Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Touch of Spring

Well, if we can't see flowers for a while because of the snow, maybe it would be nice to see some here.

Did you know, that flowers often have meanings that correspond with them? Here are a few examples below:
Lily of the Valley: Return of Joy

Garlic (I couldn't find the flower): Courage, strength

Coreopsis: Always Cheerful

Almond: Hope

Bachelor Button: Single Blessedness

Bluebell: Humility

Buttercup: Riches

Iris: Your friendship means so much to me.

(Flower pictures from Wikipedia)

Not all flowers are nice either! For more interesting reading, go here: About Flowers
For a neat site with Birthday flowers, flower meanings, state flowers etc, try this web site: Flower Society

Minnesota Blues...

This begins to look very familiar! Yes, once again we got a rare "Snow Dump" the 26th of April! My poor tulips!
We ended up being snowed in all day Saturday, but now it's melting again. Here is a fun list of I found stuffed in my random papers:
Minnesota Blues
  1. I came, I thawed, I transferred.
  2. Survive Minnesota and the rest of the world is easy.
  3. Land of 2 seasons: winter is coming, winter is here.
  4. Many are cold, but few are frozen.
  5. Why Minnesota? To protect Ontario from Iowa.
  6. Jack Frost must like it in Minnesota - he spends half his life here.
  7. Land of the ski and home of the crazed.
  8. 10,000 lakes and no sharks!

Friday, April 25, 2008

25 Ways We Save Money

Recently, I've spent some time reading different articles and web sites about saving money, and financial goals for 2008. It's been very interesting and informative, so I thought I'd share some of those links with you, along with our 25 ways we save money. More and more, I'm surprised at how many people are in debt or married couples that are totally independent of each other financially. But, I also am realizing that there are many, many ways to handle finances, and it all depends on the family and what works for them. I do believe, no matter who we are, we should do our best to handle the finances God has given us in a responsible way....something I am still learning to do. :)

So, to start off, here are 25 ways we try and save money:
  1. Take leftovers for lunch at work
  2. Use one vehicle, I walk to work
  3. This summer, try to bike to work at least 3 times a week
  4. Wash our own car
  5. Buy certain foods in bulk at the local co-op store
  6. Use the library....for books and videos
  7. Watch the grochery ads for good sales
  8. Only buy what we need...either that week, or things we use alot, like juice
  9. Use coupons
  10. Use the internet
  11. Re-use paper (that has been printed on one side)
  12. Make our own birthday and get well cards
  13. Polish our shoes
  14. Turn off the lights when not in the room
  15. Unplug appliances that aren't in use
  16. Keep a budget (a record of reciepts on an excell spreadsheet)
  17. Pay local bills by dropping them off, not mailing
  18. Check thrift stores and garage sales
  19. Save money for emergencies in a fund
  20. Plan ahead for trips as much as possible
  21. Use CFL lightbulbs
  22. Wash clothes in cold water
  23. Save extra change
  24. Hang laundry out on the line to dry
  25. Learn to mend
Here is the link of other people's "25 List"
25 Ways to Save Money

Here is a list of books to possibly read:
Financial Books to Read

Christian authored financial books:
Christian Ministry Book Resources

Simple Homemade Bread: (I personally haven't decided if this really is a money saver, or just yummy!)
Bread Baking

Interesting list of free software:
Online Resources

Insulating your home ideas:
Detecting Air Leaks

This link has alot of great articles and resources:
Money Matters

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Are You Courageous?

Today I ran across the World Magazine's webzine (WorldontheWeb), and was very happy to browse through a couple of their articles.

One article, Zooming In by Andree Seu, was discussing courage and heroism with some of our soldiers....and how we often forget that God asks us to show the same courage and self-sacrifice in our daily lives. Here is a thought provoking quote from that article:

"The reality is that all day long we get chances to turn frictions and temptations into acts of infinite value. Nothing is too trivial to be transformed into heaven's gold — an insult you overlook, a sin you forgive, a right you sacrifice, a fear you bring to the Lord."

Have you looked for these opportunities today?

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Feast of Nations

This Saturday was the annual Feast of Nations event at the local college. Here are some pictures of the friends we saw there, and the things being done.

Mathuri was busy selling tickets. She is from Malaysia. For a neat picture of the world's largest flower (which grows in Malaysia) check out this link.

