Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I'm My Own Grandpa

The other day the whole family was gathered around the computer screen watching a video on Lady Rose's blog of a goofy song we had heard on the radio. After we watched it, she pointed out another equally goofy song called "I'm My Own Grandpa". I thought I would share the lyrics with you and then make a few comments. If you want, you can watch that video here.
Oh, many, many years agoWhen I was twenty-threeI was married to a widow
Who was pretty as can be
This widow had a grown-up daughter
Who had hair of red
My father fell in love with her
And soon the two were wed

This made my dad my son-in-law
And changed my very life
For my daughter was my mother
'Cause she was my father's wife
To complicate the matter
Though it really brought me joy
I soon became the father
Of a bouncing baby boy

This little baby then became
A brother-in-law to Dad
And so became my uncle
Though it made me very sad
For if he was my uncle
Then that also made him brother
Of the widow's grown-up daughter
WHo of course is my step-mother

I'm my own grandpa
I'm my own grandpa
It sounds funny I know
But it really is so
Oh, I'm my own grandpa

My father's wife then had a son
Who kept them on the run
And he became my grandchild
For he was my daughter's son
My wife is now my mother's mother
And it makes me blue
Because although she is my wife
She's my grandmother too

Now if my wife is my grandmother
Then I'm her grandchild
And every time I think of it
It nearly drives me wild
For now I have become
The strangest case you ever saw
As husband of my grandma
I am my own grandpa


The first thing I did after reading these lyrics was scratch my head and read them again to see if I could follow what the song writer was saying. There is a good exercise in logic here. The teacher in me is going to suggest that you take out a piece of paper and a pencil and map out this family tree. I haven't done it yet, but I'm sure it would look interesting.

Once I thought I had the song figured out, we watched the video and laughed, because there is a good amount of humor here - on the surface. The more I thought about it, though, I realized how sad of a commentary it is on the complications of divorce and remarriage that is running rampant in this country. I have to believe that there are probably many cases just as equally confusing as this one out there in the "real" world. All the more reason to preach to the world about the value in making marriage a covenant and not a contract. Yeah, you guessed it, another plug to go see "Fireproof". Believe me, you won't regret it. Let us continue to pray that our country can once again embrace the true idea of marriage - marriage between a man and a woman and "till death do us part".

God Bless!

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Fireproof" Part II

It is time once again for me to shout something from the rooftops! This past Saturday evening, my husband and I went on a date with three other couples to see the movie "Fireproof". This is an incredible movie about the marriage in our present day society. It captures the spirit of most marriages that don't include God in the picture to a tee. We laughed, we cried - even my good friend who hardly cries at anything was crying throughout the whole movie. Just at the right times they would throw in something very funny to lighten the mood a touch.

To make it easy on you, here is the link to the website that allows you to find the movie in a theater near you!

Want to check out even more cool stuff? The creators of the movie have another website that has marriage resources and shows how you can help support the movie. What I thought was neat was that even though it is a movie made by Protestants, they have a page dedicated specifically to Catholics.

When we were walking out of the movie I noticed two very young couples that were "dressed up" in teenage finery going towards the movie theater. I looked up at the marquee and wondered which of those movies (with names like "The House Bunny", "The Family that Preys Together" and "Righteous Kill") they were going to go see. I wanted to run to them and tell them not to waste their money on trash, but to spend it on something that might change their lives. Unfortunately, I'm still not bold enough to do something like that. Hopefully someday I will be able to.

So, do whatever you can to scrape up the time and money to go see this movie. I cannot stress this enough! See it and then tell everyone you know to do the same!

God Bless!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

County Fair Pie

This pie brings the delicious flavors of chocolate and butterscotch together into a savory, mouth watering dessert! If you don't care for butterscotch, then substitute peanut butter chips in for a delightful Reese's Peanut Butter cup taste. This tasty treat is quick and easy to make and satisfying to eat. And why not have a great cup of Mystic Monk Coffee while you're at it? The results will be heavenly!

