January 31, 2012

The World Education Games 2012

Wow!  Time flies.  I can not believe the time is almost here to start practice for The World Education Games 2012.

If you are looking for a great way to put a little lift in your school year or you want those youngins to brush up on some skills check out World Education games.

Our kids have participated the last few years and now look forward to it each spring.  I am amazed at how much they learn in just a short time and what an improvement it makes in their recall of math facts.  Plus, it is fun!

The games are scheduled for March 6, 7 and 8.

March 6, 2012 World Spelling Day
March 7, 2012 World Maths Day
March 8, 2012 World Science Day

A few things to keep in mind.

~The official games don't begin until March.
~Practice begins on February 1st.  On that day the website is open to public.  This is an excellent website and usually costs quite a bit.  (With the discount they offered me, it would still have cost more than $50 per student.)  We are grateful to take advantage of this free time period.
~You must be registered before the start of the games.  Typically, registration closes the day before the start of the games.
~You can read my other posts about it by clicking on this link.   Be sure to scroll down to catch all the posts.
~More information can be found at this blog  here.

So mark your calendars.  We hope to see you at the games!

January 30, 2012

Evaluating Goals

Come December 31st it seems everyone is making resolutions for the next year.  I have found rarely does anyone follow through with these past the first week or so.  And why should a person even think they will?  If you couldn't stick to your diet in 2011, why would someone think they are suddenly going to have a huge resolve to stick to it in 2012?  I don't make resolutions.

In fact, I usually end up chuckling to myself when someone lays out for me their resolutions for the next year.  Especially, when they have no plan to get them through it.

And speaking of plans, I can't help but laugh when someone lays out for me their long term plans for their whole life.  They are going to go to school here... and then get a job here... and get married when they are this old... live here... have this many kids... who happen to be spaced this far apart... etc... Ha!  It has been my experience that rarely do things turn out the way we plan.

There are really two scenarios I have seen when it comes to planners.  People whose plans work out exactly as they wanted.  These people are typically unhappy in life.  It seems they are also always looking forward to the next thing instead of enjoying the beauty in where they are.

Then there are the people who made all their plans and find they are no where they wanted to be, and so they are miserable.

No, I don't make plans for life.  I learned early on that the Lord has it all figured out and I am much happier if I just look to Him for His will in my life and then expect that He will lead me there, if I choose to follow.

And how do I determine what that is?  Through a lot of prayer and time in the word.  I have a busy life.  That is just how it is.  I love every minute of it.  I love being where the Lord wants me to be.  I love the excitement of seeing where He will take me tomorrow and the next day and the day after that.  And I love the thrill of discovering how He will get me there.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I do not go about life willy nilly.  When it comes to running our household and home school, I plan menus and make shopping lists.  When it comes to vacation and family events, I think ahead and makes lists and schedules and plans.  What I mean here is the overall goals for my life.  I find it is best simply left to the Lord.

So how do I know where I am to be from moment to moment?  It is His word.  So the one long term goal I like to set each January 1st is how I will spend my time with the Lord for the next twelve months.

This is what I wrote on the first page of my Bible study notebook for 2012
 ~Personal study and prayer time at 7 am including reading the daily passage from a devotion book given to me for Christmas
~Family Bible reading at 8 am using the 2012 Daily Bible reading plan.  This plan includes a daily passage from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs.  We will complete the Old Testament once, the New Testament and Psalms twice, and Proverbs 13 times.
~Read through the Bible 1x each month to complete the Bible in its entirety 12 times.
~Study through the Narrow Way with the family at evening devotions.
~Continue a chronological study through the Bible with the children in circle time, using Abeka Flash-A-Cards.  Picking up with Joshua.
~Continue with FBI starting over in Semester I with Creation, The Life of Christ, and the study of Theology of God and the Bible
~Memorize one verse daily
~Continue discipleship with the young lady the Lord has put in my care as well as asking the Lord for someone else He would have me disciple this year.  
For me the important aspects of these goals is to seek the Lord's will and be specific as to how and when I will work on them.  And then I ask the Lord to help me to accomplish each goal.  For example, I don't just say I will read my Bible this year, I set a specific time and location to do so each morning.  The alarm on my phone is set to go off and remind me that it is time to meet with the Lord.

There is one more thing I find so important in reaching goals.  Don't wait until the first of December to see if you have reached them.  Have a regular time of checking up to see how you are doing.  That way goals can be reevaluated.  If it is difficult to reach a goal then I can determine if I have set an unrealistic goal or am I not doing what I should be to reach it.

For example, Emma and I are reading through our Bible each month.  Here it is the 30th of January.  So I must ask myself how am I doing?  I am only on the book of Mark and it is unlikely I will be able to finish come the end of Tuesday.

So, I am evaluating did I set an unrealistic goal?  Have I done what I can to reach that goal?  Is there another way I could work on it?  Is it serving me well or should I do away with it altogether?  How will I proceed for the rest of the year?

Emma will be finished tomorrow and we took on this task as a family in 2010.  So I do not feel it is an unrealistic goal.

I am spending 3-4 hours a day reading so I do believe I am giving a serious effort to reaching my goal.

Another way I have worked on it is to listen to the Bible on my kindle in addition to reading.  I also have the Bible on my phone.  That allows me to read/listen when I am sitting in the parking lot waiting for Allen, nursing the baby or taking a bath.

I do believe this goal is serving me well.  I love being so absorbed in the word of God.  It fills most of the time when I am not directly interacting with someone else.  

So I ask myself do I want to just continue to the end of the Bible and then start over again or should I start back at Genesis 1 on February 1st?   I have decided I will start over at the beginning on February 1st, even if I have not finished through Revelation

So, here at the end of January, I want to take a quick glimpse at my goals.

I have been able to follow through with all, so far.  The one exception is the family devotion time in the evening.  We do study the Narrow Way some evenings following dinner.  However, dinner time is dedicated to discussing what everyone else has studied that day.  Quite often we end up in a deep conversation pertaining to someone's study.  We have a great exchange of ideas and find lots of personal and family applications during these talks.  And quite often those discussions go on so long that we find it is 8:00 or later and time for the youngers to go to bed.  So, while I do want to continue with this study, I am okay if it goes slower than we planned because I think this discussion time is an invaluable resource to our whole family.    

My favorite new thing this year  is daily memory verses.  My friend Dawn got me started on this and it has been such a blessing.  She and I are often talking about how difficult it is for us to memorize scripture.  So, when she wrote her pastor had given her a book of daily Bible verses for a year I asked her if I could join her.  (Ladies, note another important aspect to reaching your goals... accountability.)  Each morning, Dawn texts me the verse for the day.  I write it under my personal study for the day and try to have it memorized before lunch time.  I have been able to do this almost every day.  As only the Lord can do, I often find the verse lines up with what is going on that day and/or with some other study I am doing that day.  Yesterday's verse, for example, was the one being taught in the Sunday school lesson.  Sometimes we discuss the verse via text and sometimes we will text the verse to each other from memory once we have it down.  Ideally, I would like to remember all 366 verses for the year, but for me that is an unrealistic goal.  I just know historically my memory is not that good.  However, I am still finding many blessings in this daily practice.

