Thursday, May 26, 2011

Calf and Fawn

Our dog was barking this morning, as usual.  I thought it was another deer crossing the back field. 
But it wasn't! 
Here's a better look:

Later on, Jadon thought he saw the calf again so we went looking for it.  We didn't see the calf, but look at what I walked up on:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mom's Show-Off Time

Aaron playing trombone with his band teacher, a couple former students and other friends of the charter school where he attends band class. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Deer hit

The three oldest talked dh and I into letting them go rent some movies. So they went off and I decided to take a shower. Right as I got in I said a QUICK (and I mean QUICK and not in-depth) prayer about their safety as they travel.

Even though it was a short prayer I pictured/felt how sad it would be if something happened to them while driving. I thought of how sad the little kids would be and how awful it would be if Hali died and Aaron and Solomon only survived. Weird to think all of that in the matter of moments.

I got out of the shower to find dh on the phone with the police--Hali called and let him know she hit a deer! Everybody is okay, and the vehicle still runs--but it got a big owee. I think she hit the butt end of the deer. Dh just left to check out how things are--they are only about six miles away.

I am between thankfulness that it wasn't worse and regret that I didn't say more than a quick "Keep them safe while driving" prayer......

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Saxon Algebra 2 tests humor

My son is 16 and had just finished a Saxon Algebra 2 test. As he was putting it away in his crate he said to me, "This is what they must offer as entertainment in hell---Saxon algebra tests."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dekar's Name in the Sand....

Here is the link to Dekar's memorial post--I'd love it if you'd leave comments there:

It is absolutely beautiful. Look at the sun.


Thank you, Carly.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Venison Stoganoff (Easy!)

I made my venison stroganoff different this time and it turned out really good:

  • 2 lbs venison chunks (or beef, if you prefer)
  • Water (quite a bit--enough to cover the venison)
  • Garlic Garlic (Tastefully Simple product--well worth the money!)
  • Onion soup mix

Boil, cover, and simmer until tender and cooked through.

Mix milk, sour cream and cream of mushroom soup and add to pan.

Simmer until it thickens up a bit. I simmered for quite a while and it wasn't quite thick enough so I added some Clear-jel (instead of cornstarch because I have a million pounds of the stuff!) dissolved in water.

Serve it over egg noodles. (I made two big bags since most of my kids are pasta freaks.)

It was good. It's isn't that much different than what I usually make, but it sure was a lot quicker than using fresh onions and garlic. I liked the taste. Because the onion soup mix is so salty I think you have to make a larger recipe like I did. (This served 11 people with some leftover.)

The reason I did it this way is because I forgot to thaw the venison and boiling it makes it turn out more tender than defrosting it in the microwave.

(No picture--broken/lost camera once again!)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Infant obituaries, memorial, funeral bulletins needed

I know this is an odd request---but if you have lost a baby and have written an obituary or memorial and/or had a funeral for him/her, would you be willing to share that information with me? I am posting samples of actual obituaries, memorials and funeral bulletins at my Dekar Memorial site. I started that site to honor and remember my son, but most people find it because they are looking for sample obituaries for babies.

I am willing to "sanitize" it in order to protect privacy. You can contact me through the BabyDekar site. Thank you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The importance of journaling and God's answers to our questions and doubts

This is longer than I anticipated, but I hope you will read it through to the end.

I have notebooks and notebooks of my "journey" of life. I remember having a diary as a little girl, and that turned into a book of who I had a crush on in jr. high school. After graduating high school and finding my way back to the Lord those pages turned into a spiritual journey--the ups, downs, revelations and questions. I have pages of asking God why He's not talking to me, and pages of what God has revealed to me through his Holy Spirit.

I am going through a rough period right now. I feel like I'm in a pit, I'm reaching to get out, and nothing is grabbing me arm and I keep struggling. I'm not seeing answers to my prayers, feel no direction in my life, and I just look at God and say, "What are you doing? How much more do you think I can take?" I believe that Satan wants me to feel smashed down and defeated, so I pray......and the battle goes on and on. Anybody who has been in this place knows how tiring---no, exhausting---it can be.

This morning, as I grabbed my Bible and notebook I also grabbed a folder that I had found the other day while cleaning my shelves. I knew exactly what it was when I found it and stuck it with my bible and journal. It was just a few sheets of paper---I had scribbled notes, printed off devotions that spoke to me, wripped out another devotion from a book.......they all pieced together to show God's revelation made clear to me. I remember at the time putting all of that in a folder, sensing I would need to be reminded of that time. Today is the day I needed to read those pages. I needed to see how God spoke to me and answered my prayers. I needed to see how He used other people to reveal His truth.

One of the items in my folder is a page titled GOD ALWAYS HAS AN ANSWER. (I found a printable version online--it has the full verses included.)

"It's easy to get discouraged sometimes when things appear to be going badly. But we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. Remember, next time your way seems hard, and things are going up in smoke, it may just be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.
You say: "It's impossible"
God says: All things are possible (Luke 18:27)
You say: "I'm too tired"
God says: I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)
You say: "Nobody really loves me"
God says: I love you(John 3:16 & John 13:34)
You say: "I can't go on"
God says: My grace is sufficient(II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)
You say: "I can't figure things out"
God says: I will direct your steps(Proverbs 3:5-6)
You say: "I can't do it"
God says: You can do all things in Me. (Philippians 4:13)
You say: "It's not worth it"
God says: It will be worth it (Roman 8:28)
You say: "I can't forgive myself"
God says: I FORGIVE YOU (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)
You say: "I can't manage"
God says: I will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19)
You say: "I'm afraid"
God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear (II Timothy 11:7)
You say: "I'm always worried and frustrated"
God says: Cast all your cares on ME (I Peter 5:7)
You say: "I don't have enough faith"
God says: I've given everyone a measure of faith (Romans 12:3)
You say: "I'm not smart enough"
God says: I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)
You say: "I feel all alone"
God says: I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)
This was something I needed to read today. Not only the above scripture, but the struggles I faced at that time, my communication with a friend and the answers I ended up receiving. It gives me hope to know that God isn't ignoring me or that He doesn't care. I am reminded that He works all things together in His timing--and most often in ways we would never think of by ourselves.
These are a couple major things in my life that I can hold onto:
Aaron fought a battle with cancer starting at age two. This was at a time that following God wasn't a major priority in my life. It was also the time that God drew me so close to Himself that I knew I didn't want to go back to my old way of life. It was when I learned to hear God's voice through His Holy Spirit. God told me He would heal Aaron, and He did. God doesn't lie.
Dekar: God worked out the timing perfectly. A nurse told me that there was no reason for Dekar to start crying and make breathing attempts the way he did without medical intervention. I believe God worked that miracle.
Dekar met all his brothers and sisters and was held by each of them. Dekar also took his last breaths with all of his family around--each one of us got to say hello to Dekar, and each one of us were able to say good-bye. Nobody but God could have worked that out. We had no idea how long Dekar would live, and he was surrounded by all of us in the beginning and in the end. It wasn't a "lucky thing"--it was God showing His love for us, in spite of a terribly sad situation.
Those are two major things in my own life that I draw on when I get caught in the lie that God isn't hearing me/doesn't care, wah, wah, wah! Those are lies that Satan likes to hit me with. My friend, Diana, made an excellent point in one of the emails I found, "....realize the battle, but do not believe it's lies. Speak the truth in your head even if your heart is on a different page. Satan sees something worth fighting for, so recognize your worth. And stand up. Ask God to give you the ways to become strong." I don't think I caught that part originally. You don't do battle with something unless you see that thing or person as a threat. Satan sees me as a threat to his purpose of destroying God's people and purpose.
Today I choose to see the battle for what it is, "gird up my loins", and persevere, even if I can't see God's plan any better than before. And I can't. I am tired. I am lonely. I am tired of the fight and I want to quit. But, I will choose to trust that God will see me through. I will get over myself and put away the notion that I can screw up God's plan.
I don't know where I'm headed, or what I'm doing, but in obedience to God, I will trust Him. And I will print this blog post, stick it in my journal, knowing that it is another vital part of my journey and growth and I will need the reminder in the future.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


My husband is the greatest. On one of our computers we have hundreds of pictures. We kept saying how we better back up those pictures or we'll regret it if the computer blew up......Finally, it got done. Cortney sat down and saved and saved and saved. That was cool. These were from when we were back in Wisconsin and had just gotten our first chincy little digital camera that stored, at the max, 17 prints. WooHoo! But I take pictures like crazy, so digital over film makes sense for us.

Then, he was even cooler and went to get a few hundred printed. He came home, and we sat down and stuck them in albums. (I still have packages of prints in our basement that aren't in albums!) Anyway, he printed off a portion of what he saved, I wrote basic information on the back of each picture, and now we have some of our memories catalogued.

Above is one of my very, very favorite pictures of Rachel and Melchizedek. Isn't that precious? He was under two weeks old, she was almost five----I still remember her sweetness toward him--this picture captures just a glimpse of it.

Go here to see a recent picture of Mel, Rachel, and Isaiah.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Don't let their cute faces fool you.....

These two are trouble in 3T clothing. (I wouldn't have it any other way.) :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The quilt that Hali made

Hali made Granty-poo a quilt for his birthday. The exposure is off, but I'm too tired/lazy to fix it. That's a whole lot of squares to cut and sew together. She really put a lot of thought into each material too. He plays the drums, so there is drummer material. He hunts and like camo material so she included that. Along with tractor, sailing, musical symbols and other interests of his. She did a great job and he loves it.

Ice Fishing success!

Look at all of those fish! Cortney took three boys fishing, and look at what they brought home! Apparently they could have caught more, too! That is 100+ fish laying on the table. They are all cleaned and ready to be eaten.

Friday, December 26, 2008


I had never heard this song before today. It fits in so perfectly with Dekar's memorial ornament. The music is embedded on the left sidebar. With Hope, by Steven Curtis Chapman.

This is not at all how
We thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you've gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you, but ...

We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
(There's a place by God's grace)
There's a place where we'll see your face again
We'll see your face again

And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God's plan
But through the cloud of tears
I see the Father's smile and say "Well done"
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
'Cause now you're home
And now you're free, and ...

We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
(There's a place by God's grace)
There's a place where we'll see your face again
We'll see your face again

We have this hope as an anchor
'Cause we believe that everythingGod promised us is true, so ...