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch or peanut butter chips
1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Stir in nuts and chips. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Yield: 6-8 servings

Friday, September 26, 2008

Jesus our Rock

At mass this morning, Father began by saying that in these perilous economic times, how lucky we are to have Jesus to cling to for security instead of having to depend on the Government to bring that to us. He talked about how in Lourdes, the pilgrims are encouraged to touch the rock of the grotto area while they are waiting in line to visit the grotto and how clinging to that solid rock is to remind us of Jesus.

It seems that I am constantly being attracted to blogs where the message is the same. Even though our personal world, and even the greater world, may be falling apart around us, somehow we need to find Jesus in all of it and cling to Him. He is the one who is working behind the scenes (sometimes WAY behind the scenes it seems) to make sure that everything in our lives goes according to His plan. I know myself that it is hard to remember that all the time, but God has been good in reminding me almost every day that I can't figure it all out - nor am I supposed to.

In these difficult times, I find it best to focus on the present moment, which is truly the only moment we have. As we learned about in our formation group today, God is the here and now; not the past and not the future. If God is here and now, why do I always find myself moving ahead to what might be. It is such a temptation for me to imagine what might lie ahead. If I am not paying attention, I find that it can truly consume a lot of my thoughts and can get me quite anxious and depressed. If I focus on the present moment and try to live fully in it, I find that I am much more joyful. If I look for Jesus in the present moment and cling to Him in all that I do, I know that I am much more joyful.

We don't know what lies ahead in the near future for our country. There is a lot of speculation out there as to what might be coming, but as we know, no one really knows, so the best thing that we can continue to do is pray and cling to Jesus our Rock.

God Bless!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Last Surviving Founding Member of NARAL

I got this YouTube clip in an email today. It is quite chilling when you think of one man being personally responsible for 75,000 abortions. How can anyone say that abortion is not the leading issue to be considered in the upcoming election? Please pass this information onward.

God Bless!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Declaration of Independence

We just finished up reading through the Declaration of Independence. I have to say that it is truly a classic piece of writing. Just like the Bible, it means something to us today even though it was written 232 years ago. It really struck me while reading the first section, before they begin to list the offenses of King George, how much like today it sounds. While reading the next section about the King George's "repeated injuries and usurpations", I started thinking about where our country might be headed...

So, when was the last time you read the Declaration of Independence? I would suggest that you take a moment of your free time to read it again. Read it slowly and take in what it is they are saying here. It truly is an incredible document.

Now, here is a picture of our first project on the American Revolution. My son took the proverbial bull by the horn and tackled his assignment in one day. I love it when they get so into a project. I have to say, again, that this NEVER happened when we were doing workbooks all the time. Part of the reason why, however, is because I never would take the time to let them do stuff like this because then we would fall behind on our workbook schedule. Well, anyway, here is my son's first diorama on the Battle of Bunker Hill. Notice the ship in the harbor off to the left and the Americans up on Bunker Hill on the back wall. The soldiers in front are the English.

God Bless!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Wee Bit of Humor to Start Off the Week

It's always nice to start the week off on a humorous note. My husband found this on someone's septic website. It was too funny to pass up. One day we hope to run a Catholic campground; hopefully we can be just as clear in our correspondence!

Basic Baptist Bathroom

A very proper lady began planning a week’s camping vacation for her and her Baptist Church group. She wrote to a campground for reservations. She wanted to make sure that the campground was fully equipped and modern, but couldn’t herself to write the word “toilet” in her letter, so she decided on the old fashioned term “Bathroom Commode”.

Once written down she still was not comfortable. Finally she decided on the abbreviation “BC” and wrote, does your campground have its own “BC?” When the campground owner received the letter, he couldn’t figure out what she meant by “BC”. He showed it to several of the campers, one of whom suggested the lady was obviously referring to a Baptist Church since there was a letterhead on the paper which referred to a Baptist Church. So he sent this reply.

