Friday, February 27

Money Lesson

It never ocurred to me when we decided to homeschool that my oldest would teach my youngest so much. It might be a first-born thing because I remember subjecting my younger brothers to biology lessons on my own chalkboard with my own chalk purchased with my very own money. (What a dork!)

Still, Ryan may end up being a teacher when he grows up because he is really very good at it. Though she isn't always a willing listener, Abby usually will participate in his lessons and seems to learn at least a little bit every time. Last week Ryan decided it was time for Abigail to learn all about money, so he broke open his wallet and began teaching her all about it. Really cool, if you ask me!

Wednesday, February 25

Pasta Fagioli Soup

Last night I made this soup, and it turned out to be wonderful! It's actually supposed to be a copy-cat of the Olive Garden's Pasta E Fagioli soup, but it's been a long time since I've tasted theirs so I'm not sure how well this one compares. All I know is that hubby and I loved this version!

(It was a little thicker than I expected, but as I was typing in this recipe I realized I had forgotten to put in the V-8! So it would probably be even better with that ingredient in it.)

Olive Garden Pasta E Fagioli

1 lb ground beef
1 cup diced onion
1 cup julienned carrot
3 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans (with liquid)
1 (15 ounce) can great northern beans (with liquid)
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (12 ounce) can v-8 vegetable juice
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 lb ditali pasta

1) Brown beef in a large stock pot over medium heat-drain off fat.
2) Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saute for 10 minutes.
3) Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour.
4) After 50 minutes boil pasta to al dente.
5) Drain well.
6) Add pasta to the large pot of soup and simmer for 10 minutes.

For nutritional information go the original link on Recipezaar.

Monday, February 23


John Piper had this to say on his blog this morning, and it was something I needed to hear this morning!

J. Gresham Machen, one of the great proclaimers and defenders of the Christian faith in the early 20th century, went through a season of fearful doubt on his way to solid confidence. Remarkably, it was his mother who spoke one of the decisive words of rescue. He tells the story:

The question is not merely whether we can rest in our faith, but whether we can rest in the doubt that is the necessary alternative of faith. We pass sometimes through periods of very low spiritual vitality. The wonderful gospel which formerly seemed to be so glorious comes to seem almost like an idle tale. Hosts of objections arise in our minds; the whole unseen world recedes in the dim distance, and we think for the moment that we have relinquished the Christian hope....

My mother [spoke to me] in those dark hours when the lamp burned dim, when I thought that faith was gone and shipwreck had been made of my soul. "Christ," she used to say, "keeps firmer hold on us than we keep on him."

My mother's word meant...that salvation by faith does not mean that we are saved because we keep ourselves at every moment in an ideally perfect attitude of confidence in Christ. No, we are saved because having once been united to Christ by faith, we are his forever. Calvinism is a very comforting doctrine indeed. Without its comfort, I think I should have perished long ago in the castle of Giant Despair. (J. Gresham Machen: Selected Shorter Writings, 561)

Friday, February 20

On Meeting the Governor

Mommy: So, Ryan, what was it like meeting the Governor of Oregon?

Ryan: Strange.

Mommy: Strange? Why do you say it was strange?

Ryan: Well, if you were a little girl and you met someone that powerful, wouldn't you think it was strange?

Wednesday, February 18


On February 14, 1859, President James Buchanan signed a bill that admitted Oregon as the thirty-third state in the union. So last weekend there was a big sesquicentennial (150 years) birthday bash at the capitol in Salem.

Abigail had another birthday party she really wanted to attend, so we didn't get to go as a family. Abby and I stayed home, while Daddy and Ryan drove to Salem to enjoy the festivities. After I saw the pictures of the crowd that was there, I was actually glad I didn't get to go. I'm just not a crowd person.

While Daddy was waiting in line, Ryan spent his time climbing trees. Once they were inside the building, they explored the capitol building some. Ryan even got to have his picture taken with Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski. Oregon is still so "small town" in so many ways.

Of course the really exciting person he met was Smokey Bear! I'm not sure what Smokey has to do with Oregon's birthday though.

Ryan also got to do some crafts. He made a hand-dipped candle...

...and a paper quilt square, among other things.

The line to get a piece of cake (and for hot dogs) was way too long for Daddy, but they did get some free Umpqua ice cream (I'm guessing if it had been Tillamook instead, that line would have been too long also!).

Daddy and son had a nice day together, and hopefully Ryan will always remember when he went to Oregon's 150th birthday party.

Saturday, February 14

Happy Valentine's Day!

Our homeschool group had our Valentine's Day party yesterday, and it was a lot of fun. Each child was supposed to bring a mailbox to hold their Valentines, and all the boxes were judged as well. Everyone got a certificate so it wasn't a "real" contest, but it was fun to see all the creative things the kids came up with. Abby wanted to make a flower garden and Ryan, a robot. I gathered the supplies and let them get to work. Ryan pretty much did his by himself. Though I helped some with implementation, he came up with the design and ideas himself.

Abby won the prize for the Lovliest Mailbox, and Ryan won for Best Use of Art Supplies!

Wednesday, February 11

Snow Crocus & Robins

I guess they call them snow crocus for this reason, but we don't usually have so many days of snow around here. Though we only got about a half an inch yesterday, I think it was the fifth time this winter that we have had snow, which is highly unusual. In fact, I don't think the robins knew what to think about the snow. It was odd to look out the door and see a dozen robins walking around on the snow trying to find worms!

Sunday, February 8


I know people say things like this all the time, but "I can't believe my son is seven!" He had a very nice birthday, and he is enjoying his new gifts.

He wanted a plain chocolate cake with just his name and the number seven on it, so that's what he got. He made it easy for me this year!

I had to take a video of him opening his gift from Granpa because it was a rather extravagant one. We told Granpa it was okay as long as it could be for both Abby and Ryan for their birthdays. It was kind of funny when he opened it because he had no clue what it was. We don't watch television, so he hasn't seen any ads for it, nor do we have any friends who have one. However, now that he was played it, he loves it! In fact, we all are having a great time with it.

Friday, February 6

Happy Birthday, Pumpkin!

He's seven today and so excited! We are actually celebrating tomorrow, but he got the day off from school and he helped me make his cake this afternoon.

A couple of weeks ago he told me he had a list of what he wanted to do for his birthday:

Orange Rolls for breakfast
Open presents
Play with presents
Noodle soup for lunch
Red Robin for dinner
Home for cake and ice cream
Watch a movie (at home)

Since we don't have parties every year, we usually let them decide what they want to do (within reason), but this was the first time he has prepared a list ahead of time!

Thursday, February 5

Sunny Day

We have had a couple of sunny days in a row recently, enough to dry out most of the mud puddles anyway. So after swimming today we took our lunch to the park, and the kids played for a couple of hours. It was nice to get some sunshine and be out in the fresh air.

This has to be one of the last remaining see-saws in the country! They seem to be taking out all the fun play equipment in most parks these days. Ryan eventually got over his fear of it, but the majority of the time he was lying flat on his tummy!

Abby of course had no fear of it and had a blast! The see-saw is designed so you can move the fulcrum, so I was able to get on one end and both kids on the other and we could balance each other out fairly well.

Monday, February 2

Unique Birthday Present

We are trying to give our kids a vision and heart for the world and to broaden their view of life outside of our own little community, our own state, and our own country. I desperately want them to know how spectacularly blessed we are compared to the rest of the world and that as followers of Christ we have the joy of blessing others in His name and for His glory.

Realistically, I know that this will take a work of God in their hearts, but while I'm praying for that I wanted to find a way to make it real to them. So for Ryan's birthday we decided to sponsor a child on his behalf through Compassion International. I did a search for boys born in February 2002 and then let Ryan choose the one he thought we should sponsor. He chose Ravi, a little boy who is just one day older than he is. Ravi lives in India with his parents and two siblings.

I wasn't sure how this "present" would be received, but I was happy to see how thrilled he was! During school for writing last week, he wrote his first letter to Ravi, and he is looking forward to receiving one back. I was also encouraged because when I told Ryan I was going to send Ravi some money for his birthday, he brought me some of his own money to send as well!

Sunday, February 1

Daddy took Ryan to work with him yesterday, so it was just Abby and me at home. I had considered doing our taxes, but Daddy encouraged me to go do something fun with Abigail instead. I'm glad he did. We had a fun day together! We went to Starbucks and to Walmart for some coffee, hot chocolate and donuts for breakfast. Then we drove over to our paint-your-own ceramics place. We went last year to make some Christmas presents for the grandparents, but Abby (and Ryan!) has been wanting to come back and paint something for themselves, so that's what we did. Abby picked out a cute little horse and got to work. She did an excellent job, and I can't wait to see how it turns out!

After painting her horse, she wanted to go to Subway for lunch, but I managed to talk her into Quizno's instead (tastes better and I had a coupon!). After lunch we came home and played with her elephants for a while before putting a movie on to watch. It was a nice girls day out for both of us!


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