All dressed up! India, Malaysia, Nepal and other countries have very colorful clothing! Above, is sari material.

Olivia and Florence are from Africa. Olivia actually had two different dresses she wore that day which were both really neat! Here is a great site with fun activities, recipies and facts about Africa. For instance, did you know that a Zebra's stripes are as original as our fingerprints?!

We tried different foods from other countries. For some good Indian recipies, try this web site. If you would like to try recipies from all different countries, I recommend this book "Extending the Table" by Joetta Handrich Schlabach.

We also met up with Eleana. Everytime we see her, we love to share laughs and talk about places we'd like to visit. Here is a neat place to visit in Minnesota: North Shore Waterfalls.

Downstairs, they had kids carnival games set up and Henna hand painting....(a little messy though)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Natural Air Freshener

This is a picture of our blooming Dracenea plant. My sister gave this one to us, and we've had a lot of fun keeping it growing. And unexpected surprise was that it bloomed! The blossoms are very fragarent, and perfume our whole front room. It smells a little like Jasmine.

So far, it's been nice to have a large houseplant. This one takes a lot of water, so we keep a mister bottle nearby, and when we pass, just mist the leaves a bit. It likes a humid environment, which our house is not.

It also makes a handy monkey hang-out (for our white plushy friend) and a great "egg hider" for when toddlers come over. (For some reason, they like finding those plastic easter eggs hidden at the base).

For more info about this plant, check out this web site or your local florist shop or garden shop. I actually don't know where you get them originally, but my sister got it from a auto care place going out of business.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Signs of Spring

It's a lovely warm day outside. I'm looking forward to the weekend! Spring has arrived (again) and this time, my flowers are blooming!

Here are the pretty little things that fill our front yard under the window....I don't know what they are...do you?

They are quite cheery and delicate.

Another sign of spring, sadly, is the spiders are back. Our house seems to attract them quite a bit and I'm not fond of that fact. Today I had my first reminder, as there were two "friendly" looking fellows in our front porch to welcome me home for lunch. *sigh*

Here is an interesting link I found about fun things to do with gardening and in spring: Link (I really like the weather watcher idea!)

Here is a link on how to start plants inside using eggshells and egg cartons!

I remember looking forward to spring alot. Here are some fun things I remember doing growing up:

  • Flying kits in our neighbors big yard
  • Puddle Jumping
  • Canoeing in our full ditch (when the ground was still frozen but the snow melting)
  • Looking for the first Mayflowers and Dandylions
  • Playing in the mud
  • Climbing trees
  • Picking Pussy Willows
  • Hanging sheets and blankets out to freshen up

For more ideas, check out this site

Have a fun spring!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Not Quite Delicious...

For lunch today, I was very hungry for a chicken salad. I looked forward to it all morning, but when I got home to make it, I realized I didn't have any chicken left :( So, since I had my lettuce all shredded up anyway, I decided to improvise the above salad. I got the idea that it would taste wonderful because my aunt makes the best salads of all kinds with fruits or lettuce or veggies etc. Here is what was included in mine:
  • Lettuce
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Strawberries
  • Bannans
  • Flax Seed
  • Mayonaise
  • Sugar

You can call me weird now.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Saturday Fun

Saturday evening, 11 friends and we got together to have supper and play games. We ate chicken curry and rice and had a fancy Indian dessert called Gulab Jamun. We decided to play a new game of ours after that, called Cranium. What fun!

Here is the opposite team....studying their question hard!

The game board.....a duel between two bobble heads! ha ha

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Courage - Wednesday Night Lessons 101

I forgot to post this last week! Here is the lesson we did: (We're doing a new series on Courage)

Shadrach.Meshach. and Abendigo.
Here was my basic outline for class:

  1. Play Hershy Kiss Impossible Game
  2. Act out Bible story
  3. Do Bible drills
  4. Snack
  5. Salt & Pepper Object lesson
  6. Pray & Clean Up

We tried to eat wrapped hershey kisses without using our hands! Impossible! (Almost....) I got this devotional from this book,

Which has quite a few nice object lessons for kids. We talked about how we can be courageous because God can DO the Impossible!

A story of God doing the impossible in the Bible, is the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendigo. So we acted it out with a gold-cloth covered idol, a flaming couch, and a box of musical intstruments.

Then we had our snack, which was re-enacting the story with food.

This is our flaming oranges, surrounding our peanut butter cookie faces and a shining hersey kiss angel!

