Thursday, March 31, 2011

Recipe for Linzer cookies

These are some of our family's favorite cookies. The recipe I use is from a German cooking magazine, and gives metric amounts for the ingredients. Today, I finally converted it to the American measurements, which is why some of them are goofy amounts.

My apologies for using a stock photo - I was afraid if I stepped away from the counter to grab my camera, the kids would have gobbled up all the cookies in an instant :)

2 cups flour
1 egg
¾ cup + 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 stick + 6 Tbsp. softened butter
strawberry of raspberry jelly
powdered sugar for dusting

1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, egg, powdered sugar, vanilla, and butter until a soft dough forms. It should not be crumbly and dry, or too sticky.

2. Roll dough to 1/16 inch thickness on a floured board. Use just enough flour to prevent sticking.

3. Cut out circles with a round cookie cutter. In half of the circles, cut out a small hole in the middle.

4. Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 9-12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on sheet for a minute before moving them to a cooling rack.

5. Spread jelly on whole circles. Dust circles with small holes with powdered sugar, and place on jelly-covered circles. Assemble all cookies like this. Enjoy!

Bible Reading help

The "One Year Bible" has been a great resource to our family in keeping our Bible reading on track. In addition to reading it as a family for Bible time, the two oldest boys have been using it for their personal Bible reading, as well.

Last month, using the "One Year Bible", Solomon (9) finished reading through the entire Bible for the first time, plus twice though Psalms and Proverbs. It took him 14 months instead of one year. The year before that, he had read through just the New Testament, Psalms (2x), and Proverbs (2x) portion in one year.

Isaac (8) is 5 chapters short of completing the entire New Testament, and twice each in Psalms and Proverbs. It took him 11 months to do so - he picked up speed of his own accord so he can finish it before the 12 months will be over.

You may have heard that it only takes 15 minutes of reading per day to get through the Bible in one year. That may be true for fast readers who are not reading out loud. I find that for family Bible time, it takes 30 minutes to one hour to get through a daily portion, what with all the distractions that 6 children and a busy household cause. Many days, we do not complete an entire day portion, which is why I am glad that the older kids have their own personal reading time. 

If you are interested in using this Bible, I would strongly recommend ordering the hardcover version. The paperback version does NOT hold up well to daily use - we have had two and both have fallen apart. 

Seeds of Change Sowing Millions Project

If you enjoy gardening, this is a great deal for organic starter seeds. For $4.99 shipping, you get 25 free seed packets from Seeds of Change (a $75 value).

Please click here to go to their website.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Our politically incorrect children

I was just outside fixing our sprinklers and putting in a few vegetable plants that I will manage to kill by the end of this month (my guess based on past gardening attempts). The children were outside with me, riding their bikes and playing in the sprinklers. Up comes the neighbor boy from two doors down, who just got home from school a few minutes ago. He is about 5 or 6, and we'll call him "J" for this blog post. 

J is a very nice little boy. He often comes over to play when our kids are outside and he gets home from preschool in the early afternoon. On various occasions, I have overheard our kids inviting him to church, giving him invitations to our church, explaining to him about believing on Jesus, etc. They have also explained to him why TV is bad, and a few other similar "controversial" issues.

Today, they were schooling him on public schools. 

Miriam (4): "You should not go to public school. It is bad!"

J: "No, I just started a new school, and it is nice."

Miriam: "They still teach bad stuff there."

J: "But I have to go."

Miriam: "Just stop going there. Just stay home!"

J (in an attempt to change the subject): "I just got shots today!"

Miriam (mortified): "You got shot???"

J: "Yes!"

Miriam: "Where???"

J (pointing to his upper arm): "Right here!"

Miriam: "You got shot in the arm with a real gun??!? That is so bad!"

By this point I was doubled over laughing, and I explained to Miriam that J had gotten vaccines, which is called getting shots, and that it is not done with a real gun. She is probably out there teaching him about the evils of vaccines as I am typing this.

Proverbs 22:6  - Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.


Many, many thanks to those of you who offered for us to stay with them on our trip. Unfortunately, the idea is off. Let me explain:

My husband was going to take us as far as the Ft. Worth/Dallas area, where his sister lives. He was going to fly home from there, and the kids and I were going to continue on east, as far as South Carolina, to stay with relatives there for a week or so and then get on the road again to make our way home. Since I was going to be traveling alone with the kids, we were going to take our time and see attractions along the way.

We actually did leave last Thursday, because this week my husband might have had to go to California on a business trip, meaning he would not have been able to come with us for that first part of the trip. We left at shortly after 3 pm, and drove straight through because with six kids, it is simply easier to take turns driving at night while they are sleeping. It took a total of 16 hours driving, plus a couple of hours for breaks, plus losing 2 hours for the time difference between AZ and TX. 

We arrived at my SIL's house on Friday afternoon (my birthday). We went mini-golfing that evening, and hung out at their house. The kids had a lot of fun playing with their cousins, whom they had not seen in years.

On Saturday, we went to an old part of Fort Worth and watched a (staged) cattledrive. My husband and Solomon rode horses for a bit, and then we left to go to see our nephew's martial arts training. Back to the house for lunch, where we only had a couple of hours before I was going to take my husband to the airport to fly back to Phoenix in time for church services on Sunday.