Dear Madam:

The B.C. is located nine miles from the campground in a beautiful grove of trees. I admit it is quite a distance if you are in the habit of going regularly. No doubt you will be pleased to know that it will seat 350 people at one time, and it is open on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday of each week. Some folks like to take their lunch and make a day of it. The acoustics are very good, so everyone can hear even the quietest passages. It may interest you to know that my daughter met her husband there. We are also having a fundraiser to purchase new seats, as the old ones have holes in them. Unfortunately my wife is ill and has not been able to attend regularly. It’s been a good six months since she last went.

It pains her very much not to be able to go more often. As we grow older, it seems to be more of an effort, especially in cold weather. Perhaps I could accompany you the first time you go, sit with you, and introduce you to all the other folks who will be there. I look forward to your visit.

We offer a very friendly campground.

God Bless!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Jack-O-Lantern Jumble

Since Monday is the first day of Fall, I thought I would send out this fun, fall snack mix recipe that we make every year. It's called Jack-O-Lantern Jumble.

4 C Corn Chex cereal
4 C Rice Chex cereal
2 C salted peanuts
1/4 C butter
1/4 C peanut butter
2 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 cups candy corn

In a large bowl, combine the cereal and peanuts. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, peanut butter, Worcestershire sauce, salt and garlic powder; cook and stir until butter and peanut butter are melted. Pour over cereal mixture and toss to coat. Spread onto a greased 15x10x1 baking pan. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool; stir in candy corn. Store in an air tight container. Enjoy!

God Bless! And have a peaceful and restful Sunday

Mushrooms, Health and Prayers

About 9:30 this morning a friend of mine called and asked me if I was drinking a cup of my Mystic Monk coffe. No, I told her, I am actually straining the slimy stuff out of my mushroom water so that I can get ready to drink that. She knew exactly what I was talking about and we proceeded to have a conversation about mushroom water - otherwise known as Kombucha.

I always have to shake my head when the new how-to-make-yourself-feel-great craze passes through our homeschool group. You never know what it is going to be. Some of the things I have tried for a while and others I know I could never do, like sprouting things in my kitchen and then eating them. I actually can't believe I am willing to try mushroom water! I did have a sample of it a few weeks back and it wasn't too bad. At the time I had a cold, and it actually made me feel better faster. I also felt a burst of energy after drinking it. Well, now I am growing it in my kitchen. We'll see what happens.

I've been getting a leading Natural Health Dr.'s newsletters lately, too. Talk about making you afraid of everything. At times it gets downright depressing to learn about all of the things that are killing me or causing my body to be growing some type of cancer. Mixed in among those stories are blurbs about all of the different vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc that your body isn't getting but that it needs so that you can stay healthy - that is if you can continually dodge the electro-magnetic radiation that is constantly bombarding you.

Add to that reading the Catholic blogs and websites that keep telling us about the horrible state of our world and you have to wonder what is a person supposed to do? When I was on retreat this past July, Father said that the best way to prepare for battle is to pray. The other day Dr. Mark Miravalle said we need to go to daily Mass, pray the family rosary and go to frequent confession. We can't physically change a lot of things in this world that are harming us, but we can certainly increase our prayers and beg for mercy - and hopefully a little Kombucha won't hurt, either! Cheers.

God Bless!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hanging up the Clothes

I had a chance to catch a few minutes of Relevant Radio today and Dr. Mark Miravalle was discussing what we can do to help ourselves during this turbulent time - especially after the bad day on Wall Street today. He pointed out that many of us can take these turbulent times as a chance to evaluate where it is we get our peace from. Is it from the material world or is it from Jesus? One of the things he said we could do is to evaluate our lives and voluntarily enter into a more simple lifestyle. In our case, we have had to enter into this lifestyle on a not-so-voluntary basis.

One way we have chosen to cut back in these difficult times is to finally put up a clothes line. I know it is late in the clothes-hanging season, but at least I can save on a few less trips through the propane-eating dryer!

