Saturday, March 28

Rainy Days

We have had a lot of rainy days lately...seriously, a lot! By this time of year I have exhausted my limited creativity and meager supply of indoor activity ideas. But this week was yet another rainy one, so I had to come up with something. Friday I looked into my magic box and found a wood kit for Ryan to paint and assemble (I've got to remember to stock up on more of these for the next rainy season!), which kept him busy for over an hour.

Abby is easier: I pulled out some fancy scissors (normally off limits to her), some construction paper and a glue stick. She was happy as a clam cutting and pasting and making a huge mess for almost an hour.

Worse Than Expected

Is it just me or have the first two months of Obama's presidency seemed like an eternity already?

Friday, March 27

Silly Kid

Do you recognize this face? Ryan has thinks a certain commercial (way overplayed on the Discovery Channel!) is hilarious, and this is his imitation of it.

Don't you love those glasses?
How he can see through them is beyond me!

Can't figure it out? Here's a hint.

Now do you see the resemblance?

Thursday, March 26

New Smile

Abby has lost six teeth in four months, and her smile looks so different. She has a pretty good hole right now and she's talking a bit funny too! I think she has two more loose teeth on the bottom as well.

In addition to the new front teeth, she's also getting her lower molars. Her mouth has to feel pretty miserable, but she doesn't complain at all.

Monday, March 16

Daytime Appearance

Our friend the raccoon made his first daytime appearance today! Ryan opened the door to growl at him, unfortunately, and he scuttled up the first tree so we didn't get a very good look at him.

I grabbed my camera and was able to snap a couple of quick pictures, but he quickly had climbed out on a limb and curled up to take a nap.

Our back neighbor called me later in the day to say a huge gust of wind came up suddenly and he looked up just in time to see the raccoon hanging upside down from a limb barely escaping a long and painful fall! The coon managed to get himself upright though and crawled out on another limb to finish his nap.

This would have been a great picture but for the branch
smack in the middle of his cute little face!

I hate to do it, but I guess I'll have to borrow the live trap again soon. He is terribly cute, but he is really not welcome in our backyard.

Saturday, March 14


Since last summer I've been trying to get together with a friend I "met" online. Something kept making us have to postpone or cancel, but we finally were able to get together last week. The kids enjoyed meeting her as well and had fun playing with all the toys in her toy cabinet. She helped me make some cute cards, and we had a nice visit getting to know each other better. She doesn't keep up her blog any longer, but she does have a blog with pictures of her beautiful cards that you can check out.

This was the first time I have met someone in real life that began as an online friendship. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera, so I'll have to settle for a picture of the cards I made. It seems like I have been forgetting that more and more often. I think it's time for a camera that will fit in my purse!

Friday, March 13

International Day

Our homeschool group meets once a month for some specific purpose. We've done Action Packs for Voice of the Martyrs, Presentation Days, Valentine's Day party, etc. This month is International Day where each family picks a country and does a presentation on it, complete with costume and food. This is the first year we've participated, and it has been so much fun!

We chose India so that we could learn more about the country where Ravi lives, Ryan's Compassion International child. For the last month we've tailored all of our school activities around India. We've read stories (Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Little Babaji, etc.) set in India, we've done writing assignments on India, learned about famous missionaries to India (Amy Carmichael is my favorite!), made art projects about India, and we've talked about and prayed for the people of India. While our study has been very basic, I have learned a lot (hopefully the kids have too) and it has been great for the whole family.

Interesting snippet about India: Did you know that the apostle Thomas is said to have been the first person to bring the gospel to India? How sad that now it is only comprised of two percent Christians.

Ryan and Abigial both worked on flags, and maps, and colored a picture of the Taj Majal. Ryan wrote a page on India's demographics, and together we put together a tri-fold board for the presentation.

Abby loved looking through the India picture book we got from the library, and the pictures of the Taj Mahal were some of her favorites. They both did such a great job coloring the Taj Mahal picture, though they have completely different styles.



I have been impressed with how much effort they have put into this report. In fact, as we were finishing up this week, I asked Ryan if he first wanted to finish an art project we had started or finish his India project, and to my surprise he actually wanted to work on the India project first!

We had to bring some food from our chosen country as well, and I decided to keep it simple and bring some Naan, an Indian flatbread. It is incredibly easy to make (just four ingredients!) and tastes pretty good too.

Kids always enjoy rolling out dough, and then watching it puff up in the oven was cool. We spread some butter on it, but it was good just plain too. It must have been a hit at the homeschool group too because we left there with our basket empty.

I made Abby a simple Indian sari for our costume, and she looked very pretty all dressed up. She had two small speaking parts, and she did very well. Mostly I was proud of how she stood so still during Ryan's speaking as she had a hard time with that during our practice.

When the coordinator asked if there was anyone who wanted to go first, both Ryan and Abby shot their hands up and volunteered. When I asked later why he wanted to go first, he said he wanted to get it over with because he was a little nervous. I was surprised to hear he was nervous because he did a fantastic job, only forgetting one small part that we had practiced!

Daddy worked from home today so he could come and see their presentation, and we were both very proud of them. They did even better than when we had practiced at home, and even though I am biased, I think it's fair to say they did one of the best reports of the day!

Thursday, March 12

Senator Wyden's Response

At the end of January before the vote on the "stimulus" bill, I decided to write to my senators and the President. I knew it was probably futile, but I had to let them know there were some people who did not want them to "bail out" the economy with billions of dollars that had absolutely no chance of actually stimulating the economy.

Yesterday I got my response from our senior senator Ron Wyden, and I thought I'd share it here for those who might be interested. (I can't believe it took him six weeks to email this canned response! At least he did reply though. Our junior senator Jeff Merkley has not done so as of yet.)

Dear Mrs. Garner:

Thank you for contacting me about the state of our economy. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

As you may know, our country has been in a recession since the fall of 2007. Families are hurting and having a hard time making ends meet. With the tightening grip of the credit crisis and unemployment levels not seen in over 20 years, our economy faces the threat of a deep recession.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, H.R. 1, is a well-targeted stimulus bill designed to halt the economy's slide. It includes investments like Build America Bonds, a major transportation infrastructure initiative I have championed for years, which has the potential to create millions of jobs, generate billions in economic activity and save thousands of lives by improving transportation safety. It also includes the Making Work Pay Tax Credit, which gives 95 percent of workers a tax credit worth up to $400 per person, or $800 per working family, and $250 for many seniors and retired or disabled veterans. In addition, small businesses will be able to more easily secure financing through the Small Business Administration's 7(a) loan guarantee program because this legislation eliminates 7(a) fees and increases the amount that the SBA guarantees. The ARRA also looks to the future by protecting over 300,000 Oregonians from the crushing alternative minimum tax, helping economically distressed homeowners and putting our schools on a better foundation.

Like many of my Senate colleagues, I was very concerned about the cost of the overall bill. I do not take spending $787 billion of taxpayer dollars lightly. Unfortunately, with daily job losses mounting, to not spend money now would likely lead to a protracted recession and negative or painfully slow economic growth for the foreseeable future. Please be assured, as Congress moves forward in addressing our economic situation, that I will continue to vote against poorly designed initiatives that unnecessarily burden future generations, such as the $700 billion Wall Street bailout. I will also work to ensure that the economic stimulus and other government programs provide the greatest benefit possible for the taxpayers' dollar.

Again, thank you for keeping me apprised of your interest in this issue. If I may be of further assistance to you in this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Ron Wyden United States Senator

Wednesday, March 11

This is School, Right?

I am not adjusting well to the time change this year. I don't know if it's because our family has been sick for the last couple of weeks and we've been sleeping in a bit more than usual or if it's just my age, but my built-in clock isn't resetting easily this go-around.

While I was trying to get myself moving and thinking clearly yesterday morning, the kids seized upon my lack of organization and direction and began playing together ever-so-nicely. (I do believe kids come prepackaged with a built-in radar which is able to detect and exploit any chink in a parent's armor of resolve!)

Before I knew what had happened, they had set up shop, printed their own money, and were conducting commerce in their make-believe stores. I threw in the towel and brought them some canned goods and boxed items from the pantry that they could add to their meager store shelves, as well as my reusable shopping bags from the van.

It may not have been "formal" education, but I let it suffice for math (counting money), writing (printing their own money), and sociology (playing nicely together)! I may not get a Teacher of the Year award, but my Cool Mommy points just went up a little (and believe me, I needed some of those!).

Tuesday, March 10

Climate Change

We have had a very unusual winter this year. One minute spring is bursting out all over, the birds are singing and the trees and flowers are blooming, and the next minute we're huddling inside watching snow, hail, and freezing rain fall!

The last three days we have awakened to snow on the ground, just a dusting, but snow nonetheless. Yesterday it snowed off and on all day, though it never did accumulate. At the last minute Ryan's baseball practice got cancelled, and I was one grateful Mommy for that decision!

Sunday, March 8

Making Pretzels

I love soft pretzels, and I have been wanting to try to make some at home for a while now. On the spur of the moment last Friday, I decided to finally do it. I found this recipe online, enlisted the help of the kids, and got to work.

They were actually very easy to make. The kids both loved rolling out the dough and shaping it into that famous pretzel shape.

They tasted very good too, though not exactly like I was hoping. I'm not sure how you get that really chewy texture that I like so much, but these were still a yummy treat. We were having a strange day and didn't eat lunch until about 2:30, so these were a nice treat for my very hungry family. In fact, hubby came home early that day and got to have a warm pretzel too!

Thursday, March 5

Jane Austen

These little quizzes are always fun though it certainly wasn't a surprise to see which Jane Austen character I am. Which one are you?

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

Wednesday, March 4

Free Movie Rental

If you'd like a free movie rental today, visit Redbox's blog to get a code to enter to get one night's rental absolutely free! They will be offering a free movie every Wednesday in March.

Also, you can sign up to have a code texted to you every Monday for a free rental as well. We have been getting movies from our local Redbox ever since they put one in last year, and we've only had to pay one time (because we forgot to enter the free code)!

Wise Words

I have been getting Elisabeth Elliot's devotions emailed to my inbox every day for about four years now. They repeat every year, and I've read them all multiple times. Though I currently don't read each and every one, I do check the topic and read the ones I think will be pertinent to me on that day. Yesterday's devotion was just what I needed...again:

God's Help for God's Assignment

Sometimes a task we have begun takes on seemingly crushing size, and we wonder what ever gave us the notion that we could accomplish it. There is no way out, no way around it, and yet we cannot contemplate actually carrying it through. The rearing of children or the writing of a book are illustrations that come to mind. Let us recall that the task is a divinely appointed one, and divine aid is therefore to be expected. Expect it! Ask for it, wait for it, believe that God gives it. Offer to Him the job itself, along with your fears and misgivings about it. He will not fail or be discouraged. Let his courage encourage you. The day will come when the task will be finished. Trust Him for it.

"For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded, therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed" (Is 50:7 AV).

Timely words for this weary mom raising and homeschooling a special needs child!

Tuesday, March 3

Baseball & Rainbows

Ryan had his first baseball practice yesterday afternoon. As soon as we arrived a storm hit, and we were pounded by rain. We huddled in the dugout listening to the code of conduct and various other announcements until the storm passed. Though Abby and I left not long after, Ryan and Daddy stayed as the coach decided to have a full practice in the mud (I AM sick, so cut me a break, okay?). The other team skedaddled before the storm had even passed!

Anyway, on the way home Abby and I saw the most intensely colored rainbow I have ever seen! It was absolutely gorgeous and made me think about how incredible Heaven will be. We only see things dimly here, but then face to face. How I long to see my Lord face to face!

Happy Square Root Day!

In honor of my geeky husband (she says with love and affection!), I just had to wish everyone a Happy Square Root Day!

Sunday, March 1

Learning to Sew

Ever since a friend of mine helped Abby sew a little purse a few months ago, Ryan has been begging me to teach him to sew. I am not much of a seamstress myself, but I picked up some plain black fabric and figured we'd kill two birds with one stone: give him his sewing lesson and make him the cape he's been wanting!

(Notice I have totally given up on having a dining room? It's where we do almost all of our schooling, for better or worse. However, notice my new cabinet with doors? Much better than the ugly black bookcase that used to adorn our dining homeschool room, don't you think?)

I didn't have a pattern so I just kind of winged it. I made him do each step along the way that he was able to do. He ironed the fabric, then we cut it out, then he hemmed up the cape almost entirely by himself. He did a great job, much better than I expected. Then we turned it inside out, he ironed it again, and we sewed some pleats into it and put the Velcro on the neck band. Viola!

He decided it wasn't as much fun as thought, however, and he doesn't have any plans for any more sewing projects...which suits me just fine!


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