After dropping my husband off at the airport, I stopped at a store on that side of town. As I turned off the car, I realized that my husband's keys were in the ignition, and I was afraid he would not be able to get into our house at home. I called him to see if I needed to rush back to the airport to give him the keys, but it turned out they were just his spare set. Still, he said I'd have to come pick him up because he was unable to get on the flight. 

He had refused the naked body scanner that everyone at this particular gate had been put through, so he was to be subject to an "enhanced patdown". The TSA agent told him he would be running his hand all the way up the inside of my husband's leg, feel around "some sensitive areas", and go back down the inside of his other leg. My husband inquired what he meant by "sensitive area", which infuriated the agent and he just repeated that it was a "sensitive area" he was trying to explore. My husband informed him that he would consent to the patdown, but that none of his private parts (not his wording) were to be touched. He said it quietly, where only the agent could hear it, yet the agent freaked out, saying that there were children around. Those same children who were going to be seen nude on a computer screen a moment later, or else molested under the guise of an "enhanced patdown". So it is okay to TOUCH and FEEL AROUND a child's (or adult's) private parts, but it is not okay to talk about it??!? Long story short, my husband would not agree to be molested by this TSA agent, so he was not allowed to clear security and get on the plane. The airline refunded his ticket, and I picked him up around 5 pm.

Allowing for the time it would take him to rent a car, get back to his sister's house and pack his stuff, and then get on the road, this gave him a little more than 17 hours to make it back home to Phoenix in time to preach. The drive takes 16 hours if there are no accidents or traffic along the road. He said he could rent a car one way and make it, but I hated the idea of him driving through the night for the second time in three nights, without the option of pulling over and sleeping for a couple of hours if he got tired. I was having second thoughts about my ability to drive long distances alone with 6 kids anyway, especially because of Anna, who is nursed exclusively. So I packed up the van, and all 8 of us headed right back home, again driving through the night. 

It was a long drive, but because we were traveling west and gaining 2 hours in the time change, we  had 4 hours more darkness in the van that we had had on the trip east. Of the 16 hour drive, the kids spent about 12 sleeping, which made it much easier on them and us. 

We got back to Phoenix at 9:30 am. My husband teaches a Spanish class on Sundays that starts at 9:45, so he just barely had time to get ready and make it in time. I was going to get there at 10:30 with the kids, who had to be cleaned up, fed, and dressed. I also had to get myself ready, print the church bulletin (which I had made along the road on my laptop), and make the house (that we had left in a hurry days earlier) presentable for baptisms after the morning service.

To make things more interesting, the gas heater on our built-in spa (which we were heating for the baptism) had a malfunction and almost went up in flames. Thankfully, our neighbor came over to alert me about the smoke coming out of our backyard, and I was able to turn it off just in time. Nothing like walking up to a smoking gas heater that is raging flames on the inside to wake you right up and get the adrenaline going! After I turned the "off" switch, I could hear that the flames inside were still raging, and at a loss of what to do next. I tried calling my husband (this was after his Spanish class but before the service), but he didn't answer. Thankfully, he walked into the backyard just moments later, turned off the gas main, and the fire stopped. Apparently, he had decided to come back to the house between his class and the service, which he usually never does.

We had the baptism in cold water after the morning service. In the afternoon, my husband was able to figure out what was wrong with the heater (it was not getting enough water because of a problem with the pool filter, causing it to overheat), fix it, and get the spa ready for 3 more baptisms after the evening service. 

An interesting birthday weekend indeed! I knew turning another year older would be rough, I just didn't anticipate quite how much so! I will be making myself a birthday cake later today to sweeten the deal. My husband offered to bake or buy one, but I love baking so this will be fun.

I am very glad to be back home safe and sound. Many thanks again to all those of you who so generously offered to put up the kids and myself. Have a wonderful week everyone!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Road trip! (maybe...) and packages

So, in honor of my 32nd birthday tomorrow, I was thinking about going on a road trip with the kids. Our plan is for my husband, myself, and all kids to drive to the Dallas/Fort Worth area together, where his sister lives with her family. My husband would fly home from there to get back in time to preach on Sunday, and me and the kids would then head on east early next week. 

Since I will be driving alone with all six kids (3 months to 9 years old), I will only be able to drive a maximum of 6 hours a day (two 3-hour stretches). We would love to go all the way to the east coast to see some of the places we have been learning about, but that would obviously get costly really quickly if I have to get a hotel room every single night.

I was wondering if there are any of my regular readers out there, who would be interested in putting us up for a night or two along the road, and maybe be able to point us to the attractions in their area. We do not really have an exact route planned because it would depend on the stops we would be making. 

 Crazy idea, and it well might not work out. But if this sounds like something you could and would like to do, please leave a comment, with your email address and preferably phone number (it will not be published).

Thank you!


We have enjoyed getting postcards and packages in the mail for our "Cantering the Country" project. We got a package all the way from Australia with some real "Vegemite"!!! Thank you so much! We also got a binder from Kentucky that was assembled with much love and care, and may partly be to blame for our "itch" to see the rest of the country.

