New Stove!

Okay, technically it’s called a range.

It’s glass-top, has time-bake and a window in the door.

These are ways it is different from our old range that I know how to use. It also has a number of features I don’t know yet how to make the most of.

These things ought to come with examples of dishes/techniques for each feature. I don’t know where to start looking.

*But* I am very thankful to upgrade, and thankful too for the monetary gifts that made it possible to get it much sooner than we would have on our own.


Today has been a pretty active day for Elisha. He’s very good at pulling himself up on things now, and loves to stand tall.

He gets “stuck” though, and doesn’t know how to get back down, and that will make him cry.

When I come to help him down he usually doesn’t want to, and makes it clear he’d rather walk for a while. He was bookin down the hall at one point. Loving every minute of it.

Natasha “helped” him walk this morning too. We got some fun pictures.

He’s also waving “bye-bye” now– by waving his hand and/or arm up and down (he did it tentatively after Aiden was out the door, and purposefully today– though again after the someone (this time his dad–home at lunch to pick-up something) was out the door.

The girls and I loved it. too Cute. I wonder if this means we’ll be seeing more signing

Elisha didn’t sleep a lot more than usual last night, but I was able to soothe him down without nursing after a couple of short wakings, *and* he put himself back out for the first time since I can’t remember when.

I was going to him very quickly when he’d cry (the easiest way to settle him is to reach him before he’s too worked up) and the last time of the night he squalked, but by the time I got from my bed to his crib he was breathing steadily again.

And he didn’t cry out again for about four hours. This is a recent record. I can’t say how refreshed I felt this morning.

I guess it’s all relative…

Then There Were Four

Saturday I watched an 18-month-old part of the day (before lunch to a little after nap).

We put him in an extra booster seat and had four kids around the table for lunch. I pointed out to Jay that (mathematically) our family could’ve looked like this.

Aiden’s a little blondie and except that his blue eyes are darker than our kids’ he looks like he fits right in. Melody adores him. I think it’s a relief almost for her to have someone younger to play with because she doesn’t have to work (?) so hard to interact.

For the first half-hour him was here (I was making lunch) the girls would run up to me and shout, “He said, ‘Dah dot.’!” “He said, ‘Ruthara.’!” and every other variation of noise he made.

I really don’t know why it excited them so much. I finally told them that, being in the same room, I heard every noise he made before they ran to me, so just hang-out and play.

Oh, and he’s an amazing napper. I was worried with this being his first time that he wouldn’t be able to sleep, but he sacked first out of all four kids and was the second to get up.

Elisha needs to take lessons.

Can We find a Name for This?

What do you call “domestic abuse” when it’s your environment you’re abusing/neglecting rather than a person?

I just realized yesterday that Jay and I both do this. When we’re feeling frustrated or upset, we will deliberately put something not back where it belongs.

Recent example: Jay needed batteries for something, couldn’t find said batteries and left both the dead batts and the powerless item on the counter while he diverted his frustrated attention.

My examples usually take the form of not putting away because I’ve not completely finished something; usually because I’m being pulled to start something else. This pull can be the needs of my family (a crisis needing immediate attention) or my own frustration creating a desire to leave-behind whatever it is.

Next question has to be, Is there any sort of intervention for this type of self-sabotaging behavior?

The Uses of a Misting Bottle

I mentioned in another post that misting bottles are one prescribed “cure” for bedroom monsters. We have a green bottle in the girls’ room, but it’s not to dissolve monsters. It’s to dissolve whines.

Last week sometime we were at the store getting a new bottle for a cleaning solution. When I said the sprayer was next thing on our list, Natasha nodded knowingly.

“Ohhh,” she said. “Is that to get rid of whining?”

Ice Cream

We made ice cream with/for our company last night.

Our current ice cream maker only freezes about a quart at a time, so even though we have two canisters, and our recipe is closer to 1/2 gallon, we still only have an anti-climax when ice cream is ready. Especially with two families of five looking at that little brown tub.

So why do we have such a piddly small producer? Because it was the third ice cream maker we bought in as many years of marriage.

In the first 2 1/2 years we wore out two Rivals. Sure they worked well enough, though loudly, but they were not made for frequent or many uses (like, say, weekly. Forever.).

Inside the motor was a thin plastic washer to keep the metal parts from rubbing against each other and getting hot. This washer did not survive our use-pattern with any grace.


So we were telling this sob-story to our guests, and the husband’s response was, “You must be doing something right; you’re both so thin!”

I suggested modifying the describing terms to, “Still wear the same clothes,” which I felt was more accurate.

Yes, honestly, sometimes I do need to write as much as I need sleep.

