Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Tom Sawyer Trick Still Works

This dream
needed some serious Tom Sawyer attention.
One  sunny Saturday,
one trip to Home Depot with hubby,

and one eager little painter.
Yea, as soon as we mentioned painting,
she was all over it.
She wanted to paint.
We hemmed and hawed and made a big deal about
wanting the paint job to be nice.
It worked.
It increased her desire.
Teenagers don’t want to paint.
So, we’ve learned to let ’em paint while they still think it’s exciting.
You just can’t be that picky about their effort.
Count on the help getting paint all over.
As I’ve learned from previous painting experiences,
you have to grit your teeth through the process,
and cheer on the outcome.
Seriously, close your eyes and grit your teeth.
It won’t be pretty,
but it will be done.
Never criticize the help, never.
They might not help again.
See?  Not pretty.
One messy painter who wasn’t criticized.
Laughed at, but not criticized.

One eager neighbor was added to the equation.
As soon as he saw Rebekah having all the fun,
he had to join in.
One cool Home Depot hat was all it took
to get him to stir the paint.
One painter’s trick I learned from my  brothers, Joel and Allan.
You pound holes into that little ledge so the paint drips back into the can.
You already knew that?
I learned it late in life.
One window installer…

who also fell for the Tom Sawyer ploy and painted the window trim.
One door installed while the painter retires her brush for
her Laura Ingalls’ bonnet and pretending with neighbor, Norah.
One more stage of the
Playhouse Project
It’s finished enough to enjoy through the rainy season
and we’ll work on the porch and the interior as time and inspiration allows.
One more skill taught,
One more family memory,
One very happy little girl.

How To NOT Nag A Husband

You’re never too young to learn how to be a good wife.
At only 8 years old, Rebekah learned a valuable lesson in
You know that drippy faucet thing wives like to do?
Sometimes daughters do it, too.
No, she didn’t learn it from me….I don’t think…
or maybe I just won’t admit it…
awhile ago,
like a few years ago,
a certain Daddy promised a certain little girl a
He was sincere,
he was excited,
he just didn’t act as soon as he spoke.
The minute you mention something to kids they want it to happen.
Do any of you NOT tell your kids about something
exciting that is going to happen in the future,
just because you don’t want to hear about it
all the time?
Dear Daddy forgot that little trick.
Little Rebekah decided her biological clock was ticking
and she needed that
built before she outgrew it.
She started asking,
“Daddy, when are you going to build my playhouse?”
Almost every night when he came home from work,
“Daddy, are you going to start on my playhouse tonight?”
On the weekends she was relentless
because she knew Daddy had more free time.
I realized she was very quickly approaching that fine line wives
dance on and around  to get the perfect balance –
reminding enough to get a project done
but not
So, Beka and I had a little talk.
I explained men don’t like to be nagged.
Sure, they might need gentle reminders, but they can’t be nagged.
The more you nag, the less they’ll listen.
It’s that simple.
She listened and responded.
She quick asking.
The next morning, this was on our dresser.

This was on the lamp on Daddy’s side of the bed.

This was on his computer.

This was on the sink “so he’d see it when he brushes his teeth,” she said.
There was even one in the hallway,
where Daddy would see it on his way to and from work.
I was amazed.
The thing all parents long for and dream about happened.
She took my advice!
Even better than that,
she came up with a plan of action I hadn’t imagined.
When she and I came back from California
this was hanging around the backyard.
 Rebekah’s  heros are her Daddy (left) and Uncle Joel.
Uncle Joel is the professional carpenter,
hubby is the weekend warrior with sore thumb to prove it…
that stinkin’ hammer did it again.
Beka and I love the
We’ve spent hours together playing, decorating, sewing, painting,
sleeping, snuggling and dreaming.
More than just a little girl’s dream come true,
it symbolizes a mommy’s dream come true.
A child took my advice and it worked.
I’m wondering what future blessings await her if she continues to practice
reminding enough to get a project done

but not

I’m also wondering what futurue blessings await if I keep taking my own advice.
You’re never too old to learn to be a good wife.

That’s IT! I’m Going EMO!

