Archive for April, 2009

Hanging Tomato Plant Project

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Good evening, dear readers!

We are enjoying the most delightful spring weather here. Daughter Rebecca and I took the old doggie out for a walk on the old dump road this evening. Though the unfurled leaves still have that light ‘spring green’ tint, you can just feel that warmer, summery days are on the way. Ah! I feel so privileged to live amidst all this freshness and beauty.

This is just a quick post at day’s end. Life has been busy, but I’ve not been writing much about it. One of my friends, though, requested that I post a picture of one of the hanging baskets with a wee tomato seedling peeking out the BOTTOM of the pot. Hopefully this tiny seedling will grow and prosper. It sounds like a fun way to grow tomatoes, so I hope this works!


Do you see the bitty little seedling?

Simple Woman’s Daybook

Monday, April 27th, 2009


Hosted by Peggy

For Today…April 27, 2009

Outside my Window…is a mild, spring evening. The breeze trembling the leaves is also blowing in some clouds, which may bring us some rain later on this evening. I notice that my favorite dogwood tree is starting to blossom!

I am thinking…how much we are enjoying spring this year. It was longer in coming, is milder than usual, and is staying cool longer. Rick and the children have really kept up with yard and gardening chores thus far.

From the learning rooms…We are almost done with the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) at our middle school. We all will rejoice to get back to business as usual. This is quite a stressful time for everyone, especially the students, who generally seem to have given their best effort.

I am thankful for…solemn thoughts of life’s transience, from Sunday’s sermon and from conversation with a dear 86 year old woman who was visiting at church this past Sunday. She was obviously cheerful, resting her many cares upon the Lord, but she told me she does get lonely. Of her eight brothers, only one is still living, and two of her sisters died this past year. You could tell she had a thankful heart still, in her loss, and her infirmities (She has gone blind as she has aged.) and that was a blessing to me.

From the kitchen…daughter Rebecca made some soft molasses cookies which are too tasty. I am typing this as I wait for a batch of Honey Whole Wheat bread dough to rise.

I am wearing…black skirt, red long-sleeved top, and multi-colored overblouse. It’s still cool enough here for leggings as well.

I am reading…Schooled by Gordon Korman, one of our 13-year old son’s favorite books at the moment. As you might guess, the story is set in a middle school. The main character, however, is not at all typical. Up until the story begins, he has been home schooled by his grandmother on an old hippie commune. How does he do in school? Read the book and see!

I am hoping…to read a bit more of the book this evening.

I am creating…homemade bread and finishing up the laundry.

I am hearing…the hum of my husband’s computer behind me.

Around the house…Next week I’ll try to post a picture of the cute hanging plant boxes which my husband planted. Flowers are on top, and little tomato plants are growing out holes he drilled in the bottom of the planters. These planters are hanging up around the back deck, where they are receiving extra warmth and are sheltered from rain. Maybe we’ll get nice, red, vine-ripened tomatoes this year!

One of my favorite things…is relaxing at home with my family at the end of a busy day.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…This is one of those uber busy weeks when I work half a day each day, and then need to go out every evening to a variety of appointments and activities. That’s why I just had to get bread baked tonight, even though it’s a tad on the late side. Homemade bread, toasted is one of our favorite breakfasts.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…


This photo was taken 38 years ago, when I was about the same age as daughter 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!

Lazy Daisy Morning

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Good Morning! I hope you are enjoying this spring morning as much as we are here at our home.

Let’s see; what to say?

Last night I dutifully wrote up a To Do list:

  1. girls clean bathrooms
  2. vacuum house
  3. do Sunday school lesson on Psalm 95
  4. bake bread
  5. cook for friends who just had a baby!
  6. wash vehicles (Seth)

So far, though, it’s been such a lovely, leisurely morning, and I’ve not yet started in on that list.

Rick brought me coffee in bed (Thanks, Sweetie!) after I slept in, which I rarely do. The children slept in, too, so we enjoyed some quiet conversation this morning.

As I was checking my email and Facebook, daughter Laura came online and we chatted about baby names. Fun times! One name I like, Danny Sue, was nixed by son-in-law Darren because it reminded him of the name of a cow he once had!