So there is my evaluation for this month.  What are your Bible reading goals for 2012?  How are you working on them?  And, now that we are 1/12th into the year, how are you doing?

January 29, 2012

Come Worship With Us

No church home to visit today?  Stuck at home sick?  Wondering what it is those Christians do, anyway?  Join us in worship via live stream.  Follow the steps to check it out.

Sunday January 29, 2012
10:00 AM
No Evening Service This Week

1.  Go here and click on the Live Stream tab.
3.  Click on the play arrow in the middle of the video box.  They usually have the live streaming up a few minutes before service starts.  If it isn't up when you open the page click on the arrow in a few more minutes.
4.  You can click the 4 arrows in the bottom right hand corner of the viewing window to make the picture full screen.  To return to the viewing box size, tap your computers ESCAPE key.

If you would like to learn more about VBC you can visit our website here and Facebook page here.

I'd love for you to leave a comment and let me know that you were here today.  Leave your questions and contact info and I will get back to you.  Or, as always, if you prefer a private discussion, click my email button on the side bar.

January 28, 2012

What Will Others Write About You?

I rarely read the newspaper. I have found, even our local small town newspaper is more about sensationalizing tragic events to boost circulation and less about reporting the facts people need to know. I found it sad and distressing. Each morning the kids would collect the newspaper on their morning rounds to take out trash and feed the animals. When I came out it would be laying neatly on the coffee table waiting to be read. I would scan the headlines, knowing it was unlikely I would find time to read it cover to cover like I did in my single days. I noticed the headlines were becoming more and more sordid. I tend to internalize what is going on in the lives of others and in world events and found myself becoming more and more discouraged after reading the paper. Then, when I saw Aedan reading the paper one morning, I started thinking about our young children seeing that first thing each day. If it was overwhelming to me, I can't imagine what effect it would have on our six year old readers. 

That is when we decided not to renew our subscription to the newspaper. Allen reads all the news on the internet and I figure if there is something I need to know about, he will fill me in.  This system has worked out well for me and our family.

 Once in a while, I still come across a newspaper when staying in a hotel or we might pick one up if there is some important event we want to read about. I skim the headlines quickly. But what I really like to read are the obituaries. You might think that is morbid but it is quite the opposite.

A well written obituary is the celebration of a life well lived. Notice I say well-written. I find it pathetic when I see the obituary of someone who lived to be 90 years old and all the obituary said is how Mary liked to play Bingo and listen to country music. And then there is a long list of all her children and grandchildren. Now seriously, when I see one such as that, I stop and wonder how sad that she had so many years on the earth and she had no impact at all. Alternately, one wonders how sad Mary could raise so many offspring and they can't put a little more effort into reporting on her life. Because in the long run, who cares about Country music and Bingo?

But sometimes you come across a beautifully written obituary that encourages me to reflect on my life and evaluate what I am doing to impact the world. Once in a while, I read an obituary that challenges me to take a good look and make changes. To stop and smell the roses. In short to make the most of every moment in this life on earth.

We had a darling friend who lived to be well into her 90's.  She had a large family.  After one of her great-great grandchildren was born I asked her how many she had all together now.  She said, "Kathleen, you know I don't know.  But I have been working on writing my obituary so I anticipate I will be able to count them all up once I've written all their names down.  Grandma, that's what everyone called her, went home to be with Jesus shortly after.  We celebrated at her funeral.  Hers was a life well lived.

On Monday the father of our friend passed into eternity.  We had the opportunity to meet this gentleman and had been the recipient of his kindness many years ago.  We had also been blessed by the gift he passed on to his children and grandchildren who also exhibit a heart for serving others, even if those others are perfect strangers.

I was awestruck the first year we lived here and one son and his children came and spent an entire Saturday helping us split and stack firewood for the winter.  Allen and I had never met them before they showed up at our door.  An hour from their home to boot.  We had the three girls and baby Nathaniel at the time.  I was Allen's official helper when it came to the job.  Since I was pregnant with Aedan, I couldn't do much to help out.

This man not only lived a life worth reporting about, he created a legacy that will go on by the example he set.  I was exhorted and encouraged by what my girlfriend's husband, this man's son-in-law, had to say in his email regarding Mr. Frederickson.

*As I do with many emails or letters I share here, I have corrected typos and spelling errors.*

All, 
Yesterday morning (1/23/2012), Jeannette's father passed away at his home in Gaithersburg, MD after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer's Disease. G. Merritt Frederickson was 74 years old. He was a loyal husband to my mother-in-law for 54 years, a great father to Jeannette, a fine father-in-law to me, and a caring grandfather to our children. 
Many of you met him when he and I my mother-in-law would come for Cantatas and piano recitals. He was a strong supporter of his grandchildren, visiting often and attending activities. 
He was well-known for setting aside his agenda on short-notice and helping anyone that needed it, whether it was for car-repair, playset-building, wood-splitting, helping people move, offering temporary housing in his home, or even helping to build a house. 
He attended church all of his life, even meeting his wife-to-be there at the age of eight years. He enjoyed being active, involved, and assisting others. He will be missed greatly by his family, friends, and church,

Larry

My dear readers what will your obituary say?  


January 27, 2012

Taco Soup

I got this recipe from Laura at Goose Hill Farms.  It is such a fabulous recipe.  I was sending it to my girl friend last night and thought I should share it here.  Something this good and this easy should not be kept to oneself.  I've altered the recipe a little with my own notes.

For the vegetarians out there, this is great without the meat, too.  I have used different types of beans depending on what I have in the pantry.

1 lb ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans navy beans, drained
1 can pinto beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can chicken broth
1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1 pkg taco seasoning

Brown meat and onion, drain. Add remaining ingredients.  Cover and cook on low for approximately 3-4 hours. You can put this in the crock pot and cook all day. When we were in a hurry we put it on the stove and cooked it til it was heated through and it was good, too.

We serve it with cheese and sour cream on top.  At the table we pass tortilla chips for dipping.  We also pass hot sauce and jalapenos.

Laura, thanks for this great recipe!

January 26, 2012

Pizza Soup

A friend of mine gave me this recipe years ago.  I was sharing this recipe with a friend yesterday and thought I should just pop it up here.  It is such an easy recipe and oh so delicious.

~1 jar (14 oz) or 2 cups of pizza sauce,  pasta sauce, or tomato sauce
~1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped or 1 bag frozen bell peppers
~1/2 red onion, chopped or 3 Tablespoon dry minced onion
~1 cup sliced mushrooms or 1 can
~ 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
~ 1 pound cooked Italian sausage, crumbled
~1 cup sliced pepperoni, cut in quarters or salami cut into small pieces
~8 fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 1/2 T dried)
~1 T dried oregano
~1 package pasta, cooked and set aside... I like acini di pepe for this but any small pasta will work.
~shredded mozzarella cheese for serving

Put all ingredients except pasta and cheese in crock pot.  You  may need to add some water or stock if it is not soupy enough.  Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours.   This is really already cooked, so you are just blending the flavors.  What does that mean?  If you need it sooner, it can be served anytime it is heated through.  This can also be done on the stove top.

To serve:  put pasta in the bottom of soup bowls.  Ladle soup over top.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Make a lot.  Your family will be looking for more.

