Archive for January, 2009

Songs from National Lampoon

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

My brother John sent me this hilarious video. Do you want some songs, or bits of songs, stuck in your head? Then please enjoy:

Knoephla Soup

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

This evening my son-in-law treated us to a traditional German/Russian soup, called Knoephla Soup, which he learned to make from his dad.

When I asked Darren what ‘knoephla’ means, he said, ‘dumpling.’ told me that the word ‘knoephla’ comes from the German word ‘knöpfle’, which means ‘little knob/button.’ These little dumplings seem somewhat noodle-y to me, and are made from flour, milk, eggs and salt (no leavening). I watched Darren roll a portion of the dough into a ‘rope’, and then snip pieces of the dough into the simmering soup to cook.

The soup itself has chicken broth, potatoes (cubed) and chopped onion, and is seasoned with bay leaves. When the veggies and the knoephla were all done, Darren stirred in some real cream, and cream of chicken soup.

I cannot begin to tell you how delicious this simple soup is. Darren says to just look up the recipe on the internet, because he doesn’t measure anything. Here’s a picture for you, though:


Simple Cinquains

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Recently I was looking through Write Source 2000: A Guide to Writing, Thinking, & Learning, a reference book that we use at the middle school. Since I’m interested in poetry, I meandered on over to that section of the book and came across a fun and easy poetry form called the CINQUAIN.

There are two ways to compose this non-rhyming poem of five lines, by SYLLABLES or by WORDS.

For the SYLLABLE CINQUAIN, the pattern goes this way:

First line        2 syllables

Second line        4 syllables

Third line        6 syllables

Fourth line        8 syllables

Fifth line        2 syllables

Oh, just one more thing: The first line is the TITLE of your poem, and the fifth line restates the title in some way.

Here’s my example of a SYLLABLE CINQUAIN:


My morning drink

I pour it from the pot

Warming aroma, bitter tang


For the WORD CINQUAIN, the pattern goes this way:

First line        1 word

Second line        2 words

Third line        3 words

Fourth line        4 words

Fifth line        1 word

Here’s my example of a WORD CINQUAIN:


Word game

Strategy and spelling

Fit the words together



Simple Woman’s Daybook

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009


Hosted by Peggy

For Today…January 27, 2009

Outside my Window…We have snow again, which is supposed to give way to heavy rains over the next few days. Someone learned may be able to tell me how this extra-cold winter jives with the concept of global warming.

I am thinking…of a tragedy that occurred in a small community near here this morning when a mom was driving her two little girls to school, and lost control of her van on the icy bridge. This resulted in a collision which killed her dear little 7-year old daughter. I am reminded of life’s brevity, that we need to love and appreciate one another every day that we enjoy life together. I am also thinking of weeping with those who weep. This is a deep, deep sorrow.

From the learning rooms…I am starting to do phonics work with some students who possibly never had this foundation back in the early years. The special education teacher who is my supervisor tells me that this program, which is called the Rewards program, has a good success rate.

I am thankful for…my husband and daughters just arriving home safely after daughter Lydia’s basketball game at the high school.

From the kitchen…Tonight I baked four loaves of Honey Whole Wheat bread, and a large batch of granola. Lest you think more highly of me than you ought to think, I didn’t need to cook dinner tonight, since we had plenty of leftovers.

I am wearing…a comfortable outfit which I’ve mentioned before. My daughters are starting to make fun of me, listing the same clothing over and over. Well, I’m warm, and I’m comfortable. I sent the daughter who was giving me the hardest time away to make me a cup of cocoa so I could finish this post without too much teasing.

I am reading…I would like to reread
Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar. I remember that this was an enjoyable read when my girls recommended it before. One of the sixth grade teachers with whom I work is reading it to his class.

I am hoping…that I do well with changed responsibilities at school.

I am creating…homemade bread, a delicious and nutritious staff of life.

I am hearing…my grandson’s chatter, my son’s humming, a couple of conversations in the background, and the clink of silverware as some snacking is occurring.

Around the house…We’ve discovered that we have a very brave raccoon that comes for nightly visits, hoping that the dog hasn’t finished all the food in her bowl. Last night, the raccoon stayed in place while my husband walked right past him/her to the wood shed. The children have named the critter ‘Oscar.’

One of my favorite things…is baking for my family.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…My assignment for the church Family Night dinner this Wednesday is to bring a large bowl of cole slaw, and a big pan of brownies. It’s going to be a Sloppy Joe meal.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…


Our wintry home. That’s our cat Bonnie Boy off to the left.

Hostess Peggy says this about The Simple Woman’s Daybook:

Are you content to linger on the simple things of life…then join me in taking a little look into the day plans and thoughts of those of us who are focusing on simplicity…the beauty of the everyday moments around us. That is my vision for this idea!

Ten on Tuesday – Favorite Clothing

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009


For Ten on Tuesday, Yano asks, “What are ten favorite articles of clothing you own?” I don’t know if I have that many favorites, so I’ll begin with what I look for in clothing before it can become a ‘favorite’:

  • Comfort of fit and fabric. No scratchy tags, please.
  • Texture. I’m a nut for pleasing textures, such as chenille and nubbly knits.
  • No wool, as it is itchy for me
  • Modesty of cut, which means longer skirt lengths, pants not too tight, necklines not too low.
  • Comfortable shoes, so clogs or slides are favorites
  • OK. Now onto the favorites. My number one favorite clothing item is pajamas. My lavender waffle-weave PJs are my current favorites, since the weather is chilly. When our youngest son was little I would come home from shopping and ask, “Guess what Mommy bought you?” After a while, he would reply, “It’s not more pajamas, is it, Mommy?” I got a bit carried away with that until he brought it to my attention.
  • Silky black leggings. I find leggings so much more comfortable than tights, yet still nice and warm.
  • My hooded sweaters
  • Long-sleeved cotton/polyester tees. My red and teal tees are current favorites.
  • My dressy black skirt, because I can mix-and-match tops ad infinitum with it.

Watch a Dogster Video Before Bed to Relax

Monday, January 26th, 2009

One of my grandson Diederick’s favorite relaxing routines before bed is watching dog videos on Dogster. Here’s one that we watched together tonight. I think it’s his favorite so far; after a bit he was shouting commands to the doggie along with the owner:

Cocoa Fudge Cake

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Cocoa Fudge Cake (Recipe from the Betty Crocker Cookbook)

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups sugar

2/3 cup cocoa

½ cup shortening

1 ½ cups buttermilk

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches, 2 round pans, 8 or 9×1 ½ inches, or 12-cup bundt cake pan. Beat all ingredients on low speed, scraping bowl constantly, 30 seconds. Beat on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally, 3 minutes. Pour into pan(s).

Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, rectangle 35 to 40 minutes, rounds 30 to 35 minutes, bundt cake 40 to 45 minutes; cool. Frost with Creamy Cocoa Frosting if desired.

Cocoa Fudge Cupcakes: Line 30 medium muffin cups, 2 1/2×1 ¼ inches, with paper baking cups. Pour batter into cups, filling each ½ full. Bake 20 minutes.

Red Devils Food Cake: Substitute ½ cup packed brown sugar for ½ cup of the granulated sugar and 2 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled, for the cocoa.

Creamy Cocoa Frosting:

1/3 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup cocoa

2 cups powdered sugar

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

About 2 tablespoons milk

Sift together cocoa and powdered sugar. Add softened butter and cream. Beat in milk and vanilla until smooth and of spreading consistency. Frosts a 13×9-inch cake or fills and frosts two 8- or 9-inch cake layers.

This is the cake we served for Rebecca’s birthday this past Monday. It is so delicious and moist, plus easy to make. I want to try the Red Devils Food Cake variation soon.


25 Random Things

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

25 Random things…

My friend Kerri tagged me on Facebook to participate in this quiz. I won’t tag any of you dear readers, but if you are so-inclined, feel free to grab this idea and run with it.


Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

  • I enjoy being the first one up in the morning.
  • Then I make the first pot of coffee, empty the dishwasher, start the washing machine, start waking the children for school, and sit down at my computer because
  • I read my Bible online at Blue Letter Bible.
  • I work part time as a middle school para educator, helping students with math, writing, and reading challenges.
  • This is my first out-of-the-home job since getting married.
  • I love my job, and work with some outstanding teachers and administrators.
  • I love working at home, too.
  • I very much enjoyed the years when the children were little. Don’t worry, kids! I still enjoy you!
  • My favorite part of home schooling was reading aloud to the children.
  • I favor the interest-based method of home schooling.
  • I suppose I was almost an ‘unschooler’ as far as academics were concerned, though we did use Saxon math and lots of library books.
  • I focused more on the children’s attitudes, such as learning to obey cheerfully, and loving one another, than I did on book work.
  • I enjoy strong, hot coffee.
  • For a special treat, I enjoy a caramel macchiato.
  • I take criticism well, except from those I love the most.
  • I am a cheerful person who has a melancholy disposition.
  • My husband says that I am not a pessimist, nor an optimist, but a realist. I think he’s right.
  • I CANNOT watch violence or horror, nor can I read about it. It hurts me, and I have trouble getting rid of it.
  • I am a quiet person who cares deeply about others. Is that an extroverted introvert?
  • Fall is my favorite season, followed by winter, then summer, and last of all, spring.
  • One of my favorite Bible verses is Romans 8:28, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Not all things ‘are’ good, but God makes even the bad things ‘work together for good’ to those who love Him.
  • I am thankful that Jesus Christ came to save sinners.
  • I seek to be faithful in little things, the everyday, humdrum, ordinary things.
  • I am thankful for the privilege of being married to a godly man.
  • I am thankful to have the privilege of birthing and raising our dear children.

