Archive for February, 2009

Sheet rock outside corner protectors

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

A few days ago, my little grandson Diederick was showing me his bedroom in his new house. He ran excitedly to where his sleeping bag was spread on the floor. (His bed had not yet been moved over from our place.) The poor little guy bumped his head, hard, against an outside corner, giving himself quite a bump. Ouch!

I recalled seeing clear plastic protectors for such corners, and determined to find some ASAP.

When my husband and I went out to dinner last night, we stopped on the way at Home Depot to enquire after said protectors, and found two types:

  1. One type of clear plastic protector was thicker and covered about ¾” on each side of the corner. This type was secured by long metal screws. (Under the sheet rock there is a metal reinforcement at the corner, which the metal screws pierce.)
  2. The type of plastic protector we selected was lighter weight. Its chief attraction to us was that it could be secured by adhesive rather than screws.

We left Home Depot, satisfied with the sheet rock corner protectors we had purchased.

This evening our daughter, mother of little Diederick, was here, helping us celebrate our youngest son Seth’s birthday. I remembered the corner protectors, and reminded my husband: “The four little protectors are in the back of the car! Remember to take them home with Laura.” The rest of the family looked at me like I was crazy, and then started laughing at me.

Daughter Kayla said, “I would really like to have little protectors in the back of my car, too!”

Then she said, “The little protectors could encamp ’round about people and protect them!” When the children were little, I used to pray with them before bed, and would often ask that the Lord would cause His angels to encamp ’round about them, to protect them.

Finally it was agreed that these little protectors will have to stand as sentinels, protecting little heads from bumps.

Here, for your viewing enjoyment, is a picture of daughter Laura holding Diederick’s little sister, Carly. Her head will be protected, too.


Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009


Since I work with students in grades 6 through 8, much of my recreational reading is of books recommended by the kids. Yesterday, one of the girls highly recommended Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli to me, so while I was out running errands, I swung by the library, checked out the book, and started reading in the moments between other evening duties. I stayed up a little too late and finished the book.

Was the book well-written? Yes, indeed. At times the language was almost lyrical.

Was the main character Stargirl likeable? I won’t give any spoilers, but once again I would say I would be pleased to meet Stargirl, a.k.a. Susan, in the real world.

The ‘iffy’ bit for me was I don’t think Stargirl’s unique character was believable. One explanation offered for Stargirl’s unusual character was that she was homeschooled by parents who encouraged her creativity and individuality. This wasn’t enough of an explanation for me, and was my only disappointment with the book.

The themes explored in this quickly read book are some of the deep themes of life:

  1. Why are people so controlled by what other people think, or might think of them?
  2. Is popularity something valuable, to be desired?
  3. Why do people sometimes hate those who are truly good? I was reminded of the historical writings about the persecutions of saints.
  4. People tend to fear those they don’t understand, or attribute to them their own base motives.

This is a thought-provoking book. Read it. Tell me what you think.

The Mystery of the Self-sealing Sandwich Bag

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek


Our twelve-year old son is learning about molecular structures in his seventh-grade science class. I should be asking him about this experiment before posting, but he is out sailing with his dad right now, so I’ll have to try to remember what he said. (Though it’s Saturday morning, I’m posting this as a Photostory Friday.)

Here’s what you do.

First of all, fill a sealable plastic sandwich bag with water.

Next, poke a sharpened pencil quickly through the bag.

The puncture should pull tightly around the holes, preventing any leaking. We left this bag for hours, and it still had not leaked.

Can you guess the reason for this? As I recall, it has something to do with how long the molecular chains are for polymers (plastics). Since the long molecular chain is bound strongly together, it sort of tightens up around the hole.

When our son gets home, I’ll have him take a look at this post to see if I’ve remembered correctly.

See if this works for you!