After that, we practiced using our Bibles finding old and new testament, and our memory verse, Hebrews 13:6 "The Lord is my Helper, I will NOT be AFRAID!"

We also made a take-home paper, with the memory verse on it and glued on orange and red tissue paper flames to remind us of the story. We discussed things we might be afraid of, and that God is always near us no matter what!

Then we prayed and cleaned up. This week, we started a paper-chain-prayer-garland. We wrote our prayer requests on one link, and taped them together and hung them on our wall. We can add to them each week this way.

Next time, we will study the courage of Joshua!

A Chicken and a Book

A chicken walks into a library and up to the librarian and says, "Book."
The librarian says, "You want a book?"
"Any book?"
So the librarian gives the chicken a novel and off it goes. But an hour later, the chicken comes back and says, "Book-book."
The librarian says, "Now you want two books?"
So she gives the chicken two books, but it comes back an hour later.
"Three books?"
So the librarian gives the chicken three books, but decides to follow the chicken this time to find out what's going on. The chicken goes down the alley, out of town, toward the woods. It goes into the woods, down to the river and down to the swamp where sits a bullfrog.
The chicken sets the books down by the frog and he looks at them and says, "Reddit, Reddit, Reddit."

Autograph Verses

Have you ever had fun doing autograph verses? Fun little quotes for cards and letters? Here are some of my favorites:

If you were a fish

And I were a duck,

I'd stick my head under,

And wish you "Good Luck!"

Good, better, best -

Never let it rest

Until your good is better

And your better is best.

Some write for pleasure,

Some write for fame,

But all I can do

Is write my name.

I dip my pen into the ink

And grasp your album tight,

But to save my life

I can’t think one single word to write

I thought, I thought, I thought in vain

At last I thought I’d write my name.

Friendship penned these lines

May virtue hold them dear

And memory often bring to mind

The friend that placed them here.

May your life be like a roll of toilet paper: long and useful.

Yours till the kitchen sinks.

Yours till the horse flies.

Yours till the bed springs.

Yours till the cake walks.

Yours till Niagara Falls.

Yours till the board walks.

Yours till the side walks.

Yours till the powder puffs.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Works for Me

Mathew and I don't eat a whole lot of bread at once. How do I keep it fresh? Since we mostly like our bread toasted, I just put the whole loaf in the freezer (pre-sliced), and then just pull out a couple pieces as we need. It keeps it from molding in my bread box. Works for me!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Fun in the Snow

After our great big snow, the temperatures warmed up and I decided it was time to do something with it! Here is what I made in our front yard, just for fun: The Snow Serpant!

Oh, What large teeth you have!

What long scales you have!

What a friendly looking sea serpant!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Well, yesterday I was all excited about spring cleaning....I guess I jumped the gun a little bit! Here is what happened today:

We just had gotten used to seeing the ground again, spring flowers coming up, pussy willows.....when in one day, we got the whole amount of snow back that we had all winter! Ha ha! Thankfully, it will probably melt pretty quick within these coming weeks, and we'll get back to spring. In the meantime, it sure is pretty!!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Spring Cleaning

Today I decided to do some spring cleaning! It was nice to re-arrange a bit, although you can't tell a whole lot from the pictures.

Here was our kitchen after making dosa in the morning, and after my grochery shopping.
Here it was after I scrubbed the counters, put away the food, made supper and washed up the dishes. What a nice feeling to have it all clean!

Here was our living room in the morning. Stuff all over. I did a bit of re-arranging (the toy bin and the blankets and the table runners)
Here it is all picked up and simpler.
I also improvised a book shelf for Mathew's study books.

And I put a vase a pussy willows in the corner. :)

Here was our in-progress laundry. I'm afraid this part takes me the longest!

And our simplified kitchen....by changing the tablecloth and centerpiece, sweeping, and putting away odds and ends.

I always like seeing a very messy place go to a very clean place! It's refreshing to come home to this after work!

Psalm 51:10
Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me.