My apologies for not updating the map on the right in the last couple of weeks. I will try to do so later today.

Finally, someone has some explaining to do. This morning, we received a package from Amazon with the game "Settlers of Catan" in it. I assumed it was a birthday gift my husband had ordered for me, but it wasn't. There was no note of explanation with it, so I called through the relatives, and nobody sent it. Can anyone explain this to me? If you sent this and are reading this, thank you so much! We love board games, and that is one I have been having my eye on. Thank you!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why Ladies Should Not Wear Head-Coverings

(a guest post by my husband)

1Cor 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
1Cor 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
1Cor 11:5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
1Cor 11:6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

1Cor 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
1Cor 11:8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
1Cor 11:9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
1Cor 11:10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
1Cor 11:11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
1Cor 11:12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

1Cor 11:13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?

1Cor 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

1Cor 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

1Cor 11:16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

Some people have misinterpreted 1 Corinthians 11 and believe that it is commanding women to wear hats or "head-coverings" of some kind. In this chapter, God is dealing with gender roles and the authority that a man has over his wife. In verse 3, the authority that a man has over his wife is likened unto the authority that God has over a man. God is the "head" (authority figure) of the man, and the man is the "head" (authority figure) of the woman. This matches perfectly with what the Bible says in Ephesians 5:

Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Eph 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

As we continue in 1 Corinthians 11, verses 4-6 state:

1Cor 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. 1Cor 11:5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
1Cor 11:6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

According to these verses women should have their heads "covered," and men should not. In fact, if a woman's head is not covered, that is just as bad as if she were "shorn" or "shaven." Notice that the Bible says that it is a "shame" for a woman to be shorn or shaven. We all know what "shaven" means, but what does the word "shorn" mean? The Bible uses the word "shorn" one other time in the New Testament:

Acts 18:18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.

The vow that the Bible is referring to here is a Nazarite vow from the Old Testament. Notice what the Bible commands about the Nazarite vow in Numbers 6:

Num 6:5 All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.

Num 6:18 And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings.

Once again, the Bible is its own dictionary. Being "shorn" is another word for being "shaven." Paul having his head shaved with a razor is referred to as him being "shorn." Therefore God is saying that a woman being "uncovered" is just as shameful as her shaving her head completely bald as Paul did in Acts 18.

So, what is this "covering"?

1Cor 11:13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
1Cor 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
1Cor 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

According to verses 13-15, a woman is "uncovered" if she does not have "long hair." A woman is therefore commanded to have long hair, and a man is commanded not to have long hair.

Those who believe in women wearing external "head-coverings" or bonnets on their heads will argue that even though long hair is a covering (indefinite article), women still need to wear an additional covering or bonnet on their heads. This is easily disproved with the Bible. The same passage that tells women to be covered tells men not to be covered. Therefore, if this were talking about something other than long hair (i.e. a "head-covering" or bonnet), it would be a sin for a man to wear it while praying or prophesying. This is directly in contradiction with many Old Testament passages that command the Old Testament priests to wear bonnets and mitres while ministering in the priests office:
Exo 28:40 And for Aaron's sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty.
Exo 28:41 And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.

Exo 29:9 And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest's office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons.

Exo 39:27 And they made coats of fine linen of woven work for Aaron, and for his sons,
Exo 39:28 And a mitre of fine linen, and goodly bonnets of fine linen, and linen breeches of fine twined linen,
Lev 8:13 And Moses brought Aaron's sons, and put coats upon them, and girded them with girdles, and put bonnets upon them; as the LORD commanded Moses.

Eze 44:17 And it shall come to pass, that when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come upon them, whiles they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within.
Eze 44:18 They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with any thing that causeth sweat.

Notice that the priest's clothing consisted of coats, britches (pants), and bonnets. Why would God tell us that "nature itself" teaches us that a woman should wear a head-covering, and that men should not, when he commanded over and over again that the priests (who were men of course) were required to wear bonnets when they prayed and prophesied in the priests office! The covering referred to in 1 Corinthians 11 is long hair, as defined in the passage itself; it is not a bonnet or head-covering.

This is consistent with the Old Testament, which commanded the priests not to have long hair:

Eze 44:20 Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long; they shall only poll their heads.

They were commanded to be neither completely bald nor long-haired, but rather to "poll" (i.e. cut short the hair on) their heads.

Other proponents of "head-coverings" on women will say that if you "go back to the Greek," you'll see that the word for "covering" in verse 15 is different than the other words used for "covering" in the passage. Of course, they are not fluent in Greek, but because the words look a lot different, they assume that they must be talking about completely different things. However, there are many examples in our language of words that look completely different as different parts of speech, but that are actually the same. Here are a few examples:

- having faith (noun) means that you believe (verb).
- being undressed (adjective) means you aren't wearing any clothes (noun).
- doing something manually (adverb) means that you did it by hand (noun).
- thing that are lunar (adjective) have to do with the moon (noun).

