Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

Aussie Teenage Song Video

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

My blogging friend Linda (Remote Treechanger), who lives in Australia, posted this “Aussie Teenage Song video” on her blog.

Do you know any U.S. teenagers who converse in this manner? I’m thankful my kiddos include me in their conversations.

Simple Woman’s Daybook

Monday, May 18th, 2009


Hosted by Peggy

For Today…May 17, 2009

Outside my Window…is a misty, moisty evening. We had quite a downpour this afternoon, and it’s still raining steadily. The May flowers are drinking up the May showers. The hostas, dicentra, and ferns seem especially perky this evening.

I am thinking…that summer vacation will be here soon! School is done on June 12th for us. I still don’t know if funds will be available for summer school to be offered this year. If there’s no summer school, I’ll be keeping busy at home instead.

From the learning rooms…Our 8th grade students are keeping very busy with their Breakout projects. The students explore a social issue (such as hunger, gang activity, child soldiers, the plight of refugees, or modern-day slavery, for example), do volunteer work in the community, and finally write a report and give an oral presentation before a panel of adults before they pass on to high school. This project is meant to help students “break out” of a self-centered world view to care a little more about others in our world who are suffering.

I am thankful for…God’s faithful provision. We have enough of all that we really need even during these tight economic times.

From the kitchen…Yesterday I tried a recipe (modified it slightly) from the June 2009 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. They called it Potato Salad With Country Ranch Dressing, but I call it Roasted Red Potato Salad, since I just couldn’t bring myself to add the ranch dressing mix. It is our new favorite potato salad!


3 pounds round red potatoes, cut in 1-inch pieces

1 small red onion, diced

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 cup frozen whole kernel corn

¾ cup mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons cider vinegar

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1 stalk celery, sliced

3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped

Salt to taste

Optional: 1 one-ounce envelope dry ranch salad dressing mix

    1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place potatoes, onion, and garlic in 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Drizzle olive oil; toss to coat. Roast, uncovered, 20 minutes. Stir vegetables; add corn. Roast 15 to 20 minutes more or until vegetables are tender and browned.
  2. Sprinkle the vinegar over the hot potato mixture. Once the potatoes are cool, mix in the remaining ingredients.

Makes 12 servings.


I am wearing…still warm clothing. Sunday was warm, though. I was able to wear a light-weight blouse without a sweater! Woohoo!

I am reading…or rather, just finished reading an interesting and well-written book by Wendy Mass, A Mango-Shaped Space. Did you know that some people really do see sounds, see letters and numbers as having a certain color, or even see colors and shapes accompanying some tastes? The main character in this story has this disorder, which is called synesthesia. That is just the framework within which this interesting story occurs, however. This book is meant for young adults.

I am hoping…that our son’s 7th grade class gets to go on their field trip about the Snow Goose, a marine biology ship. Some windiness is expected tomorrow, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

I am creating…fewer blog posts these days, but didn’t want to miss this one.

I am hearing…my husband humming a psalm tune. We just finished family worship, our time of reading the Bible, singing and praying.

Around the house…Outside it is green, green, green. With longer daylight hours and plenty of rain, all the plant life is burgeoning.

One of my favorite things…is being dry and cozy inside with my family while the rain is pouring down outside.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…This Saturday, Lydia and Seth are participating in Lydia’s girlfriend’s Quinceanera party. They have been practicing a traditional dance for this elaborate coming-of-age 15th birthday party. We pick up Seth’s tuxedo on Friday, and early Saturday morning, Lydia gets her hair done. Professional photographs in a lovely park happen first, then dinner, and then the dance. Our whole family is invited. I am excited to see what this will be like!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…


Lydia did this little sketch recently. I think she’s looking forward to summer!

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?

Gloucester Hornpipe and Clog Society

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

I found some YouTube music that I really like. These ladies, Nancy Koch, Lynn Noel and Diane Taraz sing with the Gloucester Hornpipe and Clog Society:

Ten favorite movie characters – 10 on Tuesdays

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

Yano at Ten on Tuesdays
asks, Who are your 10 favorite movie characters?

  • Emma from the 1996 adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel of the same name, played by Gwenyth Paltrow.
  • Mr. Darcy
    from the 1996 production of Pride and Prejudice (another Jane Austen novel), played by Colin Firth.
  • Miss Elizabeth Bennet
    from the same Pride and Prejudice production, played by Jennifer Ehle.
  • Colonel Christopher Brandon
    from the 1995 production of Sense and Sensibility (Jane Austen again), played by Alan Rickman.
  • Severus Snape
    of Harry Potter fame, played by Alan Rickman.
  • Professor Albus Dumbledore, again of Harry Potter fame, played by the late Richard Harris and Michael Gambon.
  • Sam Wise Gamgee
    (Lord of the Rings trilogy) played by Sean Astin.
  • Aragorn (Lord of the Rings trilogy) played by Viggo Mortensen.
  • Jack Shepard/Captain Zoom (from the movie Zoom) played by Tim Allen.
  • Jessie the yodeling cowgirl
    in Toy Story 2, because of the song “When She Loved Me”, lyrics by Randy Newman, sung by Sarah McLachlan.

Ten Ways the World Has Changed Since I’ve Been in School

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

The prompt this week for Ten on Tuesday
is Ten Ways the World Has Changed Since I’ve Been in School:

  • The computer age is upon us. Such things as the Internet would have been science fiction when I was in school.
  • President John F. Kennedy’s emphasis on physical fitness for school children meant that you saw very few obese kids.
  • We knew our neighbors. After school, we children would sometimes have neighborhood games of tag or hide and seek. It was no big deal to wander around the neighborhood, go on long bike rides, or play down by the irrigation ditches.
  • Not many people knew about the healthfulness of eating whole grains. Highly processed convenience foods were considered an advance.
  • Most TV shows were family-friendly and generally wholesome.
  • Most students were respectful to their teachers. If they weren’t, the parents usually sided with the school, rather than with their disobedient child.
  • Many of the teachers smoked cigarettes (but only in the faculty lounge, not in front of the students).
  • There were a lot more one-income families “way back when.” Working moms were a curiosity.
  • Girls were required to wear dresses or skirts up until my senior year of high school. All the female teachers wore dresses.
  • We had a greater choice of electives. In junior high, I learned to cook and sew; in fourth grade I started in band playing the French horn (which was provided by the school); and in high school I marched in the band at all the football games, and in parades.

Freedom in free verse

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

The prompt for writing this week at One Single Impression is FREEDOM:

There are so many freedoms for which I am thankful:

Political freedom, representative government, no martial law.

Freedom of the press, various opinions can be expressed.

Freedom of movement; I have the strength to move and work, to use my senses.

Freedom of healthy relationships within the home, love and care, not oppression.

The freedom I value most is spiritual freedom, the desire and ability to do what’s right, a heart that loves God and loves His people.

But, then I get to thinking:

There are people in this country, in this land of liberty,

Who have no freedom, not even the freedom to live.

These are the unwanted babies,

Who are culled like rotten fruit from the wombs of those who wanted sex, not a baby, by doctors willing to call murder a procedure.

This is a hidden holocaust, not a freedom.

“A Happy Family” by Giovanni Battista Torriglia

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

A HAPPY FAMILY by Giovanni Battista Torriglia

As I was looking at other blogs this morning, I came across this lovely image posted on someone else’s blog. I found it again at Painting Place, where one may purchase artwork.

Some things in the picture that speak forth happiness, I think, are:

  1. The mother is smiling at the children, and the children are smiling at one another.
  2. The mother is enjoying her children even while she is busy.
  3. The mother is busy for the benefit of her family vs. self-centered or self-indulgent. Those varients see children as interruptions and burdens, an attitude not conducive to family happiness.
  4. The house looks clean (See the shining floor?) but not insanely neat (which drives one insane to maintain). As the saying goes, it’s clean enough to be healthy, and messy enough to be comfortable.
  5. The children are cheerfully helping Mommy by watching and entertaining the baby.
  6. The son has just arrived home from school (See his school bag on the floor by his chair?). His first focus is not on himself, but on greeting and enjoying his family. Wow!
  7. Subconsciously, the late afternoon lighting contributes to the feeling of coziness.
  8. I always wanted the cottage look, with those deep-set windows in the thick walls. Is that a hidden desire of lots of folks, which is nurtured by this homey scene?

Ten Favorite Comedies

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

For Ten on Tuesday
this week, the prompt is Ten Favorite Movie Comedies. I am modifying that just a bit to include comic strips, TV shows, books, and blogs. So, in the order in which they came to mind, please give a nice round of applause to . . . TEN FAVORITE COMEDIES! (clapping and canned laughter):

A Blogthing – Another Quiz :)

Friday, April 4th, 2008

Your Political Profile:

Overall: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Social Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal