October, Printable Poetry Page

October 1908 poetry page

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Midnight Thoughts On Ebola

This is a pretty good read. Here’s the intro:
We have been avoiding the topic, honestly, because it is a raw one for us.  In 2007 we lived through an ebola epidemic.  In the remote area of Uganda where we worked, along the Congo border, ebola crossed over from the animal reservoir in the Ituri forest and began infecting humans.  We were both exposed before we knew that the disease was ebola.  Our best Ugandan friend and colleague Dr. Jonah Kuledied, and the only other doctor besides us in the district of over 200,000 people became infected but recovered.  When the disease was confirmed, we sent our kids away to stay with other missionaries until we completed a 21 day disease-free incubation.  We decided at one point that only Scott would see patients and I would not, to minimize the risk of both parents going down.  For months we lived with the lingering cloud of doubt, the on-edge expectation of potentially deadly touches in our medical care, the grief of losing our friend.So we have been following the news of this epidemic very closely, communicating with some of the organizations involved, praying.  It would not be an exaggeration to say that it has dominated much of our mental and emotional energy for the last month.

Now that 2 people have been infected in America, and there is mass hysteria, perhaps a few words are in order, even though we are actually no closer to the epicenter here than most people reading from America are (we are several thousand miles away).
However, as a kind of aside, I do have to say that we have vastly different definitions for mass hysteria or even panic.  Mass hysteria to me would be people looting, boarding their houses and hunkering down at home for weeks.  It wouldn’t be people  writing articles, letters, and blog posts calling for bans on flights from the three primary Ebola ravaged countries, it would be people getting their hazmat suits, pitchforks,  and spray bottles of bleach and heading to the airports and ports to keep Liberians from setting foot on our soil.
Okay, those two schools that closed for a day came pretty close to hysteria.  That was kind of silly.  But mostly, I don’t think it’s fair to characterize the responses as mass hysteria.  People are concerned, some are passionate, others just sound passionately concerned because that’s how they write, but I am just not seeing *mass hysteria.
Some of the responses I found a little unattractive- where people who have never given a day’s thought to the sufferings of entire villages of human beings because they live in Sierre Leone and not here, act as though it’s *now* something that matters because we obviously matter more.
It’s not that I don’t feel like some people are over-reacting (all the conspiracy theories make me cringe), it’s just not hysteria.  I agree with the authors of the above post that part of the reaction/over-reaction is because Americans are totally risk averse. Like the article said: ”  Americans have panic, and demands.  In American culture, no-risk of a disease is considered to be a birthright…”
But I also can’t see that the CDC is handling this all that well.
I really think people would be panicking far, far less if Duncan’s case had not been so badly botched both before and after, Several hundred people, nearly a thousand at last count, are now being monitored at some level (even if just themselves, at the request of the CDC)  because the CDC didn’t step in and do stricter monitoring of about 70 people at the start.
If the CDC had actually genuinely exercised an abundance of caution in the first place and gone around quarantining all the people involved right away and monitoring them more closely, I think people would feel more assured that it was taking this seriously.
Leaving Duncan’s family in that apartment for so long did not instill confidence at all, for example. Nor did letting the nurse fly with a fever , and letting somebody else go off on a cruise.  If the CDC didn’t know about the cruise, they should have- that’s the kind of stuff that makes people feel like they can’t rely on the CDC’s assurances that it’s being diligent.
Then there’s the problem that an awful lot of the time when Frieden comes out and says that the CDC is now going to begin doing such and such, it’s something that I think most of America already thought the CDC was doing, it’s that obvious.  So it worries people that the CDC isn’t actually doing those things until after the fact.
Then there’s the missing Dr. Lurie.
In an interesting coincidence, just *Two weeks* before Duncan was sent home with antibiotics the original Ebola Czar, Nicole Lurie, was telling the press that her office was making sure all hospitals knew the correct procedures for Ebola ID and treatment. So she was giving press interviews three or four weeks ago, but now she’s…. where? And she plainly saw that her job involved teaching hospitals how to deal with Ebola, so why wasn’t she pushing her agency to be proactive at the hospital where Duncan was evenutally treated? Yes, the hospital was floundering, but HHS and the CDC pretty much have a mandate to step in and take charge and make sure diseases like Ebola are properly handled, and they were not there.  Obama has directed the CDC to create a first response team that will show up within 24 hours of any diagnosed cases of Ebola to monitor and train the hospital staff, but I am pretty sure this is one of those things that most Americans thought the CDC already did and the fact that they or the NIH weren’t is mismanagement, at best.  It’s certainly more important than the NIH studying fat lesbians, for example.
In August, Obama was forming an Ebola response working group, and Dr. Llurie was in charge.
That’s not the CDC- she works in NHHS, but it’s puzzling that she’s not out there with Friedan outlining her agency’s response.
In addition to Lurie and Klain (the newly appointed Ebola Czar, who did not show up for the Ebola strategy meeting at the WH today), there’s also a State Department Ebola Coordinator.  I wonder what her job is?
Incidentally, I am not remotely in a state of panic, however I am also not yet reassured that we’re not going to have more cases of Ebola connected to Duncan.  I am not really frightened at all, but I am in a holding pattern, since I don’t really see the infection rate at this point as remarkably low.
” In the current epidemic in West Africa, the number of people to whom each infected person passes the contagion on to is estimated to be around 2. In other words, each person ill with Ebola is now infecting 2 people. “
Right now we are at the very starting point of a situation that could fizzle out or could become nothing, but it’s far too early in America’s Ebola timeline to compare our results and numbers of infections to any African country and say, “See!  Isn’t it amazing that only 2 people in America have contracted Ebola!  Duncan was patient zero so it’s just far too soon to say that it’s just stunning that so few people have contracted it.   We’re exactly average. If I am understanding the information in the Reason article, Ebola victims only infect on average two other people before they die, which is (thus far) exactly how many Duncan infected. So the real test for me is not the 21 day incubation period dating from Duncan’s death, but the next 21 days after the two nurses were diagnosed.
If they didn’t give Ebola to anybody else, I will rejoice and be thankful for the remarkable low transmission rate.  But right now?  We haven’t seen a remarkably low transmission rate yet.  We don’t have enough data to make that determination.
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Four Free Kindle Reads New and Old: Christian Romance, History, Theology, and Living

