Friday, April 26, 2013

Let's help Wayne win a new Wheelchair Accessible Van!

(Vote once a day until May 10!!) 


Entry Photo for Wayne Landis - Mentone, IN
See that good looking fellow right over there, flanked by his two mini Notre Dame/Cubs fans? That guy right there is a very special guy...his name is Wayne and I have known him my entire life through my home church in Packerton, Indiana. (Don't bother Googling it, I doubt it's on the map.) He's a lay minister, a teacher, a coach, a wonderful friend....wait, that's wrong...the word wonderful can't even begin to describe my friend Wayne. He's been such a positive influence on my life. That guy right there is truly a living model of a positive Christian outlook on life. When he was 33 and I was 18 he fell from a room and became paraplegic. In the past 19 years he's been in a wheelchair and driven a car with hand controls but the years of disassembling and reassembing his wheelchair every morning and night is tough on him and so his wife, Beth, entered him in a contest to win a new wheelchair accessible van. I've never heard him complain. Sure, I can tell when he's been having bad days but he's NEVER held any pity party for himself. Wayne may not be a hero in the traditional sense but everyday he's a HERO to those two fabulous sons of his and to everyone else he comes into contact with. 

Take a minute and read Wayne and Beth's story below. 


Please vote for my friend Wayne!! (Vote once a day until May 10!!) 
Wayne Landis fell 18 feet from the eave of a church roof, while roofing, June 17, 1994 at 33 years of age. He became a paraplegic instantly. He and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary July 7th, 1994 at RHI in Indianapolis. Wayne looked at me and said, “I don’t suppose you will want me now,” to which I very intently responded, “I married you for better or for worse, I am not leaving you!” He never made a comment like that again. Our marriage is like peanut butter and jelly, each one of us is good separately, but put together we are something.
We returned home the weekend before school began in August of 1994, and I began teaching that Monday. This is currently my 22nd year of being a full time teacher. Wayne returned to his seventh and eighth grade students teaching Pre-Algebra and Algebra October of 1994. He resumed teaching full time November of 1994 and has continued teaching full-time for a total of 27 years.
Wayne is president of the Tippecanoe Valley Teacher’s Association and an Indiana State Teacher’s Representative. He is a man who wears many hats. He continued coaching girl’s softball for two years after his injury. He announces Tippecanoe Valley basketball and baseball games. He plays keyboard at our church, prepares the church bulletin, is financial secretary, and a trustee as well. May 2003 we became the parents of Zach, 17 months, and Jeremy, 6 1/2 months. He is a fantastic father, husband, teacher, and friend. He transports the boys to their school, sports activities, and other occasions.
When traveling as a family, I disassemble his chair and place it in the trunk of his car. All of the other times, Wayne disassembles it himself, lifting it in and across his body to the passenger side several times a day whether it is raining, snowing, or sunny.
He has been driving a Monte Carlo for the past 19 plus years with hand controls only. It would be a blessing for us as we have persevered for 19 years to have a modified van. It is becoming more difficult for Wayne to disassemble and assemble his chair as he is getting older and his body is showing the strain from lifting and transferring. A modified van would allow Wayne to remain mobile and bear the inclement weather easier.

Please vote for my friend Wayne!! (Vote once a day until May 10!!) 

Could you help my friend Wayne win a wheelchair accessible van?? I wish everyone could meet Wayne and be touched with by his positive spirit. He helps everyone around him and I just think it's time that someone helped out Wayne. Thanks sooo much (in advance for helping out!) 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Kid Chores....an exception?

Lately I've been noticing a trend when it comes to my kids, their chores and other people's reactions to them.  First off you have to know that my twin 8 year old boys, Yip and Yap, have chores that they do everyday; put away their laundry, walk the dog, feed the dog, take out the trash. Every morning after breakfast, unless the weather is just horrendous, they each walk the dog for about 15 minutes before they head to school. A few people in the community have commented to me, smiling, that they've seen my boys walking the dog. But it kind of hit me a little differently this week when I was talking to the boys school principal and he mentioned how he sees the boys every morning walking the dog, or the dog walking them, every morning on his way to get coffee and how it was nice to see that they had chores. And it kind of hit me right then, all these folks in town who comment on my boys walking their dog, I think they see my boys (with their chores) as an exception rather than the rule.

Could it be true that most kids these days don't have to do chores? DR and I were talking about our chores growing up. We both had farm animals to feed and water everyday along with gardens and fields to work in in the summer. In the winter my sisters and I could be found every weekend cutting wood for our wood burning stove. We always had chores. It never occurred to me to argue about doing chores. I made of grumbled wile doing them but I never just didn't do them; they had to get done one way or the other. I think for farm kids chores are so integral to their lifestyle there's no way to grow up without doing chores. That was DR and my childhoods.

I've always thought having kids do some sort of chores is important. I believe it teaches accountability, responsibility, time management skills, and a work ethic. I've struggled in the past finding age appropriate chores for my kids to do. Right now, I'm trying to come up with some chores 4 year old Yahoo could do on a daily basis as part of her routine but I can't think of anything. Maybe she should share the chores with Yip and Yap? I can imagine a lot fighting if I institute that. But it's not as though she doesn't do anything. She does help me out with various things through the day and she's kind of learning to pick up after herself. Still though, I'm not going to let any of my kids grow up without doing some sort of work around the house.

But is the idea of kids' doing chores an exception? Do most kids these days getting away with not doing anything around the house?  I haven't asked around to any parent friends of mine about what they make their kids do...that might be kind of annoying to them. How on Earth can a parent justify not teaching work skills to their kids at a young age? You sure can't start teaching those skills once they hit the teen years. I do remember a former 8th grade student of mine who didn't have to do ANY chores...which kind of explained his report card with straight F's.

So what do you think? Are chores for kids a thing of the past? Do you make your kids do chores? Are you the exception where you live? Do you think chores for kids are important?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Flower Bouquet and the Egg Yolk Room


Yahoo recently wanted to paint and boy did I jump on that! She never wants to paint which is so different than the way Yip and Yap were when they were 4 years old. When they were this age we painted all the time. But the other day she had it in her head that she wanted to paint and she wanted to paint on coffee filters. First she merely wanted to draw on them with markers and spray them with water.


A cool project if you can get kids to color the entire coffee filter, which I knew Yahoo wouldn't have the patience for (since we'd done it before) so I convinced her paint was the way to go.



Pull it together, a twist of the pipe cleaner...



...a gorgeous spring bouquet.


She was being just a bit silly with the camera trying to hide from me. Goofy girl.


Have you noticed my new walls yet? Yep, I finished painting room number 2 in my house a couple weeks ago and now I'm trying to get it all back together.


DR isn't too fond of the color I chose. He says now he knows how it must feel to be in the middle of an egg yolk! I didn't think it was that bad. It does make the room feel lots bigger.

What do you think of my corner shelves? I did have a bookshelf in that room where the kids kept art supplies and those corner shelves sure opened up the space. I found a great tutorial on how to build them.  The problem is...my house isn't square...HA! I made them fit but if any carpenter took a close look they'd be greatly disappointed in me. 




This room is pretty much done except for this wall. I'm just not sure what to put here. 


Next up...my kitchen. And guess what, it's going to be yellow too!! Another egg yolk! 



Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dem Bones, Dem Bones...

Yahoo was drawing all over herself the other day.


But then she explained why and I couldn't help it. I let her do it some more. She had a very convincing argument!


video

(Sorry it's sideways)

So, did you catch any of that?

Earlier in the day she and I were looking at a children's science book with anatomy diagrams. You know the kinds; skeletal system, digestive system, nervous system, etc. We looked at the pictures and talked about what is inside your body and what some of our body parts do. I didn't think much of it but then she comes up to me drawn all over, basically saying that she drew a line on her skin where there was a bone inside her. Pretty darn good for a 4 year old, I say. So I let her draw on her legs and face too.

May be educational, but it was a pain at bathtime!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Please, no more Cardboard!!

Funny story, our town library recently went through some renovations; new carpet, new paint, new lights.

Okay, THAT's not the funny part. The funny part is that ALL the books in the library had to be moved.
ALL. THE. BOOKS. Okay, not really funny.

Whew.That's a bunch of books to box up (with some semblance of order) and then get reshelved again. I helped out when I could. And boy were there boxes. The librarian must have went to every business in town for weeks gathering enough boxes for all the books. Finally every book was out of the library in a storage trailer.

After about a week our wonderful little town library had new carpet, new paint, and new lines....and empty shelves. Time to put back all the books. ]
ALL. THE. BOOKS. IN. ORDER!!!

I helped with that a bit too and gotta say, there were times when I was questioning my knowledge of the alphabet. I caught myself singing the ABC's waaaaay too many times!

As the books went on the shelf the cardboard boxes went to the alley. ALL. THE. BOXES. I thought, eh, I'll make Yip and Yap do some work and help me load up all the boxes into the truck to take to the recycling garage in town.

What was I thinking? Couldn't I remember the MANY times that cardboard boxes have invaded my house? The NO GIRLS fort? The boat, pogo stick and machine gun? Not to mention all the other cardboard creations I HAVEN'T blogged about?

Yip couldn't resist a PILE of cardboard boxes...but I limited it to three! And look what he made.



His cardboard man is about as big as Yahoo.

I gotta say, Yip has skills...a master of the glue gun at such a young age. He's really making me wonder what he's going to create the older he gets!

 But please...no more cardboard. I need a break... for just a little while!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Foody Friday - Homemade Yogurt

I'm loving this recipe for homemade yogurt I found on Pinterest. My husband HATES it when I say any phrase that contains the words, "...i found on Pinterest..." but really, it isn't all just a huge time waster. Okay, a lot of it sucks the hours from my day for no practical purpose but this yogurt recipe really is worth it.

It's just plain yogurt and when I did the math it costs me roughly the same amount of money to make as it does to buy. Why do I make it then? Well. I like plain old boring non flavored yogurt and the grocery store down the street doesn't sell that kind. Therefore my only other option is to drive to town, 45ish minutes away to go grocery shopping. If I can help it, I try to only do that once a month. Yeah, I guess I could stock up on yogurt but I really don't have space in my fridge.

Have you ever tried the popular crockpot yogurt recipes? My sister and I both have, and have both been poorly disappointed. When I found the yogurt recipe for the stove I was excited to try it out.


First you heat about 1/2 gallon milk on the stove in a heavy saucepan or dutch oven stirring often to avoid the milk scalding on the bottom. When little bubbles appear, or just about 190 degrees, turn off the heat.


Then you allow the milk to cool until the tip of your finger in the milk is warm but not uncomfortably hot, about 110-115 degrees. I put my milk in a bowl of ice water to help it cool quicker. While this is going on, preheat your oven to it's lowest setting. Mine is 170 degrees. As soon as my oven is heated I turn it off and keep the oven door shut.

Once the milk is cooled scoop out about a cup of the warm milk and whisk in 1/2 cup of yogurt. You have to have a yogurt starter to get all those good bacteria to make the rest of your milk yogurt. Good thing about this process is that you can save a cup of yogurt back from every batch from now on to add into the following batch. I've made 4 batches of yogurt and only bought one container of yogurt to start it with.

Once you've whisked the yogurt with the milk whisk that all back into the warm milk.

Now it's time to incubate the yogurt. Cover your pan with a lid and wrap it with a couple of bath towels and put it in your warm oven and let it sit for 4-6 hours. I've even let it sit for 8 hours and it worked just fine. You want to keep the temperature of the milk at about 100 degrees that entire time.

Once the incubation period is over I take the whole pot and stick it right in the fridge, without even taking off the lid. Once it's completely cooled I'll drain off the watery whey on top of the yogurt. Then I'll store my yogurt in air tight containers.

For as much yogurt as I eat, it's a lot easier to make a batch at home than to try and stock up on tons when I'm in town. And really, most of the time the yogurt is just sitting...there really isn't a lot of actual work that I have to do.

2010-08-23-diyyogurt1_rect540
(photo courtesy of thekitchn.com)

Some yogurt, honey and little fresh fruit...yummy!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Come hear our visiting missionary!


I'd like to take a minute and invite everyone reading this blog to come listen to a wonderful woman speak at my church. Amy Morrow lives and works in Zambia, Africa where she and her husband run the Kazembe Orphanage. You read all about her family's story in Africa here or read up on the latest happenings at the orphanage on Amy's blog. Or if you don't want to read :) check out some of their videos.

Amy will be speaking at the Montezuma United Methodist Church in Montezuma, Kansas on Wednesday, May 8th at 7pm. The school age kids in our town will be lucky enough to get a visit from Amy the day before. How often do most US kids get the chance to talk to someone who has eaten hippo?


This will be the second year that Amy has visited our area and I have the immense joy at co-hosting her during her visit. I've enjoyed reading all about her kids and how they are learning and growing.


This picture of her boys Elias and Johnny just cracks me up...don't they just look like they are ready and waiting to get into mischief? Love it!

Photo

What a lovely smile!

Photo

The Kazembe orphanage is home to about 27 kids from newborns to first graders. Kazembe isn't in the business of adopting out children, rather these kids are busy raised and educated at Kazembe as a family, and as their mission statement attests, they are truly working toward improving Africa's next generation.

Our mission is to improve the lives of those in need. Because children and youth are the hope of the future, we believe in investing in them by providing education, training and leadership. As we supply instruction in values, morals and practical solutions, we will enhance the quality of their lives and give them the tools they need to succeed. (Kazembe Mission Statement)



Some days I feel like I can barely keep my three kids fed and clothed; they are always hungry and growing. Can you imagine what it must take to keep up with 27 growing, hungry kids? Kazembe is always needing financial support and volunteers. Volunteers from all over the world have visited Kazembe for a couple of weeks to many months. We all have some gift that we could share with Kazembe whether it's our money, time or a load of clothes.

If you are in our area on May 8th stop on in, Amy has a great story to share. Amy also has other times available to speak in Southwest Kansas to anyone willing to listen on May 6, 7 and 8th. Would you like to hear her at your church or community event? Leave me a comment and we'll get something scheduled!

If nothing else, take a minute to check out one of her websites above. You'll be so glad you did.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring has Self Esteem Issues.


Today's forecast in Southwest Kansas is sunny, slightly windy with a high of 78 degrees. Aaaahhh...Heavenly! Time to kick the kids outside. 


It may be a gorgeous day today but I'm starting to think that poor Spring has some self esteem issues. Tomorrow's high in SW Kansas is only supposed to be about 57 and Wednesday? You'll never believe it....a high of 37 with a chance of snow! 

What's the deal Spring?? 


For the last three weeks it's been the same pattern! Weekends are warm and lovely and then bam! The weekdays arrive and winter cold temps push their way back in. I'm having a hard time getting excited for any garden work when I know these beautiful days only usher in cold winds. It's like Spring is afraid to stand up to Winter....the big bully! 


Ah well, at least the kids aren't arguing when I make them play outside. In fact when I show them the forecast they rush to get some fresh air. 


What's the weather like where you are? Is Spring as crazy there as it is here? 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I'm raising a risky little Monkey.


I had taken these photos way back in February when we had some exceptionally warm and sunny days. 


Warm enough in fact that it was comfortable being barefoot. Of course, we took advantage of the nice weather and spent some time at the park. 


You know sometimes at the park when some big kid has thrown the swing chains way over the top so the little kids can't reach them? Well, Yip found some that weren't attached to swings but had been thrown up around the top, probably for good reason, but he insisted that he could untangle them. 


The shoes had to come off to get a better grip on the slick pole. He spent a huge chunk of time on this endeavor. He must have tried climbing to the top a couple dozen times. 


Yip had to take lots of breaks to gather his strength. 




But eventually he made it and proudly untangled all the chains. 


I think our next home should be in a forest or a jungle, then my little monkey would feel more at home don't you think? 


Yeah, I know...."What if he fell and got hurt?" Well, then he would have fell and gotten hurt. But he didn't. Instead he learned that with perseverance he can accomplish any goal he sets his mind too. I'm never going to tell him he doesn't have the ability to do something. He learned that risk sometimes yields great rewards. 


He has a little sister watching too and I'm all for her growing up learning to take risks too. What will they ever learn if I protect them from every little possible harm? They'll learn that they can't do anything by themselves and that's not the kind of kids I'm going to raise! 

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