Daughter Sarah called on the phone, and we talked about healthy weight gain during pregnancy and taking good care of oneself for the baby’s sake. I think it’s very important to be cheerful and thankful. I’ve read that our attitudes affect our health, so it makes sense that they would affect the developing baby’s health, too.

Then…our oldest son called, too! He and his brother, who are rooming together and working at the same company, are coming home for a visit tonight. I guess that’s my call to action. I need to think about preparing a good dinner tonight, and getting all the work done in time to visit with them.

Here are some pictures from Gramma’s Brag Book for your enjoyment:


Here you see Carly and Diederick sitting on the little porch outside the kitchen at their house.



Carly does love her cookies.

Simple Woman’s Daybook

Monday, April 20th, 2009


Hosted by Peggy

For Today…April 20, 2009

Outside my Window…It was a beautiful, warm day today, almost 70 degrees! For our temperate corner of the country, that is almost summer weather. When the children were smaller, they knew they would be allowed to go swimming once the temp reached 70 degrees.

I am thinking…that I started this post too late in the day, but oh, well, I’m doing it anyway.

From the learning rooms…I hope to attend an early childhood education open house at the local community college this Thursday evening. I’m interested in hearing the speaker, Jodi McVittie, M.D., who will speak on “Parenting From the Heart.” Dear local friends, you may arrive as early as 4:30pm. The presentation begins at 6:30pm. There will be refreshments! This will be in the Heiner Center of Whatcom Community College.

I am thankful for…the feeling of almost-summer in the air. The trees are still barely leafing out, but the warm day today was wonderful!

From the kitchen…Daughter Rebecca prepared blueberry pancakes for dinner while I took my mom to the doctor and then did some shopping for her. I had a huge “everything” salad when I arrived home late, and then made a pot of decaf for my coffee-loving family.

I am wearing…3/4 length sleeved blue print top, and black skirt.

I am reading…or rather planning on reading a favorite book of daughter Debra: Lion in the Valley by Elizabeth Peters. The author is a trained Egyptologist, and is the creator of the famous, fictional archeologist Amelia Emerson Peabody. Do you know of her?

I am hoping…to get my hair restyled soon, but don’t know what I want…

I am creating…this blog post.

I am hearing…the children talking upstairs, and the clickety-clack of two computer keyboards.

Around the house…Spring has sprung! Woohoo! There are even dandelions and nettles. Soon, bare-branched deciduous trees will be only a dim memory.

One of my favorite things…is the feeling of having worked hard all day, and then relaxing at day’s end.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…This Friday we plan to watch our favorite minor league basketball team, The Bellingham Slam, play a game at Whatcom Community College at 7pm. Their skill and teamwork are amazing.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…


Our oldest son, home for a visit, enjoying his niece, our youngest grandchild.

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!

Living the Balanced Life

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

One blog I enjoy reading is Octamom: The Musings of a Mother to a Multitude. She asked last Monday that her readers write about:

That elusive fulcrum between the duties and responsibilities of life in tandem with the relationships and experiences that make our lives worth living. That attempt to keep all the little boxes of life stuff in perfect sequence and harmony, creating an equilibrium between the obligations and amusements in life.

I clearly have no answers. I’m just trying to get my laundry caught up while occasionally exercising my brain. But I would love to hear your thoughts on the balanced life, where you struggle, where you succeed, what you’ve learned along the way. Write a post on this topic and put the url of that post and your name in the Mister Linky’s box below and leave your gems of wisdom in the comment line. I want to know how you manage the trapeze!

Once you write about Balance on your blog, kindly sign Mr. Linky over at Octamom’s blog so others can read what you have to say.

From reading such books at the Little House on the Prairie Books and even from talking with my grandmother and older friends, I realize that the activities of each day, week and season used to be clearly spelled out. A typical week might mean:

  • Laundry on Monday
  • Ironing on Tuesday
  • Baking on Wednesday
  • Housecleaning on Thursday
  • Bathing on Saturday
  • Day of rest on Sunday

Each season had its particular work as well, such as planting the garden in spring, weeding the garden spring and summer, harvesting the produce summer and autumn, and then canning and drying the produce at season’s end. Animals were slaughtered when it was cold enough outside to keep the meat frozen over winter, or else the meat was canned.