Billow Creek Bride

Blurb; What would you do to prevent being separated from someone you love? In this 1830′s historical romance, Maurine is turning eighteen in an orphanage. She knows she cannot stay, but she doesn’t want to leave her sister behind. Her only hope is to accept an arranged marriage and pray this man, sure to be homely and elderly, will adopt her sister.

The striking Thomas Johnson is anything but homely or elderly. He has come to the orphanage expecting to wed a plain, obedient woman who will be as silent as a shadow in his home. The beautiful, intelligent, and independent Maurine is a complete surprise.

Maurine realizes he could have had his pick of women, so why did he come to an orphanage? Their first night together on the return trip to his home, she comes to understand he doesn’t want her as a wife, but as a governess to his children. Within days, she is falling in love with a man who refuses to get close to her, a man who is hiding something about the death of his first wife.

This is a tale of two sisters: Maurine, who yearns to be loved by the man who took her as his bride, and Rebecca who finds love in the arms of the son of a wealthy Cherokee plantation owner.

Billow Creek Bride is a careful blend of laughter and tears, sorrows and joys as these two women discover strength within themselves to meet the challenges of life and love in the 1830′s, and the event that would change history known as ‘The Trail of Tears.’

23 readers gave it five stars, five gave it four stars, and there’s nothing lower. Readers really enjoyed this story. A common theme was that it was well written, interesting, lots of romance, and very, very clean. I read the sample and could see the appeal. The writing did not make me wince, as often happens with free books. I have a feeling it’s kind of a book with historical trappings and setting, while characters often have more modern attitudes and values.

Reader Review: One of the best books I have read in a while. A heartwarming story of love, loyalty, and sacrifice. You wonder how so much hate could exist between human beings, but I guess it always has. But love is stronger than hate. This a clean ,well written book. Another plus, it is a stand alone book in a series. Definitely worthy of five stars.

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Ecclesiastical History: A History of the Church in Five Books

Blurb:Pyrrhus Press specializes in bringing books long out of date back to life, allowing today’s readers access to yesterday’s treasures.
Theodoretus’s A History of the Church in Five Books is a contemporary account of the Christian Church’s history written only a few centuries after Christ. For that reason, it is a valuable source for those interested in Christianity during antiquity.

Wikipedia says this about it:
The Ecclesiastical History of Theodoret, which begins with the rise of Arianism and closes with the death of Theodore in 429 (despite being completed in 449-450) is very different in style from those of Socrates Scholasticus and Sozomen. It contains many sources otherwise lost, specially letters on the Arian controversy; however, the book is extremely partisan, the heretics being consistently blackened and dubbed ‘Ariomaniacs’, afflicted with the ‘Arian plague’. The narrative is more compressed than in the other historians, and Theodoret often strings documents together, with only brief comments between. Original material of Antiochian information appears chiefly in the latter books.
Theodoret’s sources are in dispute. According to Valesius these were mainly Socrates and Sozomen; Albert Guldenpenning’s thorough research placed Rufinus first, and next to him, Eusebius of Caesarea, Athanasius, Sozomen, Sabinus, Philostorgius, Gregory Nazianzen, and, least of all, Socrates. N. Glubokovskij counts Eusebius, Rufinus, Philostorgius, and, perhaps, Sabinus.

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Finding God When You Need Him Most

Chip Ingram. He has a popular radio program.

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A Life of Obedience

Andrew Murray traces obedience through the Bible, from Genesis to the ?nal chapter of Revelation, in a warm, inspirational devotional study. It looks at the issue of obedience in the lives of Bible characters and focuses the reader’s attention on the obedience of Christ. Practical as well as inspiring, A Life of Obedience speaks to today’s reader as clearly as it did to his audience a century ago.

Reader Review: What an amazing little book that my sister shared with me. I’ve used it for my devotions for the past couple weeks. Each chapter is brimming with soul-searching teachings on what a life of obedience looks like in a follower of Christ. It will have you truly looking at areas in your life that you thought were “OK”, but need to be surrendered to God. Pastor Murray reminds us that, “From the very outset of the Christian life, let us avoid the fatal mistake of calling Christ Master but not doing what He says.” Using easy to understand language and Christ as our example for obedience, he brings challenging theological concepts within reach of implementation. I’ve gone back to reread several passages. This is an excellent resource for those wanting a more intimate relationship with God our Father.


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Vegan Spiced Buckwheat Applesauce Muffins, With General Baking Tips

The full recipe all in one nice tidy format along with a couple variations is here.


Preheat the oven to 400.  Grease muffin tins (this makes two dozen regular sized muffins) or put papers in them and spray the papers.  These muffins don’t have any oil in them, so you need to oil the pans or papers to prevent sticking.

Kitchen Tip: Tired of standing? Need a low surface for you or somebody else to work on, perhaps from a chair? If you have a stack of drawers, try pulling out the second or third one from the top and laying a cookie sheet, cutting board, or, in this case, a muffin tin across it:

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You can’t tell from this angle, but this drawer is the second from the bottom, making it about two feet off the floor, the perfect height for me to put the muffin papers in from my chair.

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These ingredients are to the right of my bowl, so I know I already used all of them.

Baking Tip: Before you start, get out all your ingredients, as well as measuring cups and spoons.  Set them all to the left of your mixing bowl.  As you add each ingredient, put it down to the right of your mixing bowl.* 

Why?  It saves time in the end. More importantly, one day you might be in the midst of quadrupling the baking powder for four 9X13 pans of cornbread, and your toddler might suddenly require your attention and whatever the reason might end up taking ten minutes longer than you thought and require twice as many brain cells as you possess, and when you come back, you will think you were just starting to measure out the quadrupled baking powder when in fact you had already finished and had already stirred it in.  So then you will add another quadrupled measure of baking powder to the cornbread mix and later when your friends at the giant multi-family BBQ eat it, they will gulp or gag and take a moment to wonder how well they really know you, since it seems that you put rat poison in their cornbread.

2014-10-17 00.54.54 Put the following dry ingredients into the bowl, and stir the contents until they are all mixed in and indistinguishable from one another:

1 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup flour- whole wheat is best, but I used white here because I was baking at midnight and didn’t want to get the grain mill out.
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon cardamom (I used freshly ground cardamom and it was eye poppingly amazingly delicious and strong.  You could use ginger instead.  I’d double this amount for ginger)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Baking Tip: Why does it matter that you mix the dry ingredients separately, and stir them well?

As soon as flour and liquid meet, they start creating long, stretchy, stringy, bonds of gluten.  It’s what makes yeast breads rise. It’s what makes the stringy element of your dough.  But it makes quick breads (muffins and other breads that do not have yeast and don’t need a rise time) tougher.  You want to reduce the time the liquids and the flour have to play.  You also don’t want pockets of unblended salt or baking soda.  So you mix the dry ingredients really, really well to reduce the amount of time they have to play with the wet ingredients and make tough muffins.

2014-10-17 00.54.48Measure the wet ingredients into a separate bowl (in this case, I just used glass one cup measure):

3 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons molasses
2 cups of unsweetened applesauce (I didn’t have 2 full cups of applesauce, so I also used some canned mashed sweet potato I had.  You could also use mashed pumpkin, mashed butternut squash, or mashed carrots.  Each will have their own unique taste difference, but they will all be good- just add a bit of water to thin, if necessary, to the consistency of applesauce)


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Baking tip: 

Always measure the oil before you measure sticky ingredients like molasses or honey.  This measuring cup was used first for the oil, and then for the molasses.  I didn’t scrape it clean.  Because the cup was oiled, the molasses literally just slipped out without making a sticky mess.

Become familiar with your measuring tools.  For instance, this is my 1/4 cup measure.    A lot of my recipes, like this one, call for just 3 tablespoons.  I’ve noticed that 3 Tablespoons comes right to the line on this cup where it starts to flare out, so I just used the cup instead of another measuring spoon.

Once the wet ingredients are well mixed, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and quickly stir in the wet ingredients just until barely moistened.  For quick breads like muffins, banana bread, pancakes, biscuits, etc, it’s okay if you have lumps in the dough.

Lumps in the batter are not bad! In fact, it’s a good thing.  It makes your baked product more tender, not heavy or glutenous (this doesn’t mean they are gluten-free, however!)  The liquid ingredients will, as one website put it, ‘overpower’ the dry ingredients so you won’t have pockets of flour in the bowl.  This is why it’s really important to mix those dry ingredients very, very well.

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I overmixed my batter and then I let it sit a little too long while I got distracted with other things. Ideally, you want to go from mixed to in the muffin tin to in the oven as quickly as possible.


Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes (for regular sized muffins, about ten minutes for mini sized), and until the tops spring back when pressed lightly. The tops should have about the same resistance to your gentle pressure as a sponge does. To much give, and they are underbaked. Too little, and they are overbaked.

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Because these are buckwheat flour rather than regular flour, they have less gluten than other muffins, and they won’t raise as much.  So you can fill the muffin cups to the top.

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I’ll be honest, this isn’t my favorite muffin recipe.  The spices are delicious and the kitchen smelled marvelous, but they were a little heavy and dense for me.  Part of that is my overmixing error.  But also it’s the same reason somebody might want to make this recipe in the first place- they are made without eggs, butter, sugar, or dairy products.  As totally vegan, whole grain muffins, sugar-free, lower in carbs than the usual muffin, they are a good product.  If you need low-carb, totally vegan muffins, this is a good recipe.

My five year old grandson, The Dread Pirate Grasshopper, tried to be tactful.  ”They’re not very good,” he said, when asked.  ”I mean, ” he hastened to clarify, “They are only sort of good, but not really very good,” and he looked at me anxiously.

Relationship tip: Don’t put five year olds on the spot with a taste test unless you really want to know what they think.  I did really want to know, but it was awkward for the little dude for a few minutes.