The lack of sunshine during the PNW’s fall and winter
 can be a little,
to be honest,

Especially, when you face the fact that it can rain
an average of 37 inches per year.
That’s a lot of puddles to splash in with gorgeous rainboots.

Especially, when you add the Wikipedia fact that
there are 100 shades of gray.
The PNW wears them all –
 all winter long.

Especially, when you add the fact that we 
see the sun on an average of 226 days in the year.

Especially, when school starts and I need to be inside much of the time.


Every year, it affects me a lot.  My Vitamin D drops.
A good Norwegian, I long for the sun.
The weather can get to me.
So, I made a decision.

I’m goin’
No, I’m not talkin’ about coloring my hair and wearing it over my eyes,
 slashing my jeans,
wearing only black (Oh, that’s right, I do that now),
tattooing and piercing my body,
wearing black eyeliner and band t-shirts,
and listening to funky music.

I’m talking about the annual  hunt and seek mission

where I  try to spend

Sometimes, I read outside.
It might be under a blanket, and with a heater, but I’m outside.
Sometimes, we work outside.
My hubby bought this tabletop propane heater last year. 
It gives us a few more months we can be outside when it isn’t raining.

When the sun is out, we eat  outside on the deck.

If it’s a bit nippy, a toasty fire can chase away the doldrums.
On this day, I moved the outdoor wicker couch next to the fire,
and sat there all afternoon.
It was delicious.
We finished school, I read a book and when my husband
came home I hadn’t even thought about dinner. 
Ya’ know what he said?
He’s amazing.
This is why I’m keeping this guy.
He said, “Good.  You needed to relax.”
If I’m talking on the phone, I might do that outside,
and pull a few weeds while I’m out there.
We play outside.

Some of you long time readers may recognize Kelly-Across-the-Street’s kids,

Norah and Avery.  We share many adventures with then.
For people that don’t daily see the sun in the winter,
we need to take advantage of every sunbreak.

Literally translated,

when you see the sun,
you break into a run to get outside,
and like a cat,
bask in those glorious spots of light from the sun.
And since the rainy season is just starting to announce herself to the PNW,
I have to go EMO.

Rhyme Time is a Fine Time

Sometimes, the reasons I love to homeschool are simple.
It’s not  great philosophical or academic reasons
I could spew off a soap box.
I love being with my kids.
 I also love being there for those amazing moments
of growth and enthusiasm when they conquer a new skill.
Imagine if I never saw the worksheet below,
and never had that
moment because this worksheet was completed then shoved
to the bottom of a desk or lost on the bus.
Click to enlarge.
I know ya’ really want to read this.
Yes, my daughter discovered the word
rhymes with the word
It’s truly moments like these make me
my decision to homeschool.
Teaching is my delight.
I teach with all my might.
My children are outta’ sight,
Even when they bite.
I really like to write
But my poetry is  a fright.
Speaking of rhyming,
Write Express offers a free online rhyming dictionary.
There’s another one from Ken Nesbitt’s
If you’re one of those cool, younger moms who
use their thumbs to rule the world,
there’s even a free app to download.
Kids love rhyming when it’s fun,
and shoving a worksheet in front of them first,
isn’t fun.
I like to entice them with a reading from
Jack Prelutsky first.
I blogged that I like to turn their
knee-jerk negative reaction into a knee-slap.
When they learn that poetry and rhyming
can be ridiculously fun,
then you bring on those boring worksheets.
Oh, did I call them boring?
Imagine my excitement when a local writer,
Marty Nystrom, wrote two poetry books,
one for the Old Testament and one for the New Testament.
A versatile writer, you know him best as author of
As the Deer” and many other contemporary worship songs.
Once while reading this aloud to Rebekah,
she giggled and said, “Mom, he has boys, right?”
Yea, he writes as a Christian, a poet, and a Dad.
Reading silly poetry
and giggling with my little girl,
is just one more reason why
I love homeschooling.

God Delivers, But Not Pizza

Maybe it was the pizza delivery boy that spoiled life for me
and corrupted my ability to wait. 
In college Dominos had an amazing policy.
If your hot pizza wasn’t delivered to  your doorstep in 30 minutes,
your pizza was free. 
Then, drive-thru’s were added to my life. 
You ponder, pay, pick-up then pork-out. 
It’s almost that fast.
Now, we have Amazon. 
I can choose almost anything I want and have it on my doorstep in days.
We no longer have to wait very long for anything. 
Service and goods appear at our demand.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that prayer doesn’t work the same way. 
 is promised,
but God is NOT a delivery boy. 
 He doesn’t answer our prayers on demand like the Dominos driver,
He answers in His perfect timing.
 isn’t always immediate.
Our Heavenly Father makes us wait,
according to His good and perfect will.
Waiting isn’t bad.
  An uncooked cake is a puddle of raw ingredients.
A house with one side painted is an eyesore.
They’re both unfinished works.
For those who’ve trusted Christ as our Savior,
we’re also unfinished works.
Philippians 1:6
“Being confident of this very thing,
that He who has begun a good work in you
will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
The Lord will complete the good work,
He will bring
in His timing and His way.
Lately, my heart has been crying out for
Several trials in our lives have been on-going
and some have no end in sight.
I remember very few times in 30 years of being a Christian,
when I have felt so burdened.
Many of you have followed and prayed me through
the case of the Innocent Man.
His trial date is set for October 11th and we desperately need prayers.
A believer falsely accused of a crime, he could spend the rest of his life in jail.
I have to be honest and let you dear friends know,
I’m having a hard time trusting the Lord for the outcome of the trial.
I’m longing for
and I really wanted it Dominos style, not perfect work style.
The Lord brought this song to my heart and mind
and it made me cry with tears of relief and joy.
will come.
If you care to read some of the story behind the Innocent Man,
I’d love to have you follow these links back to when the heartache began.

I’m Still an Ol’ Bag

When a new school year starts,
we’re all thinking the same thing –
if only
I were more organized and efficient,
I would remember more and accomplish more.
We long for that
perfect container,
perfect shelving system,
perfect organizational feature,
that will magically transform our chaos into control.
In 2010, I blogged through an organizational kick
with some new ideas and some tried-and-true practices of mine.
My favorite system really did impact my life
in a powerful, helpful way.
Not everything I try works, so I felt it worth revisiting this tip.
OK…all this build-up……
….it involves this….

….and this.

As I began this new year not emotionally ready,
I realized my systems were in place and I was physically ready
using this simple sytem using my favorite tote bags.
Follow me back in time when I first admitted
It will turn chaos into control,
I promise…

More S’mores!

For my Amazing Grace’s Graduation last year,
I made the cutest little S’more bags ever.
If you don’t mind me saying so myself.
I vowed to make them again for camping.
S’mores Deluxe, coming right up!

This Tupperware is old, vintage, almost.
It perfectly fits a box of graham crackers,
and has been my Graham Cracker Storage Facility for years, and years and years.
This year, the crackers didn’t fit in the box.
They were much smaller and looked pathetic
all pulled away from the edges of the container.
I called the company.
Oh, yes I did!
I was also making garbage bars and needed to know
if I would have to adapt my recipes that called for
“one package of graham crackers, crushed.”
My crazy call probably made the top gossip in the coffee room.
The pleasant woman assured me the packages were the same weight,
the dimensions  were varied, because they were produced in different plants.
So I kept working.

Skipping the fancy bags, I settled for cheap sandwich bags with the fold top.
This was supposed to be super organized,
super amazing and super efficient.
Not sure what that saying “the best laid plans of mice and men”
really means because mice don’t usually plan,
they just gnaw their way through life,
but this wasn’t such a hot plan.
First mistake – I didn’t put the bags in the cooler.
It was in the 90’s for the weekend.
Second mistake – We were camping with younger kids.
They couldn’t open the twistie-ties easily
and they couldn’t open their own candy bars,
which had to be kinda’ smeared on because they were so melted.
I would still make the bags with the marshmallows and the crackers,
but put the chocolate in the cooler.
Despite my failures, the S’mores were still devoured.
We had to lick our fingers a little more
with the melted chocolate,
but it didn’t matter.
Everyone loves S’mores.
Even when you fail,
you win,
when chocolate is involved.
Chocolate makes everything better.
Wish I could just smear a little chocolate on all life’s problems
to make them more palatable.
Oh, that’s right, I can.
Not exactly chocolate, but honey.
Ezekiel 3:3
And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly,
and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.”
So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness.
God’s Word makes everything better.