You see how identical words can look completely different as different parts of speech. Therefore a woman can be uncovered (adjective - ακατακαλυπτω) because she is not wearing a covering (noun - περιβολαιου). Just because the words look the same in English does not mean that they will look the same in Greek. Apparently these head-covering advocates who couldn't even order a meal in a Greek restaurant think they know more than the KJV translators. This is why one should always beware when anyone has to "go back to the Greek" to prove their doctrine.

Now that we understand what "covering" is referring to in 1 Corinthians 11 (i.e. long hair), let's go back and look at the passage with this definition in mind:

1Cor 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
1Cor 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered
(i.e. having long hair), dishonoureth his head (i.e. dishonours Jesus Christ - see previous verse).
1Cor 11:5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered (i.e. with short hair) dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. (i.e. if a woman doesn't have long hair, she might as well be bald!)
1Cor 11:6 For if the woman be not covered
(i.e. she has short hair), let her also be shorn : but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. (i.e. in God's eyes, it is just as much of a shame for a woman to have short hair, as it is for her to be completely shaved bald).
You may say, "Okay, Pastor Anderson, I get it. Women do not have to wear head-coverings, but they do have to have long hair. But can't they wear head-coverings if they want to? Why are you against head-coverings?"

I am against head-coverings on women for two reasons:

1. I am against head-coverings because they associate you with the wrong crowd spiritually. Every church or pastor I have ever seen or known that taught that women were commanded to wear head-coverings was wrong on the Gospel. I have never seen or heard of a church that taught that women must wear head-coverings that believed that salvation was by faith alone. The churches and teachers promoting head-coverings on women teach a works-based salvation in one of the following forms:

- some teach you can lose your salvation
- some teach you must repent of your sins in order to be saved
- some teach you must surrender your life to Christ in order to be saved
- some teach Calvinist doctrines of "grace" which teach that if you don't have works, you aren't saved, and that God is the one who chooses who will be saved and who will be damned (TULIP).

The Bible on the other hand states that salvation is by faith alone:

Rom 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Rom 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
Rom 4:7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
Rom 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

I have never seen or heard of any church that preached Bible salvation that taught women to wear head-coverings. Therefore, wearing a head-covering will lump you in with unsaved false teachers such as the Amish, Pentecostals, etc.

Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

1Thess 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

2. I am against head-coverings because they are not modest apparel. Yes, you got that right, I said that they are not modest apparel:

1Tim 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
1Tim 2:10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

The word "modest" in these verses is often misinterpreted to only mean "not revealing" or "not promiscuous." However, there is nothing revealing or promiscuous about broided hair, gold, or pearls. This passage is telling ladies not to dress in a way that draws attention to themselves. Their good works should be what stand out, not their appearance, clothing, hair, or jewelry. Instead of a "Christian uniform," it should be the good works of Christian ladies that stand out to the world.


1.having or showing a moderate or humble estimate of one's merits, importance, etc.; free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness, or great pretensions.

Women who wear head-coverings or Amish-looking dresses are doing so in order to purposely look different and stand out. There are many beautiful and stylish dresses for women to wear that are very modest and and not revealing whatsoever, but that do not purposely draw attention and cry out, "Look at me! Look how 'modest' I am!" Purposely drawing attention to yourself is neither modesty nor humility!

If ladies who practice "head-covering" were truly just trying to obey scripture and not draw attention to themselves, then why not wear a "head-covering" something like this:

or this:

Instead, this is what you usually see:

or this:


Ladies are commanded by the Bible to have long hair. They are not commanded to wear an external head covering of any kind. If they do wear one, people will probably associate them with religions that preach a false Gospel.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lemonade Stand!

Or: Our unexpected Saturday business venture

It all began yesterday. The lemon tree in our back yard was in bad need of trimming. When we moved into our house 5 years ago, the tree was very small, and only yielded 32 lemons total (at the time, coming from snowy Indiana, we thought that was a lot!). As time went on, we trimmed it a bit every year, but by this year the tree was about four times its original size and had gotten to the point where the branches were so heavy with lemons each year, they hung to the ground. That was making it hard to pick the lemons, rake dead leaves under the tree, and even just walking around it in the yard was getting to be a bother. I'm guessing there were about 500 lemons on the tree this winter. 

Enter a sawzall. A good hour later, the tree had been trimmed considerably. As a result, we had to pick all the lemons off the branches that had been trimmed - in all, we filled six 4-gallon buckets and a large laundry basket. 

There were two more buckets that are not shown in this picture. That is in addition to about ten buckets of lemons I picked off the tree last month when we had a frost scare.

This cleared up a lot of room under/behind the tree. The kids came up with the idea of making lemonade and selling it at the park, and using the proceeds to buy the materials to build a playhouse in the shade of the lemon tree. Later, they thought maybe they'd like to buy a zoo membership instead, something we haven't had in a while. I thought it was a nice idea, just not something I was planning on doing the next day, or really any day for that matter. The picked lemons keep for weeks if kept cool, and I figured I would just juice them over time and freeze the juice in quart jars until we were ready to use them (which, quite possibly, was never).

