Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Coronado's Cross

DR took me to a new Kansas spot that I didn't know existed. 

Coronado's Cross

You'll find it just east of Dodge City, Kansas in Fort Dodge. The site of the original military fort. 

At the base of the cross is this inscription; 

February 22, 1540. Don Francisco Vasquez de Coronado started into mid-America looking for Cibola, the seven cities of Gold. June 29, 1541. He and his men crossed the Arkansas River to the south, naming it St. Peter and St. Paul because they crossed on that holy day. 

Father Juan de Padilla, a Franciscan friar, led in a mass of thanksgiving. It is this Christian service, the first in the area that we commemorate. 

Erected in 1975

The cross is large but simple. 
I'm sure at one time I had learned that Coronado made it into the interior of the future United States but of course I'd forgotten. 

(image borrowed from Wikipedia)

Coronado made it all the way to Salina! 

I think it's a very interesting monument. It isn't a monument to Coronado or the expedition but a monument to the earliest Christian fellowship in the area. 

The cross is literally in the middle of nowhere and seems oddly out of place but at the same time it seems very  appropriate. 

(I don't know why I can't get this photo to turn but I liked it so well I thought I'd throw it in anyway. Don't hurt your neck!) 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Our school is soooo SMALL that.....

Our school district is VERY small. The school enrollments were published in our town newspaper last week and even boasted that enrollments were up!!

Here's the breakdown between two elementary schools, a middle school and a high school

PrK - 18
K - 16
1st grade - 19 (my boys are in this class with two new students this year!)
2nd grade - 14
3rd grade - 17
4th grade - 13
5th grade - 13
Total - 110

PrK - 7 
K - 10
1st grade - 8 
2nd grade- 6 (!!)
3rd grade- 6 (!!!!) 
4th grade- 7
5th grade- 9
Total - 53....(in the whole elementary school)

Junior High
6th grade - 24
7th grade - 22
8th grade - 33
Total - 79

and finally...
High School
9th grade - 25
10th grade - 24
11th grade - 27
12th grade - 16
Total - 92

There are only 92 kids in the entire high school...only 16 seniors. I had 130 kids in my graduating class (1994) back in Indiana! 

Wow! The numbers here just blow me away. Sometimes I have a hard time remembering that we live in such a small town. DR and I were saying just the other day that if we ever move back to Indiana we would be in for some culture shock! big was your high school graduating class? 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Marker Monday - Six Pack Plastic Thingy Art

I had a college art professor that gave me really good advice. 
When you are stuck creatively and you need to shake things up a bit, create an artistic problem for yourself. 

I've been in a bit of a funk for Yahoo projects so decided to follow his advice. 

Being inspired by the recycled art show, I found three six pack can holders and decided to come up with three different things to do with them. 

Project #1 - The Weave 

Using cardboard as a frame (more recycling) I poked holes around the hole with toothpicks and suspended the plastic with string. 

Then Yahoo and I jumped in the craft box and started "weaving" things back and forth through the many holes. If I can get Yahoo interested we just might get the cardboard frame painted sometime. 

Project #2 - The Rubbing

This a great preschool project since that age is more concerned with artistic process than product. 
I hot glued the plastic to another piece of cardboard and used the side of a crayon to produce a rubbing. I realized too late that the corrugation showed through on my rubbing. That's alright but next time I'll glue the plastic holder to a smooth cereal box instead. 

Two plastic thingies down, one to go. 

Project #3 - The Flower

I spray painted the plastic thingy with red spray paint.

Then I used a bamboo skewer to poke through the plastic and gathered it up in a bloom. Then I cut out green leaves from a cracker box and added a button for the center of the flower.

Three plastic can holders and three different projects.
Fun! Now, what should I recycle next? I need a new challenge. What are your suggestions?


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Devotions - Judging others

One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.  Romans 14:5-10

Many times as I read through the New Testament it amazes me that the young fledgling church led by Peter and Paul ever survived. There was so much bickering between the Christians. Although the church all believed in the Jesus as Messiah, there were still divisions and between Jew and Gentile. The groups were quick to point fingers and judge each others wrong doings.

"They eat the wrong foods."
"They aren't circumcised." 
"They aren't singing right or praying right or..."

It sounds like bickering between kids doesn't it? Whew, thank goodness our modern church doesn't bicker and judge like that! Or do we? A lot of people in this world view Christians as being extremely judgemental. 

Honestly, can you say you've never looked at another Christian denomination other than your own and say to yourself, "Well isn't that weird." or "How can they worship like that?" or "That's just wrong!" 

I've said those things more than I care to admit. I've attended churches who don't allow women in leadership positions and I thought it was wrong. I live in a community where many Mennonites live and it is very easy to judge them as living and worshiping the 'wrong way'. isn't our job to judge. Those other Christian denominations and their living and worship practices? They aren't doing that for me or for you. They are living and worshiping, in their way, for the Lord. So it's never for us to say that the way they are living is wrong; that's the Lord's job. My job is to love those other Christians, and everyone else, no matter how they worship, and to live my life for the Lord alone. A simple job that takes a mighty lot of work. 

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for the words that remind us that our lives are for you and you alone, and that the Christian lives of others are none our business. That's your business. Bless me in love Lord that I may continue to show Your love to all, no matter what their beliefs. Amen. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Yip and Yap!!!

My twins turned 7 this week!! Wow, how time has flown! No Preschool Lament here...I love how big my boys are! We aren't huge party people we just had a little celebration at home.

Now I know most of you aren't probably in birthday details, that's fine. This post is mostly for grandmas and grandpas out there. We sure miss sharing our birthday with you! You being any family member reading this post. (I really miss sharing birthdays with you because that leaves me with an entire sheet cake to eat myself!)

Onto the pics!
There they are! My 7 year olds! Keep growing boys because in just couple years you'll be big enough I can borrow your clothes. Yip has a really cool Spider Man shirt I'm dying to wear!! lol 

During school Yahoo and I made a sheet cake and after school they all helped to decorate with Runts candy complete with a big 7 for each of the boys.

Then I shooed them all to the basement to watch the movie Tangled (That horse cracks me up!) while I made their birthday dinner.  

At their request we ate pancakes and bacon for dinner.

Then on to the cake!!
Yip and Yap decided they wanted one big chocolate cake to share this year.
I offered to make them each a separate cake but they were more than happy to share.

Yip was up first to blow out the candles. I think he was afraid he'd blow out the candles too soon!
Then Yap! Use all that hot air!

Since Yip blew out the candles first Yap got to open his present first.
I tell you with twins it's a whole balancing act of fairness.

Using your teeth? I know I didn't tape it that well.

Ahh, sister to the rescue.

Yap exclaimed, "A marble maze!! JUST what I WANTED!"
Whew, music to Mama's ears.

He looks so innocent doesn't he?
In real life he's a raging ball of energy!

"Spider Man skateboard!! AWESOME!!"

Gifts worked out well this year. I've learned gift giving to twins can be kind of touchy. When they are young you have to give them the exact gift so there won't be any arguments. Sharing doesn't work either. That doesn't impress ANY twin.

But then they get to the age of 4 or 5 and their unique personalities are starting to grow. The same gifts just won't work any more. But then you have to find the balance where both gifts are equal, not necessarily in monetary value but in 'coolness' to the kid. In past years I've bombed where for example; Yap's gift was what both boys wanted and Yip's gift wasn't at all interesting. Jealousy ensues.

This year they were both very happy with their own gifts, thank goodness.

Their final celebration of the day is (fairness in everything) Yip moved to the bottom bunk and Yap moved to the top. Next year they'll switch again. I wonder how hold they'll be when they work out their own twin issues and I won't have to be the fairness referee anymore. I'm looking forward to THAT birthday!



Friday, August 26, 2011

Foody Friday - Roasted Garden Hash

Our garden has done pretty well despite a drought. I harvested this little bowl of goodies this morning. Except for that green tomato up there. That was added by Little Miss Yahoo.

It's a great bowl of veggies but there hasn't been a bumper crop of anything this summer to justify me doing a lot of canning or freezing. So most days veggies come straight from the garden onto the table. 

Except Okra. I've been having a real hard time figuring out just HOW to fix okra. The problem with okra is when you cut it, it is slimy. There is like a sap that seeps out of it. Most people fry okra which is good but most days I don't have the patience to do the whole assembly line of batter. But if you just try to fry or roast okra by itself the sappiness can be an overwhelming texture. 

The best way I've found to fix okra is to first slice it and soak it in lemon juice water for about five minutes. This helps remove some of that sap. Then I toss the okra with tomatoes, peppers and onions....veggies that will add a stronger flavor to the okra. Toss it all with olive oil, salt and pepper and then roast in the oven on 350 for 20 minutes or so. 

And eat it right out of the pie pan I roasted it in. Who needs to dirty up another dish? 

This is the first year I've ever grown okra. On the positive side, it is a hardy plant despite drought conditions and there is always plenty of it to harvest from the garden. On the downside, it's a bit bland and there is always plenty of it to harvest from the garden. The biggest challenge with okra is finding different ways to eat it so you won't get sick of eating it. 

Other than battered and fried, have you ever eaten okra? 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Mini Mud Monsters

Sometimes when Mother Nature has been in one of her moods, like this summer's drought, and you can't count on rain or just have to take matters into your own hands. 

"Come here brother...give me a hug!! HA HA!!!"

"Catch this!!!" 

"Peek a boo!"

"I'm starting a trend little monsters...follow me!"

So exfoliating for the pores !

"Mom? I think I have something stuck up my nose."

Hmmm, wonder what THAT could be? 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wyatt Earp and the Horseshoe Cow

Betcha didn't know that we have a larger than life size statue of Wyatt Earp in the middle of Dodge City, KS.
But I betcha aren't surprised by that little tidbit of information either.  

I nice statue too, just a hint of a Kurt Russell influence. Or maybe Wyatt Earp influenced Kurt Russell? 

Betcha didn't know there is a cow made entirely of horseshoes in Dodge City too. I think of the two I'd rather have the horseshoe cow in my front yard though. 

Someday, when my kids are older and I can justify playing around with fire and hot metal with them, I'm going to learn to weld and fill my front yard with tacky yard art made from scrap metal. I once saw a pink flamingo sculpture whose body was made from the gas tank off a motorcycle. It was so cool! I want one. 

Ah, to have life goals! LOL 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Preschool Lament

School has started! 

What didn't you get the memo from all your Facebook mom friends flooding their status's with pics of their kids on the first day of school? (Okay, I'm guilty of that one.) Or those moms' confessions of how much they cried when their preschooler/kindergartner stepped on the bus for the first time? 

Yep, school has started and we are in full swing of the Preschool Lament. You know, the lament from the mom who has a child starting preschool and can't bear the thought of being without their little one for a few hours a day. The mom who rather than putting their child in the preschool in their hometown drags the poor kid to a preschool in the town where they work because they can't stand to be that many miles away from them. The mom who is in the beginnings of a deep dark spiral of depression because they have to face the fact their child is growing up and off to full day kindergarten. 

The Preschool Lament. You've heard it. I've heard it. But I just don't get it. 

I don't get why moms are so sad about their kids starting school. Yes, I miss my kids when they are gone (I do enjoy the silence though) but more than anything I am really excited for my kids and the opportunities school holds for them. School means learning and new experiences, friends and sports, meeting new people and the chance to grow into their personality and the person they are meant to be. 

Yes, I do miss my kids when they were babies but how cool it has been to watch them grow! Just this summer all of my kids went off a diving board for the first time and the boys learned to swim. Yahoo has matured by leaps and bounds in her coordination, speech and cognition in just the last few months. All of my kids have physically grown out of clothes...and shoes...and shoes....and more shoes. 

But for all their growing I'm not sad for the first day of preschool or kindergarten and you won't hear a Lament from me. Growing up is great! I'm looking forward to every phase and age of my kids because every season of their lives holds new experiences we can share and I can open up to them. Last weekend we hiked the Palo Duro Canyon in Amarillo, TX. With three young kids we could only hike for a couple of hours for two mornings. But I can't wait until they get to be teenagers and I can take them to the Grand Canyon and backpack and camp at the bottom of the Colorado River. Very, very cool! 

There are all kinds of things I want to share and do with my kids. But I won't ever get to do any of them if I'm still wishing they were three years old instead of thirteen. By the way, I love thirteen year old kids. THAT is a cool age to be! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Sub Job

School started here on Thursday. On Friday I had my first substitute teaching job of the year. Since the school is right across the street and Yahoo's babysitter is right across the alley, substitute teaching is a pretty easy way to make a little extra money. 

This sub job was so easy it was boring. I only had to watch about two and half hours worth of high school Spanish classes.I've subbed for many years. I was a substitute teacher my last couple years of college. I subbed right after I married DR and moved from Indiana to Kentucky. The largest and most intimidating high school I ever subbed in, in Kentucky, had 4 separate principals, over 1000 students and had uniformed police officers walking the halls. I didn't like heading to that huge school and often turned down subbing jobs there. It wasn't just because of the cops that I didn't feel comfortable there...just walking through the halls was extremely uncomfortable. There were many kids who let off a creepy vibe. 

Our little town's high school is most definitely the smallest I have ever subbed in. There are only about 100 high school students in all four grades, the high school is attached to the elementary, everyone knows EVERYONE and every kid has a laptop assigned by the school. My half day sub job was cake. First of all because it was the second day and I don't know a lick of Spanish there wasn't anything for these kids to do. Back when I was in high school (man, that phrase makes me feel old) we'd sit around and chit chat the whole class while periodically being told to quiet down by the sub. All 13 of the kids in my class last week had a laptop and were on it and were completely quiet for over an hour. I even asked them once to make some noise...please! The silence was driving me insane! 

It wasn't just the fact they all had laptops that spurred the silence. I know a lot of the high schoolers and overall they are pretty conservative and respectful group of teenagers.  You don't see any over the top clothes or hairstyles or piercings on these kids like I've witnessed in other states and bigger schools. Not many teachers get to experience the spectrum of teaching environments that substitutes do...especially one that has subbed in different states.

This school district is awfully small and sure, there are some things that the students in this high school don't have offered to them like FFA or more specialized classes. But I think being small is a good trade off for a positive and conducive environment for learning. 

Anyway, small is great when it comes to being a substitute teacher and having a safe feeling when I go to work. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Devotions - Let's Pray for our Teachers

___ for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—

Proverbs 1:3-5

First day of school - August 18, 2011

This summer has just flown by! And school started this past week. I even had my first substitute teaching job on the second day of school..ha! Boy was I happy school started; Yip and Yap's daily arguments have been grating on my nerves. Yep, let those teachers handle em' for a few months. HA! 

Joking aside though I will miss my boys daily presence but I'm sure Yahoo and I will find plenty of things to keep us busy. I was a teacher and many of my friends and family are teachers. It's a tough job that not anyone can do. Teachers don't teach just because they can't make it in the real world. Teachers teach because they have a passion for learning and truly care about the education of the younger generations. 

Yes, teachers only teach ten months out of the year (what do they have to complain about) but most of their summers are spent continuing their education, working summer school or organizing for the upcoming school year. And teachers don't stop working at 3 pm when the bell rings. Teachers work late nights and weekends grading papers and planning for the upcoming days' lessons and are always trying to improve their methods of teaching and finding better resources within the budget, small as it always is. 

Millions of teachers have started the school year this week. Some are novice teachers while others have years of experience behind them but they are all teachers because they care about my and your children. 

Take a minute today and pray for your children's teachers. Pray that the teachers are blessed this year with patience, wisdom, support and resources. Ask God to bless each and every adult that will touch your children's lives this year. 

Teaching is a fabulous profession, I miss it a lot. Those teachers will impact our child's life more than we may ever know. And there will be some teachers our children will never forget. I still have former students that I keep in contact with. How can we not be willing to support these teachers in every way, especially with our prayers? 

Dear Father in Heaven, Watch over all the children returning to school this week. Bless them with open minds and willing hearts to gain knowledge and wisdom. Bless the teachers with health and wisdom. Although teachers are overloaded in their responsibilities across the countries help us as parents to be supportive in any way possible. Amen. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Corn in Black and White

I've had this little corn painting that I've been working on for a while. Sometimes I get frustrated when I start a painting or drawing because I'll start out with a concept or idea I want to express but because it sometimes takes so long and I get interrupted so often I feel like my train of thought gets lost and the work never gets to the point I want it to. But by the time I'm finished, I feel like I've lost the whole purpose I had in starting it in the first place. 

That was a big problem in this one because, although it is fairly simple in execution, it took me over a month to finish. Life gets busy, what can I say. The canvas size is probably only 6"x14" or so. Just guessing, I haven't measured it. 

Closeups. I like the idea of white on a color but I think I need to do more of these. 

I haven't reached the limit of what just white can achieve on a colored background. 

Suggestions? Comments? 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Foody Friday - Zucchini Ribbon Lasagna

Despite a drought and my garden being dry and thirsty most days, I've still had an overabundance of zucchini. We only have three plants and I still have zucchini coming out of my ears! What to do with it all? 

DR found this recipe for me the other day, actually submitted to the paper by a family friend of his back in Indiana. Small world. 

Zucchini Ribbon Lasagna.
I thought it was great! My kids didn't agree with me. 

This is what my kids thought of it. 

As long as you aren't feeding kids it is a great recipe! 

For sauce
1 can of tomatoes with juice (I also added a small can of tomato sauce)
2 T olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/4 t red pepper flakes
 12 oz. ground meat (I used sausage but use whatever floats your boat)
1 T dried oregano
2 T salt

For Lasagna
2 medium zucchini, trimmed and sliced lengthwise
1 cup Ricotta cheese
1/4 t. olive oil

Make sauce
Pulse tomatoes in blender til finely chopped. Heat oil in skillet over med. heat. Cook onion and red pepper flakes, stir occasionally, til onion is tender. Add ground meat and cook til browned. Add tomatoes and sauce (if using) and bring to a boil. Simmer til thick, about 20 minutes. Stir in oregano and salt. Let cool.

Make Lasagna
Preheat oven to 375. Slice zucch's lengthwise. Place 5-6 zucchini slices in bottom of 8 inch square pan. Top with sauce, dot with 1/4 c. ricotta cheese. Repeat twice with zucchini, sauce and ricotta until you run out of ingredients. Bake uncovered til lasagna bubbles and top browns. Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. 

As long as you aren't a veggie hater or Calvinesque little kid you will enjoy this lasagna! 

Related Posts with Thumbnails