Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lesson Learned

The Scientist went to bed tonight wearing a pajama top sewn by me and pajama pants sewn completely by herself! Yeah! I cut out the pieces for her, but she did all of the sewing by herself. She already has her next project planned, a fleece hat, and Wildchild is clamoring for a sewing lesson. I'm hoping we'll have lots of fun hours together, and afraid I'll have to fight my daughters for sewing machine time, all at the same time.

Bah Humbug

I went shopping for Christmas cards today, and it was so hard to find a card somewhere between the generic "Have a happy holiday season" and the overly-schmaltzy "Christmas is a special time of love and miracles and peace on earth and gooey stuff like that." Sometimes I think I should write for a greeting card company. They don't always seem to represent the Christian POV very well.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Latest Craze

We're all absolutely talking with accents at our house, because our very, very, very favourite television show is Charlie and Lola.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hittin' the Books

I presume most of you took off school for the Thanksgiving festivities last weekend? Husband took off work all last week. Now he's back to work, and I'm trying to get the girls back to school. It's sad how much easier it was to get motivated to throw on clothes and wander down a hotel corridor and down the stairs to the restaurant with an all-you-can-eat breakfast, than it is to get up and make your own breakfast and face a home full of housework and try to motivate your daughters to do something.

In the sewing department, I'm working on pajamas and nightgowns for the girls. I whipped out a pajama top for the Scientist before we left for vacation. It's a knit top, finished at the neck with an interfaced facing. This proved to be a little bit of a challenge, as the neckline stretched as I sewed, but the facing didn't. Today the Scientist is going to help me sew her pajama bottoms, in a comfy soft flannel.

The Scientist had her first horseback riding lesson on Saturday. They didn't actually ride for the first lesson; they groomed the horses and learned about the tack and all that. My poor Scientist groomed a large pony named Bugs, as she is rather petite. Now she can talk about little else, and she claims she's dreaming about Bugs. She can't wait until her next lesson when she'll get to ride. She also wants to be one of the girls who were there who seem to hang out all the time at the stable. I know in ice skating they're called "rink rats." I wonder what the term is for a girl who spends all her time in a stable?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Be It Ever So Humble

Well, I think it was a very good vacation, since I'm very glad to be back at home and having a go at real life again. Well, tomorrow, anyway. I'm worn out! Great Wolf Lodge is a pretty nice place. The rooms are nice; the waterpark is nice; the food prices are reasonable although the drink prices were kind of high.

We checked out nearby Kalahari Waterpark on the way out. It's *enormous* but then they claim to be the largest indoor waterpark anywhere. It seemed a bit overwhelming; I don't know if we'd enjoy it or not. I thought Sandusky, with three indoor waterparks and another one being built, had a lot of indoor water action until I read that Wisconsin Dells has 18! Wow! I also discovered that Sandusky was going to get a fifth waterpark, Coyote Falls, but Ohio was not willing to put up as much money to help with construction as Rhode Island will. To be honest, I don't see why any state or municipality should help with a private money-making venture such as an indoor waterpark. If it's not a feasible enough venture for a investor to pay, why should public funds be used? Of course, I'm glad that Sandusky is doing well and seems to be becoming a real resort area. It's a nice thing to have, and only a half hour or so away!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Vacation Blogging

Our family semi-tradition of going on vacation for a holiday started in November of 2001, when my husband's college roommate got married in California near L.A. the Saturday following Thanksgiving. Since we had a five-year-old and two-year-old at the time, we spent over a week in California, visiting all the sights, like LEGOland, Knott's Berry Farm, and Disneyland, or as Wildchild called it, Princessland. We had a Thanksgiving meal with our college friend, his fiancée, and their families, at a restaurant, but we also went to Disneyland that day. It was somehow even more fun exploring Disneyland while most people were in their homes having Thanksgiving meals.

Then in 2004, my husband was consulting in Chicago, so we didn't see him very much for about six months. So with some of his crazy consultant money, we stayed at Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, Ohio, over Christmas for some quality family time. I suppose someone who has not lived their whole life in someplace like Ohio might not understand the exhilaration of splashing in a waterpark in the middle of winter. Great Wolf has two very nice restaurants in the building, so once you get your stuff in, you don't have to leave until you check out.

So here we again, for Thanksgiving at Great Wolf Lodge. We're in our hotel room right now, recovering after an enormous buffet. There were also yummy desserts, including a chocolate fountain, and of course, pumpkin pie.