But sometimes low-carb, low-fat, totally vegan muffins is exactly what you need, and for that purpose, these are pretty good.

*Yes, I know if you are left handed you might prefer to go the other way, or you might need to go right to left for some other reason.  Adapt. Don’t be difficult.

P.S. The Dread Pirate Grasshopper’s mother, however, tells me they were awesome and she wants the recipe.

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Social Darwinism

Darwinism, morality, and the tiger (Chesterton)

‘Darwinism can be used to back up two mad moralities, but it cannot be used to back up a single sane one. The kinship and competition of all living creatures can be used as a reason for being insanely cruel or insanely sentimental; but not for a healthy love of animals … That you and a tiger are one may be a reason for being tender to a tiger. Or it may be a reason for being cruel as the tiger. It is one way to train the tiger to imitate you, it is a shorter way to imitate the tiger. But in neither case does evolution tell you how to treat a tiger reasonably, that is, to admire his stripes while avoiding his claws.

‘If you want to treat a tiger reasonably, you must go back to the garden of Eden. For the obstinate reminder continues to recur: only the supernaturalist has taken a sane view of Nature. The essence of all pantheism, evolutionism and modern cosmic religion is really in this proposition: that Nature is our mother. Unfortunately, if you regard Nature as a mother, you discover that she is a stepmother. The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.’

Chesterton, G.K., Orthodoxy (Moody Classics)

The Boy is reading Out of the Silent Planet: (Space Trilogy, Book One) by C. S. Lewis, and Social Darwinism came up.  So I looked up the above quote for copywork next week.

this blogpost is very useful is analysis of Silent Planet

This site sources some of the internal references in the book. For example, from chapter 1:

Lo, the poor Indian  [9]

From Alexander Pope’s Essay on Man (1734) –

Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutorʼd mind

Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind;

His soul proud science never taught to stray

Far as the solar walk, or Milky Way.

In other words, barbarians and simpletons are prey to nameless fears and not accessible for science-driven enlightenment.


We don’t use a lot of study guides, and when we do, we don’t use all of the ideas and material in the study guides (I almost always skip the vocabulary stuff, for instance).  But when we do…. I like Progeny Press.  They have one for Silent Planet:

Out of the Silent Planet Study Guide

Why we don’t do vocabulary lessons: The Boy has never had a vocabulary lesson. He just took a CAT, and his vocabulary level was assessed as 13.5.

High school- this is the sixth time I’ve done it, and it’s looked a little different every single time, which I guess is how it should be. For us, parenting and homeschooling are deeply intertwined, and kids are not clones. They are their own persons.

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My Husband’s Lunches

I have been making my husband’s lunches pretty steadily, just not always posting them. A couple of times he packed his own from leftovers while he was taking a turn doing the dishes after supper. I didn’t take pictures of those.=)  I have been taking pictures of them (more on that below), although I did forget the picture once or twice.  Here are the ones in my phone camera:

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This is why I take pictures even if I am not going to post them here: We had an issue where he was forgetting them on a too regular basis, and then that put me off my groove because he wouldn’t need a lunch the next day since he could just take yesterday’s forgotten lunch, and then I would be miffed and petty about my lunch being forgotten, and then we had this thing going on where I never knew when or where he was working because he had a couple different schedules, two jobs, and was going to school full time, and I couldn’t keep track.  He’s working regular hours now, so that’s easier for me.  He’s still going to school, but online or student teaching, so the hours are still regular (albeit long).

Then he thought he’d buy his lunches at school, but like the students, he found that the Michelle Obama approved lunches were not enough to keep him from feeling a little sick with hunger by the time he had to make the hour commute home.  If he chose to add more to his plate, the meals became silly expensive, especially for what he was getting.

So.  Now I make his lunches most of the time (I think about four out of five days), and then I take a picture and send it to him via FB.  Sometimes I even take a picture of where it is in the fridge so he can find it in the morning when he leaves (since he leaves so early).  He doesn’t forget them that way, and he knows what he’s having (he doesn’t like to be surprised for lunch, he likes to know), and I have all these fun pictures of lunches.

I make liberal use of leftovers; frozen fruit; and conveniently prewashed and prepared baby greens salad mixes.  I try to keep things like olives, pickles, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers,sriracha sauce, Thai peanut sauce, salsa, nuts, and dried fruit on hand to fill in spaces or doctor things up.

I do often repackage the leftovers so that they look different and are not precisely what he had for supper the night before.  This is just pride, he doesn’t really care that much, but I do.

We might have beef bulgogi one night, and I mix it with cooked rice and vegetables when I pack his lunch that night. Or we might have roasted vegetables and salsa, and a few leftovers get spooned into an omelette I whip together when I pack his lunch that night.  We might have meatloaf for dinner, and then I make meatloaf sandwiches or break up some meatloaf into leftover fried rice in the fridge that night when I pack his lunch.  We had a thick and hearty bean soup for lunch a few days ago, and then I spooned out the cooked beans and ham using a slotted spoon and topped them with roasted red peppers and a hamburger patty cut into strips in his lunch.

We might have spaghetti for supper on Monday and I use leftovers from the weekend for his lunch when I pack it.

Then we might have chicken for supper on Tuesday and the leftover sauce and extra cheese get spread on English muffins or broiled eggplant slices for ‘pizza’, and then he gets chicken spaghetti on Wednesday.

I don’t usually have a plan.  I just open the fridge and eyeball it.  Sometimes when I am making lunch for the Cherub, my son, and I, I do think about packing a lunch.  For example, salmon fillets were recently 1.00 for individual packets of about 4 ounces (the boy would eat two of these and two baked potatoes for breakfast every morning if he could).  So I cooked an extra fillet at lunch time, and then incorporated that and rice we had for dinner into the HM’s packed meal that night.

Or I stagger things- using leftovers from Monday for a lunch later in the week rather than the very next day.  But mostly, I revise and apply some kitchen alchemy.

He is largely on his own for breakfasts.  When it gets chilly I will start making the crockpot grain cereal I’ve been making for many years and he’ll grab himself a bowl of that in the morning.   He likes grains, so he often just puts oats and milk in a bowl with dates or raisins.  I bought some raisin whole-wheat bread for him, the kind with the texture of bark, and it molds in about 29 hours if you leave it out because it has no preservatives.  He likes that with peanut butter in the mornings. We have good peanut butter in the fridge- freshly ground, no preservatives.  We have the sugary storebought peanut butter in the pantry, the kind that tastes like a grainfree peanut butter cookie because it’s so sweet.  I will leave it to you to infer which of these everybody but me eats.

(Why don’t I eat it?  Because I’m doing Whole30 and selfishly hogging all the almond butter in the fridge.)

We always have fruit in the kitchen, these days it’s mostly apples, so he often grabs himself an apple to eat on the way to work in the morning.

I also play around a bit with the vegetables.  Sometimes I do carrot sticks, other times I shred the carrots and call it a salad.  Sometimes I do celery sticks, other times I put peanut butter in them, other times I chop them, mix with a diced apple, a few walnut pieces and mayo and call it Waldorf salad.  Same foods, different combinations.

I numbered the pictures above, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Everybody has to prioritize based on their own personal circumstances.   Nobody much notices if I dust or not until it’s been six months or more (I am not exaggerating).  Nobody says anything whether I clean the bathroom or not, and nobody but me even knows when I sweep under the furniture, but he and most of his co-workers notice when I fix lunches.  I don’t hear about it every day, understand.  Maybe once a month I will hear something.  But that’s better than never.=)  It’s human nature to prefer to do things that people acknowledge and to prefer not to do thankless tasks.

Keep in mind that I have no babies.  The Cherub is essentially a perpetual toddler, but she doesn’t do a lot of the toddler things that make young mothers weary, frazzled, and sleepless.  I can and do keep her out of the kitchen if I need to.  You might be at the stage of life where you husband has to fix his own sandwich or buy meals at work.  That’s okay.  There’s nothing inherently sanctifying and righteous about fixing lunches like this.  You probably do a hundred other things that I don’t do.  You are almost certainly a nicer person.  It’s not a competition, so if this kind of post frets you, please don’t.