Then today, on our way home from an errand, we saw a really cool antique car driving down the road. None of us had ever seen anything like it before, so we kind of followed it just to admire it longer. Lo and behold, it turned into a park near our house, where there were hundreds of old cars on display. My first thought was "Wow, I should take all the kids here to the car show!", soon followed by "Hm, would this be a good place for them to set up their lemonade stand?" 

To be honest, going home and juicing lemons, making lemonade, painting a sign, and packing all six kids up to sell lemonade at the park did NOT sound appealing at all. Especially because I would first need to buy sugar, ice, and disposable cups. But I knew this opportunity was too good to pass up.

The boys all helped by washing, cutting, and juicing the lemons. I made the lemonade while the boys painted the sign. Anna thankfully was asleep for most of this, so we were able to go fast and were all ready and set up at the park shortly after noon. 

We thought it would be best not to charge anything for the lemonade, but rather to only take donations if anyone felt they wanted to pay for it. About half-way through the afternoon, my husband (who had to work all day) stopped by to bring us all some lunch, and took Miriam and Becky home with him so they could nap while he was doing office work from home. 

The results?

In all, we gave out about 150 cups total (approx. 6 gallons) over the course of 5 hours. About half of the people who got lemonade gave the kids a donation. The total? 

$ 45.12

Not bad, huh??!? The cost for sugar, cups, and ice was $15, so we made a total profit of $30. Only nine more Saturdays like this, and we will have enough to buy the playhouse! Although I really don't think I could handle doing that!

There were other benefits to doing this: 

(1) People were loving the ice-cold, fresh, homemade lemonade on this sunny day. At one point, a large group from a nursing home for the mentally disabled (about 25 to 30 people) stopped by and all got cups of lemonade. Can you imagine how thrilled and grateful they were? It was such a joy to see them so happy.

(2) It was a great learning opportunity for the kids. Some of the things they learned were:

  • how hard it is to earn money, and to make a profit in real life business.
  • using the resources they already had to earn something they wanted
  • food safety 
  • manners - I was a little surprised by the amount of children who walked up to ask for lemonade without using the word "please", and upon being handed a cup took it without saying a word, much less "thank you", walked away, and then threw the cup in the grass after finishing the lemonade. I am not talking about toddlers, either, but rather older children and young teens. I think it really demonstrated to our kids that there is a reason why we teach them to say "please" and "thank you".
  • If you want something, work for and earn it yourself - don't expect others to give it to you. The world does NOT owe you anything.
I won't lie - it would have been a lot easier and faster for my husband or myself to make that amount of money in a lot less time, and buy the kids that playhouse, or zoo membership, or whatever. But I think it is a great learning experience, and a fun memory. 

For now, I just have a splitting headache, and can't wait to get the kids in bed for the night! If I can just find the time and energy to keep helping them until they reach their goal... wish me luck! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Woman loses custody of child for five years for refusing C-section

Article can be found here.

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

March 17, 2011 ( - A New Jersey woman has lost custody of her child for the past five years for refusing to sign a consent form permitting a C-section during her child’s birth, according to an exclusive report published by Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper.
The Daily Mail reports that the woman, whose initials are given as VM, was accused of child abuse by staff of St. Barnabas Hospital of New Jersey for refusing to sign the document, despite the fact that VM agreed to submit to the operation if it later became necessary.

Although VM’s judgment turned out to be correct, and she gave birth naturally through her birth canal to a healthy baby child, her child was taken away by authorities.

After years of judicial proceedings, in which the trial judge and an appellate court upheld the decision to deprive VM of her child, she finally received a favorable ruling on a second appeal. The case was remanded to the lower court judge, who still must issue a revised ruling.  VM’s husband, whose initials are BG, has also been deprived of custody.

In overturning the lower court ruling, the New Jersey Superior Court reportedly stated, “Termination [of parental rights] is among the most extraordinary remedies that can be exercised by a court. We must insist that the remedy be reserved for those instances where the state meets the extraordinary burden imposed by the law.”

It adds: “That burden has not been met here.”

Wow. So much to say on this one. In a country that allows the unborn child to be murdered up until the moment of birth, under the guise of "a woman's right to choose" and "my body, my choice", this is a disgusting display of hypocrisy. So it's not okay to have a natural birth, if a doctor considers it dangerous, even though his true and only concern is a malpractice suit, and his insurance company dropping him. But killing the child is fine if the parents don't want it.

Having a repeat cesarean has a greater risk of mortality and morbidity than the minute chances of uterine rupture. If there is a dead or injured mom or baby, traditionally, courts have ruled in favor of physicians if they performed a c-section, and against them if they instead cautiously observed and waited. So in spite of the fact that performing the surgery leads to more harm done than not performing the surgery, the first is considered "doing everything in their power to save the baby/mother", and therefore usually is ruled in the physician's favor. The health of mother and baby is not the main concern - the doctor's medical license is. Erring on the side of caution to them means performing an almost always unnecessary cesarean, whereas erring on the side of caution regarding the mother/child would be to observe and wait.