Don’t Spit Me Out!

 There’s nothing better than a drink of cold water on a hot day.
If you really think about it,
nagging your kids to stay hydrated is Biblical.
Well, maybe not the nagging,
but providing cold water for them is.
 Matthew 10:42  
And whoever…gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink,
truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”
OK, I might be stretching the application a little, but
when I found this baby at a thrift store while shopping with my son Daniel,
I knew I needed it.
Red, vintage, useful to keep water cold,
what else could a woman want for her camping supplies?
I experimented freezing cups of water that fit perfectly in the opening.
Each block of ice was slipped into a sandwich bag,
then all into a gallon bag.  I didn’t want them to stick together.
It worked!
I had cold water the entire 90degree day.
I proved my hunch,
the colder the water  the more the kids drank.
Yea, I was Biblical without nagging.
As a new believer, another cold water verse was introduced to me.
Revelation 3:16
 So because you are lukewarm,
and neither hot nor cold,
I will spit you out of My mouth 
It was explained that God wanted me either hot,
 as in on fire for the Lord,
or cold, as in not on fire for the Lord,
but not lukewarm.
This didn’t make sense to me.
 Why would the Lord want people to walk for Him or against Him?
Every verse I read seemed to contradict this theory.
But, kept hearing this explanation.
It was a young man, Scott, who cleared this up for me.
He said this verse means the Lord wants us to be
Cold water is useful. 
It refreshes the thirsty.
It soothes burns and lowers fevers.
Hot water is useful.
It makes wonderful coffee and tea.
In bathing, it cleanses and soothes aching muscles.
It sanitizes.
Lukewarm water is good for nothing.
You don’t want to drink it,
You don’t want to sit in it,
You don’t want to wash with it.
The Lord wants us to be
like cold water, refreshing and healing,
or hot water, soothing and cleansing.
That vintage red cooler was so
I intend to keep it around for a long time.
That useful young man, Scott?
I kept him so long he’s vintage, too.
Now, I have two tools to help me follow Revelation 3:16.
I just don’t want the water of my life and service
to  be spit out…

True Confessions

I’m going to admit it….
since I was still in braces, I’ve wanted to publish a novel.
This is the heading used when I was a columnist for the local newspaper
as a teenager, when I first publically admitted I wanted to publish a novel.
After college I married Scott and we began a family.
During those frantic years of childbearing,
when I always had one attached in utero or attached above nursing,
one attached at the hip and sometimes one on each ankle,
I didn’t have a lot of time to write.
Oh, I wrote letters to my mom.
I wrote out grocery lists.
I wrote the kids’ names on things they scribbled for my fridge.
Occasionally I wrote something I thought was profound,
but usually on a napkin that got used to wipe a nose,
or a piece of paper that was scribbled over with red crayon.
These were the days when the only windows I had in my home,
were the single-pained metal ones in my trailer.
The only PC was a toddler in the bathroom pointing to their yellow
puddle of victory, squealing,
“Pee, see!  Mommy, see pee!”
Somewhere inbetween giving birth to six kids,
homeschooling, moving a bajillion times,
and going through cancer a few times,
I rekindled that passion to write.
and have been blessed to learn much about the writing and publishing world.
I’ve made great friends and had a lot of prayer support.
Tonight, another milestone in my writing life appeared on the road,
the beginning of a writing group just for fiction writers.
A small, excited group,some beginners and some published,
met and made plans for the coming year.
Every emotion is swirling around in my Mommy sleep-deprived brain~
I’m excited, nervous, thrilled, thankful, and scared.
My personal goal is to finish  the novels I’ve started,
and  be published before I’m 50.
That seems old to most of you, but it’s dangerously close for me.
This is my
True Confession.