So we can cry with hope
And say goodbye with hope

We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with hope

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to all!

Merry Christmas everybody! I am sharing with you a copy of our family Christmas card. Dekar is surrounded by all of his beautiful siblings.
My wonderful Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photographer, Danielle Felton, took these photos during a maternity session. She also designed the card for me. She did such a nice job--thank you, Danielle!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dekar's memorial ornament, 2008

For quite a while I have been looking for a Christmas ornament that really reminded me of Dekar. Today, I found it. I’ve been having some rough days and finding an ornament in memory of Dekar helped to lighten my mood and make my soul smile. It isn’t really an “ornament”, but that’s okay. Here it is:
Although I miss Dekar like crazy I have the promise that I will see him again; I have HOPE because of Christ. A little boy, joyfully displaying a HOPE balloon caught my attention, and I knew it was meant for me.

“Hope is symbolized in Christian iconography by an anchor. And what does an anchor do? It keeps the ship on course when wind and waves rage against it. But the anchor of hope is sunk in heaven, not on earth.”
~~Gregory Floyd, A Grief Unveiled

(The above figurine can be found here. Willow Tree® by Susan Lordi –”Hope”, stock #26163)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My first Award!

LaDonna, over at Just Our Thoughts gave me my very first award! How sweet! She said, "Hi! Just wanted to stop by and say thank you for all that you do to share and help with awareness of neonatal deaths!" She is talking about my Remembering the Life blog, which I have set up to celebrate Dekar's short life. LaDonna has her own story, and she is a sweet lady.

Thank you, LaDonna!

The rules for this award are:

1. Put the logo on your blog.

2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.

3. Nominate 10 other blogs.
4. Add links to those blogs on yours.

5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.
Okay, I'll play--not sure I'll be able to do ten, but I'll try to do what I can! :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Stupid Easy (Turkey) Pot Pie

This is so easy it's stupid. If you are a purist (what I used to be) who only uses fresh veggies and whole wheat, homemade pie crust, then this will be woefully inadequate for you. If you are a realist (what I now am) then this will make you jump for joy. Read the wording in bold for the basic recipe. Read the rest if you want to read more of my experience and advice.

Cream of whatever soup (I use one can celery, one can chicken)
Can or two of mixed veggies, drained (Or you can use frozen. Be sure to thaw first.)
salt and pepper
Frozen pie crust (deep dish or regular)

Take out those frozen pie crust from the freezer and let them thaw while you prepare the rest of the recipe. You will be covering it, so have two crusts for each pie. (Truth be told, I only had three crusts last night and broke up the third to use on two pot pies--they still turned out great.)

Cut up the turkey into nice little bite sized pieces. (I don't measure the turkey, since I just use whatever leftovers I have on hand. Usually I have a lot leftover and can easily make two pies.) Place in a large enough bowl to mix in a couple cans of cream soup and the mixed veggies. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly. (If you use frozen veggies you may need to add just a bit of milk, gravy or broth to moisten the mix. Using canned, I don't have a problem. Don't add too much milk or the filling will be runny.)

You will need to eye this up. If you like more meat than veggies, only add one can of veggies. You can always add more, but you can't take them out! Same with the soups. Start with one can, and add another if desired. My basic recipe uses two cans of soup and two with the meat. It depends on how much meat you are using.

Slop into pie shells. Cover with other crust. Make a small slit or two on top to vent.

Bake at 350 for about half an hour. Since everything is already cooked you need to just heat this through. When it's done the crust will be nicely browned and the filling will be bubbling out of the vents.

These are SO good and SO easy.

This is easilty adaptable for any leftover meat you have on hand. For chicken or turkey I like to use cream of celery for sure, and then cream of chicken. If I have to I'll use cream of mushroom, but I don't prefer that taste with turkey or chicken. You could also use cream of brocolli, or a cheesey soup. You can be as creative as you like. It's really hard to mess this up.

I have made these with venison, so using extra beef would work equally as well. Shredded or small chunks--I suppose ground would work, but it doesn't sound as appealing to me. For this pie I use only cream of mushroom soup and a bit of beef broth for extra flavor. (Not too much broth, because then it gets too runny.) I'm sure there are other cream soups I could experiement with, or maybe I can just use extra gravy.

These are GREAT for bulk cooking, as they easily freeze and can be popped in the oven while still frozen. I use a vacuum sealer for storing these in the freezer. Using a couple large ziploc baggies or two layers of aluminum foil would work too. (But a vacuum sealer is SO worth the money.)

I like to have these on hand for mothers who need meals due to sickness, births, or deaths in the family. They can have it in their freezer until they need it. I write the directions for baking on the top with a Sharpie.

If you have more filling than pie crust, freeze the filling for a later time. All you have to do is defrost it, place into thawed shells, and bake as usual.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What am I doing this for?

Okay, so I start this blog, and now I think, "WTH was I thinking?" A. I don't think my life is all the interesting--I just live it. B. If I take the time to type up blog entries, when will I do my nails? (You will realize this is sarcasm as long as you understand I have eight living children, a husband and pantry moths to deal with.)

Oh, here's something interesting: I got rid off all of my old socks and started a new system that doesn't result in a basket of mismatched socks. (Does anybody REALLY want to hear about that? I don't think so.)

The election: Not happy that Obama got in. I don't understand why people were taken with him. I don't see him as a smooth communicator. I thought Bill Clinton was rather smooth, but not Obama. He blew it right away by making a joke about Nancy Reagan. Not cool. Not leaderlike. Not impressed.

All I can say is this--God is still on the throne.

Tomorrow is Aaron's 16th birthday. He survived hepatoblastoma with mets to the lungs. He's a cool kid and I'm so blessed that he is still here with us.

That's it for now. I have a diaper to change. Want me to blog about it?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sol's Quilt--DONE!

I finished Sol's quilt a couple weekends ago! Yahoo! It feels good to be done. These aren't the greatest pictures because it is windy out and very bright. The colors don't show as well as I'd like, but you get the idea.
He likes the San Francisco 49ers, so the colors are based on the team colors.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ain't this the truth......

The sweetest of all sounds is praise. -- Xenophon

Why is it so much easier to condemn that encourage? I recognize in myself that when I am tired or overly stressed that my words are not as pleasing to the ear. But I also recognize that if, while tired and overly stressed, I am being encouraged or praised for the work and effort I put forth, I feel better. I suddenly have more energy and a burden is lifted.

I try to remember that when I see my kids in foul moods. I try to point out how well they did on their math, thank them for taking care of their chores, or just say something nice about how they look or how kindly they treated a sibling.

If they are really in a funk I ask them to go on the next errand I need to run. If needed, I'll find a reason to take a run just so I can have some alone time with the crabby one. Sometimes they need the time to decompress and not feel pressure to perform in any way. They don't always open up, but alone time and an opportunity for me to be with that one child is needed and it lets them know in a tangible way that they are loved and appreciated just because they exist.

It is so easy to fall into the rut of complaining and looking at everything that is going wrong. Instead, we need to purpose ourselves to focus on the positive and say kind words. It's good for the body and soul.

Proverbs 15 offers sage advice:
1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

13 A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.

15 All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.

18 The hot-tempered stir up dissension, but those who are patient calm a quarrel.

23 A person finds joy in giving an apt reply and how good is a timely word!

30 A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Nuts About Cherries Chicken Salad

I'm so proud of myself---I made up a recipe by combining a few of my favorites and I think it's perdy dern good. I was going to take a picture, but it got all eaten up right away!

Nuts About Cherries Chicken Salad

4 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, diced
1 C. Nuts About Cherries, coarsely chopped
1/3 c. diced celery
1/3 C. diced apples (Mitsu or Granny Smith)
1/3 C. plain low-fat yogurt
1/3 C. low-fat mayonnaise
1 T. buttermilk
salt and pepper, optional

In large bowl, combine chicken, Nuts About Cherries, celery and apple. After well combined, add the yogurt, mayo and buttermilk. Salt and/or pepper, if desired.
Toss together well and refrigerate until chilled.
Serve by itself, on wheat bread, croissant, or pita.

For an added twist, add the zest of an orange or two.

Nuts About Cherries is a mix of dried cranberries, blueberries, tart cherries, almonds, and pecans. I picked it up locally at Kings Orchard, and you can order it online also.
Or you may substitute with a mix of any nuts or dried fruit of your choice. (Dried currants are very good.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Chocolate Turtle Cake

If you're going to be gain weight, you should definitely do it with a smile on your face. I had this as my birthday cake and it is DELICIOUS!

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® devil's food cake mix
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 bag (14 oz) caramels
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans
1 bag (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup)

Ice cream or Whipped cream, if desired (Yes, it's desired)

Caramel and chocolate topping, if desired (Yes, that's desired too)

Chopped pecans, if desired (Another yes)

Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease or spray bottom of 13x9-inch pan.

In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 30seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour half of the batter into pan. Bake 22 minutes (25 minutes for dark or nonstick pan). Refrigerate remaining batter.

Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, heat caramels and evaporated milk over medium heat, stirring frequently, until caramels are melted. Stir in pecans. Pour caramel mixture over warm cake in pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Spread with remaining batter. Bake 25 minutes (29 minutes for dark or nonstick pan) or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen cake. Cool at least 30 minutes. Serve with ice cream, drizzle with topping and sprinkle with pecans. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): In step 3, bake 30 minutes (34 minutes for dark or nonstick pan).

Nutrition Information:(This doesn't matter when celebrating a birthday.)

1 Serving: Calories 340 (Calories from Fat 150); Total Fat 16g (Saturated Fat 5g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 35mg; Sodium 270mg; Total Carbohydrate 43g (Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 28g); Protein 4g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 0%; Vitamin C 0%; Calcium 8%; Iron 8% Exchanges: 1 Starch; 2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Vegetable; 3 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 3
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Decluttering success

I am pleased with how much I've passed on to the rummage sale so far. It was so easy to just get rid of stuff. I think since I've already lost a most treasured possession all the earthly material stuff fades in comparison.

Some of the items which are no longer in my house are a futon mattress, waffle cushion, a dresser mirror, along with a few larger baby items.