It is true that few things I have done as a wife, however, have brought me as many compliments as my husband’s packed lunches, and I’m not just talking about him.  When he was in the military and I made his lunches, he said his co-workers were often jealous and asked him why I did that.   That gave him an opening for many conversations about Christianity, about marriage, about relationships, about life in general that he might not otherwise have been able to have.

Updated to note: This is ironic. Last night, of all nights, the HM said he would pack his own lunch from dinner’s leftovers and I didn’t need to worry about it. Before he went to bed, I asked him if he had done that, or did I need to do anything. He said he had packed his lunch, and, “It’s not as pretty as you make it, so if you want to do something to pretty it up, that’s fine, but it’s not necessary. there’s ore than enough calories and food to tide me over.”

About midnight, just before I went to bed, I went to look at his lunch and this was it:

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That’s just two slices of a pork roast under the tortilla- nothing else hiding there. My creative juices dried up, and since he’d said there were more than enough calories here to sustain him, I just put it back in the fridge and made muffins instead. I figured he could grab a couple of those on his way out.

This morning at 6 a.m. I got a text from him saying, “….well…. I got my lunch out of the refrigerator, but left it on the counter.”

It was in a grocery bag. And I guess he didn’t mean it when he told me I didn’t need to do anything else because it was more than enough to keep him full, because he also had a tupperwared container holding about 3 cups of raw almonds and golden raisins, and an apple.

The Boy enjoyed most of that for breakfast.

At least the meal the HM forgot to take was his own labor. =)

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How NOT to Save Money

I had some money in credit to spend at ThredUP.   So I asked the two mothers of my grandchildren if their kids needed anything. They each had one child who needed longsleeved shirts for winter. One of them even said she just needed two shirts in solid colors, black or pink.

That was easy. I quickly found what she wanted, five dollars each. And then I found an adorable brown shirt that otherwise met all specifications, plus it had a little pink frosted cupcake on it and it said “Daddy’s Sweetie.” Then I found a shirt that also met all other specifications and it said ADORABLE on it. At one point I had ten screamingly precious size 5 girls’ long sleeved shirts in my cart, and the most expensive one was six dollars. I whittled it down to three shirts.

The other Grandbaby Mama has a boy child who needed long sleeves, size four. Almost right away I found one with the ‘S’ for Superman logo on it, which is perfect because just yesterday he told his mother that when he grew up he was going to be a ‘Superguy.’ I melted. I sent a link to his mama. She melted. And then I found a shirt that said, “No time like lunch time,” and this kid is always hungry, and I found a preppy sweater in red and black checks that my son calls ‘homeschool cute’ and he doesn’t mean that sweetly, but I loved it:

homeschool shirt

and then there was this other shirt that said “Daddy’s little construction zone” and Daddy is often fixing things this busy little guy is busy deconstructing.

All in all, there were, coincidentally, ten size four boy’s shirts in my cart when I made myself stop looking. I whittled them down to four- he has a birthday coming up, after all.  The homeschool cute shirt is one of the ones I culled.=(

And then- I don’t know why I looked. It was just idle curiosity. But there they were:

MoB boots


These are my Mother of the Bride Boots for our January wedding.  I’m probably going to be very, very sorry- the heel is four inches high and the last time I wore heels that high was thirty years ago.  I just don’t.  But these were calling my name.  Maybe it’s midlife crisis.  Maybe it was a wrong number or a case of mistaken identity.   But I answered anyway. I couldn’t resist.

So.  I used up my credit, which was about to expire, and then spent about five times that much again because I was saving money.


But aren’t those boots pretty?

And if you click on that link above, sign up, and then later buy something, you and I each get ten dollars credit, so I can go ‘save’ some more money all over again.

I’ve heard you can sell stuff to them as well, but so far I have only been a consumer.  If you’re a good shopper and finder of brand names at thrift stores, or if you have changed sizes drastically so you have a closet full of good clothes you can’t wear, or maybe you have left the workforce to stay at home and have business clothes you can’t use- you might make a few extra dollars selling.  I don’t think the pay-out is terribly high, but it does seem like a quick way to bring in some cash when you really need it, and it’s a great place to find nicer, brand name clothing when you need it for a special occasion…..