This is Dosa! (An Indian stuffed pancake...sort of) A friend of ours told me how to make it and so I tried it for the first time this morning! It turned out wonderfully tasty....horay! We ate it with Sambar (red gravy) and potato curry (inside....the stuffing part). I also made chai tea to go along with it. What a nice breakfast!
We were quite excited to eat it, since the last time I think we had it was our trip last February. Here is how to make it:
1 Cup iddly rice (special kind of rice... a type of white rice)
1/2 cup urdu dal
1/4 cup dal (this is like lentils)
10-15 fenugreek if you have (I didn't have this)
  • Soak 6-8 hours (I did this while at work)
  • Grind together and add a little water to make a pancake type batter. (I used our blender)
  • Let this sit 12 hours (overnight). Add salt to taste.
  • Pour 1/2 cup batter on a griddle and spread in a circular motion till thin (like a crepe).
  • Fry till golden brown on one side, adding a bit of oil to the edges to make them crisp. Flip over and cook on the other side too.
  • Fill with fried onions, potatoes, green chilies etc. Fold in half, with the nice brown side on the outside.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Falling Envelopes

So, I was at work, carrying 3 boxes of plain white envelopes down the stairs; guess what I wanted to do?

I so wanted to toss all 3 boxes up in the air and watch all the envelopes float down around me! What a neat picture it would make!

And now, as I was searching online for just such a picture to show you....I didn't find any......I guess I really will have to try this sometime!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Game of Set

Here is more of the Game Set.....just thought I'd give it a try this morning to keep me practicing! :) See how many sets you can find in this picture:

And here are the answers: (there are a couple more not starred too)

And one more, just for fun:

Wednesday Night Lessons 101 - April 2

Here we are again....updating after a Wednesday night lesson. Last night, I once again taught about Respect....but this was the last one in a series of lessons on the subject. From here on in April, we're moving on to new things.

Here is my basic outline for the night:
  1. Bible drills
  2. Find Hidden Respect word/Game
  3. Interview myself/ have snack
  4. Do hand out interview sheets
  5. Prayer and clean up
Here is what we actually did:
  1. Bible drills

I put out our "bin" of Bibles once again, so they could take one as they come into class. I also put up this "Bible Calendar" to encourage us all to remember our Bibles every week this month. (The two girls in the older class actually decided to participate too, just for fun that night but my kids were pretty excited that they did!)

2. Find hidden Respect word
I had once again cut out the letter for Respect and hidden them around the room (with help pre-class). At this point, we looked high and low until we found them and then taped them up to our bulletin board.

3. Bulletin Board
I don't have pictures of this, but as an impromptu craft (while waiting for another student) we glued on pom-poms to flowers to put on the upstairs bulletin board for the adults. They enjoyed this!

4. Respect Game
For this game, I taped up pictures all over our wall of people in our congregation. I had the kids pick a starting point, and then I called out two names for them. They had to run to that picture and say "Hello So and So." Then I would call out two other names etc..... we were practicing greeting adults respectfully by saying hello and using their names.

5. Interview
I brought along "Matilda" who was writing an article about Respect. She had a list of questions for me, about how I show respect (if I show respect) etc. This was in preparation for the kids doing interviews of the adults upstairs. For this, I had a white paper with pictures of some grown ups (about 3-5 pictures) and "Define Respect" written at the top. Their assignment (after prayer and clean up) was to pick 1-3 people off that paper, and ask them to write down what respect means to them, and then bring the paper back to me. One student loved this...the other did not!

6. Prayer & Clean Up
We've started a prayer list on the downstairs blackboard (rather informal as you can see) on which we keep a list of requests and answers. The kids have been really enjoying using it. Tonight, the toddler class and teacher joined us for prayer time and snack.

After getting home last night, and re-thinknig the class and talking it over with my husband, I think we've pretty much covered Respect. It's time to move on. Sometimes, I get a little caught up in one thing, and over emphasize it or get discouraged when I'm not making enough sense to the kids....but I like that I can learn to trust God in everything....that HE is the one to cause the growth and understanding....I just need to keep giving Him my very best in teaching.

So.........any ideas for a new unit for elementary students?? :)

Garage Sale/ Bake Sale

This weekend is our garage sale/bake sale.

Tonight Mathew has a meeting, so I'm thinking of getting out my baking hat and cooking up a storm. On my list of recipes to try are:

  • Peanut Butter Cookies

  • Amish Sugar Cookies

  • Blondie Bars

  • Gumdrop Spice Cookies

  • Coconut Macaroons

  • Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies or

  • Peperment Kisses

I'm pretty sure I won't get them all done, and maybe won't even get one done! But it's fun to imagine. (My favorite cookbooks to browse are dessert books...can you tell?)


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