And here's where we'll be after we recover from our holiday meal.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Report Card

I've been meaning to mention that within the past few weeks, Wildchild has started reading for pleasure. Princess books, mostly. She also reads to me more readily. This is a major milestone in her reading skills, and I'm very happy about it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Lutheran Carnival LXIII – Thanksgiving Edition

Since Thanksgiving Day will soon be upon us, I decided to make that the theme of this carnival. As Christians, we are called to “thank and praise, serve and obey” God, and so surely there is nothing wrong with setting aside a special day directly related to praising God for everything He has given us, as long as we remember our duty to give thanks every day, in all things. In Deuteronomy 26:1-15, we see how God called His people to bring the first of everything that their land produced and bring it to God's altar. “Then you, your family, the Levite, and the foreigner living among you should feast on all the good things the Lord your God has given you.” (Deuteronomy 26:11, An American Translation). Leviticus 23:33-43 also mentions Sukkot, the festival of booths, a harvest festival. We also should make God the center of our modern-day harvest festival, and remember that all our blessings come from Him. In closing, here is George Washington's first Thanksgiving proclamation, 1789, when he set aside Thursday, November 26 of that year, as a day to acknowledge God's blessings upon our nation. Frederick Muhlenberg, a Lutheran pastor, was the first Speaker of the United States House of Representatives in 1789 when the joint committee of Congress asked George Washington “to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER.” You can see how the original document appeared here.

General Thanksgiving
by the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation
WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houfes of Congress have, by their joint committee, requefted me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to eftablifh a form of government for their safety and happiness:"
NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and affign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of thefe States to the fervice of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our fincere and humble thanksfor His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the fignal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpofitions of His providence in the courfe and conclufion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have fince enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to eftablish Conftitutions of government for our fafety and happinefs, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are bleffed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffufing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleafed to confer upon us.
And also, that we may then unite in moft humbly offering our prayers and fupplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and befeech Him to pardon our national and other tranfgreffions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private ftations, to perform our feveral and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a bleffing to all the people by conftantly being a Government of wife, juft, and conftitutional laws, difcreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all fovereigns and nations (especially fuch as have shewn kindnefs unto us); and to blefs them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increafe of fcience among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind fuch a degree of temporal profperity as he alone knows to be beft.
GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand feven hundred and eighty-nine.
(signed) G. Washington

Now on to the meat of the carnival!

Let's start with Ask the Pastor, who put together a timely post on the beginnings of Lutheranism with All Hallows' Eve and the Dawn of the Reformation.

And speaking of the Reformation, Scottius Maximus wonders if the splintering of the Church on earth is really something to be happy about, in Why Celebrate?

Aardvark Alley touched upon the intersection of Church and state in a pair of recent posts. Veterans' Day: Eleven, Eleven, Eleven moves from the origins of the holiday to a comparison of false hopes for earthly peace with the true peace Christians have in our Savior. The Aardvark then went much farther back in history to examine and commemorate the religious and societal contributions of Justinian, Christian Ruler.

Liz may be blonde, but BlondeMoment has some very insightful (and timely, for her!) looks into the baptism of infants in On Baptism, On Baptism 2, On Baptism 3, and On Baptism 4. She also examines The Heart of Our Debate.

Also related to the Means of Grace, Rev. Chryst of Preacherblog talks about where God's true promises are to be found in Why My Trip to Israel Wasn't Spiritually Uplifting.

For more on God's promises, read this sermon by Rev. Lehmann of Drowning Myself Wherever I Can on Why I'm Not a Calvinist.

A Cleveland Confessional Lutheran relates a quote from Mythbusters to our modern sinful attitude in A Real Myth Buster.

And also examining our sinfulness, Thinking-Out-Loud looks at how our wish to correct others stems from our own works righteousness in Differences of a Pinion.

Thus ends this edition of the Lutheran Carnival. I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving rich with God's blessings! And I wish to express my thankfulness to my husband for fixing my laptop!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


I'm supposed to be doing the Lutheran Carnival this week; I had it all typed up and saved last night and my computer crashed this morning. I'd like to try (or rather, have my husband try) to get the information off of my hard drive as I put a lot of time into writing it already. I appreciate your understanding.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Revenge. Giants. Monsters. Chases. Escapes. True love. Miracles.