Busy Day, Tired Evening

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Today was an extremely busy day. Since I am feeling guilty that I haven’t posted anything in some time, I’ll give you a brief overview of my afternoon and evening, even though it’s late and I should be in bed:

  1. I visited Laura for the first time as she and the children were ‘camping out’ at their new house today. There is nowhere to sit down yet, and the children sleep on sleeping bags for nap time. Little Diederick was having a great time, however, wandering around the beautiful, empty house. When Laura showed me the little deck off the kitchen, Deeder went outside, too. Immediately he spotted a little boy about his own age, just across the backyards. “Hey!” he shouted, or something to that effect. He’s on the look-out for a playmate.
  2. After visiting Laura, I headed over to my mom’s assisted living residence with supplies she needed. Each time I visit (which is often), I discover more evidence of her increasing frailty and faulty thinking. Thankfully, she is currently participating in both physical and occupational therapy. I coached her on a better strategy for backing up to her recliner in order to sit down. Next time I’ll see if she’s having an easier time maneuvering herself to her seat.
  3. By this time it was late, time to eat dinner. I headed back to Laura’s house to pick her up for dinner at our place, dinner which I had not yet prepared. We packed the children into the car and headed back here. On the short drive, the exhausted little Diederick fell asleep, so Laura bundled him off to bed upon our arrival home. I proceeded to make spaghetti for dinner, which we enjoyed at about 8pm. Sigh!
  4. After Laura bathed little Carly, we had our usual time of singing a psalm, memorizing the Westminster Shorter Catechism (reviewing it, really), reading a chapter from the Bible, and prayer. Then Laura tucked the little girl into bed.
  5. Laura worked on her blog post while I did dishes.
  6. Then I checked my email, played some Lexulous on Facebook, and decided to do this post.

I hope this has been of some interest to you. As a reward for reading this far, I give you a picture of Diederick and Carly, snapped by their mommy:


Simple Woman’s Daybook

Monday, February 16th, 2009


Hosted by Peggy

For Today…February 16, 2009

Outside my Window…The curtains are shut as it’s now evening. We’ve had a windy day which felt much colder than 40+ degrees, due to the wind being from the northeast. Still, it smells and looks like spring will soon be here.

I am thinking…that I enjoy doing my daily work more than lying in bed. I was down for a couple days with a bad back, but went grocery shopping today with daughter Rebecca’s assistance, and am now cooking a simple dinner.

From the learning rooms…I’m continuing to learn more about the Love and Logic method as it applies to special education.

I am thankful for…God, for Who He is, and for every good and perfect gift He gives.

From the kitchen…Tonight I’m preparing oven-fried chicken, steamed broccoli, and a tossed green salad. Simple fare, but we enjoy it a lot.

I am wearing…an olive green hooded sweater over a darker tie-died green T shirt, and comfy black pants.

I am reading…more about vegetarianism, because my doctor says plants don’t have any cholesterol in them. He’s giving me six months to bring it down, or take a medicine.

I am hoping…that taking such things as butter, cheese and sour cream out of my diet will also result in a slightly slimmer me. I am content with myself as I am, as long as I’m healthy. Really.

I am creating…dinner and this blog post.

I am hearing…grandchildren Carly, Diederick and their mommy (our daughter Laura) talking in the living room. OK. Carly is making baby sounds, and occasionally shrieking.

Around the house…I can see, in my mind’s eye, where I want to plant some primroses. They’re available now, and I do love them.

One of my favorite things…is being well enough to do my daily work, and by God’s blessing I usually am well enough to work.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…I’ll just mention that tonight I’ll help Laura compile a list of Necessary Kitchen and Pantry Items. This should be fun!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…


This is the kitty who sleeps on my feet, Lucy-cat.

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!

Home Alone

Sunday, February 15th, 2009


It’s a very quiet Sunday evening here, as I am all alone in the house, with only our cats and faithful Lassie for company. The rest of my dear family is off to the evening worship service at church. I read portions from my Bible today, and the first four chapters of The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges, but it’s just not the same as joining in the public worship of the Lord.

About once a year, it seems, my back goes ‘out’, to the point where my back muscles spasm when I sit, stand, or attempt to turn over in bed. I’m much better this evening, after resting in bed for two days. I made it slowly down the stairs a little while ago, warmed up a bowl of my son-in-law’s good knoefla soup, and am now doing this blog post.

The cause of the back trouble this time is a wrong lifting technique, I think. When I assist my elderly mom into the car when we go to her appointments, I first stand behind her as she is by the passenger door. Then I grab hold of her left pants leg, bending over a bit to lift that leg into the car. Then I sort of guide her as she falls into the seat. Next, I bend over and lift the right leg in and lift both legs further in. The next part is the killer. Facing backwards, I place my right knee by her as she is seated, reach under her arms, and lift her up and forward while pushing her sideways with my knee, in order to situate her comfortably on the seat.

My husband suggests that next time I try backing her up to the passenger seat, guide her as she falls into the seat, and then swivel her frontwards into position. This will be easier on the old back I hope.

In the mean time, I’ve had to cancel taking her out to an appointment tomorrow, as I doubt I can even drive. Hopefully my back will be healed enough to return to work on Tuesday.

During this quiet day, my family has taken turns bringing me oatmeal and coffee for breakfast, a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch, apple slices, and tea sweetened with sugar. Thank you, Sweeties!

Laura cooked a Sloppy Joe lunch for everyone when they returned home this afternoon from church, and I believe Rebecca and Lydia helped with the mega cleanup.

Rebecca told me, “The house is missing you,” meaning no one was emptying the garbage (She did it.), and we are out of bread, milk, half and half and coffee. Sigh! She and I had planned to do a Costco run yesterday, but it just couldn’t be helped.

Instead of shopping yesterday, I did the following:

  1. Slept off and on throughout the day. Why a hurt back should make one sleepy, I don’t know, but it does me.
  2. Read The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. He made me know that I would love the Botswana of Mma Precious Ramotswe. My friend Nancy at the middle school recommended this book to me. Thanks, Nancy! I am looking forward to reading Tears of the Giraffe, Morality for Beautiful Girls, and The Kalahari Typing School for Men.
  3. Read quite a bit more of Love & Logic Solutions for Kids With Special Needs by David Funk. One point he makes that really stands out for me is “the primary goal of both teaching and parenting is to get kids ready for when the adults are gone. This goal is important for nondisabled kids—it is essential for those with handicaps.” (page 147). “Amen” to that, but I have a lot to learn yet about actually doing this for kids who are so behind in their learning, and so non-engaged with their own lives.

Well, thanks for reading my wee lament. I look forward to getting up tomorrow without any problem and baking bread. Going grocery shopping would be a good idea, too. Tshüss!

Thankful Thursday (on Friday)

Friday, February 13th, 2009


I’m writing this post on Friday, rather late on Friday even. Nevertheless, this is a Thankful Thursday post. I was too tired/too busy to post on the proper day. I was thankful then, though, so here you have my post, a dollar short and a day late:

I am thankful to the Lord for his kind provisions for our 22 year old son, who suffered a detached retina last week in his left eye. In the olden days, this was a way to become suddenly blind. Indeed, our son did become blind in that eye until skillful surgery was performed a couple days later.

The price of the surgery was $20,000. We were prepared to help pay this cost over perhaps a 10-year period, but the surgeons voted to pay our son’s bill. He had applied for financial assistance, since he just graduated from college and was not yet covered by health insurance. This was a wonderful blessing to him and to us.

I am thankful for the loving generosity our oldest son shows to his brothers and sisters. He paid for his two youngest sisters (ages 17 and 15) to attend the Seattle Symphony Orchestra performance last night at Benaroya Hall. Afterwards he treated them to dessert at a ritzy restaurant.

The girls traveled by Greyhound Bus to Seattle, then walked a mile to the concert hall. I’m thankful they were safe doing this. We had plotted out their walking route ahead of time using Google Maps. Our son confirmed that that part of Seattle was safe for pedestrians.

I am thankful that our daughter Laura and her husband Darren were able to purchase a home, and that their new home is only a couple of miles away from us. We’ll still get to see them and our grandson and granddaughter fairly often! Today they received the keys, so are ‘camping out’ in the house tonight, sleeping in sleeping bags, to initiate it.

I’m thankful my husband has work to support our family, and the health and strength to do the work.

Wordful Wednesday

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

Wordful Wednesday is hosted by Angie of SevEn cLoWn CirCuS



Joie de vivre girl

Embraces life with joy

How I love this bundle of life

Love Dove



Mighty munchkin

Lives with gusto

Whether sad, whether glad

Joy giver


Ten Favorite Children’s Movies

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009


The topic this week for Ten on Tuesday is, ‘What are ten favorite children’s movies?’ Our family has many of the same favorites as yours, I am sure, but I decided to list some Japanese animated films by Hayao Miyazaki which are some of our all-time favorites. Also, here is a YouTube video biography of Miyazaki by Erica Karen which is excellent. Without further ado, here are some of our Miyazaki favorites:

  1. The Castle of Cagliostro
  2. Whisper of the Heart
  3. My Neighbor Totoro
  4. Kiki’s Delivery Service
  5. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
  6. Howl’s Moving Castle
  7. Laputa: Castle in the Sky
  8. Spirited Away
  9. Porco Rosso
  10. Princess Mononoke

Simple Woman’s Daybook

Sunday, February 8th, 2009


Hosted by Peggy

For Today…February 8, 2009

Outside my Window…overcast, grey skies and cool (40 degrees Fahrenheit) but dry weather today. This is typical late-winter weather for us. As we were driving to church this morning, I noticed more and more signs of spring on the way. There are catkins on some bushes, and the weeping willow stems are getting greener. The distant craggy peaks across the border in Canada still look plenty cold, though.

I am thinking…of the devastating wildfires in Victoria, Australia. Blogging friend Remote Treechanger
lives in that part of Australia, and talks about the fires a bit on her blog. Over one hundred people have died in the fires so far. Some communities have been completely destroyed. What a reminder that our lives can change (or end) so suddenly and unexpectedly. This makes me think of the importance of being on right terms with the Lord NOW, for we have no assurance of tomorrow.

From the learning rooms…I have been learning about detached retinas, lattice degeneration, and sclera buckle surgery. Our 22 year old son suddenly lost vision in one eye this past Wednesday because the retina (the eye’s ‘movie screen’ inside at the back of the eyeball) detached. He had surgery on Friday, and can now sense light. It will be one month before he knows how much vision he will regain.

I am thankful for…God giving us curiosity about creation, so that such things as the intricate working of the eyes have been studied, and reparative operations have been developed. The surgeon who operated on our son has 20 years experience.

From the kitchen…I have been making quick and easy meals during this stressful, busy time. Today we enjoyed a friend’s recipe for CHEESY POTATOES. Since it’s so simple, I’ll just tuck the recipe in right here:

¼ cup melted butter

½ cup chopped onion

1 can cream of celery or mushroom soup

1 small carton sour cream

1 or 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 pounds frozen hash brown potatoes

Sauté the onion in the butter, then combine all ingredients. Pour into a 9×13-inch baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour.


I am wearing…white, ruffled blouse, dressy black skirt with black leggings, and blue/green oversweater.

I am reading…The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, set in the African country of Botswana. My friend Nancy at school recommended this book to me. I’ve only just started and will try to pick it up again on Monday.

I am hoping…our son has a good report from the surgeon when he returns to the hospital for a follow-up visit tomorrow.

I am creating…my Daybook one day early because I already know I’ll be too busy tomorrow. Sunday is a lovely, relaxed day at our home, a day of piety, and of rest, so I’m not feeling the pressure of a ‘to do’ list. (Uh oh! One of my daughters just informed me that I have a remarkable ability to remain on the computer. This is why I don’t do more of these long posts; I wouldn’t get anything else done!)

I am hearing…our young people conversing together in the living room. This is one of my favorite sounds. It gives me so much joy, knowing that our grown and almost grown up children enjoy talking with one another and being together.

Around the house…the perennials are still sleeping underground. Nothing deciduous has made its appearance yet. For color we have only the faithful evergreens, and the mossy grass.

One of my favorite things…is that the duties of each day are what make the days interesting and full of variety.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…

  • I take my elderly mom to the doctor tomorrow while my husband takes our son to Seattle for his post-operative visit.
  • Our twin daughters have their 24th birthdays this week.
  • I still want to celebrate my husband’s birthday, which we missed last week due to our son’s medical emergency. At least I want to bake him an applesauce cake and give him his birthday card, signed by each one of us.
  • Two of our girls received tickets to the Seattle Symphony performance scheduled for this Thursday evening. How they are going to get there and back is still up in the air.
  • Friday, our church youth group is having a square dance fundraiser, and I’m scheduled to help with food preparation and serving. All-in-all, it’s sounding like a busy week ahead.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…


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!