I also got rid of some books and clothes, but not as much as I'd like. In time I'll get to all of them.
I don't know how much I'll get to pack up tomorrow since I have appts. It's all good---there is a visual difference in my storage area. I was able to compact what I saved into a smaller area, so that helps make me feel like I accomplished something

A nomadic lifestyle is very attractive to me right now. When I look around the house there is nothing that I can see that holds my heart----the only things that matter are my children, my husband, and my memories of Dekar.


The school that some of my kids go to are having a rummage sale. They sell everything for $5.00 a brown bag, unless otherwise marked. The last day they have a free day and anything left gets tossed or sent to a homeless shelter.

The first year we moved here I went to the rummage sale on the last day, not realizing it was all free. Nothing was marked, so I asked one of the ladies what the prices were. When she told me everything was free I probably looked like a deer in the headlights. Huh? Who gives away stuff for free? If I remember correctly I did give a donation since the funds helped the school.

Anywho, for the next couple days I'm going to declutter and bless them with my abundance of treasures. heh. I took a couple boxes over yesterday and brought home about ten empty boxes to fill up. At first it's hard to give up some things that we've had forever, but once I get started I feel so much better about downsizing. If it's been packed away and I haven't needed it for six months to a year, what are the chances I'll need it any time soon? I can only think of one thing that I've gotten rid of in the past that I regret.

I am praying about whether I should give up my baby stuff. There are certain things I will keep, but I don't think it's totally necessary to keep things like the baby bath or bouncer. If I do end up pregnant again both of those things are easily replaced inexpensively. But boxes up baby and little boy/girl clothes will be bittersweet. I love(d) my babies.

Since it's a dreary, rainy day it is the perfect time to stay inside and get my treasures boxed up. And I am NOT going to bring boxes of treasure home with me when the sales start!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A mother of..........

A mother of none said to a mother of one
"How do you manage to get things done?"

A mother of one said to a mother of two
"One is hard on me, I wouldn't want to be you!"

A mother of two said to a mother of three
"I've got two how hard can another one be."

A mother of three said to a mother of four
"I'll bet there is a traffic jam at your bathroom door."

A mother of four said to a mother of five
"I know you are busy like bees in a hive."

A mother of five said to a mother of six
"Three boys three girls, wow what a mix!"

A mother of six said to a mother of seven
"You were blessed with angels sent straight down from heaven."

A mother of seven said to a mother of eight
"When you ring the dinner bell, I bet not one is late."

A mother of eight said to a mother of nine
"From tallest to shortest your own chorus line."

A mother of nine said to a mother of ten
"Aren't we so blessed, I would do it all again."

A mother of ten said to God above
"Thank you for my family and your unselfish love!"

Monday, September 22, 2008

Milled Flax Seed Subsitution Information

(I'm posting this more for my benefit---I'll know where to find this information when I am looking for it.)

From the Hodgson Mill Milled Flax Seed box:

Milled Flax Seed may be used as a Fat Subsitute in most recipes. Generally, 3 Tbsp. Milled Flax Seed can replace 1 Tbsp. fat or oil.
Likewise, 1 Tbsp. Milled Flax Seed plus 3 Tbsp of water can replace 1 egg.
Don't give up if your results aren't perfect the first time.

Hodgson Mill has a good site for nutritional information and eating healthy, so it is worth visiting.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Clean Up Day

We live in such a beautiful area and we haven't shared enough pictures of what we get to see almost every day. We are a hop, skip, and jump away from Lake Michigan. Isn't it pretty?
Today we spent our fourth year cleaning up part of the shoreline. Originally, I was invited to help by my family doctor. In turn, I invited the homeschool group to join in as a community service. This year the weather was perfect. It was windy, but not too cold and not too hot. We picked up over 80 lbs. of garbage in a one mile area of shoreline. (What a bunch of pigs we all are, eh?) To be honest, about half of the weight was some sort of trap thing that nobody recognized. Whatever it was, it was very well built and heavy. We also found a rimmed tire and large boat seat cushion.

We pick up along an area that isn't open to public access, so the items we find are what comes in from the lake itself.

The trash items we found the most of were food wrappers and balloons with ribbons. The first year we found a ton of cigarette butts, but this year we only found about 5.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Madge's Zuke Bread

Apparently the bread was enjoyed so much that some asked for the recipe.
Is there any greater compliment?

3/4 c. mixture of multigrain and millet (more multigrain than millet)
3/4 c. unbleached white flour
1/2 c. sugar

1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt, if desired
1 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon, ground cloves, and nutmeg)
1 egg white
1 whole egg
2 T. oil
12 T. milled flax
1 1/4 c. packed, finely grated unpeeled zucchini (about 1 medium zuke)
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. finely chopped nuts (optional)
1/3 c. raisins (optional)

Combine all main ingredients really well. Stir in optional nuts and raisins at end.Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake the bread in a preheated 350 oven for 50-60 minutes or until a pick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.
Let cool in pan, serve with butter.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.

-- Charles H. Spurgeon

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dekar's slideshow, courtesy of NILMDTS/Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

To see the beautiful rememberance work that NILMDTS does, go to my blog which is dedicated to Dekar: Remembering the Life
I am working on getting a file that I can upload directly, but until then you can view it through the link and password posted at Dekar's blog.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

50 Random Things About Me

So I read my friend's post: Life in the Turner Household: 50 Random Things About Me and thought I should give this a try.