January 25, 2012

You've Got to Do Better Than That!

Rowenta Inc.
2199 Eden Rd
Millville, NJ 08332

To Whom It May Concern:

In January of 2010 we purchased a Rowenta DG5030 Pressure Iron and Steamer from Amazon.com. Knowing Rowenta’s outstanding reputation for quality, we did not think twice about spending $159.00 for it. This was a replacement for my Rowenta traditional iron, which had seen me through ten years of service.  We chose this particular model because it was the top pick of Consumer Reports.  When it arrived a few days latter we were very impressed by both the efficiency and quality performance.  The time spent ironing for our family of nine was reduced dramatically by this new appliance.

We started experiencing issues with the steam chamber a few months later. As it was still under a one year warranty, we contacted your customer service unit; who, after many calls back and forth, agreed to send it to an authorized Rowenta repair center.  Four months later, we still had not received the iron back.  We contacted the company who was doing the repairs. They informed us they were still waiting on parts and it would be two more weeks until it was repaired.  We received it two months later.  


It was still not working properly.  Not wanting to go through the long repair process again and be without it for an unknown amount of months, we opted to just use it as it was.  


Last week the lid of the steam chamber blew off while it was in use. This is an obvious breach of safety as it could have very easily hit and injured the user, who happened to be my twelve year old daughter.  If the flying lid was not dangerous enough, there is the concern of burns that could have been caused by the release of the pressurized steam. Thinking we had not done a sufficient job placing the cap on, we took special care putting it on a second time. The same thing happened again, leading us to believe it is a manufacturer’s error. 


We contacted the customer service line again, who informed us that product was out of warranty and we were out of luck.  (Note it had spent six months in the repair center and yet no exception was made to the warranty time period.)  


We debated whether to purchase a standard iron to replace it.  However, because it did such a good job, when it was working, and was still the top pick of Consumer Reports, we decided to invest in another Rowenta Steam Generating Iron.  At Amazon.com I spent another $159.  


One month later, water started running out of the steam chamber.  I called the customer service line again and was informed that your company is aware of the defect in this product.  And if I send it to the authorized repair center it will be fixed and sent back to me.  I have several reservations to this response.  #1 I do not want to be without the iron for another six months.  #2 The authorized repair center doesn't seem to know how to fix the problem.  #3  For more than $300, I don't think I should have one that is "repaired"  I think a brand new item or a refund would be a more adequate response.  #4 I am highly disturbed that a name seamstresses have come to trust should continue to sell an item that you KNOW is defective and could be a danger to the user.  I could get that kind of cheap junk out of China for much less.


Come on, you have got to do better than that!

Regards,
Kathleen Wachter

January 24, 2012

Football is a Family Affair

Our family are huge football fans.  We root for three basic teams.  St. Louis, the Redskins and the Ravens.

We all arrived at our respective teams in different ways.  I was raised in Redskins territory when the good folk of Maryland were still stinging at the Colts abandoning Baltimore for greener pastures.  While the other girls were hanging out at the mall, my girl friend and I from grade school would spend Sunday afternoon in her basement watching the Skins while doing homework.  

Allen became a die hard Rams fan when he was five years old and popped a quarter into the chicken machine at the grocery store.  Do you know what I mean?  Those vending machines by the front of the store where you can get prizes and candy?  When we were kids the market in town, where everyone did their shopping, had one with a chicken that would spin and bawk.  Out popped an egg looking thing with a prize.  Allen happened to get a helmet with the LA Rams on it.  He has never looked  back.  He is one loyal fan.  He had to wait until he was more than 30 years old and they had moved to St. Louis before he ever saw the team have a winning season.  And it has been down hill since.  Yet, he faithfully watches the games when they are aired locally and he follows every detail of the team on the internet.

He started when the boys were young to make them devoted fans, too.  When Nathaniel was just a few weeks old he sat on Allen's lap watching the Rams lose the Super Bowl to the Patriots.  (It later came out that the Patriots cheated at this game.  They were fined but the title was not revoked.  Yes, as a St. Louis household we are still bitter about that.)  The boys wore Allen's John Cappelleti jersey from when he was a boy until they could no longer squeeze into it.  Elisabeth wears that now.  I am sure Carmella will have it on before too long.

When Brianna was a preschooler and we were riding high on the Rams  "Greatest Show on Turf"  and their star quarter back, Kurt Warner, Brianna decided she needed a team.  Her favorite color was purple so she narrowed it down to the Vikings or the, then new, Baltimore team.  She chose the Ravens.  Which was a good choice because it is much easier to get Ravens stuff than it is Rams paraphernalia.

Which is no small matter around here.  That Christmas Allen gave Brianna a Shannon Sharp shirt.  It only came in men's sizes, but she has proudly worn it game after game for more than ten years now.
A few years ago, Brianna was trying to win someone, anyone, over to the Ravens side.  Samuel told her he had to be a Rams fan because he only had a Rams shirt.  She decided she was going to change all that.  For Christmas she gave each of the kids Ravens Jerseys.  Her evil ploy worked.  Samuel, who adores his big sister, became a Ravens fan.  Although, he still happily wears his Rams shirt, too, he calls himself a Ravens fan.

And so the Jersey wars began.  Allen keeps everyone stocked in Rams goods and Brianna makes sure there is a good balance of purple.  While St. Louis stuff is hard to come by, this challenge has its benefits.  A few years ago, we were shopping on eBay to get Nathaniel a Christmas gift.  Through that purchase I met a darling lady in St. Louis, named Shirley.  Not only was I able to buy some shirts for Nathaniel from her for Christmas, on Christmas Eve of that year what should arrive in the mail?  A St. Louis Rams helmet.
Nathaniel was so excited and we were touched by the generosity and kindness of someone we had never met.  It seems, while Rams fans may be few and far between, it is a brotherhood in which the bonds run strong.  Over the years, Shirley and I have exchanged a few emails from time to time and even a Christmas card once in a while.  This Christmas the boys received a package of Rams clothing from this St. Louis angel.

And if you think that is something... Have you ever been out in public and somehow got to talking to someone and it turns out you have both been to the same school or church or something???    You know what I am talking about.  Well, listen to this.

Allen has a Rams cap that he wears pretty much any where he goes that isn't work or church.  And periodically someone will note that he is a Rams fan.  And they get really excited and ask, "Where in St. Louis do you live?"  Allen will tell them he doesn't live in St. Louis.  Then they say something like, "When did you move?"  He replies with a negative that he never lived in St. Louis.  Then they will inquire as to whether he lived in LA.  When he explains that he never lived in LA, either, they ask, "Well, how did you become a Rams fan?"  Because it seems, while the good folk of St. Louis love their Rams, it is unheard of for anyone else to follow them.  We were sitting on a bench at Disney World last fall waiting for our table for lunch when a family of four sitting across from us starting nudging each other and whispering while pointing and staring at us.  I suspected it was the usual, "Look-how-many- kids-they-have.-Can-you-believe-they-don't- know-how-to-stop-that?" kind of talk.  But, no.  Finally, the dad works up the nerve to just ask outright.  "You are Rams fans?"  He said this while waving to the hats Allen and the boys were wearing.  They were in shock to see St. Louis fans outside of the city they were named for.  And happy.  Yes, they seemed genuinely happy that the world at large was being evangelized by this lone missionary of the Rams.  And yes, we will convert anyone.  And we try to start them early.  Good girl Ella, my friend!
Like the bugs that pass around a large family, it seems football is contagious, too.  Emma has a friend who is a twelve year old only child.  She has spent many a day and night in the Wachter home.  Gracie becomes enthusiastic about many things that interest our children.  When they were all making Narnia costumes to enter in the fair, Garcie saved up money to buy fabric and sew a Narnian gown.  And last winter she gathered up her birthday money to invest in a Ravens jersey to match the girls.  Tuesdays, when Gracie comes to visit, is often Jersey Day around here.  Not like the state, but the day when everyone wears their football jerseys... Ravens, Rams or otherwise.