With thanks to Laura, I discovered that the Princess Bride has been re-released on DVD this week, with new extras, in a special twentieth anniversary edition. Suh-weet! And also thanks to Laura, look how you can still read the title if you flip the box! I think we definitely need this for Beer, Brats and Bride next year. What is BB&B, you ask? It's a time-honored tradition wherein a group of Lutheran homeschooling moms (called Martin Loopers) gather in various locales on a Saturday in September at 4 PM to drink beer, eat brats and watch the Princess Bride. Twentieth anniversary, though? I'm getting old.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Poor Me

I have a cold, and I'm feeling sorry for myself. For a family that homeschools and doesn't seem to go a lot of places, we seem to get sick an awful lot. I also have some sewing I *need* to get done before next Wednesday. You'll never guess what - a bathing suit for Wildchild. Yes, we are totally cheating on Thanksgiving Day and we're staying at Great Wolf Lodge, enjoying their indoor waterpark, and their fantabulous Thanksgiving buffet. So I guess I can't feel too sorry for myself. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Virtual Fun

Ready to get into the mood for some winter-y virtual fun? Go make a snowflake or two at Make-a-Flake! No little scraps of paper to clutter your table. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Culture of Education

Matthew K. Tabor and Lynn both have posts up reviewing Two Million Minutes: A Global Examination, a documentary following the lives of a male and female high school senior in the U.S., China and India. Here is the trailer, which seems to paint a pretty bleak picture of the future for the U.S.

For my own daughters, I hope they are more serious about their studies than the two American students were portrayed to be. However, I don't want them to be forced to spend all their spare time studying. For me, the question is whether academic excellence requires a single-minded devotion to book studies every waking hour of the day. I'd think most homeschoolers would say no. After all, one of the advantages of homeschooling is that we can cover more in less time, leaving our children free to pursue interests that may incidentally include learning, such as playing with LEGO building blocks, playing chess, sewing, or planting a garden. Homeschoolers see more to life than books, even though we value our children's education. If the Scientist does follow through with her plan of being a vet, taking horseback riding lessons or volunteering at a shelter may be seen as working towards her career.

From what I have read, American high schools do not always do a good job of challenging the best and brightest, and may give in too often to parental pressure to give out good grades at the expense of actual hard work and studies. There's anecdotal evidence that more students are entering college not prepared to do college work. However, as Lynn points out, for Americans, high school is not the be-all-end-all of our future. I completely disagree that high school is a measure of our economic future, or at least not the only measure. As long as Americans keep freedom and liberty, our future can be whatever we are willing to work for.

Go Figure

The weather must have looked at yesterday's post, because today is glorious, almost 60°F (14°C) and sunny. We even got to go out and enjoy it, having an impromptu lunch with Dad, who needed some stuff from home to resurrect his laptop, and then we stopped at the grocery store. Later on, Wildchild and I are going out for her dance classes. These nice days can become a lot more special this time of year.

I think we have a fantastic grocery store, but did you know that anti-biotic-free meat goes bad a lot faster? We're getting to the point of buying our meat just about every day. Fortunately the grocery store is very close by.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fighting Hibernation

The weather here in Cleveland has taken a serious turn towards cold, dark winter recently, and we're feeling its effects. While, thank God, my mood has not been seriously impacted, the girls are feeling some "cabin fever." Even into October, the weather was warm enough that they could spend a lot of time and burn up a lot of their energy outside. They don't quite know what to do with themselves now that they are spending most of their time indoors. On the plus side, this has driven them into actually putting some real effort into cleaning up their room. Hooray! As far as I can tell, they're 1)bored enough to actually do it and 2)wanting to have their room nice so they have a cool place of their own to hang out in indoors. I don't know yet if I'll be able to parlay their boredom into extra attention to schoolwork as well. We didn't do much today schoolwise; I gave them a break as they had a couple of days off last week due to illness. I'm hoping we'll get back into the school groove as the week goes on.

I also need to get into some nice indoor projects now that the weather is getting inclement. There's so many things I *want* to try, but between finances and my ADD self, getting all the materials for a project bought and together can be problematic. On the other hand, it's not like I have a lack of sewing projects to do. Every time I think maybe it's just my ego driving me to make most of the girls' clothes ("See how special I am! I made all of these myself!"), I look at the prices of ready-made clothes and realize why I still sew so much. On the *other* other hand, we're getting into the Christmas-dress season, and velvet does make such a mess when you cut it....

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I Got an Award!

Miss Sniz was kind enough to nominate me for a Mathetes Award. This award originated with Dan King over at Management by God, who states, "Mathetes is the Greek word for disciple, and the role of the disciple (per the Great Commission) is to make more disciples. The role of a disciple of Christ is to carry His message to the ends of the earth. It is with this heart that I have created the Mathetes Award."