What I didn't expect from this change was the enthusiasm that my children expressed about actually hanging up wet clothes! Yesterday, due to much rain over the past week, was the first day we could hang our laundry and they actually were arguing about who would hang it up. After we "ironed out" the details as to who would actually be doing the hanging, some of the other kids felt it was necessary to go outside and watch while the laundry got hung :)

Amazing. I hope they keep up their enthusiasm. Today when they hung up the towel load they even organized it so that like items were hanging in the same area. My organizing genes must have gotten into some of them at least! I wish I would have thought to take a picture!

So often we think that by removing material things from the lives of our children we will be causing them pain and heartache, when in reality, maybe they can deal with it better than we can as adults. I know that my kids aren't really all that attached to the dryer, but it still amazed me how excited they were about the change. Maybe we should look to our children to see how they deal with change. We might just learn something.

God Bless!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Join the Monks for Coffee

Today I would like to introduce you to a group of Monks in Wyoming who give you the opportunity to feel good in two ways. If you have not heard about the "Mystic Monks", they are a group of Carmelite Monks who are trying to build a monastery and further vocations by selling coffee beans. Every time you purchase coffee or one of the their chant CDs, you are helping them to spread the Gospel of Christ to others.

My husband is an avid coffee lover. He doesn't drink coffee just to stay awake. He drinks coffee because he enjoys it. It could be 95 degrees and humid and he'll sit down with a good, strong cup of coffee. I can't understand that! He originally heard about Mystic Monk coffee through advertisements on Relevant Radio. He decided to try some out and now we are hooked. It is great coffee.

I am not a devoted coffee fan. I'm more like an occasional fan of coffee in that my tastes run in spurts. If I drink coffee, more often than not it is to help me stay awake. Lately I have been in a coffee drinking mood, so I asked my husband to get me some flavored decaf coffee for my birthday. He chose the Mystic Monk Chocolate Cherry decaf blend. This is what coffee should taste like. Not just a drink, but a dessert! I am really enjoying this flavor. I also noticed that they have chocolate raspberry, too. I think that one will be next.

So, now I am offering you an opportunity to help the Monks and enjoy a really good cup of coffee. All you have to do is to click on the big link on my sidebar and it will take you to their website where you can browse your choices. Every time you buy some coffee, you will know that you are helping the Carmelite Monks in their good works. It's not often you can indulge yourself AND feel good about it! Go ahead, give it a try!

God Bless!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Potty Training 101

School wasn't totally out of session for us this past summer. The one major class that we were all participating in was Potty Training 101 - round 7. You would think that with myself and my six other chidren, we would have successfully completed this course in no time. WRONG. I don't know what it is about this last little one, but he is just not cooperating.

I have had a child in diapers every day for the past 16 1/2 years. If one was moving on to big kid pants, then there was a baby right behind him or her in diapers just to make sure we didn't break our long standing tradition. Had I known then how long I would have to be buying diapers, I think it would have been fun to see how many packages of diapers I bought and how much it cost me. On second thought, maybe I don't want to know. I probably could have paid off my house by now.

Anyhow, I just don't understand why peer pressure alone hasn't caused him to give in and go on the potty. You would think with all his brothers and sisters telling him about how big kids go on the potty, how they go on the potty, how only little babies go in their diapers, that he would give in and go. He is such a laid back little boy that none of it really matters much to him. Maybe I will appreciate that trait when he is older and faced with peer pressure, but I am not appreciating it now.

In addition to peer pressure, we have tried bribes - from candy to trips with mom to sleepovers. We have tried a sticker chart. We have tried the power of prayer. We have tried joking about it with him and we have gotten frustrated with him; all to no-avail. This kid is one tough nut to crack. The only time he has been consistent in telling us that he has to go to the bathroom is during the family rosary and at Mass. HHHMMM. Oh well, maybe he knows that he probably is my last little one and he just doesn't want to rush out of this phase for fear of upsetting me!

Oh well, 16 1/2 years...and still counting.