But just because we all like football...  And just because we all like to root for our teams... well, that doesn't mean everyone knows what is going on.  Some people, like Elisabeth, just come for the junk food and opportunity to shout inside.  Even though she has no idea what she is shouting for.  Her view of football cracks me up.  The other week while the family was watching the Steelers vs. Denver, I was upstairs wrapping Nathaniel's birthday gift.  Ellie came upstairs and said, "The bad team is yellow.  They need to get saved because they steal!"  It took about ten minutes for me to figure out what she meant by that because my mind was stuck in the steel mills.

And then there is Kaitlin.  She is our remedial student.  No matter that she has been watching football since she was a baby.  No matter that her Pa and brothers and sister live, eat and breath the sport during the season.  No matter that she loves to lounge about in her team shirt.  She hasn't a clue what the sport is about.  But we are not giving up on her.  She sits in on the games and asks a lot of questions.  As an investment in her marital future, Allen gave her the book "Football for Dummies" a few years ago.  She has read it cover to cover, but I am not sure it helped.  We appreciate that she is a good sport, and we trust that some day there will be just the right fellow to appreciate it, too.

Getting tickets to the local teams is just about impossible, and expensive, too.  But not so with the Rams.  Allen has found it is cheaper get tickets, a rental car, a plane ticket and a hotel for the weekend in St. Louis.  Periodically, he will take one of the kids for a special time and they will fly west for a game and tour of the Arch.  I've never been, myself.  But I understand there is not a whole lot of anything else to see in St. Louis.  But they have fun just doing something special one on one with their Pa.  One time, Allen was even able to take Brianna to St. Louis for a game in which they watched the Ravens and Rams duke it out.

Now, you might think with such a variety of teams, we would have some conflict around here.  But not so.  We do tease each other.  But teasing must be done with kind words and a good-natured heart.  And when someone's team is playing, we all root for them.  It is just a little way we like to show the kids that a family supports one another and takes an interest in what is important to the others.

So, when the Ravens made it to the playoffs, we were all tickled... purple.  Yesterday, the kids decorated the house and Brianna put together a menu of football food with Cowboy Caviar, Pa's famous nachos and of course, wings.  Martha made her mark on the day with these oh so cute cookies.
By the way, TJ, I think Kenna got a bad wrap with those cookies.  I am not really sure she ate three.  As we were cleaning up, look what we found.
 Can you see that?
And what about that?
 I think this is conclusive evidence that she didn't eat three cookies.  Just the heads off of three.
We were excited our friends were able to join us for the little party.  Even if some people happened to be rooting for the Patriots.  (Remember how we feel about them?)
Even though the game didn't turn out as we would have liked.  It was an exciting game.  And we scored a few touchdowns when it comes to family bonding and tying heart strings.  Because, supporting each other means rooting for their team as well as giving comfort when their team looses.
And after all, there is always next year.
What about you?  What is it that your family enjoys doing together?  What hobbies or activities interest your family members that can become family bonding moments?

January 23, 2012

Monday

I have a love and hate relationship with Monday.

On one hand, everyone is tired and sluggish after a busy Sunday and being up late with church on Sunday night.  No one wants to get out of bed.  When they finally get up, it seems to take forever for the kids to get ready for the day and do their chores.  On the other hand, I like to realize that we are worn out from a day well spent with the Lord.

On one hand, it drives me nuts that everything is a mess and the house is not in top form because we have neglected everything all weekend for play and worship.  We come and go on Sunday leaving things where they may fall.  We don't do chores unless absolutely necessary, so the trash cans may be near overflowing, the floors are in need of a vacuum and sweep and the laundry is always spilling out of the hampers.  Then Monday morning, we must face the music.  But on the other hand, I love spending extra time moving about the house putting things in order.  Looking around after a round of chores and tidying is so rewarding!

On one hand, I am sad at the end of another laid back weekend with the family.  But, on the other hand, I love looking forward to a week with a clean slate full of promise and days ahead to get back to the routine of everyday life and home school.

On one hand, I dread knowing that I have class and will be away from the family on Monday night.  There is nothing I enjoy more than a quiet evening at home with the whole family in attendance.  On the other hand, I look forward to getting to FBI and visiting with my classmates, hearing the word of God, and digging into my studies... and a date with my sweetheart, of course.

What about you?  Do you love or hate Mondays?

PS... Please let me know if you stopped by to Live Stream Worship. Tell me what you thought.  If you would like me to make it a regular post on this blog or if you think there is something else that would be a more beneficial Sunday feature.

January 22, 2012

Worship With Us

No church home to visit today?  Stuck at home sick?  Wondering what it is those Christians do, anyway?  Join us in worship via live stream.  Follow the steps to check it out.

Sunday January 23, 2012
10:30 AM
5:00 PM

1.  Go here and click on the Live Stream tab.
3.  Click on the play arrow in the middle of the video box.  They usually have the live streaming up a few minutes before service starts.  If it isn't up when you open the page click on the arrow in a few more minutes.
4.  You can click the 4 arrows in the bottom right hand corner of the viewing window to make the picture full screen.  To return to the viewing box size, tap your computers ESCAPE key.

If you would like to learn more about VBC you can visit our website here and Facebook page here.

I'd love for you to leave a comment and let me know that you were here today.  Leave your questions and contact info and I will get back to you.  Or, as always, if you prefer a private discussion, click my email button on the side bar.

January 21, 2012

Redirected

Instead of the post I was going to put up today,  I would like to redirect you to Julianne's blog at Between the Lines.  Julianne is a talented writer who loves the Lord and shares His word and her heart with poetic beauty.  Today my friend shares a message that everyone needs to hear.  I particularly hope that all those young women who read my blog will take time to read this.  But don't stop there.  Her message will serve every one who reads it and takes it to heart.

Hugs,

Kat

And if you would like more reading on this topic... after I published this post, I popped over to my dashboard and read this post at Lynette's blog, Dancing Again.  It fit so well with the message Julianne was trying to share, I was flabbergasted.  It is hard to believe these two ladies didn't plan it.  I don't think they have ever met.  In fact, I don't even think they read each other's blogs.  But there you have it.  When the Lord speaks, He wants to be heard.

January 19, 2012

Encouragement

Monday we received word that a brother and sister in Christ, who have been facing a difficult financial situation, would have to leave their home of twenty, and more, years.