I am supposed to pass this on to five other disciples, mentioning the originator of the award and the person who gave it to me. Unfortunately, I'm not really able to name five people right now. It's been a crazy weekend with a strange sickness in the family. Maybe I'll be able to come up with 5 names later.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Linux of Sewing Pages?

Via a link at the lovely Kate's, I found this Burda web site featuring "open source sewing" - free patterns! Nothing better than free patterns! Now to track down a printer big enough to print them out....

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Fred's Right on Rights

I just got up from a long nap, having a sore throat, and taking the old adage "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" to heart. But I'm impressed, and surprised, that Fred Thompson actually says, in his latest campaign video, that our rights come from God, not the government. Absolutely true, but in today's political climate, gutsy, I think.

h/t JunkYardBlog.


Life is stale, flat and unprofitable. Wildchild got a tummy bug a couple of days ago; now the Scientist has it, and is curled up in the recliner with a pillow, a sleeping bag and her favorite stuffed animal. And her favorite cat is catching some Zzzzzs next to her on the armrest. Don't think we'll be getting much done today. And I was prepared, too! :)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Doll Update

Since I talked with you all earlier about getting Wildchild an 18" doll for Christmas, I thought I'd give the update that Wildchild has her heart set on an American Girl doll, so that is what she will get. Her older sister does have two American Girl dolls of her own (one came from her grandparents), and her mom has one, so it's only natural for her to want one too, and only fair for her to get one if she wants it. I will probably look on ebay, however, for one made in Germany pre-Mattel, if the price does not go too high. I mean, what is the difference nowadays between the American Girl doll and the much less expensive version from Wal-Mart or Target? Both are made in China, and both are probably about the same quality. I do have to admit I find the American Girl doll to have one of the more attractive face molds out there, though.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Little Bits of Life

On a projects redux note, we did a little bit of clearing out yesterday, and I went through the girls' old school papers. The Scientist attended a parochial school Preschool-Second Grade, and Wildchild had a year of Preschool and a year of Pre-K at the same school. Some of the work they did then actually had pretty good concepts behind it. For example, in Pre-K Wildchild did one self-portrait towards the beginning of the year, and one self-portrait towards the end of the year. It was also interesting to see how her idea of how she looked, the parts of her body she felt important enough to draw, etc., changed even during that short period of time.

Other projects allowed the girls to share their own thoughts. It is fun now to go back and see how although the girls' mindsets were immature, in a lot of ways their core personalities have not really changed. The Scientist is still very thoughtful and introspective; Wildchild still likes bunnies and ice cream.

Of course, these were relatively simple projects, done on paper, but they still took some creative thought. I might try to capture some memories, some snapshots of who the girls are, on paper this year. Of course, being the girls' teacher I see much more of them than I did when they were in school, but it's nice to have something physical to look back on later when memories are not as fresh. I wonder if there's a book or anything with ideas for clever projects out there?

I still would like to do more "big" projects with the girls, like holiday art projects, science projects, and projects related to history: dressing up, historically accurate meals, historically-based art projects and so forth. I just need to not beat myself up for not doing as much as I'd like; guilt will just paralyze me into not doing anything. Still it's good to have goals to work toward, even as I realize I won't always accomplish them.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


I forgot to mention a gripe I have at the moment. We live near a major U.S. city, so why don't we have an art gallery we can visit?? The Cleveland Museum of Art is undergoing major renovations, and although I believe there are a few small exhibitions, the main exhibits will not even be available until spring of next year, and then not even all of them. I don't doubt the need for renovations and expansion per se, but I think it's a bit much that an institution that would be so useful for teaching, to give but one of its uses to the metropolitan area, can be unavailable for so long. The renovations started in 2005, and won't be completely finished until 2011. Think of all the great opportunities being lost for kids right now.


Despite the fact that we got an extra hour of sleep last night, I've been tired this weekend. I did sort of kick-start my sewing ambition a little working on Halloween costumes, so I've been doing a little sewing this weekend. Other than that, not much. I'm looking forward to the school routine tomorrow, at least. And hoping I get a good night's sleep tonight.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


If you homeschool, do you do lots of projects with your kids? I'm wondering why lots of homeschooling parents seem to enjoy and encourage projects to help the learning process, but parents that send their children to school find them a waste of time. From what I can tell, non-homeschooling parents object to projects because the fundamentals are not being taught and the education establishment seems to be going for feel-good-but-teach-nothing projects instead of actually teaching the basics. Homeschooling parents, with their one-on-one, or close to it, teaching ratio, seem able to impart knowledge to their pupils while they work on the projects together. Is that what you see/think?