God Bless!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

You know how sometimes you have a meal that you really enjoy eating but you often forget about it for long periods of time? Well that is what today's recipe is for me. I really enjoy a good BBQ pork sandwich (AKA a pulled pork sandwich) but I often forget about it and how easy it is to make. A while ago we bought a whole pig and had it butchered and it came with four shoulder roasts. I had no idea what to do with them, as I had never heard of them before. Then I found out that shoulder roasts are excellent for making pulled pork. If you don't have any sitting around, you should be able to find them at the grocery store or meat market. The good thing is, they are one of the more inexpensive parts of a pig! Here is what I do to make my BBQ pork sandwiches:

I take my shoulder roasts (at least two of them for our size family) and cook them in my roaster at 250 degrees until they are falling apart. You could do it in a slow cooker if you have a big enough one. After that you pull the pork apart (thus the name:) and put it into a pot - if you need to heat it up quickly - or into the slow cooker - if you have time to let the pork sit in the BBQ sauce. I like to mix K.C. Masterpiece BBQ sauce with some honey and then pour it all over the pork, mix it together and then let it sit in the slow cooker for a couple of hours. That's it! When you are ready for dinner, slap some on a bun (or on a plate if you can't eat wheat, like me!) and there you have it. So easy and oh so good. Can't you just taste the lightly tangy taste of that tender pork right now?????

God Bless and have a peaceful and restful Sunday!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Enter into the Battle for our Nation - Part II

Here is a great follow up to yesterday's post. This showed up in my email from a friend later in the day. I just love when stuff like this happens. Isn't God's timing great?!

God Bless!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Enter into the Battle for our Nation

This is a great year to take some time to teach your kids about the founding fathers of our country and the goals and visions they had for their new nation. Just following the election and discussing the electoral process - the good and the bad about it - is quite educational and fascinating. In addition to the educational aspect that is before us right now, we also need to take part in the spiritual battle that is raging. As my husband put it the other day, this election truly is a case of black and white. Not in a racist way, but in terms of good and evil. It seems as if God is presenting us with a test. He has drawn the line very clearly between the culture of life and the culture of death. What will the people of this nation decide?

We have a little less than two months to help swing that decision in favor of the culture of life. I think that it is imperative that we take on the challenge to learn about what our country stood for when it was created and what it should still stand for today, as well as to join in a Rosary crusade to help bring the culture of life back to our great nation.

My daughter found a website that I can't seem to find right now, referencing the battle of Lepanto which took place in 1571. It was a battle between the mighty Turkish fleet and the smaller Christian European fleet. Pope St. Pius V, seeing that the battle was unequal, called on the faithful to pray the rosary for the Christians in battle and for their success against the Turks. On October 7, 1571, the battle was won against the Turks.

We find ourselves in the same battle today. We, the Christians of this nation, are fighting the larger "fleet" of the culture of death movement. By praying the rosary between now and election day, we too can have an impact on how this battle turns out. I have come across differently worded intentions for this rosary, but essentially we should pray that, through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, Patroness of the USA, God will grant us a President and Vice President that will uphold the culture of life and bring back the Christian values of faith and family that this country was founded on. If you begin this novena of rosaries tomorrow, you can turn it into a 54 day rosary novena - 3 novenas (or 27 days) of petition and 3 novenas (27 more days) of thanksgiving. May God have mercy on us and on our country.

God Bless!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Elusive Creativity Gene

Isn't it funny how some genes skip a generation? I have to say that the creativity gene has completely skipped me and gone on to blossom in some of my children. My parents are both very creative. They can draw fairly well, they have a keen eye for decorating and my mom is good at all kinds of crafty things (a hobby which I personally cannot stand:) Somehow those creative genes got into me, but were blocked by the stronger, more powerful, anti-creative genes. Or at least that's what I'm guessing happened!

So let's do some jumping around here. Last year at the Sandwich Fair, my eldest daughter (who has definitely inherited the creative genes) won a number of ribbons for her photography. In addition to that, this picture

received another award called the "People's Choice Award". Unbeknown to us, you can go and vote for your favorite photo (not easy to do when there are at least five hundred pictures!) and the photo with the most votes wins the extra award.