Our friends know this is the Lord's will.  And they know that the best place to be is in His will.  Even if it isn't where you would have chosen to be.  They have a beautiful spirit about the whole situation.  Which is testimony to the goodness of the Lord.  Anyone who does not walk with God, would be panicking and sick right about now.

We faced a difficult situation ten years ago, just 6 weeks after we sunk all our savings into the down payment on this house.  And just 4 weeks after our fourth child was born.  And just 3 weeks after we bought our Suburban.  (We no longer had enough seat belts in the family Cherokee to strap all the car seats in.)  Allen was laid off.  We had friends in similar fields who had been out of work for months and even up to a year already.  Following the economic downturn the resulted from the 9/11 disaster, it didn't look hopeful that anyone in Allen's line of work might find a job any time soon.

But instead of being a time of discouragement, it was an amazing time of seeing the Lord work.  I'll talk more about that at another time, because this story isn't about us.  In the years that have passed, we have seen many friends in tight financial corners.  And while we are sympathetic and empathetic to their situation, what I really like to convey is how we need to face these times with an attitude of excitement and anticipation.  The Lord brings about these times to grow us, change us and bring opportunities we might never see otherwise.

In our case, it was to bring Allen to a job he NEVER would have taken, if it wasn't the only job available in those days.  A job that he has loved every minute of.  A job that has allowed him many wonderful opportunities.  A job that has grown his area of expertise.  And a job that has stretched him personally and spiritually time and again.

So, while I don't know what God is going to do in our friends' lives, I know it will be exciting and wonderful and fabulous!  And I tried to convey that.

Because really, the ladies who told me how sorry they were or cried for us, didn't help us or encourage us when Allen was out of work.  It was the lady who said she learned to love peanut butter and jelly when her husband was laid off for nearly a year.  That sister encouraged me.  And I want to be an encourage-r and up-lifter to my sisters.

So, after I said what I thought I could say, I shared the news with my family at dinner.  We prayed for this family and talked about ways we could encourage them.  And when I had my prayer time before going to sleep that night, I asked the Lord to show me how to hold their arms up.

And the Lord is so good!  The very next morning He gave me this wonderful example which was an answer to two prayers.

But first you must have a little background.

We have a special friend.  And he lives in a town in South Carolina that is the unemployment capital of the United States.  This city has the highest unemployment rate of the entire country.  More than three years ago, Charles was part of a huge reduction in work force.  His beloved wife was dying at the time.  You might imagine then the expense of medical care and the impact of losing his income and medical coverage at the same time would have on this family.  Oh, and they were raising their grand daughter, who is a year older than Brianna.  Despite excellent credentials, this hard working dedicated man has had not one job offer.  In that time, he has lost his wife and become care taker to a grandson, the younger brother of the grand daughter who was already living with them.

Because of the special needs of these children, our friend did not feel it would be in their best interests to relocate in order to find work.  And in their town he was running out of places to even apply.  He took up volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, as well as a women's shelter in their area and working with the boy scouts.  He has been grateful, that because he is not employed, he was at home each day when the grand children got home from school so he could be the anchor in their lives they desperately needed and wouldn't otherwise have.

We have felt helpless.  So we prayed.  And even though he did not have a job offer for three years, we have received many encouraging answers to our intercession, not the least being the success of these two children who were previously on the road to being statistics.

And then Tuesday morning the Lord sent us such a wonderful blessing and answer to prayer.  No, our friend didn't have a job.  But the Lord gave him something even better.  Something he never would have sought out otherwise.  Something he could not have done had he been employed.

An opportunity came up for Charles to open a restaurant.  Something none of us would have expected, probably least of all Mr. H.  But there you have it.  Not only does he have something to fill his time, and a way to make his livelihood, it is doing something he will enjoy, and something that his whole family can be a part of.

I spent all day Tuesday shaking my head at how perfect the Lord's timing is.  Just when I needed a way to encourage someone else through a trial, He brings this report we have waited more than three years for.  I mean really, the very morning after I prayed for it!  How amazing is our God?!

God works in ways that we least expect to provide answers to our prayers.  And He works in ways that seem strange to bring us to a place we wouldn't go otherwise.  And it is only by being steadfast through times which may seem like a trial that we can find out exactly where that place or what those answers may be.

For all those out there who are facing trials, and if your emails are any indication there are lots of you,  take comfort in knowing the Lord is using this to mold you, to grow you, to do something wonderful that He will show you when it is His perfect timing.

And until then, I will keep the prayers coming.

Kat

January 18, 2012

An Ongoing Chat and an Invitation

A lot of random things are hanging around in the blog housekeeping department.

For those who have been following along with the post on Eating Well for You and Baby dealing with healthy eating for everyone ( no not just pregnant women) but of special interest to expecting moms and those with diabetes or those at risk for diabetes, you may want to click over to the comments for lots of discussion and more information than you ever cared to have.

Something that has been on my mind for some time, but that I never could figure out what... it was my desire to do something special here on  Sundays.  It finally hit me, like a stroke of lightening, last Sunday.  Elisabeth was burning up with fever, again.  So, wile the family went off to worship, she and I were curled up on the couch watching our church's service via live streaming.  I was thinking what a blessing that has been to me this last year.  With our family traveling so much, missing services when Carmella was born and the streak of sickness that has gone through our family repeatedly since the beginning of November.  I have been absent from more services than I care to count.  Yet, I don't feel like I missed anything, because I have been able to join my church family every Sunday morning and evening that I couldn't make it to the building.

As my mind wanders... did you ever notice that????  I started thinking about those who don't have a church family.  I truly can not understand how any Christian can make it in this dark world without a good church family.  But then again, maybe you don't miss what you never had?  And then I thought, "How can I reach out to those people?"  There truly is no replacement for having a real life church family.  And, by the way, we are commanded, in scripture, to be an active part of a local New Testament church.  And if you don't know what this is, drop me a comment or email and I will share with you what the Lord has to say about it.

But at any rate, there are those who are new Christians and perhaps haven't found a church home yet.  Or maybe you aren't a Christian but you would like to know what it is all about but don't want to step into a service to find out.  And there are those who live in an area where there is no good church home to be found.  (Although, be careful you aren't using this as an excuse.  I've known people who traveled hours each Sunday with young children to be part of a good church family.)  And then there are those who, either for short term or long term, may not be able to get to their own church home due to illness, travel, car trouble... who knows.  And perhaps their church doesn't offer this modern blessing.  

So, I thought, here's what I am going to do.  Each Sunday I am going to put up a post with a link and instructions as to how our church's worship and evening Bible study services can be viewed via live streaming.  And if you fall into one of those groups and would like to hear some great preaching you can just pop in.

Most Sundays, except on days when we have special services, our morning worship starts at 10:30 am EST.  The evening Bible study service begins at 5:00 PM EST.  I will have the link up by midnight Saturday/Sunday along with the times for that Sunday's services.

So what do you all think?

Maybe you might leave me a comment or send me an email and let me know you will be joining or that you have joined us.
" And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,..."  Acts 2:46

January 17, 2012

Is Martha In The House?

We have a nickname for Brianna. Oh, I know that really surprises you, eh?  If you don't understand what is so funny about that, click over to this post to read about how a nick name is born.