This work required much more physical labor than we currently expect. For example, the old wringer washing machine might be on the back porch. Water would be pumped outside, and brought in to fill the large kettles where it was heated on the wood-burning stove. Perhaps the soap for washing the laundry was made at home, too. The water would then be poured into the washer. I remember my grandmother saying something about doing the least soiled laundry first, reusing the water, and moving on to the more heavily soiled items. Water was wrung out of the sopping laundry after rinsing it, and then of course the laundry was hung on the line to dry.

One of my older friends, who grew up in the backwoods of Minnesota in a lumber camp environment, told me that people had a lot less clothing back then. They would hang it up to “air out” after wearing it, until it absolutely required washing. As far as bathing went, too, this was a lot of work. She told me that people just could not be as clean as they are now. The standard of cleanliness was a lot lower. It had to be.

These activities, plus the daily need to heat the home and put food on the table, left people dead tired at the end of the day. As far as recreation was concerned, we read of needlework being done to decorate home items, perhaps whittling being done, or a book being read aloud to the family at the end of the day. On very special occasions, there would be get-togethers to help someone raise a barn or harvest a crop. There might be church socials or harvest dinners. All in all, though, it seemed that the focus was on doing necessary work when it needed to be done.

At the current time, in affluent countries such as the United States, we have the assistance of electrical appliances do our laundry, do our dishes, and assist us with many other chores as well. We have indoor plumbing, and water heaters. We can, with relative ease, keep ourselves and our homes much cleaner than could have been imagined a few generations ago, even with the utmost labor and even the help of servants.

With more free time, we now have higher expectations for other areas of our lives:

  • The children need to participate in a variety of sporting events and lessons.
  • We need to attend concerts, go to movies, and go out to eat, perhaps frequently.
  • We need to go on at least yearly vacations, visit historic locations, or simply travel to take in the beauty of the countryside.
  • We need to participate in book discussion groups, go to the gym to exercise, and take painting lessons.

In a very real sense, we are charting new territory. We no longer have the stability of long-established daily and seasonal routines upon which to rely. We have more time. We have more resources. We are assailed with sometimes overwhelming input about what comprises The Balanced Life, the good life, the worthwhile life. If you don’t really know the guidelines, it’s difficult to know how you’re doing. Many homemakers are overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and insufficiency.

I’ll talk more about this in another post. Why not join in and give your thoughts on this subject as well?

My Marvelous Mundane Morning

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Good evening! I’m feeling quite guilty about not doing more frequent posts. Because of that, I’m composing this post for your perusal, recounting some moments of this ordinary yet pleasant day.

The morning began for me at 5:30am, as it usually does during the work week. I was the first one to rise, got the first pot of coffee brewing, unloaded the dishwasher, and loaded the washing machine. I rousted the first child out of bed for his shower, poured myself a cup of coffee, and checked my email. During my time online in the morning, I also checked my school email account, Facebook (to play Lexulous and care for my virtual farm), and Blue Letter Bible to read my Bible chapters and a daily devotional by Bob Hoekstra. (He is right on about God’s grace, and gives me food for thought.)

Between 6:15 and 6:30 I sounded the call for the three girls to rise and shine, so they could quickly get ready for high school, which begins at 7:45am (too early for sleep-deprived teenagers in my opinion!). This morning Reb had a pre-school Honor Society meeting, so she left early, and I took Lyd and Deb and our neighbor girl later.

Upon my return home from the high school, I spent some time chatting with my husband (face-to-face, not online!). We discussed where we might enjoy going for our wedding anniversary this July. We both favor going somewhere not too far away, yet romantic. On previous outings, we’ve enjoyed Easton, WA, Whistler, BC, Canada, and La Conner, WA. A little bed-and-breakfast sounds lovely to me!

After doing a bit more work around the house (and playing a few more moves in my word games), I was at work at the middle school from 9am until 2pm. We’re in an unsettled schedule just now, due the academic testing that began this week and will continue for the next two weeks. Whatever the schedule, though, I very much enjoy working with the students. Some of them are real characters, and all the kids with whom I work have extra learning challenges. I’ve heard that you know you’re doing the right work when that work energizes you. That’s the way I feel about working with these students. I like them. I enjoy them. I get a kick out of them. My coworkers are great, too. We have such a limited budget, but everyone gives at least 150 percent.

Now my post is too long for my comfort. I fear some may find it too long. At some other time I’ll write more about school, and more about what happens when I get home from school. It was a great day today, though. What can I say? I enjoy the little place I fill in this life.


Little wild violets in our front yard

Simple Woman’s Daybook

Monday, April 13th, 2009


Hosted by Peggy

For Today…April 13, 2009

Outside my Window…It is looking more like spring every day. I had hoped to walk down the road this afternoon to take a picture of our neighbor’s early-blooming pink rhododendron, but didn’t have the time. Those delicate blooms are such a cheery indicator of spring.

I am thinking…it will be weird if it snows this evening, but snow is predicted for 10pm and again at 4am in the morning. Our foothills have retained their topcoats of snow all winter, and so far this spring. That’s the coldest I’ve ever experienced here in the approximately 30 years I’ve lived in this part of the country. I guess snow is conceivable, then.

From the learning rooms…Our state-required academic tests begin at the middle school tomorrow. This is a busy time for all of us. We try to ease the stress on students as much as possible, encouraging their folks to make sure the kiddos get enough rest and a proper breakfast each morning. Parents share the responsibility of providing nutritious snacks on testing days, as well.

I am thankful for…the wonderful, hard-working teachers and administrators with whom I work who want success for all their students. At the Parent/Teacher/Student/Administration meeting I attended this evening, our district superintendent told us that our school district is making a concerted effort to reach out to home school families, to meet any special needs they might have. That’s progress, I think!

From the kitchen…I’ve recently prepared a nummy barbecued beef in my slow cooker, a creamy Cheddar Vegetable Chowder, apple dumplings, and Plum Pudding Cake. I’m thankful for delicious left-overs, because I had to go out so much this evening, first shopping for my elderly mom, and then to the PTSA meeting.

I am wearing…school attire: dressy black skirt, multi-colored long-sleeved top, and hooded red sweater. I still need to bundle up. It’s not warm here yet.

I am reading…many friends’ blog posts, and praying for some of them who are going through hurting times.

I am hoping…all of the students with whom I work will give their very best effort during this testing time. C’mon, kids! Show what you know!

I am creating…this blog post.

I am hearing…the click-clack of the old doggy’s nails on our wooden stairs. She must be looking for one of the children.

Around the house…The lawn has been dethatched, but the first mowing of the season has not yet happened. The grass is definitely greening up, and a few brave dandelion blossoms are sprinkled here and there on the lawn.

One of my favorite things…is being home with my family at the end of a busy day.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…I want to cook some good dinners this week. Haven’t thought farther than that yet, though.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…


This wild trillium grows by our driveway. I look forward to its reappearance every spring. I apologize for the poor picture quality. I’m still experimenting with my cell phone camera. 😛

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!

The Sisterhood Award

Saturday, April 11th, 2009


Earlier this week I received The Sisterhood Award from my blogging friend Vivian of My Cards & More. Before presenting this award to some of her friends, Vivian said:

It is amazing how we can open our world to others in our world…we don’t see them, know how they look, where they work…but we are drawn to them by this force of likeness and many times “sister hood”. I do not have a big drawing on my site…but I am sure drawn to others. I will add a few names of ladies I visit; I hope they will be as blessed as I.

The rules:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate up to 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
3. Be sure to link your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Remember to link the person from whom you received your award. So here are my self-proclaimed cyber sisters:
(Vivian then lists her nominees.)

Thank you, Vivian! I certainly feel sisterhood with you, too. I admire your creativity, enjoy reading about family doings, and am edified by your love for the Savior. I thankfully accept this award.

First, I offer my disclaimers:

  1. If I visit your blog, hopefully leaving a comment now and then, I love you, too! I’m only supposed to list ten blogs, though, for this award. Let’s start with these ladies. Visit them. You’ll be glad you did!
  2. This award is for cyber friends. I have loads of friends at church whose blogs I follow, and family blogs I follow, too. Just so you know.

Here, then, are my nominees for The Sisterhood Award:

  1. Sarah of Coffee at the Cabin. I believe I met Sarah through The Simple Woman’s Daybook meme. She is a dedicated home school mom, a Christian sister, and an excellent writer.
  2. Susie of Susiej has such an interesting blog, full of variety. Susie writes for a newspaper in her home state, so it’s an understatement to say she writes well. On her blog you will find the home for the Give What You Grow endeavor, a sort of Victory Garden thing.
  3. Grace of Sandier Pastures
    or Desert Living Dubai Style makes you want to visit Dubai, with her stories and photography. She includes family stories, as well as give-aways.
  4. SusanB of A Life of Grace
    is a Christian sister who humbles me with her loving spirit. We met through The Simple Woman’s Daybook. Susan is uplifting, loving and encouraging to me.
  5. Tamy of 3 Sides of Crazy
    is the most bundle-of-energy person and blogger I know! On her blog, you will read of the on-going remodeling of the 100+ year old home she and her husband are doing, recipes she is creating, give-aways and memes. Whew!
  6. Mom24 of 4everMom tells of family life in Ohio, with an honest look at life’s ups and downs, and a spirit of making the best of things in these difficult times. Her family is Jewish/Christian, which also puts an interesting spin on things.
  7. Linda of Remote Treechanger
    is a busy, back-to-basics gal living in a remote area of Australia. Linda recently graced me with the Lemonade Award (as in, When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!) which I have not yet passed on. Thank you, Linda! You will learn a lot about life in Linda’s corner of the world from reading her blog. Also, Linda has friends all over the world whose blogs are also well worth reading.
  8. Barbara of A Day in My Life
    is also a friend met through The Simple Woman’s Daybook. She and her husband have three very musical boys, and do some interesting traveling together. I simply enjoy her blog. Oh! I forgot to mention that Barbara is an excellent scrapbooker, for all you enthusiasts out there.
  9. Storyteller of Small Reflections. This friend, who prefers to remain “a nonny mouse” as she would say, is a busy retired teacher in Southern California. Her blog specialties are wonderful, inspiring quotes, collected over a lifetime, an upbeat attitude, and lots of photography which make you want to move to her locale!
  10. Melanie of New Creation Cottage is one of the cheeriest gals I know on the internet. She is a hospice nurse who has this to say about her life: “In all times, the good and the bad, Jesus has been at my side.” Melanie is an encouragement to me, too.

So, these are my nominees. I do hope you all will accept this award. It will be fun to find out who you nominate in turn. And, Thank you again, Vivian!

Sucia Island Adventure Concluded

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Wednesday morning, as my husband and son were eating breakfast at their campsite in Ewing Cove, they could see that a storm from the southwest, a cloud mass rising over Orcas Island, would soon be upon them. Not wanting to wait an unknown period of time for the storm to pass, they quickly rolled up their sleeping bags, took down their tent and stowed everything back in the little Pelican sailboat.

Rick told me the wind was about 15 miles per hour from the southeast. Needing to travel northeast, and not wanting to be pushed over by the driving wind, they used only their little jib sheet to sail rapidly across the Strait of Georgia. Seth was impressed by the waves, which were perhaps seven feet high from trough to crest. This return trip, with the driving wind, took only two hours, as compared with the three hour trip on the way over.

Once the guys approached Whitehorn Point, right before Birch Bay, they had to put up their main sheet in order to point into the wind and reach their desired destination. This took lots of diligence, and was successfully done.

I could tell you more about the continuing adventure of getting the sailboat back up on land during low tide on a rocky beach, but, suffice it to say, the guys returned home safe and sound, thoroughly wet, sandy, and pleased with their sailing trip.

All of the photos following are from the calmer trip over. The water was too rough and the guys were too busy to take any pictures on the way back.



Here is the view the guys had of Mt. Baker from the water.



Approaching Sucia Island


Seth on the beach at Ewing Cove



Sucia Island Update

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Rick called a while ago to say he and Seth had eaten dinner and were enjoying walking along the beach. As they walked along, they had a great view of Mt. Baker, as well as of the night lights of Bellingham.

Here is the last photo of the day from Rick and Seth on Sucia Island. I know from looking at a map that Sucia Island is kind of horseshoe shaped, so perhaps this is the inward curve of the horseshoe? I’ll have to ask.

Hopefully more pictures are forthcoming in the morning.