So this year we were ready (jump ahead - and in a sense backwards - to last Friday night). We decided we would all go in and vote - one vote from each of us for my Jesus picture and one vote from each of us for this picture taken by the aforementioned daughter
We were sitting around on Sunday discussing how if either of us won this award, we wouldn't feel that great about it knowing that nine of the votes came from our family. So when we went later that night to pick up our projects, weren't we surprised to see this picture of my daughter's hanging next to the "People's Choice" award...

I'm glad that we didn't have anything to do with it! Congratulations, DD, on two years in a row of winning the People's Choice Award for photography. If you're looking for a professional photographer in this family, you can skip a generation!

God Bless!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

On Your Birthday, Mother

The sun has arisen,
Glancing 'round with it's fiery might.
Away with the darkness!
Now enter the light!

The light of the sun,
The light of your face,
The light of the candles
That dance on your cake.

The light of the joy,
that beams from the smiles,
On your children's small faces
from over the years and the miles.

The light of God's love,
the light of your family and friends.
Who shall always be there,
Until your life ends.

The light of your works,
the light of your life,
Shining forth from your duties
as a mother and wife.

The light from your heart;
it shines like a fire
Of devotion to God above,
It sings like a choir.

As your children who love you,
We see always your light,
when you tuck us in bed
and you wish us "good-night".

When you scold us for trouble,
we see the light of your wrath:
when we throw temper tantrums
in the middle of our math.

But shinning below emotions
is always the light of your love,
comforting and guiding us;
Reflecting God above.

You help us and warm us
with your undying light,
burning for us and for God,
Ev'ry day, ev'ry night.

We love our dear mother
with a fire that burns
brightly, hiding,
but off, never turned.

May this special day be filled
with the light of grace and of joy,
And the happiness and charity
of your girls and your boys.

We love you!

The Lights of Your Life

Friday, September 5, 2008

Novena to the Mother of Sorrows through the intercession of St. Peregrine

I was going to post some pictures of the fair for you to enjoy, but I decided not to for two reasons. One, Lady Rose already did that and two, yesterday a friend of mine handed me a novena prayer and asked if I would join her and others in praying it. The novena begins this Sunday, September 7th and is to the Mother of Sorrows through the intercession of St. Peregrine. The reason why this particular novena was started was to pray for two young mothers who are suffering from cancer.

The first is named Emilie. She is a young mother of two children - a two year old and a two month old. When Emilie was pregnant this last time, she learned that she has a very aggressive type of cancer. Although she is full of hope, she may have as little as six months to live.

The second is named Lindsey. Just after she was married two years ago, Lindsey had to have a radical hysterectomy to fight ovarian cancer. Now the cancer has returned to her liver and pancreas. Both of these women need miracles in order to survive.

I want to invite anyone who is interested in joining us to begin the novena on Sunday, September 7th. The novena would end on the feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows, September 15th. In addition to praying for the two mothers listed above, you could also pray for anyone else that you know who is suffering from cancer. Here is the novena prayer:

O my dearest Mother Mary, Mother of Sorrows, behold me, your child, in prayer. I have come to plead for this special favor through the intercession of your faithful servant, St. Peregrine. (Mention your request.)

O Sorrowful Mother, I beg you to present my petition to your Divine Son. If you will pray for me, I cannot be refused. I know, dearest Mother, that you want me to seek God's will in all things. Therefore, with childlike trust I abandon myself to God's Holy Will concerning my request. If what I ask for should not be granted, pray that I may receive that which will be of greater benefit to my soul.

Mother of Sorrows, I love you! I put all my confidence in you, because your prayers before God are most powerful. For the greater glory of God and through the intercession of St. Peregrine, whom you have led to sainthood, hear and grant my prayer. Amen.

Thank you for joining us in this spiritual work of mercy.

God Bless!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Fair Part II - My Photography Contest Saga

I have to take today's post to tell you my photography contest saga. For the past three years I have been entering photos into the various photography categories at the Sandwich Fair, and for the past three years I have not gotten one ribbon. Last year was the worst. My uncle bought himself one of those disposable cameras when he went on vacation to San Fransisco. He took a few pictures of some buildings, entered one in the competition and won a blue ribbon. Of course I was happy for him *cough*, but it just didn't seem right!

