Saturday we have the get-together of Charming's family. In two weeks is our vacation. Somewhere along the line, Normalcy will return.

I'm hopin'.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Jury is In


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

I really think I could have done a little better, even. Some of the answers I did not choose would have, I thought, also been appropriate. My favorite thing about the test is that I really had to get my head into hers (my 1930's counterpart).

Meredith at Like Merchant Ships titled her post "fails to wash tops of milk bottles." I don't remember my mother washing the tops of the bottles we got from the milkman. She always told us that Tonne Dairy bottled their milk "under the most sanitary conditions."

Thanks to Meredith for this fun link! By the way, there is a "husband" test, as well!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Anybody hungry?

My son Joe Hardy is a member of a Hispanic church, who wants to do a food fundraiser. Joe asked me if I would like to make potato salad for the event. We decided that four batches would make enough for 60-80 dinners (depending on portion control).


Twenty pounds of potatoes, peeled, boiled, chopped. Four dozen eggs, boiled, peeled, sliced. Eight ribs of celery, two large onions, chopped. Four quarts of Miracle Whip, mustard, pickle juice. Dill weed and paprika.

Hours and hours and hours. Large-O mess. I filled two foil "turkey roasters" full to the top. Probably 25 pounds. Called Joe at work to tell him I Was Finished.

Mom. The fundraiser is Next Saturday, not This.

I pictured myself going door-to-door, crying, begging people to Please Take My Potato Salad.

I called Charming at work and boo-hooed on his shoulder. He said, "but, Honey, potato salad can be frozen."

Ray of hope? Light at the end of a very dark tunnel?

The jury is still out. Everywhere I go on the internet says that potatoes are good for nothing but the garbage can if they have been frozen and thawed. Gritty. Mushy.

So how come they sell Frozen Mashed Potatoes and Frozen Hashed Brown Potatoes? And, helloooo, French Fries...

edited to add: I think I have found my answer here. It appears you can freeze potatoes if you don't thaw them before cooking (thus the stuff you find in the stores). It is when they are thawed that the gritty mushiness occurs. Looks like I'm sunk.

If you are in the neighborhood, come on over! I'll warn you, though. Potato Salad will be the appetizer, entree, and dessert...

edited Again: My neighbor Linda's church is having a happenin' this weekend as well, and said she would welcome the potato salad. Praise the Lord!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ooh, a giveaway!

Win a quilt at
And How!! Click on the photo to go see pictures of this gorgeous quilt, and find out how you can win it! While you're there, check out all of Dana's cool stuff. You will not be disappointed!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Goodwill Happiness

Had a great trip to two Goodwills in town this week. I found six bread-and-butter plates and four dinner plates in the vintage "Colonial Homestead" pattern. I actually collect "The Olde Curiosity Shop" pattern, but this is very similar, and with my family growing (19 now and with no signs of stopping!) this is very welcome. I also found *just one* Mikasa plate, which will go into the everyday stack: These were new, ($3.99 each) and I got three: one for Alvin Fernald, one for Junior Asparagus, and one for Blueberry. They have my last name printed on them--fun!!
Ooh, and this goodie--a Pampered Chef coffee carafe--$3.00:
I also scored several books for the Gift Box, and a Spiderman camp chair for Blueberry.
Now, back to work!

Just Shoot Me And Get It Over With

Blackeyed Susan after youth group last evening, pointing out two foreign exchange students:

"Joao is from Brazil, and Alberto is from Italy. Are those two countries next to each other?"

In her defense, she made the statement because the two boys knew each other before they started coming to youth group this summer, and she was trying to figure that out. AND...

We all say really dumb stuff from time to time, right? AND...

So, all the times I lament public school students not knowing where Mexico or Canada is, and saying, Thank Goodness I'm homeschooling, 'cause that would Never Happen to Me...well...

I guess we are all human.

But I *am* going to dig out that Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego game.


Monday, July 14, 2008

I Ain't Movin'!

I live in the second-largest city in the state of Indiana. We are known here for our low cost-of-living, and, probably the comment most made by people who live here is, "it's a great place to raise a family." We are also known as the "city of churches," which is not a bad thing, either. I can think of nine or ten churches within a mile of my home, and I might be missing some!

I heard a story on the radio today. The "morning guy" played a sound-bite from a tv news story in Pittsburgh, where a Fort Wayne native had moved. He was shocked to find his property tax bill was $7000 a year.

Seven. thousand. dollars. I pay less than $500 over that amount per year for my mortgage, which *includes* property tax AND homeowner's insurance. My property taxes are about 10% of the guy in Pittsburgh's.

Another man called in to say that he moved here from Corpus Christi, TX, and the property tax bill for a 2500 sq. ft. home was *eight* thousand dollars! So that is more than I pay for everything. (guess I won't complain about my natural gas bill budget going up this month...)

My daughter Violet used to work for the Convention and Visitor's Bureau here in town, and would often receive calls from people who were moving here from other parts of the country. A man called from California, and asked if it were "possible" to find "anything" to house his family for $350,000. Now, of course you *can* find homes here for that price (at one time, our town had more per-capita millionaires than anywhere else in the country), but that her parents' home was in a lovely old neighborhood inhabited by many artsy-types (including the director of the symphony), and [our] home was less than $100,000. The man 'bout fell off his chair. Now, I understand that, him being from California and all. My aunt lived in a 1400 sq.ft. two-bedroom, one bath dealie that listed for $578,000. I can't even imagine how much money you would have to make, in order to make the payments on a mortgage like that.

Would any of you like to come "be my neighbor?" We'd love to have you!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

A Blessed, Blessed Evening

Charming and Alvin Fernald were privileged to be part of a group ministering at a small fellowship this evening. Here they are, setting up:
I'm so Mommy-proud, because this is Alvin's first "gig" playing *out,* and he got to do it with his Daddy.

This is a group of musicians that get together for a Jam Session every other Tuesday. The leaders are Charming and Nancy Honeytree. Nancy is in blue:
Also among the muscians are two of the original members ofPetra. The lead guitar is behind Alvin, in front of the window:
So, not only was the worship amazing, and the message "right-to-the-heart," this Jesus freak chick was in groupie heaven...
This capped off a day of beautiful weather, wonderful worship at our home church, and then the evening Honeytree and Friends concert. I feel full and warm inside, encouraged and Ready For The Week Ahead!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Oh, yeah, Baby!

MSNBC has posted a Citizenship test that you can take for fun. Here are my results:

You answered 100% of questions correctly.
Oh, yeah, baby!
I notice, however, that all of the questions have to do with History dates or History facts. Not to pooh-pooh the homeschool mantra that "that is no way to learn history/history learned that way will be soon-forgotten," I am thirty-five years "out" from high school, and, of course, some of those questions I learned in fourth-grade civics class.
I am certainly teaching my children from Good Books--they are what makes history "come alive." But I have found, especially in my homeschooling experience, that the Facts and the Dates are where you place the Great Stories. Don't forget the penchant of homeschooling families to have a Timeline around the perimeter of their dining rooms!
Okay. Down off my soapbox. Time to toot my own horn!
Challenge to my family peeps to do the test yourselves!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

For My Sister

Checking vintage recipes:
and more.
Can you guess why?
Do you need a Clue?
Here it is: