Monthly Archives: January 2007

Honey Pie & Paper Dolls

Callie got out her paper dolls she got from Grandma for Christmas yesterday. It was a snow day & she & Nate were coming down with a touch of cabin fever! I have to admit, I’ve got a weakness for paper dolls! I had a little to do with Grandma getting them for her for Christmas this year.

(On a side note, did you ever see Strawberry Shortcake’s Berrry Merry Christmas? Her pony, Honey Pie, is trying to help SS buy presents for her friends & keeps suggesting things she would like such as a new saddle, etc. So, around our house, if someone tries to suggest gifts for others that they really want for themselves, we call them “Honey Pie” to remind them to refocus on who the gift is for!)

I have to admit, I pulled a Honey Pie a bit with the paper dolls! I guess there’s a bit of Honey Pie in all of us! Callie really likes the dolls, too, though. She’s at a good age for them. She got Ginghams – the ones I had when I was a little older than her. If you’ve never seen these before, they are four cute little turn of the century girls. Each comes with a different color gingham collection of outfits that are reminiscent of Laura Ingalls era. They’re really cute.

Then for her birthday, she got some American Girl paper dolls! These are similar to the Ginghams but a little bigger. I didn’t know they made anything like these anymore! She really is enjoying them as well.

The reason I suggested paper dolls for her this year was because she had cut out a bunch of ladies from my magazines & had made the old doll house out of pictures of beds & tables & windows. She did a great job using her imagination! They turned out really cute. We saved them so she can use them with her new dolls, too.

It all brings back memories of my cousin & me spending all summer “Fashion Plate-ing” our doll collection. We’d make five or six of the same doll & color them different colors & give names to each (for example, one set of sisters would be Tina, Tammy, Teri, Tonya, & Tracy while another set could be April, May & June) & call them sisters. Oh, the fun!

I saw this same innate girlie tendancy appealing to another generation when I watched the Barbie Dancing Princesses DVD. What little girl can resist a bunch of sister dolls in pretty colored gowns? I’m thankful God gave me my sweet little gal who enjoys the ol’ paper dolls as much as I do, um… did!

Indoor or Outdoor Kitties; That Is the Question

I had always considered myself a dog lover. Definately not a cat person! When Keith & I got married, we had a few neighborhood kitties who wandered up our stairs(we lived in an upstairs apartment) to visit us so we fed them & named them, but never ever thought of bringing them indoors. First there was Oxford, then Milkdud, & finally Ditzy Mitzy joined the gang, although she wasn’t around very long. I think she got hit by a car early on – she earned her name!

Three children later, Keith found us three kitties last summer. They are cute. One met his demise as Ditzy Mitzy did for the same reasons. But the two left are good kitties. The kids love to play with them. It gets them out of the house a lot more.

A few weeks ago, a couple of barn cats started terrorizing our poor little kitties. We thought it best to feed ours inside the front door until those cats were “dealt with”. Well, one thing led to another… The kids do love to play with them. And it is really cold outside this week. We’ve been letting them stay in with the kids watching them for an hour or so at a time this week. It is fun to have them around. They’re cute! But I am NOT dealing with a litter box.

So, for now anyway, they are semi-outdoor cats. Oh, by the way, a sweet gray cat with white paws & nose stopped by our front porch meowing away. He’s obviously a house cat gone loose. Our kitties haven’t decided if they like him hanging around or not yet. I’m not real keen on it, but Anders has already taken to calling him Sparky. (Sparky was his kitty that didn’t look both ways before crossing the road.)

Will keep you posted on the kitty capers around here. FYI: one of the barn cats has been dealt with. One down, one to go! Maybe with both of them out of the picture, things will settle back to plain old outdoor kitties.

Read Alouds

We started reading books to the kids the half-hour or so before bedtime about three years ago. I really didn’t think we’d read that many, but when I sat down & made a list, we’ve covered a lot of ground! Our first read aloud was the first in the Betsy & Tacy books (see Favorite Books under Favorites catagory). We started there because our little neighbor came over for the afternoon & I had gotten the book out in hopes of reading it. After they were played out, I asked them to all gather around & listen as I read about two little neighbor girls about their ages. We read through four or five chapters at that sitting! They were hooked.

We’ve had lulls in the reading time through the years. When we finish a book, sometimes it takes us a week to settle on the next read. Here’s a list of what we’ve done so far…

Betsy & Tacy
Betsy-Tacy and Tib
Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill
Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown
Heaven to Betsy
Betsy in Spite of Herself
Carolyn Haywood Books: Betsy’s Busy Summer
Snowbound With Betsy
Betsy and the Boys
B is for Betsy
C is for Cupcake
Back to School with Betsy
Betsy & Mr. Kilpatrick
Betsy’s Winterhouse
Betsy & Billy
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Because of Winn Dixie
Charlotte’s Web
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s Magic
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s Farm
Little House in the Big Woods
The Long Winter
Pilgrim’s Progress
Little Women
The Jungle Book
Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Henry Huggins
Henry & Ribsy
Ramona the Pest
Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Ramona & Her Father
Ramona the Brave
The Door in the Wall
The Fate of the Yellow Woodbee (a Trailblazer book on Nate Saint)
The Bandit of Ashley Downs (a Trailblazer book about George Muller)
Cheaper By the Dozen (We skipped a chapter or two that wasn’t for the age group listening)
All of a Kind Family
The Hundred Dresses
George Washington Carver
Sadako & the Thousand Paper Cranes
The Cabin Faced West
Winnie the Pooh
All Kinds of Animals
Excerpts from “The Book of Virtues” & “The Children’s Book of Home & Family
The Caroline Years Books: Brookfield Days
Caroline & Her Sister
Frontier Family
Brookfield Friends

This takes us to where we are now. We’re in the middle of the Caroline Years books. They are about Laura Ingalls’ ma, Caroline Quiner, when she was six years old. We thought this would make a good choice for our now six year old Caroline.

A Few Past Funnies, A Few Newbees…

Through the years, I have tried to write down the funny things the kids have said & put them in the junk drawer for safe keeping. Then, when the junk drawer gets too full of ticket stubs, papers with funny quotes, artwork they brought home from Sunday School, etc., I put it in a bag & it moves to the attic labeled with the school year. My dream is to one day organize those bags so the kids can look through them & remember. I’ve wanted to get those funny quotes in one place for years & thought this blog might finally be a place. So, since I was up in the attic with the toys, I thumbed through the bags & grabbed a few papers of funny one-liners. This isn’t all of them, but it’s a start…

Nate, while reading with Mom, June, 2002, age 5 – “Hey, I’m getting pretty good at this! I want to do this with my kids someday… if Caroline brings me some.”

One afternooon in April of 2002, during nap/read to us session in Momma’s bed, Callie (aged 1) scratched Nate (aged 4) for no reason! Nate responded, “I’m overcoming your evil, Caroline!” Callie just gave him a blank stare back.

“That’s my Mommy.” – Callie’s first words to Anders after she toddled up on the stool to peer down at him. She pointed over to me in the bed & told him like it was!

“Those germs don’t stand a chance!” – Nate, while brushing his teeth right after a dentist trip.

“You ask too many questions.” – Nate’s response to my asking him what 6 + 4 was when he was in first grade, aged 6.

“I still have to find me a husband. Anders can’t be my husband cuz he’s shorter than me. (pause) Noah could maybe be my husband. He always tells me stories.” – Callie, out of the blue one day when she was four. Noah is a friend of Nate’s.

Any-fing!” – Anders’ response heard several times a day, anytime you ask him what he’s doing or what’s in his mouth or hands, etc., accompanied by an ultra sincere face.

“I did it on the tractor. When I was riding the tractor.” – Anders’ answer whenever you ask him how he got any scrape or cut on his body. When we were camping the summer of ’05, he scratched the top of his foot on a chair, but when you asked him what happened, his story was, “A snake bit me!” & he stuck with it the whole time!

“A raccoon nibbled on my head. Someone left the tent unzipped…no, he must’ve unzipped our tent.” – Callie, one morning on our camping trip in June of ’06. That year we had a family of raccoons outside our tent every night. I think she was dreaming. None of the rest of us had raccoon nibbles on our heads! So, one year it was Anders & the snake & the next it was Callie & the coon.

“It’s a little froggy out, Mommy.” – Anders’ way of saying the visibility isn’t very good whether it be due to fog or snow or rain.

“It’s a VDD.” – Anders’ version of DVD.

“Root Beer Winkle” – what Anders calls Rip Van Winkle

“I can’t use the cards anymore. I gotta start using my mind, cause I’m gonna be in high school soon & have, you know, tricky concepts! Then comes 4th grade, & …” – Callie while doing a Math page one afternoon. This was in response to my suggestion she use the little flash cards I made for her if she needed. February, 2007 – Kindergarten

Burgermeister Meisterburger

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for three children to get new toys (because of Christmas or birthdays, or worse yet, both!!) after a week or two, Mom becomes the Burgermeister Meisterburger! (You have to say this quote with a thick German accent:)

“Toys are hereby declared illegal, immoral, unlawful AND anyone found with a toy in his possession will be placed under arrest and thrown in the dungeon. No kidding! I hate toys! And toys hate me! Either they are going or I am going and I definitely am not going!”

No, really, the toys seem to multiply after such events & drive me crazy!

Time to clean out the toybox. A missing piece here, a broken part there, & dismantled multiple-part toys like purses & doctor kits. A quarter of it needs to go in the trash. Another half needs to migrate up to the attic. That’s what we were up to today.

A few years ago, we started the “attic toy store” system. It has worked like a charm. I share it with you here. Each child gets to choose three toys they like to play with to stay downstairs & everything else goes up. That simple. Actually, they each have a rather large book shelf full of books & there are blocks in the other half of the shelf space. They all still like to play with the blocks. They’re the big ones that look like bricks. Those never seem to go out of style.

Once a week (often it goes longer), they can trade if they want. They pack up the toy they don’t want to play with anymore for a while & go up to the attic with me to trade for a “new” toy at the “toy store”.

This system works great until the next birthday when the new toys get to stay around awhile & get broken in. After awhile, the toys get a bit crazy again for a week or two until the excitement wears off enough to go back to choosing three toys each.

My kids don’t play with more than three toys at a time really. Much more than that out & they just dump everything out & don’t know what to do with the jumbled mess. Ever seen that? I’ve seen parents devote whole rooms to this perpetual mess & the kids don’t even play with the mounds of toys because it’s too much! I have found this system works really well & still allows them to have a good variety of toys. (When homeschooling, you never know when a box of puppets of can of Indians might come in handy!)

I’m sure some think our kids have too much & others probably think we’re terribly mean & depriving, but I just go with what I see. It works for us. If you find yourself turning into Burgermeister Meisterburger, you might want to give it a try.

He Chose Me!

Isn’t it interesting how & who God choses to use? I was just thinking about that the other night after reading with the kids. They are back in Genesis in their nightly reading.

We were reading about Jacob. Now there’s a character! Yet God chose to use him in spite of himself. God made him a great nation even though he was a sneaking, lying, angel-wrestler! God used Baalam even though he repeatedly tried to do the opposite of what God was telling him to do! God chose David even though he was an adulterer & murderer! Come to think of it, Paul & Moses were murderers, too. Yet God puts each of these in His list of those “close to His heart” & He used them in huge ways. Deut. 7:7 says,

“The Lord did not choose you & lavish His love on you because you were (fill in the blank)…It was simply because the Lord loves you, and because He was keeping the oath He has sworn to your ancestors.”

It’s talking here about the Jewish nation, but it’s true of you & me, too! We are adopted Jews now, remember? We are His Chosen People, too when we accept Jesus as our Lord & Savior.

“But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree, some of the Jews, have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, were grafted in. So now you receive the blessing God has promised Abraham & his children, sharing in God’s rich nourishment of His special olive tree.” (Romans 11:17)

This thought gives me both comfort & peace. I have comfort knowing that God can use me in spite of myself. He made me & knows all about my strengths and weaknesses. I have peace knowing that it’s His responsibility to use me when & where He wants, not mine. My job is just to listen & have a heart in tune with Him. Like Mary, let Him do with me whatever He wants (Luke 1:38).

The pastor at Grace E Free, our church in VA when we were first married, once gave an analogy. He said just like there are radio waves constantly in the air that we can’t see or hear but they are still there, God is there all the time. We can’t see or hear Him unless we tune in! We need to have our “radios” tuned in to His “frequency”. We choose to do that by reading His Word & keeping our hearts clean before Him – keeping a right relationship with Him. I like that.

“Lord, may my heart be in tune with Yours today & every day. Use me as You wish. I’m just so thankful You chose me & awed at how You know & love me!”

My Left Big Toe

We are members of CMA church for the first time in our lives. (Denominations are a whole nother rather lengthy log for another time.) Pastor is going through James & we hit chapter 5, verses 13 through 18 last Sunday. So, naturally, a healing service took place afterward. It was good for my younger kids to see how it’s done. They probably don’t ever remember seeing one before. Dad always carried a vial of anointing oil with him for just such occasions.

I thought this would be a good time to put another entry into my “Pot of Omar”. I have shared this story often, but I want it down for posterity.

When I was in the ninth grade, our school choir took a spring tour. We were at a church where they were having a healing service. This was my first experience with a healing service, & the church was more pentecostal than what I grew up with so they did it a little differently. Anyway, my left big toe had been quite infected for a number of months. I didn’t want to go to the doctor about it because I knew he would either lance it or remove my toenail – both options gave me the heeby-jeebies!! So, I put up with it for a good part of ninth grade!

After our choir sang, we went to the back of the sanctuary for the rest of the service. The end of the message turned into a rather long healing service. A man was way up front saying things like, “Someone here has a heart problem God wants to fix.” After a while he said, “Someone here has a left big toe that has a problem. God wants to heal it.” My heart jumped into my throat! That had to be me!! Now what? I didn’t know about walking way up front & possibly getting left behind if the choir left, etc. It was pretty dark. I thought, “Lord, I know You can heal me. I don’t really know what’s going on here, but You can do whatever You want. I’m not really sure going up front is such a good idea, do You?” I kept wondering if I should or not & the moment passed.

Later that night, I told people about it & we all agreed God could heal me if He wanted, whether I went forward or not. I kept wondering if I should’ve though. I didn’t want to cheat God of the glory for whatever He wanted to do in this situation.

The next week, I just noticed one day, my toe didn’t hurt any more!! It was no big lightning flash or warm sensation or anything. He just healed me! And I know He did it supernaturally; not just “my body healing itself”. He did it.

God knows a person’s heart. He thankfully chose to heal me even though I didn’t go forward & have the guys lay hands on me. He knows why I didn’t. I believe if I didn’t go because I was just too prideful or whatever, He probably wouldn’t have healed me.

I’ve heard Mom & Dad say before that God will ask you to do whatever it is that keeps you from being totally His. For example, if you are bound & determined you will not go forward in church because of a pride issue, that’s probably exactly what you need to do to get right with the Lord. I think this is exactly why Jesus told the rich young ruler to go and sell all that he has before following Him. Jesus knew that he was holding pretty tightly to that money, & until he let go of it, there was no way he could follow the Lord.

He doesn’t ask everybody to do the same things. We serve a God Who loves us personally. Think about that. Isn’t that awesome?! He knows our heart. He knows what our “issues” are better than we know ourselves! He has the key to fix them if we take them to Him.