Thursday, September 25, 2014

My "Budget" Post

For those of you that don't know what I mean by "the Budget" go here  I heard someone compare social media today as "the Budget on steroids" and it made my mind go to what I would write if I wrote about our life. So here goes:        keep in mind I've only read the Budget a few times-- just looked and it has pictures now? 

Hello from the sunny hills of eastern Lancaster county where we are finally having a taste of fall. This summer I decided to try and fill all my canning jars and I actually did it!  Peaches, tomatoes, some free pears, salsa, pizza sauce, strawberry jelly.  I decided not to can Baby Gold peaches even though my mother thinks they are the best kind. I just think they are a lot of work when you can just do Canadian Harmony and not have your hands hurting when you are done. I ended up buying two dozen new jars (wide mouth for $9.99) I called Uncle Leroy first to see if he found any at the auction in town and he said people are paying more-than-new price for used jars and he didn't buy any lately.


I froze my apple sauce this year because I'm not sure I really like the taste of canned apple sauce. Then I had about 3 baskets of apples left over so I decided to snitz them. I filled the oven and the dehydrator three times then decided we can just eat the rest of them. That is a lot of peeling!
I sealed the snitz in canning jars using the method with the Ziploc vacuum pump. See the method here   I did dried onions that way last year and they are still good.

The neighbor lady gave me a whole box of pears, but they are plenty green yet.

Our daughter Shekinah had some kind of swollen glands in her neck last week. The doctor called it "mumps" but said she wouldn't give them to anyone. Guess he knows what he's talking about. Her face was only swollen for about 4 days, but he put her on antibiotics anyway.

Heard tell the other week, someone has a new foster baby, the baby is white,but the parents are said to be black. You hope that someone didn't mix up paper work somewhere, but I guess that could happen.

Found these three frogs posed prettily on the edge of an old dog water dish.

Two weekends ago the big building at Green Dragon burned down. Thankfully it was early in the morning and no people were there. Well actually I guess the night watchman was there,but he was sleeping in another building. Must've been sleeping pretty good if he slept through all those fire sirens! They say 19 businesses were destroyed,but they plan to have the market open this Friday.

Guess I have to move stuff around in my freezer tomorrow, as we plan to butcher six of our eight turkeys  on Saturday. Not sure how I'm going to fit that many in the freezer as my husband thinks they will weigh about 14 lbs each. Thinking about putting some in a brine to make it taste like ham.
Wonder how many of the children will have homework and not be able to help? One of the children thought they wanted to take up deer hunting this year, I told him/her that they need to help clean the turkeys first, it was "really gross".

Managed to finally finish a quilt order, of course there is another one sitting here already, but I'm taking a break and sewing sweaters from t-shirts for the girls.
Well it's time to get to bed because everyone else is already there, just a few last thoughts:

One of the children was trying to figure out how many calories we use, I thought the estimates were sort of low, then I was informed that it takes twenty kisses to use up five calories.....a boy at school was the source of that information.

Ezekiel wondered about those bucket lists people have...." is the last item--kick it?"


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Conferences


First I'll just post a really good picture of Shekinah.

This past weekend my hubby and I went AWAY.... ALONE! It was the first time we were away overnight without any kids....ummmm since we went to Ch*na for Hope. That is almost 13 years ago.

Yes we went to an Empowered to Connect Conference, but we did not have to talk if we didn't want to, or even listen if we didn't feel like it. But the conference was one of those that made you sit up and listen, take notes, and laugh till your all your kleenex were saturated. (didn't know a lawyer could be so funny) Look for them at Empowered to Connect

The funny thing is that one of the speakers mentioned peanut butter spoons and a whole row of Mennonite mamas gave a thumbs up. The basics to remember:

feed 'em and water 'em every two hours.  That comes around pretty often!

 Connect- "look in my eyes, buddy"

 give them voice -while we shut up  (within limits) "tell me what you need"

 give them choices (two and be sure you are OK with either choice) sometimes they need help with their "voice"
 I can hear you saying, "hmph, they won't pick either choice!" If they are regulated, they can ASK (with respect) for a compromise (you need to teach that in a relaxed time), if  the decision is important and really has no compromise you may need to tell them "sorry this time it is #1 or #2 choice...good job accepting 'no' "

 get them moving- they hear best when they are playing  and movement helps with a whole other raft of issues

most "feelings" pass in 90 seconds if you let them

Rewind and Remember...don't fast-forward and forget- take time to look in your past and figure out why you have "hot buttons" and how you can dis-arm them.

Flexibility is your friend, Expectations are you enemy somewhere I read, "teach the child you have, not the one you wish you had"

Oh and you will make mistakes, but our kids will allow you to have re-do's

"Bring them up in the nurture and admonition (structure) of the Lord" Eph 6:4

Balance the nurture and the structure.

We walked away with our minds full...I've read a lot of Karyn Purvis' materials and watched her videos online, but the refresher was so necessary.

Then we collected our children from my brother's house. We had my brother and his wife keep them, they already have 8 children at home...we figured we could slip 4 more in the door and they'd never notice.  Shekinah had a wonderful weekend, she'd had a night terror the night before we left and I was worried that staying at someone's house would trigger another. Thankfully she did great, she had two cousins close her age to keep her occupied the whole time.

The interesting twist to this came on Monday night as we were doing the dishes, "Mom, why do you need to go to these "parent-teacher" conferences anyway. Isn't that for people who have trouble with their kids?"
Hmm maybe that was what was behind the protests against mom and dad going away for their anniversary.



Quote of the YEAR:  "You never helped me with my homework last year, I almost didn't make it in math!  (wait for it)



  I got an A-!"

Monday, September 1, 2014

Peanut Butter

After about 23 years of trying to rear (correct grammar here) children, I 'm still learning some new things.  I've known for quite awhile that food is important to little people-and some big people too- but does it affect their behavior?
Our youngest, can be the sweetest little girl. She is the one that tells me, "I don't want to wear that mom, because people will tell me I'm cute."  But what turns that little princess into a screaming, hitting, double barreled, kicking machine?
Yes this cute one.
Does she need a good-old-fashioned-warm rear end?
Ever since I've been reading up on children who come with unknown histories, I've heard the thing about "food every two hours" even if mom isn't hungry yet.

So I started checking the clock when my child changes into and "irascible child" and whatyano?
It's been at least two hours or she only ate Ramen noodles for the last meal.

changing before your eyes....well not really but there is a warning there
They tell me protein is the ticket, but burgers at 10 AM?  My budget isn't going to handle that.

But peanut butter?  We buy it by the six pound containers.

I've started giving her a teaspoon full of peanut butter. Most of the time I either call her from the scene of the screaming accusations of "you're rude" and say "Shekinah, I have something for you."  Plop her on a chair and in it goes.

Now sometimes it is my ears that are being assaulted by "you're rude" so then I might need to calm my face first and haul the 30-some-pounder out to the kitchen and plop her on a chair.  " I think you need to calm down, here's some peanut butter."
Occasionally she will turn her head and refuse, so I lay the spoon beside her and turn my back and do what ever needs doing at the sink.
So Far...she has never refused it completely. I try not to view it as a punishment, more like....see if this will help you calm down.

The change is almost instant! Often she will say "mommy, I love you"  or "I'm sorry."
Or you will just see the nice little girl has come back and she is relaxed.

So please let me know-- if you try it, what are the results. I know of one other mom that does it, but her girls were old enough to go for the peanut butter jar themselves and I never thought to administer it TO my child.

Note:  Now of course you will be an attentive mama and not leave your child to choke on a mouthful of peanut butter! My children seem to handle it just fine, but you know your child.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

First Day of School

First Day of School!  Faith in 4th, Hope in 7th, Joseph in 8th and Ezekiel in 11th

Shekinah was not real sure that they should leave "all by themselves" but they did!


Daddy and his little girl giving the turkeys an evening stroll...
the turkeys never stay in one spot to get a good picture.

Our meatless taco bowls from Tues night. Quinoa, rice, beans, chips, lettuce, tomato, and cheese.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fun Stuff and "New" Purchases

                    Somewhere along the line I posed with Shekinah, gotta check the camera cards more often.
Then someone sent us a video on keeping mosquitoes away, it involved wearing a nylon stocking over your head, this bit of information intrigued some of my children....Almost couldn't fit one over this noggin.

                                            But it proved the funniest part of the day
                               Even Shekinah had to get in on the act, poor kid could only open one eye.
                             Licking the beaters is the bestest part of making Zucchini cake.
               I normally lay my peaches on the table on our back porch to help them ripen evenly. After all these years a smart critter, coon I think, came and took bites out of half the peaches. Apparently like Ramona "the first bite tastes best" because he only finished one or two. May the bites of stolen peaches rumble in your intestines like the thunder.
It's great what you can buy at a Facebook yardsale! I put out an ISO (in search of) and within a few hours knew of 2 pianos. One was only a few miles from our home, when we found out that a piano weighs quite a bit I was very glad we didn't have to transport it very far. I lost a bit of sleep trying to figure out how we were going to get that thing up on the bed of a pick up truck. I investigated renting a ramp, and furniture dolly. Thankfully someone that hubby works with loaned us a garden tractor trailer and we with the help of the previous owner and a neighbor man we walked it onto the trailer. We drove 25 MPH down the road and after removing the front door got it into the house.
Of course if you buy one piece of furniture you should get rid of three, but the jury is still out as to which three pieces of furniture we should send out the front door. I tried to offer my mom one of the pieces (just on loan), but she didn't bite....she keeps sending stuff to MY house under the guise of  "here girls, don't you want this?'.

Anyway, now...music lessons  times four?   Wonder if those online things actually work?  Joe needs to use a different technique and Zeke already has his idea of what music should sound like....

Next week Joseph will start to use a third brand of feet. He has broken feet from the two other popular manufacturers so now we will try the "indestructible" ones supposedly made from the same material that helicopter rotors are made from.
Tomorrow Hope comes home from a week of girls' camp. I'm sure there will be a day or three of adjustment and wiggling our ways back into the pecking order.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Visit to Bradford, etc.

       Just so I remember what this year's  Christmas quilt looked like. I'm sure I will need
 to make another next year.
                  Making a dress out of a t-shirt and a huge pair of t-shirt shorts, takes planning. 
It's not a dress for "good" but it will do for stay-at-home-days.
Last week Ezekiel spent the week working with my brother in his computer store.
I called it computer camp, he worked at beginning programming and getting the feel
of customer service. It also led to a possible after-school job.

He messaged me on the first day and said "well I'm the new guy, you
can tell because I only have one screen, Tony has three."

We went to Bradford to bring Ezekiel home and while there we visited Kinzua Bridge. The last time I saw that bridge, Ezekiel was about 2 and the bridge extended the whole way across the valley and you had to keep an eye on your watch. The train schedule was posted at the entrance to the bridge and you were expected to get off the bridge before the train roared across.


God allowed the weather to show man's mistakes in leaving very old bolts
in the base of the bridge when they repaired it at one point.
In 2003 half the bridge came crashing down during a tornado type storm. Thankfully no one was on the bridge and no lives were lost.


     Hanging out on 300' high bridges with glass windows is OK for an occasional trip
           but those little people just have no fear and would have leaned 'way over the railings if  we mothers wouldn't have been watching :)







Go to Tony's blog for better pictures of the ruins.


                              This family of cousins has a "match" for each of our younger children, except their child
                     was born in the year ours came home....so there is a difference of a months/ years depending
           which of our children we are talking about. They had lots of fun playing "The Bean Game"
                 We ordered it the day after we came home and they are spending much time trading
           "soy, stink, wax, or coffee".






Thursday, August 7, 2014

Two Weeks with Catherine

                            Wow those two weeks "went past fast". Here is a picture of the first day at our house.
                     She was super shy....and stayed that way for the whole two weeks. She ate well. 
                 Was not enthused about mashed potatoes, but I expected that. She ate pizza, did not go swimming, or ride bike, or try the hula hoop, or shoot baskets. 
Always the polite wave of the hand and "no no"

Every morning we got them up at 7:15 and had her to a local church
by 8:30 AM.  They did all sorts of  "American" "Mennonite" activities.
One day they went to Hershey Chocolate world, one day to Knobels, one day to Sight n Sound
to see the Moses performance, camp out, farm, tour a grocery store, frisbee, mini golf,
camp out, picnic and baseball.
Joe was a little insulted when the ump mistook him for an exchange student and asked slowly
Did.you.play.baseball.before?
Joe: yes at school
Oh. I.didn't. know. they . played. in China.
Joe: no, I go to school here.


One afternoon, Faith sat down and read Winnie the Pooh to Shekinah. Catherine was obviously 
tired and soon both girls were sound asleep. Faith was impressed.
She spoke decent English...better than my Chinese anyway, but
it was such an effort to carry on a conversation that part of me said
"oh what's the use, she's leaving soon" 
When she did answer a question it was with simple "yes" or "no" and she never
asked any questions at.all.
Was not quite sure if she liked our family, she did show more animation with the other students.
We did find out that most of the students met for the first time on this trip.
Shekinah pested her, Faith was grouchy cause she was the perennial middle child with not enough sleep.
Hope sort of monopolized her and Joseph started practicing his Chinese calligraphy again.
When I had prayers and Bible stories with the girls, she took her shower.
She did accept her Chinese/English Bible,but left her story book here because "it didn't fit in the suitcase"
One of the other families was brave enough to ask their student what stood out about his visit in their home.
He told them "all the love".
I wasn't brave enough to ask.
Would we do this again?   Not sure.


        During this week we put out the Adoption News using child labor.
  Parker is getting around and tearing paper amuses him.
It amuses his grandma too...for now.

I declare, every week he is doing something new!
Catherine was bemused by him, but I'm almost certain she was never around a baby.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

New Ventures

So this week brought some new things to our house. Hope had her first job! She worked for a young mother from church. I wasn't real sure about the reactions of the rest of the people in the house, but they did handle it well.  When you send your daughter out to work for the first time you wonder, "Did I teach her right? Does she actually know how to help, or will the other mother feel like she just gained a teen student?"
I was pleased when Hope came home and said, "We did baking, picked beans, and then she said I could take a break while she puts the girls to bed, but there were so many dishes in the sink, I decided to wash them."
WOW!  sorry just had to brag.

Today we get to add another child to the house, a thirteen-year-old girl.....from China.....for only two weeks. I have very mixed feelings about this. Part of me is resentful.
Why do people think I have any extra nurturing left in me to parent ANOTHER child for two weeks?
Just because we already have Chinese children living in our house does that make us more qualified?
What if she is a really spoiled rich kid?   (after all who has the money to send their THIRTEEN year old child across the world? Or the naivete to send them to live with a family they know NOTHING about?)
Maybe I have the word "sucker" written across my forehead...I get the privilege of figuring out meals, sleeping arrangements, transportation, and crowd control because I "have such a kind heart"?
What about her clothes will I need to be a strict mama and get her "something decent"?
What if she looks down her nose at MY children? OUR lifestyle?

Then I know what I SHOULD be feeling, thinking...
We will give this child the privilege to see a family in action (poor thing)....after all she is probably an "only child".
We will hopefully give her a glimpse of the Gospel or the Jesus that showed us by His example what we should be doing.
I really do have enough room in my heart to care for another child....but what if I like her too much?
After the sermon this morning on hospitality I should be looking for ways to serve.
We spent a total of 4 days with teens from NZ and they changed our outlook on life forever.
She is probably as worried about spending time in our family. If they gave her the same brief outline about us, that we got about her...
All we know is "My English name is Catherine. I am a 13 year old girl. I like listening to music and watching movies."




Sunday, July 13, 2014

Being Thankful

Ben has been helping at "Thursday Church" for a little over a year. "Thursday Church" is a program that one of the urban Mennonite churches runs for the children of the community. He has been learning about the tough side of life. Things he takes for granted are foreign to some of these children. The other night he was watching me comb the girls' hair and he told them "Girls just be thankful for a mom that combs your hair for you."
This past week they had VBS for this community and afterward one of the boys was singing "On Top of Old Smokey"...(the kids version about spaghetti)...
The kid ended his version with "and then my poor meatball rolled out of the door."

So Ben finished with the last verse:

"It rolled in the garden and under a bush
and then my poor meatball was nothing
but mush!
And then the next summer it grew to a tree
Now there's a meatball for you and for me."

The little boy looked at him "Is that really the last verse?"

Ben said, "Well that's my dad's version."

Little boy, looks at Ben," Did you like it when you had a dad?... Did he hit you and stuff?"

Ben said he was in keep-things-under-control mode and didn't get hit by the question on later.

I wanted to send dad with Ben the next time and let Ben use him for show and tell.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

So Can You?

This was a conversation I had the other day with one of my boys. Probably controversial...

"So mom, can you be a Christian and play soccer professionally...." this after the goalie on the US team was featured in news articles proclaiming his Christianity.
I turned the question back on him...."so can you?"
He decided that he could have been this year cause the US team didn't play any games in the World Cup on Sunday.   (not exactly what I was looking for)
Next question:
"So if I play in the NBA can I be a Christian?"  (he would be able to play on the team of his choice...if he tried hard enough, and had enough money.)

So can you glorify Christ and play a game as your job?    I don't know....maybe?

We get into these discussions at our house when I notice that my son's think winning a tournament at school is all-important.  I contend that there is plenty of energy going into those games. "Mom pray for us to win" doesn't happen at our house.   I tell them I will pray that they are good losers, and humble winners.
I ask them what God must think when the moms from the opposing high school pray for their child to win and I'm praying the same prayer??!!

"But mom," they say, " this is good, we get to know the other schools."

I counter "you'd get to know them better if I'd count off 1,2   1, 2  and mix you up."

I'd be a REAL popular phys-ed teacher.

Oh and you can pray for me...we have a new driver in the house...didn't get a picture yet, he's off on work week with the youth group.

Quote of the day:  Shekinah sitting at the supper table, looks to the left and right. "So why are you all looking at me? You think I'm CUTE!?"