Now fast forward to this past April when I had the opportunity to take pictures for the Little Flowers Dance and Theatre Troupe's performance of "The Seven Last Words". These pictures turned out so good that people kept telling me that I should take pictures professionally. I kept insisting that it was a fluke. How could I be a professional photographer if I can't even win a blue ribbon at the Sandwich Fair?? They didn't understand that the Holy Spirit was the one who took these pictures, not me. I'm not trying out the false humility, thing, either. I was simply the tool used to showcase this incredible performance.

So now I have my proof. This year I entered two of my favorite pictures from the 7LW performance and I finally won a blue ribbon. Thus backing up my claim that I - myself - am not that great of a photographer. When I allow my camera to be used by the Holy Spirit - well, that's a different story. I entered this picture in the "Famous People" category :)
"Jesus" was up against other famous people like musicians and baseball players. I am really glad that the judges decided to give Him the blue ribbon over a musician or an athlete! Thanks Holy Spirit, for finally helping me reach my goal of winning a blue ribbon in photography at the fair!

God Bless!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It's Fair Week

Today begins the 121st Sandwich Fair (technically it is the DeKalb County Fair. I'm not sure why it is called the Sandwich fair instead of the DeKalb County fair - unless of course, it is because it is held in Sandwich, IL?). It is the largest county fair in the state. We've gone now for the past five years and we look forward to it every year. Four years ago we decided to drop out of the 4-H club we were in and just enter projects in the Sandwich Fair. It is loads of fun, we still get the experience of entering competitions, and we don't have to go to any meetings or fill out any paperwork!!! The only thing that hasn't changed from 4-H is that we still don't complete our projects until the last minute!

This year there were six of us entering projects in all kinds of categories like sewing, photography, collections, baking, model building, crocheting and knitting. We usually go on Wednesday morning to check out all of our projects and see if anyone has won any ribbons. It was a close one this morning, but everyone has gotten at least one ribbon so far. Some of the categories weren't done being judged before we had to leave for the afternoon. This evening we will return for one of the highlights of the fair - the fiddle contest. We have two friends who always compete and who are fabulous fiddlers. We love to listen to them and they usually place in the top five, with one of them usually getting either first or second place.

I think that this fair is as good or better than the State Fair itself! There is so much stuff to see and so many things to do that it takes us a few days to go through everything. We like to go and look at all of the livestock - the cows, pigs, sheep, goats and my personal favorite, the chickens. This morning we also got to see the Jr. Jr. (under 13) barrel racing.

The fair goes through Sunday, so if you live close by and have never been, we would highly recommend checking it out!

God Bless!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Physics Fun

We held an impromptu physics class on our property yesterday. Actually it was part of a Labor Day campout we had with some fellow homeschooling families. If you want a detailed description of what went on you can read about it here. Otherwise, suffice it to say that we had a lot of fun. Being the competitive homeschoolers that we are, instead of just throwing water balloons, we decided to make it a competition. We took our three person slingshot and filled up 50 water balloons. We then went to the pasture and decided that the team to launch their balloon the farthest would be the winners. Here was what the playing field looked like:

As with any group of people, we had a variety of techniques and strategies that were employed, as you can see from the following two pictures. I'll tell you right now, neither of these two teams won.

Even the Dad's rose to the challenge. Here they are trying to out-distance the team that currently held first place.

Not to be outdone by the men, some of us women decided to join in the fun. Here we are getting some council from one of the team members on the current first place team!

Try as we all might, no one, not even the Dad's, could outdistance this group of girls. They shot their balloon all the way down the field and across the road, which is on the other side of those trees (see first picture again)!
Here's where the physics class comes in. How did they do it? Was it their form? Was it the distance that the front two girls were spread apart? Was it the angle that the girl in back shot the balloon? Or was it a combination of these, helped along by the fact that they chose a smaller sized balloon than a lot of their competitors? Sounds like a fun experiment to try again.

God Bless!