Every once in a while, like once a week or so, Brianna gets a look in her eye.  And we always know what that look means.  We will be doing something tedious, that will take way longer than she tells us and it will cost a lot of money.  That's when we know Martha is in the house.

This look of hers appeared about the same time we gave her a subscription to Martha Stewart Living for Christmas last year. I thought it was an odd publication for a fifteen year old to adore, but we are not complaining. There is always something special in the works around here, now that she reads Martha each month. We've had a brunch where the centerpiece was brie with caramel sauce (made from scratch not the jarred business), Italian ice, delightful baked goods, gourmet dinners and a plethora of neat home grown projects to make life a little sweeter for everyone.

For Mother's Day she pulled out all the stops. A movie night, complete with ticket stubs, pop corn with 3 kinds of topping, Italian sodas, tissue paper flowers and Swedish fish, my all time favorite movie candy.  For my aching pregnant feet, a rose petal and milk soak.

Then there was the Father's Day Grill Table Project.

Let us not forget the Thanksgiving place card turkeys that took all night to put together.

And for Christmas there was an entire week spent making gourmet bark and special packaging to wrap it in for our friends and neighbors.  Oh and the truffles, 400 in all.

And you've seen some of her recent birthday parties perhaps?  Okay, I know I have yet to post the amazing Rapunzel party she did for Elisabeth in December, but it will get up there eventually!  But you did see Nathaniel's and Allen's most recent birthdays right?

And so, you surely understand, why we call Brianna Martha Stewart.

Now, while I must admit many of her ideas are nifty, I do have a problem with someone who, by their very existence, gives the rest of us a complex about our lack of creativity and inability to be perfect.  Especially, in light of our smaller income. Not to mention, it just seems wrong for someone to own a house in every state and to have stables nicer than most of our homes.  But that is just my own little Martha Stewart pet peeve.

We are Wachters and as such we support each other in what excites them.  It may be rooting for someone else's football team.  It may be playing a game that bores us to tears.  Or it may mean spending a whole week printing, cutting and folding little boxes for fancy bark.  Whatever the case, because we are family, we all inevitably become part of what everyone else is doing.

In addition to expensive and time consuming, we can pretty much guarantee, if Martha is in the house, whatever we get drafted into will be very messy.  When she cooks, one would swear there was a man in the house.  Every pot, pan, bowl and spoon in the kitchen will be dirty.  And if you don't watch, she will move on to the next project and completely forget about the disaster.  Before you know it, it's time to make dinner and you can't find the counter tops.

So, when I gave in to the idea of a party for my upcoming birthday, I had no doubt it would be special.  I mean, really.  Before I even agreed to it, Brianna and Kaitlin had already spent an entire afternoon researching ideas for invitations.

Now, I didn't go to kindergarten.  And, as I always tell my kids, that's why I can't paste or cut straight.  Really, I lack any sort of creativity when it comes to that sort of stuff.  I can follow directions and come up with something reasonable, but I am definitely not the object of perfection when it comes to such things.  Give me a sewing machine or put me in the kitchen and it is a whole different ball game.  But, when you are talking invitations, I order them.

But not Martha and her cohorts.  
They designed the sweetest shabby-chic invites one could imagine.  
Martha set out to find just the right paper for just the best price.  (Which, by the way, never seems like such a good price.)
And searched etsy stores for just the right twine.  
Yeah, I am not kidding.
Do you see what I am up against?
Who researches twine?
And what's worse?
By the time she was done, I was excited about this home dyed and home spun pink confection that we used to call STRING!
I am definitely way out of my league, folks.
So we set aside the weekend to cut, paste and tie seventy invitations.
I got nothing done all day Saturday.   And by the time I quit to go to bed around 11 Saturday night, we had exactly 1.  You read that right.  ONE!
But, gee, aren't they sweet?

Can you guess what we did for Art today?  20 glue sticks and 8 lattes later, it is done.  Truly, when we got in the groove with all of us ladies working, it only took about 2 hours to do the remaining forty or so.  Because, after all, we are team Wachter.  

And I even think it might have been fun.  ☺  


January 16, 2012

Eating Well For You and Baby

My friend, Jen T. over at Many Blessings, Busy Life requested some information on how I manage my diabetes and pregnancy.  It has taken me far too long to get to it.  But here it is.

My Story

When I was diagnosed with diabetes, at a very young age, I was caught quite off guard.  I knew I was at  risk because of my family history.  However, I was well below the average age of the typical person who develops diabetes.  I exercised faithfully.  I ate well.  I maintained a healthy weight.  My doctor and I agreed I was one of the healthiest people we knew.  But here it was.

Being diagnosed so much earlier, was both a blessing and a curse.  The longer one has diabetes, the more likely you are to develop side effects.  However, on the positive side, because I was diagnosed early, I had a lot of opportunity to control the outcome.

I learned everything I could about the disease and decided, if you have to have something, this was a good thing to have.  Unlike many chronic illnesses, diseases and disorders, we can have a lot of control over diabetes.  Exercise and diet have a huge impact on the rise and fall of high levels of blood glucose that can cause the harmful effects of diabetes.  I like knowing that I can do something.

My studying really paid off.  Except during pregnancy, when I am insulin dependent, I have been able to completely control my blood sugar drug free for more than six years.  And it really isn't very difficult.  Nor do I ever feel I have been deprived of something.

What is that you say?  You aren't diabetic.  Well before you stop reading, let me share what I learned in my training classes.  If all Americans stuck to a diabetic diet we would see much less obesity and sickness.  That's right.  A diabetic lifestyle is good for everyone and it is your best prevention for developing the disease to begin with.

I am going to focus mostly on pregnancy and blood glucose control because Jen is looking to control her weight and keep baby a healthy size for a safer delivery.  However, once again, there is very little difference in what is healthy for expecting mamas and the rest of us.

Exercise, An Important Role

I would like to talk just briefly about exercise because while it plays a vital role, it really is quite a simple thing to understand.  We all need to get up and get moving.  But it doesn't need to be a big ordeal.  It doesn't need to be complicated.  We don't even need to put on exercise clothes.  While I have been an avid exerciser for most of my life, in conjunction with diabetes I found a simple 10 minute walk following each meal was all it took to reduce my blood sugar to safe levels and therefor reduce the amount of medication and injections needed.  I can not over stress this enough.  Just get up from the table and take a ten minute stroll.  Or if you prefer, pop in a video.  Pull out the old weights and do a few curls.  Or hop on a bike, stationary or the good old fashioned kind.  Or the tread mill.  Put in a CD and dance with the kids for 3 or 4 songs.  The weather is no good?  No room for exercise equipment?  Walk up and the down the stairs for ten minutes.  The impact just ten minutes of moving has on your blood glucose and energy levels is phenomenal.  If I can fit three ten minute sessions in my day, anyone can, so you have no excuse not to do it.  And you will be shocked at the difference it makes.  Commit to it for just one week and then email me and tell me how much better you feel.  If you are going for blood glucose control it is important that this follow your three meals.

Keys to a Good Diet
An important key to keeping blood glucose in check is protein.  This was initially very hard for me not being someone who regularly ate meat.

