Saturday, August 9, 2008

Farewell to Tom

We lost a faithful friend of our family this week. Our - well technically not our - Siamese stray tomcat...Tom to us. He was a terrific old cat. I don't even have a picture of him to share. He's been coming around our house for years now. Hangs around a week or so and then moves on for months at a time. He had this huge head, and huge paws and claws that you knew meant business. He always loved human attention...having his head rubbed, sitting in your lap, or rubbing around your legs. Anytime a storm or cold spell came around, we'd find Tom curled up on a blanket in the garage - he knew where to come for shelter. Wednesday morning, the dogs made a racket, and Jacob went out front to see what was up. There were three big dogs attacking him in the yard. (Why can't people keep their pets in a fence! Why is that so hard!) He chased them away, and Tom ran off. Later that morning when we were leaving, we found him curled up under the car, and he died right in front of us. Jacob buried him in the backyard. He was just a cat, but I'm still a bit torn up by the whole thing. Especially when I saw how nice Jacob had fixed his spot. Stupid dogs.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Charlie Bit Me

For my long awaited return, I've chosen this youtube video, which for some reason makes me chuckle. I wish I knew how to put the screen itself on, which many of you do, but I just don't have that much blog smarts.

I know it's been forever since my last post, it seems that way anyway. I just haven't been able to get motivated to blog. As I told my mother several weeks ago...things in our house have been outstanding, but it seems like once we step outside things fall apart. It's been a very busy, and often sad, time -- these last few months. It's hard to even know where to begin.

Our German friend Markus has safely returned home to Germany. His family and friends are thrilled to have him home. It was such a pleasure to get to know him, and have him share our home.

Jacob finished the year ranked 8th in his class. He went right to work the Monday after school was out. He is working as a cotton breeder. He and two other men keep the weeds out, cross pollinate the cotton plants, and later will harvest their hybrid cotton to obtain seeds for next year. He enjoys being outside, the nice hours (no weekends, 30-40 hrs/week), it's close to home (gas = $$), and the wage is good.

Our good friend who was battling cancer went to be with the Lord July 4th. She was such a blessing to our family, and the faith, bravery, and courage that she faced her illness with was incredible to see. Here is a picture of my great boys at her memorial service.
Our good friend, David, Jacob, and her grandson -- Jacob's best friend -- Paeton

Speaking of David, his mother is also very ill with cancer. She is out of town receiving treatment, and David is living with us. (Currently he is with her until school begins, and then he will return to our house.) He's an awesome young man, and now occupies Sarah's/Markus' room.

We took a quick trip to check out some colleges and also to visit our families in Ft. Worth. We walked around A&M, UTA, UNT, TCU, and UT. Jacob is still headed for Aggie-town unless something changes once school begins. We had a great visit with our families, Jacob checked out the July 4th fireworks, and was very impressed. His Grampy surprised him by putting together a complete Craftsmen tool set for his truck. Was he ever thrilled.

I've read several books while on vacation: Fearless Fourteen, by Janet Evanovich; Phantom Prey, by John Sandford; Nothing to Lose, by Lee Child; and Barefoot, by Elin Hilderbrand. Fearless Fourteen was terrific - introduced several new characters --A+. Barefoot was very well written. The subject matter hit a little too close to home, not a feel good summer read. The other two books were worth reading, since I love Lucas Davenport and Jack Reacher, but nothing spectacular about them.

We've been to see several movies: Indiana Jones; Wanted; Get Smart; Wall-E. All were good, but Get Smart was probably my favorite of the four. Watched Live Free or Die Hard last night - we've had this movie since Christmas and just watched it (you can tell how often we watch movies at home:) Loved it - definitely one of the better ones.

Our granddaughter had her first birthday. She is such an angel. Very beautiful and sweet. She took to us right away - very friendly and good tempered. Sarah had us over and she fixed the best meal: chicken Parmesan, pasta, salad, bread and of course birthday cake. Everything was so tasty - we were stuffed. It was great to get to see them all again.

I don't know what else to write. Maybe more later??

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I Know....I Know.....I Know

I know I missed my weekend post. AND I know it's almost the weekend again already (yipee). But this has been a crazy time. First, my reviews:

"Where Angels Go," by Debbie Macomber. This is a delightful book. It appears that she has written other books, and I'm definitely looking for them at the library. My friend, Susan, had checked this out last week, and gave it to me to read. (She is having a heart attack about now because it's due tomorrow and she knows I rarely return a book on time - but I'll take it by after school tomorrow:) It is a Christmas story about the guardian angels Shirley, Goodness and Mercy and their assignments that Gabriel gives them for the week leading up to Christmas. Apparently they tend to get into a bit of trouble every time they're sent to Earth. It's fairly theologically OK, and just a beautiful story. A++

"Nim's Island" Allan and I went to see this last Friday, and WOW. This is a great adventure movie. It is creative, funny, sensitive, well acted...we just loved this movie. Two weekends -- two great movies. Probably be months before that happens again!

At school, I've been buried in achievement tests and testing. Last week we tested every day. Because we're a small school, the teachers score their own tests, and do all the results themselves. This is a brain numbing/back breaking job. There are chart after chart of tiny numbers and columns and rows that all have to be kept just so. But it's done now and I am currently half way through parent conferences.

Our niece was confirmed in Fort Worth the Sunday after Easter, and I just got her gift in the mail today. I hate not being able to be at such important events. Since we've been here, we've missed one high school graduation, and 3 confirmations. It makes me sad. She is an awesome young lady...terrific student...amazing ballerina...and a very serious and devout Christian. We love her to pieces.

The biggest news of all: My wonderful friend - who lives in New Orleans - her mother has been very ill for the past month with cancer. We have prayed for her since we met ten years ago that she would know the love that Christ has for her. My friend spoke some pointed words to her mother several years ago, which has been in the back of her mind all this time. Her mother called Allan Monday and said told him she wanted to learn about Christ, join the church and be baptised (I'm tearing up yet again just typing this). Tomorrow, she's being baptised at her home with her close friends nearby. She is positively glowing with the love of Christ. Needless to say, my friend is crazy happy and thankful to God for his answering of prayers. Amen.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Post Austin...Various Reviews

We had a great time in Austin. The weather was a bit dreary, with clouds and some rain, so no pool time. Allan thought the speakers were awesome, and I enjoyed lazing around. I finished a book, watched a movie and took several very long naps. We walked around 6th Street on Tuesday night, ate at a terrific restaurant, and enjoyed the sights. We peeked in an almost empty Coyote Ugly bar, laughed at the Modeling agency/Chinese massage sign, took in the beautiful capital building at night and checked out all the groovy UT students walking around campus.

I finished reading "Home to Holly Springs" by Jan Karon. As always, her book about Father Tim returning to his home town was terrific. She is a wonderful storyteller. I often wonder if she is a PK, or what connection she has to pastors, because in all the books, she gets it just right. This is a terrific book. Tim goes back to his home town, looking for someone who wrote him a letter simply saying "Come Home." While there he meets new people, and finds old acquaintances. The story is filled with flashbacks of things that have happened to him as a child. Wonderful book! If you're not familiar with this author, start at the beginning and be prepared for wonderful stories.

While at the hotel, I brought a DVD of "The Guardian" with Kevin Costner and Aston Kutcher. I had wanted to see this when it first came out, and Jacob has watched it several times. I haven't liked Costner in a movie in years, but he was good in this movie. The movie had a "Heartbreak Ridge" feel about it for much of the movie. I thought it was a great movie, and am glad I finally watched it. Well worth the time spent at the desk.

Allan and I went to see "21" Friday night. Being a math wiener, I had to see this movie. In our local paper, it got 2 1/2 stars, but I thought it was much better than that. Here's a movie about Las Vegas - no nudity - amazing! It was really good and we had a good time watching it. Jacob went to see it last night and he liked it too. Check it out!

Markus went on a day trip to Mexico with other exchange students yesterday, and seemed to have a great time. He's had a bit of allergy problems, but hopefully he's on the mend.

Jacob spent yesterday at the local airshow - checked out the blue angels and all the other planes. That means that today he has spent doing all the homework he didn't do on Saturday:)

We do our achievement tests this week. I'm nervous. Maybe they'll do good...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Off to Austin

My hubby and I are off to Austin in the morning for a pastor's conference. Yes, that's right, three days alone with my beloved (well there might be a few other people there, but who's counting!) I've actually taken 3 personal days, so no kids 'til Thursday - woooo whooooo. I'm taking a small amount of work with me, some needlework, and a good book. But most of all, I'm looking forward to the time with Allan.

See ya on Thursday!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

TAGGED! 7 Things About Me

I was tagged by Juloyes over at Accindental Pastor's Wife. So here are the rules:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

I'm thinking these up as I'm typing, so bear with me.

1. Unlike Juloyes, I totally hate exercise...much prefer a bag of chips and a great book, or even a good book.

2. My favorite candy bar is Reece's Peanut Butter Cups - which totally stinks since my apparent sudden peanut allergy.

3. As a teenager and twenty-something I couldn't listen to enough classic rock...I was all about The Who, The Rolling Stones, I listen to Texas country almost all the time - check out Kevin Fowler for something different!

4. There is no way I could go for even a few hours without my glasses...can't see a THING!

5. I played the trombone in high school (but I did NOT have tape holding my glasses together - no matter what my hubby says!)

6. I never had a cat, or even wanted one (totally a dog person) until 5 years ago when Sarah brought Bob home. Now I love 'em (we have 6 now!)

7. Last, but most importantly - God has blessed me with the perfect husband. We are meant for each of friends, confidants, no one we'd rather be with but each other, make you sick we're so in love kind of couple. We met in high school, but never dated until college. God brought us together, no question about it. He is the best and most wonderful part of me.

So now, I have to tag 7 more people...who to pick...






NEK & EAKs Mom


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday's - Yesterday's and Today

I always get sentimental at times like these. I have spent a lot of time this week thinking back to Sarah's first Easter. She wasn't yet even a year old. Our family had a great and fun tradition. After church, everyone changes clothes, and loads up their picnic lunches and meet at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. We had the same spot every year. We'd enjoy being together, eat our lunch, and take a walk to "smell the roses." At this point, the Easter Bunny (aka Grampy) would hide the Easter eggs. On our return, the hunt would begin. My husbands' family had been doing this for years. For Sarah's first Easter, his youngest sister continued the egg hunting - even though she was 12! My parents joined the crowd, and it was always a nice time. After all that, we would walk over to the Japanese Gardens for a tour, and feed the giant gold fish. We did this every year until we moved. The rest of the family continue to celebrate Easter in just this way, even today!

Now that Sarah has her own family, I know how special all those firsts are. But these times make me miss being together with all our extended family. (Was she not the cutest baby ever?)

So today, with extended family far away, we surrounded ourselves with friends. All our Godchildren were in town and at church. We got a rare photo with all of them.We even managed to drag Jacob away from teen-age food and fun for a quick family pic.

We had several families from church over to share our Easter feast. Everyone shared lots of laughter and good times. The funniest thing that happened:

My friend asked to bring something, and we decided on a potato casserole. She mixed it up ahead of time, intending to bake it at church right after Sunday School was over. (We live right next door, and I use both ovens to cook in :) She put in the the refrigerator before church. We were in the kitchen after church, and she said, "Oh, you already got my casserole out." I hadn't even looked for it yet! So we look around, and her dish is sitting out nice and clean and empty! Turns out, the ladies set it out for the brunch! UNCOOKED! Can you even imagine?? I then recall seeing it out on the table and wondering what in the world that was? My friend was really glad her dish didn't have her name on it! Don't you think that it would be obvious that a potato casserole was not a breakfast item - especially an uncooked one. We laughed all afternoon about it. And I had all the ingredients to mix up another one.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

National Lutheran School Week

We just wrapped up Lutheran School Week. The kids all had a good time. Here are our cuties all decked out in their team shirts on Monday. We just finished running relay races.

We had red day, a Christian art contest, silly hat day, Christian writing contest, pajama day, movie and popcorn day, Bible bowl, crazy dress day, and wheel day. Everyone enjoyed the special activities and treats.

At church, our confirmation students came to the house for our annual pizza/study party on Saturday. It's their last opportunity to review all their questions (200+) before the public examination...which was this morning. The kids did great! Next week we'll have 4 kids confirmed.

Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning has begun with a whisper - not a roar - but it has begun. This weekend I:

1) Washed curtains from two bedrooms
2) Washed seat covers of my son's truck

Whew - aren't you impressed at the lightning pace I'm going :)


Well, I did it...went to Curves for the first time Wednesday, and again on Thursday. Isn't that something? Lost 2 pounds during the week, and gained them back this weekend. *sigh* Fried fish and shrimp on Friday (yum), pizza on Saturday, lunch and dinner out tonight. Back on track though tomorrow.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

March Already??

March 2...where does the time go? If only we could slow it down...You hear it said that when someone is dying their life flashes before their eyes...I feel that way most of the time. It seems just like yesterday that I had two little kids at home - reading stories and cuddling on the couch. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change a thing! I'm so proud of those kids. Sarah's found her perfect place in life with a great husband and a beautiful little girl. She has blossomed and thrived being a wife and mother, and I'm so glad she heard God's calling to that role. So many women miss it, and consequently miss the joys that come with that role. Jacob has grown into a fine young man. Still a boy in some ways, but responsible and mature in ways appropriate for his age:) Like Sarah, he is an excellent student, and doesn't grouse too much about it. lol.

This week, Jacob had a craving for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese please. He asked me to please go to the store, buy some, and cook it up for him. I, of course, did just that. He poured it into a bowl, and spooned it down in no time. He looked up and said, "Thank you so much for fixing is so good." I asked him if it made him feel like a boy again to which he replyed, "Yeah, I think it does." I told him he just needed fish sticks to go with it. "I forgot fish sticks even existed!" I love the moments where his little boy side shines through.

Markus had another loss in Soccer on Friday. He did discover that the opponents had an exchange student from Germany, too. He enjoyed their short visit.

Jacob had tennis on Friday and didn't play as well as he would have liked. The good side was he played on the courts right outside my classroom, so I could peek out the window at him, and he picked me up for lunch. Lunch was nice, I think the first time we've ever had lunch together during school.

Saturday was busy. We drove to Corpus for a choir concert in the afternoon. Our choir director was singing in a concert. It was very good, and I'm glad we decided to go. After returning, we had a bar-b-q to attend. My friend from school's son is leaving for the Air Force tomorrow, and they had a big send off for him. The food was excellent, and Terrell is such a nice young man I was glad to be there for his party.

Next week is Lutheran School Week, so we have lots of fun things planned for the kids. My main job today is grading. Maybe 100's for everyone??

Shadow Dance

This is the second book by Julie Garwood that I've read. As it turns out, it picked up where the other book left off. I like reading books with continuing characters. This books main character, Jordan, was a minor character in the other book. Jordan travels to Texas to meet up with an odd Professor who supposedly has researched a feud between two of which is hers. He tells her that her family are brutes. Jordan's intent is to prove his research faulty. But once she arrives in the little town of Serenity, Texas. People begin to be killed. They seem to turn up in her trunk every time. The romance between herself and FBI agent Noah is of the cookie-cutter variety. It is almost word for word like the romance between the two characters in the other book. I don't care for this much - it will be interesting if in other books this same pattern is followed. Other than the romance part, this was a good story and kept my attention.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How I feel when no one comments.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lemon Tart with Almond Crust

I had a request for the dessert I served after our Valentine's Day dinner. You can find it in the Taste of Home Feb-Mar '08 edition. Here it is:

1 C. all purpose flour
1/2 C. sliced almonds, toasted (Forgot to toast mine)
1/4 C. sugar
6 T. cold butter
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/4 tsp. salt
2-3 T. cold water

1 C. sugar
3/4 C. lemon juice (I used out of a bottle)
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
2 T grated lemon peel
dash salt
6 T butter, cubed

Place the flour, almonds, sugar, butter, extract and salt in a food processor. Cover and pulse until blended. Gradually add water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture forms a soft dough.

Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased (with unspoiled shortening - lol inside joke) 9-in. fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

In large heavy saucepan, whisk the first six filling ingredients until blended. Add butter; cook and stir over low heat for 7-8 minutes or until thickened. (I cooked much longer and never got what I would call thickened?) Strain; pour into crust. Bake at 325F for 8-10 minutes (mine took 15 minutes) or until set. Cool on wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers. (I made mine the night before and refrigerated overnight.)

It DID turn out very delicious - very tart and lemony. We all enjoyed it.

Teenagers and Money Woes

Last weekend, my 17 yo son decided to see if he could work at the farm on Saturdays...seems he's having a bit of trouble budgeting his money...his dad suggested he simply spend less. "But that means less fun," was his reply. Later, he said he guessed Dad was right, he'd just have less fun. Wednesday night at church, his pocket was full of appears he's been using change for lunch money all week.

We've tried something new with him, since he was around 15, we give him a sufficient allowance on the first of the month. But out of this money, he has give his tithe to church, buy fuel for his truck ('94 Chevy = $), lunch money, haircuts, truck repairs or expenses, and spending money. This has been a wonderful learning experience for him. He knows exactly what gas for that truck costs, what it costs for truck inspection stickers, license plates (one February expense) and that you can spend $5-10 at Pizza Parlor or Whataburger several nights a week, and it adds up. Throw in a concert or two in Corpus each month, and you're using dimes for lunch money - lol. Plus, we probably come out ahead not giving him money each time he goes out for something.

As for the rest of us, Allan's shoulder is still giving him fits...finally went to the chiropractor on Friday, and to our massage therapist today. Seems to have helped at bit, and he's planning on visiting both next week as well. The pain seems to be a bit better, although the tingling is still there. He washed all the clothes yesterday except for two loads, so my work today is practically done.

I left school yesterday once again with no lesson plans. And we have a church event to go to on Sunday, so *sigh*, I guess my streak is really up. My papers are graded though, and I will average grades sometime today. I got a letter for a free membership for pastor's wives at Curves this week and am considering this. I used to go to Curves and loved it, and maybe this is what I need to jump myself off the plateau where I've been sitting for several months.

Jacob made it to the quarterfinals of his Tennis tournament on Friday, so I think his ankle is holding up OK. He plays another tournament on Friday, maybe he'll do a bit better.

Markus played in two soccer games this week (both losses). He didn't get much playing time in Tuesday's game, which disappointed him. The team they played last night was very good, he said. It's always tough to lose all the time. But that is Kingsville sports for you - we have a lot of experience in losing.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Thoughts on Valentine's Day, and the Week in Review

Valentine's Day - a day that brings me much happiness, and also sadness. Happiness, because I have the wonderful pleasure to be married to my best friend. The most amazing and wonderful man. A man I cannot imagine my life without. God brought us together - we were meant to be together - there is no doubt. We had a very nice day. We started out with breakfast at McD's before school. I made one of Allan's favorite meals - pot roast with carrots, potatoes and gravy. I made a wonderful dessert - Lemon Tart with Almond Crust. I had never made it before, and even borrowed a tart pan. Did NOT think that watery lemon filling would ever make a solid...but it did, and it was delicious. I came home to a beautiful vase of flowers and chocolates. We don't usually exchange gifts on this day anymore. It really is Valentines Day everyday for us. We both are always looking for opportunities to do nice things for one another. Even the most everyday things are special to us, just going through them together. We're very blessed. I read somewhere in cyber space someone's comment that people who go all out for Valentines Day are missing the point if they limit their kindnesses to one day a year. I feel sad on this day, because I know too many people who do not have a relationship with their husband like I have with mine. I wish everyone could be so happy. However, I am not willing to share:)

As for the week past:
I did in fact go to school on Sunday (with hubby along for the ride) and did my lesson plans, so I started the week prepared after all. It was a crazy week because of Valentine's. The kids were worked up all week, and Thurday they were hopped up on sugar big time. I, of course, walked out of the house leaving the box of their gifts on the table. Allan brought it out to me.

Jacob played in his first tournament - post injury - Tuesday. He got 4th place doubles. His ankle seemed to hold up OK, but said he wasn't moving around very good yet.

Markus had soccer games on Wednesday (Lost) and Friday (Tied). He continues to have a good time playing, and hopefully they are coming together better as a team.

I had someone ask me about my menu sheet that I use each week. I am apparently too computer illiterate to figure out how to attach it, but it is just a 3-column list with Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner for columns. I plan the meals, then make a list of ingredients that I need. I put my shopping list on the back, and group things by where they are in the store. It's simple, but it works for me.

Mrs. Darling posted about Spring cleaning the very day I began thinking about it. It will be harder this year since I'm working, but I can hardly wait to begin going through and throwing away things. It gives me much satisfaction to thin out our stuff. We have a lot of stuff. A lot.

My brain is getting tired. Boys are coming over later tonight, so I must get the kitchen cleaned, and my things put away. Laundry is still in progress. Allan's shoulder is still killing him. My prayer is for a good nights sleep for us both.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

End of an Era (OK -- a short era!)

My streak of being a well prepared teacher is over. I have a big stack of papers to grade, and no lesson plans for Monday. *sigh* I went several days without grading at home, and before you know it - I'm way behind. Even worse - it is Saturday night and I STILL haven't graded them. We had a field trip Friday, which took up all my planning time, so no lesson plans. Unless I go tomorrow and throw something together.

We had a busy week. Jacob was cleared to practice again, which he was glad about. We ordered him high-top tennis shoes, which he totally and completely hates. His first tournament post injury is Tuesday. I hope he does well what with not practicing for 3 weeks.

Markus played with the varsity soccer team yesterday, and had a really good time. The team lost, but he was happy that the coach said he could play on varsity.

Our friends from New Orleans were in town visiting this week - their schools have a week off for Mardi Gras. It was great to see them again so soon. They left this morning, which left Jacob feeling a bit lost without his best friend around.

Mrs. Darling posted this week about not making weekly menus. As always, I am totally impressed with this great lady. However, I am not her. I am not by nature efficient. Leaving meals to last minute planning spells disaster in our house. I have to work hard at what little efficiency I have. I plan out my meals on Saturday morning. (Even have a form I print off to fill in the blanks, and make my shopping list on the back.) This works for me. It is great to just look at the list and know what I'm cooking that night. Remembering to take thinks out of the freezer the night before can some times pose a problem. lol. Since I've gone back to work, this method has really taken away some of the stress that was there before when I worked. Plus, Allan hates to be asked, "What would you like to have for dinner?" That little bit of planning and thinking makes the everyday task of getting dinner on the table at the same time every night much, much easier.

I've enjoyed catching up with everyone, and have stuck to my Groundhog's Day Resolution for exactly one week. Pat myself on the back:)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Groundhog's Day Resolutions

OK...most people make resolutions on New Years...never-the-less...

I hereby resolve to return to blogging on Saturdays. To check in on my blogging buddies to see how their lives are going. To share any interesting tidbits about my own life.

There! Let's see how it goes.

The month of January flew by. Allan was ill with a monster stomach virus several weeks ago (lost 9 pounds in one night!). Jacob sprained his ankle big time at tennis two weeks ago. He's recovering nicely, and hopefully will be back on the courts soon. I apparently developed a peanut allergy overnight since Allan rushed me to the ER last Sunday night after a peanut butter sandwich shut down my lung capacity in less than 10 minutes. I must be some kind of a freak of nature - why must my health be full of such drama?? Markus is the only one of us that has had nothing dramatic happen to himself.

Jacob was inducted into NHS last week. Thankfully he was able to limp across the stage and not have to maneuver stairs with the crutches.

Our newest cat, Parsons, turns out to be quite the mouser. Caught a big mouse two nights ago - in the HOUSE. Way to go Parsons!

School is going great. I think I have broken my record for being prepared every day. (3 weeks and counting!) I feel so professional :)

I will check in on everyone tomorrow, leave some comments, and hopefully find myself back in the blogging swing of things.