This is not an isolated, rare case. I have blogged on court-ordered cesareans before. There was a case like that in Arizona a little over one year ago, and another one of a mother whose baby was taken at birth after she refused to sign the consent form for the surgery (her baby was eventually returned to her - I was unable to retrieve the news article on that). It goes back to government officials thinking that they know better what is in the best interest of our own children, even though they would never have a fraction of the love that normal parents feel for their children toward those same children. Are there parents who hate and abuse their children? Certainly. However, they are not the kind who fight tooth and nail to protect their unborn child from the risks of unnecessary surgery. They are more likely the kind who will get an abortion, which of course, is not only legal, but funded by the government. 

Sadly, this further proves my point that the hospital is the worst place to have a baby. Is it sometimes necessary to transfer to the hospital, or even to have a cesarean? Certainly, but those life-or-death cases are very, very rare. Do you think all elderly people should live at a hospital in case they suffer a heart attack? That would be silly. Yet, labor offers many more warning signs of things turning in an undesired direction, so there is time to transfer if necessary. It's not like at the hospital, the surgical team is just standing by every laboring woman's bedside, scrubbed clean and suited up for surgery, with the OR clean and available, and the team of nurses ready and waiting, just in case something should go wrong. If there is a need to transfer, the midwife usually calls when the parents are getting in the car and leaving home, and likely they will arrive at the hospital before the surgeon and OR are even ready for them. Cases like this, however, will make parents LESS likely to transfer, worsening the situation if there is a true medical emergency. Going to the hospital is so dangerous, it becomes a last ditch, desperate effort when pretty much all other options have been exhausted. It ought not be like that. Women should make the choice to birth at home because of preference, not because going to the hospital is such a dangerous option.

Click here to read about another case of a newborn baby being stolen from the parents by government officials at the hospital.

This post is not about the question of home vs. hospital birth. It is about government overstepping their bounds and abusing their power to prove a point, intimidate, coerce, harass, and injure (both physically, and emotionally). 

What are your thoughts on this?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A nice day

Wow, it's been such a wonderful day so far. And that in spite of the fact that I stayed up until 2 am last night finishing up my previous blog post, and then got up only slightly later than usual, just after 7 am. For some reason, because the public schools are on spring break this week, I keep telling myself "It's spring break, after all!", even though our homeschool is going full speed ahead.

Speaking of homeschooling, we are just finishing up on week 18, meaning that we are halfway through our "school year". Considering I have a little baby, I am very happy with the progress we have been making, and how quickly we got back into the swing of things after the birth. I like to have somewhat of a plan and schedule, so at the beginning of the year I predetermined how much each of the kids had to do in math and language studies (grammar, spelling, penmanship, reading, composition) each week. Those are the only subjects they each study on their own level (Pre-K, 1st, 3rd, and 5th). John is finally reading fluently, although he is still lacking the motivation to want to read the way Solomon and Isaac devour books. Miriam is just starting to blend letters together and reading simple blends, something she is doing very well with. All her life, she has been unable to say the "k" sound. Well, this week, she suddenly figured out how to say it! It was kind of sad, especially for my husband who thought she sounded very cute with her "speech impediment". The only letter she still can't pronounce is "g", but I'm sure she'll figure it out, soon.

Miriam loves sorting things, so I knew she would love this educational shape game I found at the thrift store today for just over $1.

 She color-matched these treat platters (reinforcement rings) with plastic spoons, felt goodies, and hair clips.

All other subjects (history, science, geography, crafts, German, etc.) we work on together, and use "Cantering the Country" as our springboard. We have been going so in-depth on the individual states that we are still only on our 4th state so far (New Hampshire) in the last two months. There is just so much interesting stuff to learn about. We have covered whales/whaling, logging, fishing, animals that live in the Atlantic Ocean, various biographies of famous people, poetry, the American Revolution, and so much more. I love being a home educator because it gives me the opportunity to read and learn about new things every week, rather than working a monotonous job day in, day out.

Have I mentioned what an EASY baby Anna is? Seriously, I am getting very, very spoiled with her. She is content to perch in her bouncer and watch the action around her, and then just dozes off to sleep. The only time she fusses is when she is hungry, and then she eats quickly, and goes to sleep. She stays asleep for 2-3 hour stretches several times throughout the day, and goes to sleep for the night right around the same time as the older kids do. I do not put her on any sort of schedule, that is just the pattern that she very kindly has fallen into all on her own. Very mellow and laid back, and always smiling. She sucks on her own thumb or lower lip for comfort, which is not only cute, but also very convenient. I could go on gushing about my precious baby, but I'll spare you. It is so fun to see how much joy she spreads wherever I take her - people are naturally drawn to little babies and get so happy to be around them. She has been a very easy "addition". 

 There was a day when ISAAC fit into this little sleeper gown! Sad, but true!

 One of my favorite pictures, ever. I just LOVE her toesies!

 Yes, she definitely has a tinge of red in her hair.

Sucking her thumb in her sleep

So to back up, I made doughnuts for breakfast today. I have tried my luck at them before, but they never come out as fluffy and light as the ones from the store. The recipe I tried today was an absolute hit - the best doughnuts ever, hands down. I did need quite a bit more flour than the recipe calls for to get my dough to pull into a neat ball, but maybe my buttermilk was unusually runny because I cultured it myself from raw milk.

