Saturday, June 30, 2007

Photo Hunt: Sweet

When I saw the topic "sweet" I immediately thought of pictures of my nieces or one of my kids. The problem would be choosing a picture. So instead I chose this sweet mix that my daughter and my friend were eating at our scrapbooking weekend.

Too sweet for me!

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I was just reading the last bunch of posts here and had to laugh. The person writing this blog sounds like such a homebody.

I must be going through a phase.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A-ha moment

Okay, cleaning is not my favorite thing. I have paid someone to do it in the past and will again when finances allow.

But I did grow up in a very, very clean home and I know how to do it properly and well. I am also trying to teach my kids how to do it well, although probably not with the consistency or frequency that would be desirable.

In my mother's house dusting/cleaning walls, baseboards, doorframes, etc., were part of the weekly cleaning. I have never done them this frequently, but still manage to do them with some frequency. (As an aside, I was shocked to discover, after almost a year, that my cleaning lady didn't dust the door frames!)

So baseboards are done on the hard floors each time I sweep--almost daily--on the carpeted areas every month or so. Door frames about once a month. But the walls have been neglected because we have high-ish ceilings and I have not had much success with the fuzzy duster implements. They drop the dust everywhere else. I hate standing on something. So it just hasn't been done much.

So this morning I had a brainstorm: the Swiffers with the extendable handles, which I already had for my floor. This worked absolutely beautifully and now all of my walls are dusted! (This may seem obvious to some of you, but I was thrilled.)

Being home

This summer I am getting to enjoy something that is infrequent for me. I get to just be home. Cleaning doesn't have to be a panicked affair because someone is coming over. Meals can be cooked with care. Time can be spent deadheading flowers and thinning plants.

For the first time in recent memory I have five weeks until I need to go out of town, and I am not expecting any out-of-town company. I am, purposefully, barely working. I will be helping with, but not teaching, Vacation Bible School.

I am going to paint my powder room and refinish a couple of pieces of furniture. I am going to shorten the curtains in my dining area that have been driving me nuts. I'm going to clear clutter out of my basement. I'm going to make an apron like the ones my grandma wore.

I'm going to take my kids to the beach at an old quarry to swim. I'm going to play tennis. My mom and I are going to can pickles. I am going to start scrapbooking my 20-year-old's childhood pictures.

And, if I want to, I may even spend hours just doing nothing.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Fresh food!

This is an exciting day around here. I weeded and thinned in the garden today and we have turnips! I am getting ready to fix a mess of turnip greens and some yummy creamed turnips. We also have a couple of kinds of lettuce ready to eat.

There are little tiny tomatoes, and sweet little zucchini that are promising future enjoyment, along with blossoms on the pepper, cucumber and squash plants. Just looking at my garden makes me hungry!

We will be planting our second bunch of turnips and beets next week, along with some kale. It's hard to believe that just a little over a month ago Andrew and I were watching for the baby plants and worrying that the cat would trample them. Now she's resting in their shade.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Awarding Innovation

I went with my husband last night to a patent award banquet for his company. I expected a night of boredom, but it was really fascinating to see the patents that were awarded to them last year.

Some of them were design-related, like the shape of hoods, headlights, and grills. Some of them, like those that my husband received, are for very technical aspects that make the trucks more efficient and dependable. A huge majority are driven by two concerns: fuel efficiency and driver satisfaction.

I see how hard my husband works and how much he loves the trucks.But it was very interesting to see that company-wide they are working hard every day to improve some of the most mundane, yet vital, vehicles on the roads, things like utility trucks, school buses, and ambulances, along with the big trucks. They also are working hard to find ways to make safer vehicles for our military.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mamapalooza Fort Wayne

I had a wonderful weekend with some of my fellow confessional Lutheran homeschooling moms this weekend. Good food, good conversation, and a lot of laughter.

This was doubly great for me because it was at my house and one of my favorite things is having people come here. I love to feed them. I want them to feel at home, and, hopefully, comfortable. (Plus it gave me a great excuse to buy some new sheets and towels!)

To read more about our weekend, and to see lots more pictures, visit Polly.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I had a wonderful day with my mother yesterday as we sorted through a couple of the many boxes of photos, letters, and newspaper clippings that my grandmother had accumulated in nearly ninety years on earth. Not only did she have letters that she had received, but also some that my great-grandparents had sent to each other when they were courting during 1907-09.

One of the treats was a stack of postcards from the early part of the 20th century that were mostly the communications of my great-grandmother's siblings to her. They lived in Fort Wayne and another town to the north, while my great-grandparents had remained in Magley, a little town about forty miles south of Fort Wayne. These were the written equivalent of a phone call, making plans for a visit the next Sunday, or sharing little bits of news.

The other letters that had us crying from laughing so hard were a number of letters written by my mother and grandfather to my grandmother--and her missiles in return--while she and my youngest aunt were on a trip to California in 1962 to visit my older aunt who was a Navy wife living in Oakland while her husband was at sea. She was gone for three weeks, and because long distance phone calls were still prohibitively expensive, all of the news and thoughts that they had during that time were written down.

What a treasure! This is the best insight I've ever had into my mom as a teen, before she was almost killed in an accident or was worn down by years of a dishonest and irresponsible husband. We laughed and laughed.
Her descriptions of the actions of my grandfather brought back so many happy memories.

We also found a bunch of letters that my little brother wrote to my grandparents when he was a kid. They were adorable!

Last night on the way home I started thinking about those letters, and the treasured letters that I have: letters from Colin when I was away at school; letters from my grandmothers, full of news about their gardens and what they're doing; postcards from my mom when I was in college; letters from Bethany at camp. These are all little insights into these people and I'm glad that I have them.

This has also made me determined to write more letters and encourage my children to do the same. It takes more thought to put news into words than it does to make a phone call. Email is impersonal and transitory.
Part of the magic of those old letters is seeing the handwriting, unique to each individual.

And think about the recipient. Getting the mail has become a chore. It's usually bills and a mountain of junk. Or some days it's just junk. Think of the little jolt of happiness that comes from seeing your name handwritten on an envelope that is obviously personal. If you write letters you might even get some back!

And of course the genealogist in me is screaming, "Write letters! Leave something of yourself for your great-great grandchildren to find."

Sunday, June 10, 2007

New washer!

Did the first two loads in my new washer last night. Wow.

I'd forgotten how good clean laundry smells when your washing machine doesn't have mildew issues.
(And yes, we tried every possible remedy for the mildew problem. Nothing worked. We even replaced all of the effected parts last year with "improved" ones. It just got worse.)

Today I'm putting up my clothes line. I wonder how many of my neighbors will complain.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Photo Hunt: Shoes

Today's theme is shoes, always a favorite topic at our house. This is a picture Bethany took of some fun new shoes I got last summer.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Looking at the bright side

Of course, after a good night's sleep, I'm not feeling so whiny today.

I bought my new washer. It's a Kenmore and it's being delivered tomorrow. I hate to spend the money right now, but I will be glad to get rid of my problem-plagued Maytag Neptune. It will be a wonderful relief not to smell mold every time I walk by my laundry room.

My house is still a mess, and I do have 14 women coming to stay here next weekend, but--hey--I've got kids, right? That's what they're for! And I keep telling myself that if my house is less than perfect these wonderful ladies will still be my friends. Right?

I got an encouraging email from a friend this morning suggesting that I try to increase my exercise by 15 minutes a day. She said it helped her lose some weight that wasn't budging after 40 and she also just feels better. I know that I should exercise more; I just need to do it.

My garden is looking fantastic we're going to have lots of zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers. We should also have a nice bunch of turnips and some lovely salads. I still need to get a picture to post.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Out of sorts

I'm feeling generally cranky tonight.

It's hot.

My washing machine is on its way out. My house is a mess. I spent all afternoon at church working on financial stuff and didn't even get to what I went there to do.

I'm past forty and suddenly the strategies of watching what I eat that used to help take off an extra ten pounds relatively quickly have given me a three pound loss in five weeks.

I probably should just go to bed and read the latest Lincoln Child book. I know I'll feel better in the morning.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

One picnic, hold the ants

Mumme mom posts about picnics after reading this piece by John Rosemond.

We love picnics. Food of all kinds tastes better in the fresh air. Last year Colin's birthday and father's day gift was a fire pit that doubles as an outdoor table. We've eaten many meals on our patio in the last year.

We also have several big picnics every year. There's always one for Colin's company, and our extended family usually gets together at Mounds Park in Anderson at least once for a family picnic.
This is the old-fashioned, sit at picnic tables, play wiffle ball and frisbee, go for a walk in the woods, picnic. We also look forward to our church council picnic, when we get to hang out with our friends.

One of our favorite family traditions is our trip each year to the Symphony on the Prairie at Conner Prairie near Indianapolis. We take along lots of blankets for the family to sit on, my mom makes fried chicken and we all bring along the necessary foods to go with it: rolls and butter, potato salad, chips, grapes and cherries, cheese and crackers, carrots, celery, & radishes, cookies and brownies, and--if we're very good--my sister-in-law Kim brings chocolate covered strawberries.

Then we all sit back and listen to the wonderful music and wait for the fireworks. This is always a highlight of our summer. The first time Colin and I went was 21 years ago when I was pregnant with Bethany, and we've only missed it twice.

The kids and I enjoy impromptu picnics once in a while. Sometimes we make sandwiches and head to whatever park we're in the mood for. Sometimes we're already out and we'll grab Taco Bell or a hot dog and go eat at a park. Just last week my mom and I were lamenting the disappearance of roadside picnic tables. These used to be fairly common along state highways. There would be a safe spot to pull off the road and a picnic table. Once in a while there would be some other amenity like a pump for water or a trash can. We like to travel with a cooler and sandwiches, but often end up eating in the car because there often aren't good spots to stop.

When and where do you picnic?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Blog highlights

Life has been such recently that I haven't written or read much in the blogosphere. In catching up today I have run across some gems. So, in the spirit of lazy bloggers everywhere, I give you these reading suggestions:

First, if you have not yet visited Pastor Rick Stuckwisch's blog, you must do so. For those of us with children the age of mine, his post Matchmaking, Boyfriends and Girlfriends is an excellent read. And before you leave, read his post about First Communion.

For a quick laugh, go visit Barbara Frank.

For more entertainment, as well as a look at a day ion the life of an organ technician, check out The Elephant's Child. (She also has some great links about the ethanol problem.)

Maybe some more later. Now I have to leave my house again, which means that will be able neither to blog, nor to read blogs.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Photo Hunt: Art

This is a couple of my kids creating with the acrylic paints and supplies that the boys got for Christmas.
I love this photo of Dale Chihuly glass--and Bethany-- reflected in the highly polished black floor at the Indianapolis Children's Museum.