But fifty things? Not sure I'll make it that far....

  1. I hate the color peach.
  2. I used to play the flute. (Still can play it, but not well.)
  3. Tomato and cheese is my favorite sandwich--one bread buttered, and the other with mayo.
  4. I once had a pickle from a hamburger come out of my nose because I was laughing so hard.
  5. I have always wanted to be a photographer.
  6. I am the youngest of 8 kids.
  7. I met dh on a blind date and told my friend that I would do it just to shut her up, but I wouldn't like him!
  8. I have been married to dh for almost 19 years. :)
  9. I know how to say "underwear" in Polish.
  10. I love canning.
  11. Washing dishes is my least favorite chore.
  12. I have a lot of freckles.
  13. I believe I am claustrophobic.
  14. I like pork and beans covered with cottage cheese and onions. (Try it sometime.)
  15. I would like to jump out of an airplane--with a parachute, of course.
  16. I have a 15 yo son who survived cancer.
  17. I have never doubted the existence of God.
  18. I have never believed in Santa Clause.
  19. My favorite movie is "A Christmas Carol"
  20. I love the old Twilight Zones.
  21. I am lousy with history.
  22. I used to swear like a drunken sailor.
  23. I quit smoking, but I really LIKE smoking.
  24. I am a night owl, but forced to live in an early bird world.
  25. Chicken, corn, and mashed potatoes is my favorite meal.
  26. If I was stranded on a desert island and had to pick one cereal, it would be Cheerios.
  27. Lemon Fanta, which I drank in Germany, has been the best soda I have ever tasted.
  28. I drink coffee with either cream and sugar or a flavored creamer.
  29. I like Cheetos--puffed or crunchy
  30. Valerian makes me fart. (I just had to add that one for Carrie.)
  31. I swam naked with my husband at a nudist beach on our honeymoon.
  32. I don't like cologne on men..
  33. I like playing Scrabble.
  34. Spaghetti is my least favorite meal
  35. I plan on making a quilt for every one of my children and I'm only on #3. :(
  36. I don't understand women who are chocolate freaks.
  37. I don't say "pop", I say "soda".
  38. Scratching nails on a chalkboard does not bother me.
  39. I prefer sour over sweet.
  40. I enjoy balancing our checkbook.
  41. I think the smell of a newborn baby is how the beginning of creation must have smelled.
  42. I don't have a book problem, I have a shelf problem. (Those who like books understand that one!)
  43. I used to be hooked on the soap opera "Guiding Light"
  44. I broke my arm in fourth grade.
  45. Blue Moon is my favorite ice cream.
  46. My favorite book is The Bible.
  47. I sell Usborne Books.
  48. I'm a pretty decent in the English area.
  49. I'm not so decent in the math area.
  50. I like James Taylor music.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Baby Dekar's blog

I have had a busy morning, but haven't gotten off of my chair much. I have been trying to update my Dekar blog, and that takes a lot of emotional energy. It has been healing though. Even if I don't post something after working on it, I have been spending time healing and remembering him, which is the main purpose I'm setting up the blog. Plus, he was such a beautiful little boy, and I'm proud to be able to share him with everybody.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today is Eli's 11th birthday. I took brownies to his class to celebrate. Since I went through the pain of labor, I decided to buy myself a cinnamon roll this a.m. too. Heck, most of the kids in his class just met him this year! If they get a treat to celebrate his life, than so do I!!

He requested stir fry for his b-day meal. Yum!

Gotta love the teacher....

Jadon's first grade teacher sent home a letter that covered many things about how she runs the classroom, what they are learning, her expectations, etc....So, I'm reading it and decided I love this woman. This is what she included at the end of her letter:

"A note of advice--please keep in mind that your child is 4, 5, 6 or 7 years old, and that everything that they come home and tell you about school or Mrs. B may not be totally true. And I promise to do the same for you, because I do hear some pretty tremendous stories. If, at any time, yo would like to talk about these stories, please call me and I will be happy to discuss the story with you. Many problems can arise from miscommunication."
Thank goodness! Now if Jadon tells Mrs. B. that Mom hit him in the head with a wooden spoon last night I will be able to tell her the whole story: I grabbed a wooden spoon from the drawer to mix brownie batter, but on the way to the counter I slipped on a puddle of water that was left there after Jadon dropped his bowl of icky paintbrush water. While falling, Jadon had come running into the room and I clunk him on the head with the wooden spoon as I'm swinging my arm trying to keep balance, but still end up falling on my butt. So, yes, Mrs. B., I DID hit him with a wooden spoon, but it certainly wasn't on purpose! **
If she wouldn't have put in that little paragraph I would forever be worried that my children would make it sound like I ruthlessly abuse them.
**Just for clarification, I never hit Jadon on the head with a wooden spoon, by accident or on purpose. The story related above is purely fictional.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Blackberry picking

Hali took this picture with her camera phone.
Dad is walking with two of the boys.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First Day of School

I set my alarm for 6 a.m. I told the kids I'd start waking them at 7, which would give us plenty of time to get out the door by 7:40.

I had programmed the coffeemaker last night to brew at 6 a.m., so I woke up to the wonderful aroma of coffee. Mmmmmm.... I grabbed my Bible and journal, anticipating that I will be able to do some reading after I get pancakes going. Well, that didn't happen.

As soon as I got the blackberries out of the fridge, Rachel showed up by the stove. "I woke up at 5:30 and couldn't fall back asleep, so I figured, 'What's the use!'" She shrugs her shoulders and has a huge grin on her face. She is tickled pink that she is going to school--"going" being the key word. She understands "going"---to her that means, "not here, at home where it is SOOOO boring." She understands "school"---that would be defined as "work". But I don't believe she understands "going TO school" means that she will be doing SCHOOL AT SCHOOL. She'll fathom that concept soon enough.
Jadon was equally exuberant--he just woke up a bit later. Eli and Solomon did what they had to do to get ready. I looked everybody over to make sure they would give adequate first impressions to the teachers and other kids. I don't care for any of my kids to be slaves to fashion, but I don't want them to look like they got dressed from the dirty laundry basket either. I had them take a Vitamin C and brush their teeth. After they passed inspection I told them we'd be leaving in about ten minutes.

That was all it took for some of them to run out to the vehicle. Here they are, waiting for me.

Solomon waited for me---Cortney took this picture:

After dropping them off and getting them settled into their areas, I took another couple pictures of Jadon. (I spared the other kids the embarrassment.)

Isn't he just adorable?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

My 82 year old mother's letter to my daughter

My daughter is a history buff, and she asked my then 82 year old mother what it was like growing up during the Depression years. My mom worked on this letter bit by bit for quite a long time, and pieced it all together. She grew up in Wisconsin with her five sisters and she is one of two remaining.
I hope you enjoy reading this and learning a bit more about what life was like back then.
Dear Hali,
I remember I was 4 years to 10 years old during the depression.

There was no work. People were on welfare like my Uncle Stanley and Aunt Rosie (my mother’s sister). The welfare worker would check on them. Once she took the cover off the pot of soup and said, “Oh, you have meat! Maybe you don’t need so much help!”

They had seven children, one very sick and died. That was a sorrowful time for everyone.

Uncle Stanley worked for the Lullabye Furniture Company and they were all laid off. They made rocking cradles, and no one had money to buy them.

Yes, there were a lot of poor people. Then a good thing happened. President Roosevelt started the WPA (Work Progress Administration). It gave jobs to many jobless. They received a little pay. Their job was to build public buildings. They built the beautiful P.J. Jacobs High school and Goerke Park Stadium. A jeweler donated some land to Stevens Point and they built Iverson Park, the swimming pool, bathhouse and lodge. In Bukolt Park they built a bathhouse and lodge.

President Roosevelt also started the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) camp. The purpose was for 16 to 17 year old boys to earn money that was sent home to support their parents and family. They cleared land and built bridges. Aunt Rosie’s son, Andy, went. They had him cook. When the depression was over, he cooked in hotels in Milwaukee then started his own restaurant, which was very successful.

Many women like my Aunt Mary (Pa’s sister) took in laundry from the rich people to help support them. Once when I was there, she showed us a white men’s shirt she washed, starched, and ironed.

Pa had a brother, John, who was an electrician in Milwaukee. What excitement it was to see him! He came in a car! He would bring my mother bolts of material for her to sew dresses for us six girls. Working for the Electric Company in Milwaukee, he got Pa in the Gas Company in Stevens Point. He worked there many years until arthritis got him. He shoveled coal all day into hot burning furnaces. After working in the hot furnace rooms, he’d have to go out in the cold winter to read meters. That’s what got him. Incidentally, that’s how they made gas that got into our cooking stoves. He said Thanksgiving Day was the hardest day because everyone was using their ovens.

So now for the first time in his life he was unemployed.

The war in Europe was getting worse. Hitler conquered many countries, including Poland. We didn’t have a big army to help, so President Roosevelt started the draft. Every boy age 18-35 was drafted in the army, unless they volunteered for the Navy, Air Force, or Marines. If we were six boys and not girls, every one of us would have been drafted.

President Roosevelt then started many defense factories, building planes, boats, fighting equipment. With the labor force in the army, places like Lullabye hired women and older men like my father. He was so happy there. He was now working with a bunch of men and women—not just one man in the Gas Company. He enjoyed their company.

The war ended in the early 1940’s. The depression ended. The boys came home, were given their jobs back, but a great number went to college because the government paid for it because they were in service.

Everyone was working. We now lead a normal life. Pa took part time jobs helping potato farmers. Terry went to Milwaukee, working in an insurance agency. Verona and Grace moved to Milwaukee, at first had house work jobs, then Verona worked for an envelope company. Grace in an office at County Hospital. Mary worked for Hardware Mutual (now Sentry) and after graduation they transferred her to Detroit.

I worked in an insurance agency for six years after graduation and lived at home. Irene lived at home too, working at Hardware Mutual, while Mary and I were still in high school. Irene paid room and board. Ma told me that if Irene hadn’t stayed home and paid room and board they could have never remodeled their house.
The house was raised, a full basement and furnace put in, a hot water tank, a bathtub. Pa bought a refrigerator. We had an ice box all those years. Ice was cut from the Wisconsin River, stored in saw dust. In the summer blocks were delivered to our homes— we put a card in the window saying if we wanted 25 lbs or 50 lbs. A pan under the ice box collected the melted ice.