Another key (to prevent hypoglycemia and to make sure baby is getting enough nutrition) is eating every three hours throughout the day (and often during the night, too.)  I don't typically eat so often or so much during the day so I literally have to set a timer to go off every three hours to remind me to eat. The large increase in calories means big gains at the scale (about 60 pounds a pregnancy) which is tough and frustrating because I know I will have to work it back off. However, I have had 3 successful pregnancies and deliveries since I was diagnosed with diabetes so I will gladly do it all. Most people would not need to stick to the every three hours but you will likely find you feel better if you do.

One more important  key is to know how to count carbohydrate servings and balancing your meals accordingly. Each carb serving is made up of 15 carbohydrates.  Each meal and snack should contain 2 carbohydrate servings for a total of 30 carbs.  For example, an apple is 15 carbs or 1 carb serving.  A slice of whole grain bread is 15 carbs or one carb serving.  Add some peanut butter and you have a great breakfast with 30 carbs and some protein.

Many people have no idea what a carb is so let me simplify it. Milk, grains (oatmeal, grits, wheat, pasta, bread, cous cous...) fruit and starchy veggies (winter squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes) dry beans and legumes, sugars (including honey, molasses, syrup) and of course ice cream, sodas, other sweetened drinks (sweet tea, lemonade, energy drinks) desserts and other sweets.

I am allergic to milk so it is not part of my meal plan.  However, if you are a milk drinker, you could add it to your meal plan in exchange for another carbohydrate serving.  8 ounces of milk is 15 carbs or 1 carb serving. Learning to read the packages is the way to go so you can plan your meals accordingly.

I rarely consume simple sugars and when I am pregnant it is even rarer. It is just too hard on me and baby. However, there is no reason you can not eat anything you desire, as long as you count the carbs and stick to the carb limit.

Resources
A good set of measuring cups and spoons and an electronic scale will go a long way in helping you to do this.

I like the website Calorie King to look up carb counts to help plan my meals at home.  I find it helpful to plan ahead when we will be dining out.  Calorie King has a huge database of restaurant meals.

I also keep the exchange list for diabetics) in my kitchen. This is also available at Amazon. It is only a few dollars but a great investment if you are working towards better health.

When I calculate a recipe I write down the carb count and serving size for 30 carbs right on the recipe card or in my cook book so I have it readily available next time. It is quite simple to calculate the carbs in your favorite recipe and you might be surprised at what you come up with.  This is an excellent exercise for those home school moms out there.

One cook book I really like is Fix-it and Forget-it diabetic cookbook. I find I prefer to eat what I like and limit the serving to my carb intake. I truly am never hungry and when I stick to my carb limit I feel fabulous.

Most Americans eat too much food in general and specifically too many carbs for their health sake. I do not in any way advocate a low carb or carb free diet. These are unhealthy and down right dangerous. But the enormous amount of carbs consumed by the average American is killing them. And looking around at the amount of illness caused by poor eating and obesity, I am sure you don't need me to tell you that.

My Meal Plan
To give you an idea of how my meal plan works, here is my simple pregnancy meals.

The biggest change from my regular meal plan is breakfast.  As a general rule I typically eat fruit for breakfast. But when I am pregnant my sugar can not handle it. Keep in mind that these are just suggestions from what I like to eat.  You can easily mix and match from any meal.  The key is to keep to those 30 carbs/6 times a day/every 3 hours or if you aren't pregnant and would prefer you can divide 180 carbs over 3 meals.

Breakfast is typically one of the following: oatmeal with nuts, a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread, 2 slices of whole wheat toast with butter,  2 Whole grain waffles with butter, a whole wheat english muffin, half a whole grain bagel with cream cheese, 1/3 cup home made granola (30 carbs worth).  If I am not having another source of protein (peanut butter and nuts) I also include an egg white that has been hard boiled or fried.  I am allergic to the yolk but it is a good source of fat if you desire to eat it.

For my 9 am snack I typically have 30 carbs of fruit with a spoonful of peanut butter or a handful of nuts for the protein to stabilize my glucose. Alternately, I would have anything from the list above.

At lunch, I am a big fan of tuna salad on two slices of rye bread and will eat it almost every day when I am expecting. I like to have a pile of raw veggies or a nice big salad with this.

 My 3 pm snack is usually 30 carbs of fruit with an ounce of cheese or some peanut butter.  I love to slice a granny smith apple thin and slice some cheese and use the apple in place of crackers.

At 6 I eat dinner from whatever I prepared for the family with lots of veggies or a nice salad.

At 9 pm I have a tuna sandwich, peanut butter sandwich or 30 carbs of fruit with a big spoon of peanut butter.

Jen, as I said in my email, I am sorry this took so long to get to you.  I hope it is helpful to you, yet.  I appreciate you spurring me on to do it.  This has been on my mind to blog about for a long while but somehow something else always comes up.  Wishing you and baby the best for these last few weeks.  We can hardly wait to meet your new blessing.

Hugs,

Kat

January 15, 2012

In The Mail

Dear Aunt Dawn,

What excitement your package caused today.  And just in time for lunch, too.  The boys oohed and ahhed as I pulled the Disney Cars and the Bible Animal books out of the box.  I can bet you know who tried every chap stick when we got to the bottom of the box.  Don't worry.  After she sampled each one, she passed them around the table for everyone else to try.  The girls all thought the watch was beautiful and have decided to share it.  Of course, you must have known that we were in need of more pot holders.  ☺ The candles are quite a timely gift since the birthday season is upon Wachter World.

Allen's card and shirt were the best by far.  You are so clever, my friend.  What a great laugh and a sweet reminder of our time at the beach.
Emma was crazy for her new penguin hat.
And what boy would not love the set of Cars?  It made all three of ours squeal with delight.
Winnie loved her new hat, too!
And undoubtedly, Elisabeth loved the pink dress.  She started changing right there at the table.  The ribbon detail at the neckline was delightful.
 Oh, and she loved her new hat, too!
Thanks for thinking of us and the Happy Birthday remembrances.  (That's a lot of band aids... even for us!)  Wish you were here.  We are counting down the days until we will be able to see you again.

Love,

Kat and the gang

January 14, 2012

Bible Study

When the Christmas Tree is up, I like to sit by it before the sun comes up with no other lights on and do my Bible study.  The last week or so, Elisabeth has been getting up and curling up there with me.  She brings her Bible and notebook and turns to a page and then "reads" some verses she has memorized and then jots something in her notebook.

Here is one of the pictures from her Bible study.

The other morning, she was "reading" Luke 2.  

"And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child."

During the Cantata we said many times over how it was such a shame that Elisabeth was too young to be in the choir because she had memorized all the music.  Apparently, she had memorized a bit more than just the songs.

She looked at her Bible and continued, "Miss Leslie, is this where I pick up the baby Jesus?"


January 13, 2012

Goose Hill Farm Etsy Giveaway

My girls are up to something... so I was banned from my blog yesterday.  Thus the late posting for the Goose Hill Farm Etsy giveaway.

The winner is Mikki at The Not So Perfect Housewife.  Congratulations, friend.  Send me your address and let me know which item you would like so I can get your prize to you.  