I find “comments” sections on blogs such great writing prompts. I got this whole post from a comment I wrote this morning.

This year is the second in a row I’ve gotten the girls mylar heart balloons for v-day. I talk about it being a special day to remember that we take care of the people we love and do nice things for them.

I’ve *got* to codify my v-day line by next year. What I’ve written here is a better/more-concise rendition then what they’ve gotten so far. It’s sort-of a reiteration of the two lines I’ve been using all week (*With effect* I must add!!!):

  • “Family means taking care of each other.” (Yes, God did implicitly say you’re your brother/sister’s keeper) and
  • “Don’t cause problems.” i.e., Those things in your control? *Avoid* them.

We have had the most peaceful, loving and nurturing last three days. I’m sure it’s special provision for my run-down state. I’m so thankful for provision.

I’ve still been supervising and refereeing, of course, but is seems to be on a distinctly smaller scale, and much less a big deal.

And Jay’s been out camping in the cold all night (forecast was -5 to -20 F) so I’ve been praying he wasn’t the one who’s sleeping bag got “wet” for this exercise (He has a hard enough time already, keeping warm when he’s not moving. Let the man have his sleeping bag in the snow cave.)

Charlotte Mason’s Teaching Philosophy

Charlotte Mason: What I’ve pieced together so far:
(All things that appeal to me)

  • Formal schooling doesn’t start until age six*
  • No special textbooks—everything (except math, I suppose) drawn from good writing
  • Word-based
    • reading (good writers, good books, chosen to shape character)*
    • memorization* (giving the child something substantial to meditate on)
    • and narration,* early on a child’s answer to essays or composition, but the beginning of training the mind to formulate and organize the information it is taking in.
  • Lots of reading/reading aloud all through schooling*
  • Short lessons* (“quality over quantity” and working withing the natural human patterns of remembering/attentiveness)
    • The schooling of the day is ideally finished by lunch-time*
  • Pre-school seems to be mostly about observing the world around you and using the every-day.* (This idea was a relief to find.)
    • This in contrast to Montessori or other pre-school programs that utilize all sort of cool little doodads that have no further purpose after preschool
    • And have to be bought and stored.
    • Emphasis on learning from the environment that is, rater than changing the environment to make it “learning-conducive.”
  • Art and foreign language elements as a matter of course.
  • Large emphasis on God/the Bible/Creation-study*
    • (Though, oddly enough, she was one of the many Christians in her era who thought Evolution was compatible with the Bible)
  • Independent creative play encouraged/required**

So much of what I’ve been reading so far feels like an uncanny fit. I’m a little nervous because it seems to emphasize one main learning style, but with so many elements (*) already things that fit my personality/our lifestyle, I’m definitely researching this further.

One interesting element that is very like to the way I think involves avoiding “unit” studies. By the discription I read, “units” present multiple subjects around a connecting theme.

CM’s objection to this practice is that the children may be trained to expect adults to make their connections for them, rather than making connections on their own (and thereby training their brains).

This was interesting for me mainly because I seem to be making random connections all the time, and it’s kind of fun to imagine encouraging that sort of thing.

Is This What We Call Fun?

I’m in the process of washing a bunch of clothes tonight, including a cashmere sweater that reeks of chlorine.

Jay wore it all afternoon in the University swimming pool as part of his week-long, Learn to Return training.

I let the kids skip nap today so they could go watch Dad getting strapped down in a cage and thrown in the water. Pretty cool stuff.

He was receiving his helicopter underwater egress training while we were there. Brave man. I’m glad he’s doing it. Maybe someday I’ll be willing to be secured in a four-point harness and flipped upside-down in the water. That time is not now.

Mom was not real thrilled when she heard what those people had been doing to one of her kids.

The girls took it all in stride though. Very controlled environment: Mom wasn’t freaking, and Dad smiled after he came up, so it must just be more weird grown-up stuff. {shrug} Why can’t we get closer to the water? Why is everybody wearing a yellow helmet? Why isn’t that guy wearing one? (The instructor. Also the only person in a wetsuit.)

Later this week: Snowcaves and makeshift shelters. Note the “nice mukluk” in the snowcave pix. They do that sort of thing too. Jay brought home some great stories last year. This is his second time through the training. He said the being flipped upside-down thing wasn’t as stressful this time.

He came home with a cool black and red cap, too, with learn to return SURVIVOR embroidered across the front.

But I couldn’t try it on. He said he was given four guidelines for it:

  1. No one else can wear it.
  2. You can’t wear it backwards for fashion. (Welding, yes, to make a statement, no.)
  3. If you don’t like it, run it through the chip-shredder (with dumpster divers just throwing it away isn’t good enough).
  4. Don’t die in it.