Before the house was remodeled there was a cellar with a sand floor and hand pump. The hand pump was never used. There was a faucet in the kitchen where we got all our water. There was a big wood stove in the kitchen and belly stove in the living room. Ma would wash clothes in the kitchen with a wringer type washing machine. Pa would heat the water on the wood stove, then fill the laundry tub for rinsing. This same laundry tub is what we took our bath in on Saturday night. The oldest went first, and since I was the youngest, I was last. The same water was used to bathe all of us.

There was a little room with just a toilet in it.

No dryer. In the winter Ma would hang up clothes in one of the upstairs bedrooms. No mixmaster. No telephone and radio until Irene worked and bought them. We did have a wind up Victrola with a few records. And Pa’s father’s old pump organ which none of us learned to play, but we had fun pumping and playing the keys. His father played the organ in church (Town of Hall) and composed church music.

No car. When Theresa was a baby and had an ear infection, Ma would bundle her up and Pa would put her on a sled and pull her to the doctor’s in the cold winter. That had to be when her hard of hearing started. No antibiotics. When we were sick we had to stay in bed till we got well and Mama would bring us a meal to our bed. Our doctor made home calls.

No books other than a few our neighbor gave us with her bookcase. Mary would go to the library and bring home books and read them to me. How I liked those nursery rhymes and pictures!

A salesman sold Pa a Volume Library, which was a big thick reference book which helped all of us with our homework. It covered every subject.

No super markets. There were a lot of little neighborhood grocery stores. Ma bought most of our groceries from a store that was in our block. She’d send us to the store for something, and we’d say, “Charge it”. On payday Pa paid the bill and the grocer would give him a small bag of candy for the kids at home. That’s all the candy we’d get except at Christmas—a bag from Santa by the big Christmas tree on the square and from Santa at school, and jelly beans in our Easter basket. Also, I’d get a penny on pay day and I would spend that for a penny’s worth of candy. The store had bulk candy.

When there was a childhood disease like mumps or scarlet fever, the Health Department posted a sign on your house saying, ‘Mumps” which meant no one could enter. When scarlet fever made the round in our family, Pa’s coworker told him not to come to work because he would bring the disease to work and then take it home to his kids. So Pa didn’t come in our house. He slept in the wood shed that was attached o our house an Ma took food to him.

Ma sewed all our dresses, petticoats, bloomers, night gown, knitted all our mittens.

No electric iron. We got a non-electric iron hot on the wood stove. No mix master. Mama made cake for Sunday supper dessert. Always baked homemade bread.
My father never owned or drove a car. Once a year he would pay my mother’s aunt, Aunt Annie, to see Grandpa and Uncle Phillip on the farm. After visiting them, we’d go to Uncle Joe’s on his farm. The farms didn’t have electricity. Then President Roosevelt ordered the utility companies to install electricity to all farms.

I liked our house. We had a back porch with a swing and a front porch. Sunday being a holy day, we stayed dressed in our good Sunday clothes all day. My dad too, in his good suit, white shirt and tie. In the afternoon, we again went to afternoon devotions in church. Then we sat on the front porch and watched the people go by for their Sunday walk.

In May and October, the months of Mary, after supper, we all knelt and prayed the rosary in Polish which my father led. My mother taught me my prayers in Polish because she couldn’t speak English when I was little.

We were all together on Christmas Eve. We each got on present. To get a present was a big thing. It was so pretty wrapped in white tissue paper and red string. We all got the same thing: A pair of long brown cotton stockings. Then we had a bottle of soda. (Every Christmas our neighbor gave s a case of soda. He managed the Point Brewery which made soda.)

Under the Christmas tree was a cookie Mama baked with a Santa Claus seal on it.
A few days before Christmas all the kids would go to the huge Christmas tree on the Public Square and get a bag of candy and peanuts from Santa.

We had a father who worked so hard to give us the best life he could. He would take extra jobs like cutting the mayor’s lawn. No roto-tiller. He spade the big garden with a hand shovel, then seeded it, weeded it, and watered it. He’s walk to the Wisconsin River to fish for bullheads. Sometimes they were still alive and would bite Ma. He cut down trees and had a horse and sleigh haul them to our back yard where he’d cut it up in small pieces for our two wood stoves.

When married, he rode a bike to the paper mill. Then for many years walked to the Gas Company taking a stick to chase off the dogs that were running loose. He developed arthritis and had to quit shoveling coal for the Gas Company. He got a job at Lullabye making radio cabinets. That ended when the war ended and the boys came home and got their jobs back.

Used to working, he’d go pick beans and worked with potatoes. He said it was hard work lifting those bags of potatoes. But my goodness, he wasn’t young any more! That’s when he started to walk to daily mass which he cherished.

Whenever we left for school or work, in Polish we’d say, “Stay with God.” and my parents answered, “Go with God.” When we came home, we greeted, “Praise be to Jesus Christ.” They answered, “Now and forever, amen.” We’d do the same visiting Polish relatives. It’s sad that my generation doesn’t greet this way any more.

This is how I remember the Great Depression and what life was like then.

”Go with God, Hali” (and I’ll “stay with God”)

Love, Grandma (Busia)