If you haven't been over to Laura's store, take a peek.  She has some really unique gift ideas.

Thanks to all those who entered.  If you didn't get a chance to enter or entered and didn't win, stay tuned for another gift away to celebrate my three year anniversary of blogging, coming to a blog near you in February.  

January 12, 2012

42

The answer to life, the universe and everything=42

Which happens to be how old their Pa is today.  And being real fans of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, our girls were not going to let this birthday pass without making as much of a fuss out of it as possible.

If you haven't read the books, listen to the BBC radio drama or watched the movie, this post will make no sense to you at all.  But for those who are fans, keep reading.

Attire for the day included bathrobes.
 The dining room was reinvented by our birthday crew
 The theme for the day is Don't Panic
 The Heart of Gold
 The windows were covered with blue foil with stars cut out so everyone would feel like we were moving through space.
 And napkin rings with witty sayings like, "So long and thanks for all the fish."  "Oh no, not again!" and  "I'm so depressed"
 Of course, no one left their towel behind.
 And you know there had to be dolphins
 Seven times six is forty-two
 Tonight we will feast on red velvet cake, filled with dark chocolate and my mother-in-laws super amazing icing. (Which, incidentally, is really the only thing I like about red velvet cake.)
And Pan Garlactic Gargle Blaster to drink  (lemonade)
 The boys dressed up like space creatures
 Sam had the coolest tin foil head... can you see his ears sticking out?
 So Ellie said she was going to dress up as Mrs. Space.  No one can outdo her in the dress up department, after all.
 And Nathaniel was Arthur Dent.

Another amazingly fun birthday celebration in Wachter World.  But, of course, no birthday is complete without praises and blessings for the man of the hour.  Happy birthday to the love of my life.

On his forty-second birthday we'd like to share with you a few thoughts about the man we call hubby, friend and Pa.

My hubby hates his birthday even more than I hate mine.  But I am grateful for this day to honor someone whose impact on my life is second only to the Lord Jesus.  He has been an amazing friend since the day we met when I was 16 years old.  I am so blessed to call him my husband and the father to my children.  He roots me and constantly reminds me of where I need to focus... even if I don't always like hearing it.  My Allen is the hardest and most dedicated worker I know.  He is talented at so many things and has the ability to master anything he sets his mind to.  I think I speak for the world at large when I say we are all richer because on January 11th 1970 our Lord decided he would be born into this world.

Kaitlin is grateful that he is a man of wisdom and godliness and a standard for what men should be.

Brianna appreciates the way he is always willing to give or help out.

Emma notes his diligence and hard work to provide for his families needs and the desires of our hearts.

Than thanks his father for being a good teacher.

Aedan appreciates Pa's help when he needs it.

Samuel praises his constant cheerfulness.

As for the little girls, they adore their Pa and we all pray for the Lord to send men just like him to become their husbands one day.

Many happy returns of the day!

January 11, 2012

Old Spice

When we were shopping for Allen's Christmas gift, Elisabeth fell in love with a shaving kit full of Old Spice. She brought it home and wrapped it up and has had it under her bed ever since. Today was the big day and she dug out her offering for Pa's birthday. Oh my goodness! She was so excited, she was tearing the paper off for him.
Then she pulled each item out of the kit and explained to him what it was all about.  First there was body wash with palm trees on the front.  She explained it was for him to take to the beach.  Next, she demonstrated what the proper use of antiperspirant.
Lastly, she pulled out a bottle of spray cologne and said, "That's to keep the bugs off of you."

January 10, 2012

Nathaniel's Tenth Birthday

Despite the fact that we all stayed up way too late to watch Tim Tebow whoop up on the Steelers Sunday night (We recorded the game so we could watch it after we got home from church Sunday night... for those of you who are wondering why the game was so late for us), we still managed to get up before Nathaniel on Monday morning and give him a good old fashioned Wachter Birthday Wake Up call.  I am not going to say it didn't hurt, though.
Our kids love the spy business.  You can check out this post, if you don't  know how what I mean.  The girls put together a top secret spy birthday for  their brother.
Complete with a top secret brief case
and bombs for breakfast.
There were fingerprints on everything... including some of the presents.  But then again... fingerprints on everything is not all that unusual around here.
For his birthday, Than asked if we could go visiting.  Our family has a ministry running a Bible correspondence course.  We have spent the last year since we took over the program trying to increase our number of students and finding ways to improve the program.  One way we have done this is visiting in neighborhoods to invite people to take the course.  We were able to hand out almost 300 registration cards on Monday.
Allen treated the family to lunch at Chick-fil-A, where the owner, who has become a bit of a friend to our family over the years, treated all the kids to ice cream sundaes in honor of Nathaniel's birthday.
Nathaniel has become a huge fan of the Hardy Boys.  In keeping with the mystery theme, all the kids gave him some vintage editions Brianna found on eBay.
One of the ladies we know who works there asked to take our picture, so here we are.
Brianna organized a spy game for the kids.  They had to locate the missing person.  She left clues, like this trench coat around the house to give them leads.  It is my understanding their mission was successful, even though they missed several important clues.
Our handsome little man.  Wasn't he just a little squirming blue bundle in my arms?  Ten seems so big.  Nine, not so much, but TEN!!!!  Why by Bible standards, just 2 more years and he will be a man!  Yikes. He has had a year of growth, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  It has been a blessing for his family to witness what the Lord is doing in his life.
Dinner you say?  Greek salad, baked potatoes and ribs.  There was supposed to be my mushroom soup, and even though I bought all the ingredients, I completely forgot to make it.  We will have it for dinner tonight with some good bread and a salad instead.
My brother knew nothing about the theme for Than's birthday, so we were all amazed when he showed up with this gift for Than.
The boys had fun working some of the mysteries with Uncle Frank.
Dessert was lemon cake with strawberry filling and Hershey's chocolate frosting.  I tried a little something different and made candied lemons for garnish.  If you are a lemon person, these are delicious in themselves.  

And of course there are blessings and praises for the birthday boy.

I am so blessed by your desire to be a man of God.  You work hard at developing the character qualities befitting a gentleman and looks for opportunities to practice them at home and in public.  You have a tender heart that truly desires to please those the Lord has made your authority.  You also reach out to your peers and those younger than you.  I have seen the Lord working on your heart as He lead you to salvation and as you have grow spiritually this year.  My pray for this upcoming year, is that as you continue to follow in the footsteps of your earthly and your heavenly father.  I pray that you would never lose your desire to be the best possible at everything you do.  For your life, I claim the promise from Proverbs 9:1 "Forsake the foolish, and live and go in the way of understanding."

Emma notes that he is willing to learn.

Aedan praises Nathaniel's ability to encourage people to do what is right.

Kaitlin prays for him to continue his rapid spiritual growth.

Brianna is proud of the changes he has made in the last year.

Sam and Ellie are grateful for his sharing spirit.

Pa says, I praise you for the commitments and dedications you have made to the Lord during this past year. I have seen real growth in your life and praise you for this effort.  May God give you the wisdom, discernment and strength to carry through with your commitments.  I pray that God will show Himself strong to you during this next year to encourage you and strengthen your faith.

Happy Birthday to one amazing agent.