Simple Woman’s Daybook

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009


Hosted by Peggy

For Today…January 20, 2009

Outside my Window…I see my favorite kind of light, that late afternoon, amber light that follows a blue-sky day. It is beginning to look like Spring in our neck of the woods.

I am thinking…that friends will lose interest in my blog if I don’t do a post fairly soon!

From the learning rooms…We were privileged to watch the inauguration of President Obama today. Some of the sixth-grade students didn’t know what an ‘inauguration’ was. Some thought a speech a boring thing. Some seemed mildly interested. I wonder how many families talk honestly with their children about the very real challenges facing our country, and the monumental tasks that face our new president, and all those who serve in our government.

I am thankful for…what the Lord says to His people in Romans 8:28:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. (emphasis added by me)

The special comfort I take from this verse at this time is the consideration that even my natural temperament and weaknesses, the things that I find most challenging and hindering in myself, are used by God for my good, and the good of God’s people. I can get so disappointed in myself, but this is an encouragement.

From the kitchen…We’re having leftover lasagna tonight. I think I’ll steam some broccoli to go with that. We had such a feast last night for Rebecca’s 17th birthday, including Cocoa Fudge Cake with Creamy Cocoa Frosting and vanilla ice cream. We had a wonderful build-your-own-salad buffet for the main dish.

I am wearing…a cozy red sweater with long sleeved red T under, black skirt and black leggings, and a cozy neck scarf my friend knitted for me.

I am reading…Well, I’m looking at my old Betty Crocker Cookbook and thinking about including the cake recipe in this post.

I am hoping…to rejoice in the Lord more, and be weighed down by myself less.

I am creating…nothing other than this post at the moment.

I am hearing…our old dog snoring, and the tip-tap of computer keys, both mine and my husband’s.

Around the house…it is extremely quiet. We have some sickness here, with two members of the family being ill. Seth and Lydia are both playing in basketball games tonight. I believe Rebecca is relaxing in her room for a bit before beginning her homework. This quietness is in marked contrast to yesterday, when all nine children were home for Rebecca’s birthday, plus two spouses, and two grandchildren. It was lovely, this mother’s dream-come-true.

One of my favorite things…is being surrounded by my family, knowing that they love and wish to benefit one another.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…I recently mentioned being too busy. Tomorrow is one of those days:

  1. Go in early to the middle school to receive some training and give some training.
  2. Get Seth out of school a bit early to take him to a dental appointment.
  3. Pick my husband up from an appointment with the accountant.
  4. Dash back in time to get Seth to a basketball game.
  5. Miss the first meeting of our Ladies’ Book Club.
  6. Make (probably a late) dinner.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…


Lydia drew this picture of Rebecca and herself and wrote loving sentiments all around the edge as a birthday present for Rebecca.

Hostess Peggy says this about The Simple Woman’s Daybook:

Are you content to linger on the simple things of life…then join me in taking a little look into the day plans and thoughts of those of us who are focusing on simplicity…the beauty of the everyday moments around us. That is my vision for this idea!

An Eeyore-ish Post, in which I grumble about too much to do

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

This is one of those evenings where there is still work I would love to get done, but I’m tired, too tired to do much more than play a couple of solitaire games on the computer and turn in to bed.

After doing this little post, though, I do need to neaten up the kitchen, where son-in-law Darren has just finished up preparing three pans of his special lasagna. Tomorrow Darren and Laura’s daughter Carly is going to be baptized, a momentous and joyous occasion. I’ll make fresh broccoli salad (a favorite family salad) to go with that special main dish. Dessert is served at church, and is provided by our church family. I believe chocolate cake, carrot cake and white cake will be served.

Tomorrow is also daughter Rebecca’s birthday, but we plan to celebrate on Monday. She has requested that I make a chocolate sour cream cake, which sounds great to me. We’re all chocolate fans in this family. Maybe there will be lasagna left to serve on Monday, or maybe we could have a salad bar meal. I know Reb would enjoy that.

Also on Monday I need to take my mom to an appointment with her cardiologist, balance the checking account, pay some bills, get together tax information for our accountant…Can you tell I’m feeling a bit stressed? This is kind of a pressure-cooker time of so much to do, so little energy to do it.

All I can do is keep working, do one thing at a time, hopefully in order of importance, and watch out for grumpiness, which can sneak up when I start worrying about getting things done. On top of that, I have been missing my daily walks, which are great stress relievers.

Since this seems to be turning into a ‘To Do’ list post, I’ll list some other things I want to get done:

  1. I want to purchase new tires for the van, when we can afford it of course.
  2. I want to give both vehicles a thorough scrubbing after all the messy weather we’ve been having.
  3. I want to start reading through The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges again. It’s been quite a while since I read a portion of the book, and I especially would like to read the chapter on being loving, since – believe me – I need all the help I can get.
  4. I want to relax and enjoy Rebecca’s birthday celebration on Monday. What good will it do at all to worry and be uptight?

How do you cope during extra-busy times?