…. or even when you don’t.

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School Lunches

What Michelle’s kids get for lunch:

October 16, 2014
Cauliflower Masala Soup
Roasted Vegetable & Israeli Couscous Salad
A Taste of India
Mixed Greens with Avocado & Sunflower Seeds
All-natural Chicken Curry
Vegetable Tikka Masala
Turmeric Roasted Carrots
Basmati Rice
Sliced Pineapple

October 17, 2014
Soup du Jour
Basque Tomato Salad
Classic Caesar Salad
All-natural Meatball Subs
Vegetarian Meatball Subs
Steamed Fresh Broccoli
Baked Sweet Potato Wedges
Fun Dessert



What other people’s children get for lunch:

Lunch meat, a couple of crackers, a slice of cheese and two pieces of cauliflower qualified as lunch in Chickasha Public Schools Monday.

More here.

That meal cost her three dollars, and the state superintendent initially defended it:

“‘We have a meat-meat alternate, we have a bread grain, we have vegetable,’ Asst. State Superintendent insited after looking at photo.

Read more 

Now it’s a slightly apples and oranges comparison because the Sidwell example is obviously the full menu of choices- I’m sure kids don’t get both the meatballs and the meatball subs.  Here’s the full menu for this week in Chickasha public schools (according to the Daily Mail, the two pieces of cauliflower, two cracker packets and lunchmeat meal is served every two weeks):

chickasha lunch menu

Of course, private school meals are payed for directly by parents who have their children in the school, and public school lunches are paid for partially by parents and largely by taxpayers.  But still, isn’t there something just a little….. off about the contrast?

The choices are additionally limited in the public school by the guidelines and regulations the unelected and untrained in nutrition Michelle wrote.  There’s no leeway.  The kids are put on strict calorie controlled portions based only on their ages, not their size, activity level, or health level.

Not only are there calory limits, but there are strict limitations on the amount of fat, sugar and sodium the children are permitted as well.   Michelle Obama’s total lack of nutritional education really shows up here. Children should not be limited so strictly in their intake of sodium or healthy fats.  Healthy fats are good for them and vitally necessary for growing brains.

Mrs Obama said in July that she would ‘fight until the bitter end to make sure that every kid in this country continues to have the best nutrition that they can have.’

The problem is, she has no idea what that looks like. It’s not her meals.  The kids should be getting whole milk, good cheese, no margarine at all, real butter, and healthier meats.  She needs to take her focus of salt and fat and pay attention to real foods.  A one size fits all approach will not give children the best nutrition they can have, either.

Finally, of course, this is not any of her business at all. Unfortunately, she’s not the only one who thinks it’s the government’s job:
“Schools are responsible for children while they’re at school,” Kaytlin’s father Vince said, “they’re responsible for feeding the children.”

The thing is, Obama isn’t a school official nor is she a politician or an elected official with any responsibility or accountability to parents or taxpayers. She’s just a busybody.

P.S.  The fake ‘lunchables’ mean with the two bits of cauliflower and the two cracker packets comes with other ‘options:

The school district says there are more options on Munchable day such as milk, beans and pears, but Superintendent David Cash agrees there’s a problem

I’m not sure she could have just added any of these things without spending more money. I think it would have had to be a trade- and the milk, of course, is never whole milk.

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Coloring page, Harvest Vegetables

coloring page harvest vegetables verticle

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Vintage silhouette pictures for a vintage school

From School Education, Volume 27, published by the School Education Company, 1908

This was a teacher’s magazine which had articles and tips and hints sent by teachers and those interested in education around the country. About these silhouettes, the person who sent them in only says:

vintage paper cuttings background

Here they are:

vintage silhouette washday

vintage silhouette tuesday we iron

vintage silhouette we mend

vintage silhouette thursday shop

vintage silhouette friday clean

vintage silhouette saturday we bake

vintage silhouette sunday we go to church


That last one is a bit startling, yes?

Anyway- how would you use these charming silhouettes?

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