 Frosted with a simple powdered sugar glaze

After breakfast, I took the girls to the thrift store to buy summer clothes while the boys stayed home to do their math and English (with Dad, who had paperwork to do). Can you believe it's been mid 70s to low 90s in the day time here? Definitely time to retire the warm clothes! I had a 30% off coupon for my entire purchase, plus it was half off day today, so I got a ton of really cute clothes for all six of them. I also found the first 31 books of the "Nancy Drew" mystery stories, brand new. The boys have been devouring the "Hardy Boys" books, and I knew the girls would enjoy reading these in a few more years. The books came out to just over a dollar each, which is about a third of the price we have been paying at the used book store for the "Hardy Boys". There were a bunch of other really cool non-fiction books I scored for the kids. We now have so many that I am seriously thinking about cataloging the books according to the Dewey decimal system. It sure would make it easier to quickly find a book on whatever subject we are covering that week. Ridiculous, huh? :)

Probably my favorite find today was a waffle cone maker. I have been looking for one on craigslist for at least 6 months now, to no avail. The only ones for sale were commercial ones ($200 and up), and one for home use that they were trying to sell for only $5 less than it costs new at the store. I am of the opinion that if I am buying something used (i.e. no warranty, can't return it, not new, etc.) I will at the most pay 50% of the original price. The lady was adamant about not going down on the price, even though the listing eventually expired without her ever selling it. Humph! But wouldn't you know it, I found one at the thrift store today that came out to $4 after my coupon!! All so I can make my own (partially) whole grain, organic waffle cones at home. I mean, if you are going to eat ice cream every day in the summer, you might as well make it HEALTHY, right?? No, truth is, we love waffle cones, but they are pretty expensive to buy ready made.

To top it all off, when we got back home, there were TWO packages waiting for me! One was for my birthday from my husband's mom, and one was for the whole family all the way from Australia, filled with yummy goodies. THANK YOU!! This is the second very awesome package we have received this week as part of "Cantering the Country" - more on that in a later post!

Speaking of all these treats, I am now officially trying to lose the last few pregnancy pounds. As it stands, I am only 6 lbs above my pre-pregnancy weight, but I could stand to lose at least another 20. I do Weight Watchers between all my pregnancies. After achieving goal weight on program several babies ago, I get to go to the meetings for free. Sometimes I manage to lose all the weight between pregnancies, and sometimes I don't, it all depends on how soon I get pregnant again. When Becky was Anna's age, I weighed 20 lbs more than I do now, so I feel like I have a good chance of reaching my goal weight again this time around. 

Now it is "silent time" in our house, which means that the girls are napping, and the boys were quietly reading and playing, until they talked me into letting them go swimming (the pool water is in the mid-60s... brrr!). We'll probably go to the library later this afternoon, and pick up a couple of groceries while out. 
Have I mentioned how much I love my life, and being a mommy to these many blessings??? Wow, so much to be thankful for!! Have a wonderful weekend with your loved ones!

Hyperemesis gravidarum and being open to children

Recently, a reader whom I have met in real life left the following comment on my blog:

How do you handle your family and your home while dealing with repeat hyperemesis? I would love another child, but my fear of HG and the knowledge that I can't take care of my others, makes me so fearful of embracing being open to children. I would love to hear your thoughts on that.

It is such a good question, I thought I'd answer it in a blog post of its own.

For starters, I would like to explain (for those who have never been unfortunate enough to experience it firsthand) how bad hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is. It is morning sickness, multiplied a thousand times. It is a lot like food poisoning, except that  it lasts months instead of one day, and never lets up. It means throwing up a dozen times or more, every day - sometimes up until the baby is born. It means getting sick from the mention of any food, or driving past a restaurant, or even just getting an ad for one in the mail. It means that any stimulation to the senses is a trigger for more nausea (smells, tastes, loud noise or repetitive sounds, busy patterns, heat/cold, being touched, etc.). It means having a sore and often bleeding throat from all the bile that is traveling the wrong direction. It means wanting to lie alone in a cool, dark, quiet room all day, and not being able to. It means time dragging on excruciatingly slowly, and forgetting that you ever used to feel "normal".

Hyperemesis is terrible in every way imaginable. Some moms have it much worse than that yet, and require aggressive medical care and supervision. At its best, moms suffering from hyperemesis are horribly miserable and depressed. At its worst, they would rather die than have to live another day in such utter misery. On the hyperemesis spectrum, I am happy that I never have it as bad as some moms I have read/heard about. I throw up 10-20 times per day between weeks 5 and 16, at which point I usually have a very enjoyable and carefree rest of my pregnancy. The nausea takes its toll on my throat and teeth (i.e. very expensive dental bills), but much more than that, on my emotional well being. When it's all over, I suffer from what could probably be categorized as post-traumatic stress disorder: disbelief at what I've just been through, relief that it's over, and fear that it might ever happen again. It takes a good while to get over it - I still feel somewhat shook up from my most recent bout of HG with Anna's pregnancy.

So why in the world would any sane person knowingly go through something so unpleasant? At the risk of sounding cliche - because it's all worth it. As I sit and hold my baby, smell her little head, brush across her downy hair with my lips, I slowly heal and forget about the misery that being pregnant caused. I would be willing to pay a much higher price than that to have her. Like most any parent, if I had to, I would gladly give my life for her. 

