Friday, November 30, 2012

It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas

   Christmas Lists are in the making. I have always felt silly making a list  for Christmas. Somehow it feels presumptuous. But maybe it is time to grow up and think about others more than myself. So I made a list. Lo, it is a lot of fun. On my list, among other things I might actually get like Bible pencil markers, are two large area rugs for this house, a remodeled bedroom, and a new subscription to a cottage decor magazine. What fun to dream, anyway. These lists are revealing. Elv needs shirts and a new supply of Zebra pens but he needs/wants a roll top desk, too. Needs and wants keeping swapping spots on our lists. 
   Hopefully, we are focusing on our true need of a Saviour and Lord in our lives Who provides us abundantly above anything we deserve. We have so much already. Lavish abundance, exceedingly abundantly above, so loved that He gave, and other such phrases come to mind. 

 The children brought in pine and rose hips to go with last year's pine cones that are still wonderfully shiny and usable. 

   Another year has raced by and here we are, in the holiday season again. We're looking forward to Frances coming home in a little over two weeks. Then Gabes will be here for Christmas for a week. We love to have the house filling up with family and festivities again. 

    Benny stood transfixed at the coffee table gazing at this Willow Tree Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus. Finally, he pointed at each of them saying, "Daddy, Mommy, and Asher." 

   When the old nativity scene came out of the Christmas boxes this year; Amy and I knew exactly what to do about the ugly chipped colors of them. A can of white spray paint brought them to life again.  We seem to be missing an extra India Rajah, but  no matter, we still have the proper number of kings and camels accordingly. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

The Sparta Grabers hosted the Graber family gathering this year. Marlene and Jen went all out decorating and cooking for us. Bruce smoked a turkey for our meal. Mom made the pies as usual. Pumpkin, Apple and Brown Sugar Pies. Mom is in her eighties. Nobody will be able to duplicate her exact Brown Sugar Pies, I'm sure. but our daughters all give it at try and will turn out nicely in their own versions. Mom claims that Grandma Graber, her mother-in-law, could make the custard to be one consistent layer; not in layers as are her own pies. It matters not, "the boys", her sons, all think they are wonderful.

 On Friday we went up to the cabin but not until we had butchered and packaged a large deer from Elv's boss.  We worked really hard that day to get our work done so that we could be up pulling in at the cabin before dark. We arrived there at around five that evening.

We baked a small turkey in the cook stove oven  on Saturday. We placed it in a cast iron skillet still partially frozen and seasoned it with Country Herb seasoning and salt. Then covered it tightly with foil. We put it in the oven that was running at about 350 degrees right after brunch. I kept the oven at that heat by adding three or so sticks of dry wood every few hours. In the evening we had this lovely browned and moist turkey for our supper. While it was baking I stirred up a batch of cookies by hand and baked them on the top rack. Such fun.

     One morning I noticed the frost on the water hoses hanging on the outhouse wall. It amazes me that the frost and the pine trees are shaped the same way. God loves detail. We have to stop and look to see it sometimes. Isn't this just lovely?
    A few Christmas touches were added to the cabin while we were there. And we took up  a new coffee table and a desk. Now there is a place to study and play on our computers other than on couch corners and the floor. 
A Walk In Woods
We hiked along the Split Rock river on Saturday, adding our human tracks and trails to those of the woods critters in the fresh snow. 
The Split Rock River

The guys had their GPS devices to mark deer trails.  The GPS also allowed us to see  a closer point on our trail where we could go through the woods to the river that we knew was over there somewhere.
I don't have pictures of church Sunday morning with Lattins in our enlarged circle in the cabin, nor of the hikers in the afternoon who went tramping down the river again to the forks of the Split Rock River. It was a good Thanksgiving with visits with family and friends. We are so blessed.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Scribbling

     Sunday afternoon stretches out before us: no company, no plans, and completely ours to do as we wish. The teenagers head for their rooms or the nearest couch to sprawl and snooze. Elv and I sit here in the living room not talking and on our computers. The fire flickers in the stove, warming the house. A winter sun sends shafts  through the south and east windows. The  only sounds are the creaking stove as it heats up, the fan, and my keyboard. Unless you count the crows laughing at their own discoveries outside. 
     When I got to the car after church, a copy of the popular book, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp was on the seat. Oh Good. Now I can make my own deduction.  Poor Mrs. Voskamp. I am sure she had no idea how much of a stir she would create with her scribbling.  I began paging through it immediately. So those of you standing by, waiting for stonehousescribbling’s report/opinion of the book can now begin breathing again. I still like our old fashioned rules of writing and grammar. I don't mind being the odd gal out who doesn't enjoy her writing style.
     We heard a great sermon about being grateful this morning. Thanksgiving time is here. I love these reminders to count our blessings. He said  that gratitude is a decision, not based on our circumstances, but on the God who is in charge of our lives. I liked the reminder to be grateful for what we already have, instead of pining for things we want to have.
     It’s deer hunting season in Wisconsin. Brad and Elv both got licenses and spent time hunting yesterday. The big one never showed and the regular sized deer kept their backs turned and got away among the trees. They reported that they didn’t get a decent chance to shoot. I have a meat grinder lined up for if and when they bring home the venison. 
     There will be no ice skating at Thanksgiving time this year.  There is no snow… the days are still warming up to almost 50 degrees. It is perfect weather for fall planting and leaf raking.  
     The only thing is, I can’t rake leaves this year. I am finally waking up to the hard-to-accept fact that my shoulder is not healing very well. I ruined something September the 20th on my way home from Idaho, I guess. Was it carrying my computer case and purse around in the Denver airport that did it? Or did I sleep in a bad position leaning on my elbow on the plane? Who knows, but whatever I did, I am still living it down, unsuccessfully. I am praying that if I show it to my family doctor;  she will be able to tell me what I did and how I can undo it, for good. 
     We’re looking forward to the family times coming up during Thanksgiving Days.  We should savor these times. 
     Give hugs…take them, too, while you have a chance. We have no guarantee of another. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Cookie Recipe

2012-11-12 13.28.35

                              White Chocolate Craisin Oatmeal GF Cookies

We have been trying to find a good name for the latest cookie recipe around here. Last week I had a couple of cups of Dena’s pecans to use up and so the cookies were called, White Chocolate, Pecan, Oatmeal Cookies. Nobody likes to put that “GF” in there. I do not blame them. It is too much of a UFO (Unidentified Floating/Flying/Fried? Object).  Our boys are adverse to UFOs in their food.  Ingredients in soup or hot dish should either be so intrinsic to the dish to be entirely “invisible” or they should be entirely identifiable.  The unknowns are the objection.
GF (gluten free) puts a pause in the transport of the cookie from counter to the mouth in the hands of a male. “What? bean flour again?”  
“Don’t eat it then...saves more for the rest of us.” I offer my pat solution to iffy food. Dismissing them without compunction.
I honestly do not care if someone does not like my cookies, so when it was Jaden asking the above I let him sweat it out the same way. Five minutes later he reentered the kitchen still chewing, “Those are good.”  He left with a few more in his hand. He must have sneaked the first one when I was not looking. Could not resist, after all. 
Here is the recipe. One of two standard cookie recipes around here.

                                    Oatmeal Cookies

       ~4 sticks of butter
       ~2 cups brown sugar
       ~1 1/2 cups white sugar
       ~4 eggs
       ~1 tsp salt
       ~2 1/2 tsps soda
       ~1 tsp vanilla
       ~5 or 6 cups blended oatmeal
       ~bean flour 
Variations or Combinations Thereof:
       ~chocolate chips 
       ~dried fruit

Cream together the first four ingredients but do not beat. