Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What's My Dog's Name?? Well it's....


Yes, our dog's name is Knothead.

I didn't name the dog. I haven't blogged much about Knothead but I thought it would be a good story to share; how Knothead got her name. 

When Yip and Yap were just about 3 years old, the same age Yahoo is now, Yap loved dogs and puppies and Yip did not! My brother John Deere had a 1 year old dog one summer who was BIG and though he was still a puppy he was bigger than the boys. When John Deere's dog wanted to play with my boys it scared them. To their eyes he probably looked gigantic. When my boys were upset by this dog my dad would pick them up and say, "Don't be scared of the dog. He's alright, he's just a knotheaded dog." Papa would cuddle my boys and repeat those words to them until they had calmed down. 

That same summer we just happened to be visiting a friend who had a litter of pups that my boys spent a long time playing with. Even Yip, who up to this point hadn't liked ANY dogs, adored these puppies! Yip was so taken with these puppies that we decided to take one home. 

As we were driving home I was asking the boys what we should name our new puppy. Sally, Spot, Old Yeller? I suggested all kinds of "dog" names but no, they both agreed that our new puppy should be named Knothead. 

Because that's what Papa said dogs are; dogs are just knotheads! 

And that's how our dog got her name. 
She's a wonderful dog and has been just wonderful with my kids, even when Yahoo was a baby Knothead was super protective of her. I just feel kind of bad about the name she got stuck with! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Great Green Tomato War!

My garden is finally dead. We hard a hard freeze Thursday or Friday last week that finally killed of all my tomato plants though it warmed right back up by the weekend. Yesterday afternoon DR took the boys out to the garden, while I was putting Yahoo down for a nap, to clean up hoses and plants and such. When I came out of Yahoo's bedroom I heard all sorts of screaming, laughing and hollering coming from the garden. I stepped outside to tell the boys to quiet down, because Yahoo wasn't asleep yet, only to find this.....

DR was having a green tomato war with the boys! 
Honestly though they weren't picky about their ammunition. They were quite happy when they found a squishy red one! 

They soon learned that a large dead tomato plant would double as a bunker. 

But Dad still had awfully good aim! 

Ha! I hadn't seen DR have such a good time in a long time! 

Toward the end of their war the boys decided they needed camoflauge! 

Ugg!! I think I'm going to have to burn those clothes. Dead tomato plants smell disgusting!! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Family Tree Optical Illusion.

I saw this on Facebook.
I love optical illusions.  

How many faces do you see? 

I counted 10. 

How did you do? 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fall Leaves.... a gift from Home.

Look what I received in the mail just the other day. 

Do you think it's an odd gift? I don't, I thought it was AWESOME! 

I had been complaining on Facebook about the lack of fall leaves out here in SW Kansas and how much I missed the autumn season back home in Indiana. My wonderful mother took pity on me and sent me a box of leaves, still slightly damp...

.....and smelling wonderful! I thrust my nose straight into the fiery colors and immediately felt myself back in the Indiana woods I grew up in. I was rolling in piles of maple leaves with my sisters, walking trails in the woods kicking up thick layers of wet leaves, swinging on wild grapevines and cutting up trees that my dad had felled. Though cutting wood, for our wood burning stove, with Dad was never one of my favorite childhood chores I think I'd trade just about anything to have the chance to go back in time, to home, and do it again. 

Amazing the memories just a smell can invoke. 

I used to think my favorite smell was the soil from a freshly plowed field. The earthiness, the deep smell. 
Now I'm thinking the rich smell of autumn leaves still damp with dew may be my favorite. Or maybe they are one and the same. Soil and Leaves...both of Earth...and Home. 

Maybe this is what my Heaven will smell like. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Week 42 - Windows

The window in my garage. 

1/250 sec., f18, ISO 1600

Week 43 - Scary!! 
Looks like I'll have to tote my camera along while I'm trick or treating :) 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Two Sculptors

Last week I was substitute teaching for a 4th grade class and their classroom teacher had this poem on her desk. I thought it was just lovely so I copied it and I thought I'd share it with you real quick this morning. 

Two Sculptors

I dreamed I stood in a studio
And watched two sculptors there 
The clay they used was a young child's mind
And they fashioned it with care.

One was a teacher; the tools she used
Were books, music and art. 
One, a parent who worked with a guiding hand
And a gentle, loving heart. 

Day after day the teacher toiled
With touch that was deft and sure,
While the parent labored by her side
And polished and smoothered it o'er.

And when at last their task was done, 
They were proud of what they had wrought; 
For the tings they had molded into the child
Could neither be sold or bought. 

And each agreed she would have failed 
If she had worked alone, 
The parent and the school, 
The teacher and the home. 

-Author Unknown_ 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Our VERY LAST Flag Football game!!!

This weekend we celebrated a great day...our LAST Flag Football Game!!!

Oh, we didn't celebrate because we are happy that our short little football season is over, OH NO!! 
We celebrated because the next football game my boys play, next fall, will be TACKLE!! With pads and helmets and all the parts of a football uniform that I'm clueless about! 

My boys have had so much fun playing football this fall. 
We had a bumpy couple of weekends where our games were cancelled because of weather so this past weekend, instead of playing one game we played three. 

My boys took turns playing center...I guess they did a good job I really don't have a clue about football! 

I have to send a big shout out to all the DADS that helped out this season. I think there must have been 5 or 6 that volunteered to help out this fall, what a great bunch of DADS!!! 

Run Yap RUN!!! Don't STOP! 

Yip's calculating the distance.....

....he takes the extra long stride.....

and...HOORAH!!! Has the flag!! 

Have you ever tried to get 12 little boys to sit still for a camera? 
I think I got about 10 photos taken before they finally sat still. 

Well, sort of sat still! 

What a great group of boys. I can't wait to break out this picture when they are juniors and seniors in high school! 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Devotions - Born Again!

 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]

 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.  Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit.  You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’  The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?  Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” John 3:3-15

Last week I was teaching the story of Nicodemus, Jesus and being born again to my Sunday School class, ages 3-8. I think being born again is a hard concept for some adults to grasp let alone children. 

First I showed them this photo and asked them to describe the bug they saw. 

Dirty, poky, slimy, icky, ucky were just some of the not so flattering adjectives the children came up with. 

Then I showed them this photo and asked them to describe the bug they saw. 

Their eyes brightened as they said, "Big, beautiful, pretty, bright"

They were surprised to know that these two "bugs" were the same animal. That ugly bumpy caterpillar spins his cocoon and eventually turns into this beautiful butterfly. 

But all of the children wrinkled their brows when I said, "WE are all JUST LIKE the CATERPILLAR! We are ugly because we are full of sins!!" 

Then the kids shared some sins they knew of; lying, hitting, fighting, etc. 

Does God want us to be ugly and full of sin? No of course not. God's goal for us is to become as beautiful as that butterfly up there but he's not going to change us all by himself. We have to do some work too. 

Just like the caterpillar spins a cocoon tightly around himself and then waits patiently while he changes, so must we wrap ourselves in God's Word. To truly change our sinful ways we need to surround ourselves with people, places, and things that will help us change into the loving Christians God wants us to be. It probably won't happen all at once but it will happen if we are patient and work with God. 

Dear Heavenly Father, 
Thank You for the "ugly" caterpillar and the "beautiful" butterfly. Thank You for giving us the opportunity to change our sinful ways and live a beautiful life for You. Father, please provide us the cocoon we need to change. Amen. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

How do you choose When and Where to go for the Holidays...without upsetting family?

Just recently DR and I decided that we weren't heading to Indiana this year for the holidays. We are taking a year off from the 14 hour winter car trip...YAY!!! Though I won't miss the trip I will miss seeing my family. I'll be a bit bummed about not seeing my siblings, parents, grandparents, nieces and nephews. But I didn't realize till just the other day how GOOD I'm going to have it this year being all alone! 

This will be the first Holiday Season of NO CRAZY RELATIVES! Hoorah!!! 

Yeah, you have em' too don't ya?? Everyone has that one crazy relative that you spend all of Thanksgiving/Christmas avoiding. If you are lucky you have a cousin/sibling who'll play wing man and rescue you when you've been backed into a corner by Aunt Suzie discussing her latest allergies or Uncle Ted who is introducing you to his new wife...your new aunt. (Is this wife #3 or #4?) 

(By the way cousins, I still remember that year I was stuck talking to THAT ONE CRAZY AUNT for tooooo long. Thanks.)

Yep, I've got it GREAT this year!! Ha, ha!!

I hadn't even given the holidays much thought until a friend of mine gave me a call asking for advice. See, she's recently married and living near her new in-laws. Her mom, who lives out of state, is asking when she's going to come home for Christmas and her mother in law is insisting that she and her husband spend Christmas day with her! 

My poor friend is going through her first holiday season married. Which means she's trying to make everyone happy during the holidays. She asked me my advice, "How did DR and I decide where to spend the holidays when we were first married?" 

I don't know if I gave her the best advice though. Our families live only a few hours apart so DR and I were always able to spend time with both when we lived back in Indiana. We were also lucky since both of our parents were very understanding if DR and I couldn't make it to every holiday family get together which really took a lot of stress off of us. 

I told my friend that she and her husband needed to make a decision that they were both happy with and let their mothers know where they'd spend the holidays; she probably wasn't going to be able to make everyone happy. 

Do you have any advice for my friend readers? How does your family decide where and when to spend the holidays? Do you have a good solution on spending time with family in separate states? What works for you? 

Thanks in advance, I'm sure my newly married friend will appreciate any advice she gets! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

THE. Tomato. Soup. The only recipe you'll ever need.

That's how I feel after I make my Gr. Grandma Brown's tomato soup. 
I just. don't. want. to. share.

My Great Grandma Brown's Tomato Soup. 
It's my ultimate comfort food. 

It's the only tomato soup I grew up eating. The stuff from the grocery store just tastes vile! This is sooo much better but the last few years it's been tough to get enough tomato juice to can enough to last a whole year. I've tried substituting store bought juice for the juice I get from my own tomatoes but it just isn't the same. 

I've blogged about making Running Soup a few times in the past, about once a year if I get a chance to make any. I've made it in big batches and in small batches. 

If I have a chance I'll always make a BIG BIG batch! 
Now THAT is a lot of soup! 

I ended up with 14 quarts today! Not too shabby considering I've scrimped and saved tomato juice all summer long. 

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches for dinner tonight!! Nothing better on a cold windy day like we have in SW Kansas today. 

Now for the dishes. 
I don't even mind the pile either because it just means that I have my tomato soup! 

Great Grandma's Tomato Soup

7-9 qts. of tomato juice
2 bunches of celery
6 onions
3 green peppers
10 or so large carrots (or a couple bags of baby carrots)
1 t black pepper
2 sticks of butter (not margarine)
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. salt

Chop and puree all veggies and add to tomato juice. Boil for 30 minutes. Pull out a few cups of juice and allow to cool. Blend the remaining ingredients into the cool juice with a blender then return to hot soup. Cook 15 more minutes.

While soup is place canning jars and lids upside down in a few inches of boiling water to sterilize. Fill jars, one at a time, with hot soup. Wipe rims and fasten lid and ring. Sit on counter to allow it to self seal. Leave jars sit for 24 hours before moving. 

Note: The open kettle method of canning isn't FDA approved but my family has been doing it this way for at least four generations and none of us have died yet from eating this soup! This is the way I learned to can this soup, it's always worked for me and I'm not changing now. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Photo Thursday - I'm White Rabbit Late on 52 Weeks.

I am so late. 
Like the White Rabbit Late. 
You know running around like crazy screaming, "I'm late, I'm late." 

How does this happen? I'm so good at keeping my kids on myself on schedule for school, football, dinner, bedtime...but I can never keep myself on a schedule for my own projects. They just seem to fit into the few spare moments I have, if any, in a day. 

I'm something like five weeks late on my 52 Week Photo project. Where does the time go? I had every intention of getting these done but before I knew another week had come and gone...and another...and another. I even took a day last week to take a photo walk around town and catch up...and then accidentally deleted most of the photos that I took, which was okay because I didn't like most of them anyway. 

Today I put my foot down. I passed the laundry and dishes that were desperately calling out for my attention. I left my daughter playing Play Dough unsupervised, though she did come help me out with some shots later on, to go to the garage and catch up on my 52 Weeks. I was determined that I could find inspiration right in my back yard and that I would only shoot ONE photo per theme. 

And I did. And, I think, they turned out pretty darn good. 

So here you go, straight from the camera, no edits....
...my very very late photographs. 

Week 32 - Intromit (to allow in)
1/60sec., F8, ISO 1600

Week 36 - No
I am ALWAYS hollering at her to get down and leave my clothespins alone! 
1/250 sec., F8, ISO 200

Week 39 - Tools 
Shot in Black and White but I think I'd like it just as much in color
1/80 sec., F8, ISO 1600 with flash

I've been really afraid to use a flash for a long time but recently I've started to get the hang of it. I still feel a little uncertain using it though. 

Week 40 - Bent

1/100 sec., F7.1, ISO 1600 with flash

Week 41 - Blue

1/100 sec., F8, ISO 1600 with flash 

Next week, if I'm not behind again, theme is Windows. 

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