The first aspect I would like to address is faith. Faith is seeing the invisible, and knowing that something is true even though we have no physical evidence of it. When you are first pregnant, there is not much physical evidence of that child, other than the nausea. Especially with a first child, we may not realize how happy we will be when we eventually get to meet our child. It takes faith to put up with months and months of misery and physical illness in hopes of getting something wonderful in return almost a year later. 

Secondly is a conviction that regardless of whether something is easy or not, if we are commanded to do it in the Bible, we must obey God. Now, long before I was a Christian I always dreamed of having a large family because I love babies, children, and everything to do with homemaking. I am not having babies because I have to, but because I want to. But even if I didn't feel that way, I would still have to obey the Bible on this matter, or else be in sin. This post is not to prove that birth control is unscriptural. Suffice is to say that such is my conviction based on the Bible, so it really doesn't matter if that is something I feel like obeying or not, or how hard it will be to obey. If the Bible commands us to leave family size in God's hands, then that is what we have to do. It is no longer a question of preference.

Ironically, having what may seem to some such a "restrictive" or "oppressive" viewpoint is actually extremely liberating. It takes all responsibility of this decision making off us parents and places it squarely on God.
 In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. (Proverbs 14:26)

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
(Heb 10:35-36)

I do not have to worry about whether I am short-changing my husband and the other children because for 5 months out of every two years I am too sick to cook all their favorite foods, take them out of the house much, play a lot with them, or even read out loud. I have complete faith that if I obey God to the best of my ability, He will take my imperfections and fill in the gaps as needed. Many Christians understand this concept when it comes to parenting, providing for our families financially, and other areas of our Christian life. Trusting God with our fertility is no different: we do our best, and leave God the rest. If He is putting us through a trial, we can rest assured that He will help us through it, and that we will be better of because of it.

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
(Rom 5:3-4)

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
(2Co 12:7-10)

So to answer the original question (some of this post has branched into other aspects), how I handle the home and the family: I don't, at least not to my usual standards. But I realize that there are seasons in life, and while I may be serving my family a different hot cooked meal thrice daily right now, they might have to live off oatmeal for a while next year this time. In the end, God will see to it that it all evens up.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Just popping in for a second to apologize for not posting, and for not responding to questions left in the comments. I am hoping to catch a breath sometime later tonight, or (more likely) later this week. Between taking care of the family, doing laundry (until midnight last night - but I got it ALL done!!), translating an article, and making the prizes for the felt food giveaway, this week is just slipping away much too fast! 

I have added a few new blogs to my blog roll on the right. Click over and check them out, and leave a nice comment while you are there. I know I am encouraged by reading other ladies' blogs, and have learned so much. I am really thankful for all of you who take the time to blog and let us "peek" into your life and learn from you.

Best news so far today: I got my camera's lens back from repair! It was covered by the warranty, and I can't believe that it went so fast! They had to send the lens off to Nikon, and yet, I got it back in a little over one week. Very happy indeed! Of course, who did I immediately have to capture on film before she adds another inch (or roll of baby fat) overnight? Anna, of course. She is one very sweet and easy baby - she just goes to sleep lying on the sofa like that, all the noise and chaos around her notwithstanding. Actually, I think she likes it, because she wakes up if it is too quiet. 

Johnny said something really funny about her today. He told me: "Mommy, Anna is really polite. Every time I start talking to her, she stops cooing." Three months old and well-mannered! Ha!

More later (I hope).

P.S. Dear friend (you know who you are), did you know that Moon Sand is listed as one of the top 10 passive aggressive presents for parents? I guess it's official - you really, secretly, hate me.

P.P.S. Dear other friend (you know who you are), did you notice that list also mentions stink bombs?

P.P.P.S. Dear all other friends, for the sake of my sanity, please refrain from giving the kids any of the other gifts suggested on that list. They will be majorly bummed, and I will be eternally grateful. Just kidding! I think...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Announcing the felt giveaway winners!

There were a total of 86 qualifying comments. Because I had said I would give out one set per every 40 entries, a total of three sets were up for grabs. I used to pick three random numbers, which were 11, 15, and 37:

Comment 11:

Comment 15:

Comment 37:

Congratulations to the winners! Please leave me a comment below with your email address (it will not be published) and letting me know which set you would like. I will get in touch with you via email to get your mailing address. 

Sorry to those who entered and didn't win. This was so much fun, I am sure I will host another similar giveaway very soon! Thank you for participating!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Legoland trip

Last week, our family took a 2-day trip to Legoland in California. The park is a good 6 hour drive from our house, which is a ways, but it's always worth it. We left our house very early the first morning and drove home very late the second day, which made it easier with the kids. Anna, our little homebody, did well on the trip. I had been nervous about her because while she is a perfect angel at home, she does not like being away from the house for any length of time.



 Becky was absolutely terrified of this costumed guy







 Anna has started sucking her fingers and thumb


 "Hey, Mom!" :)





Don't forget about the giveaway - it ends this Sunday!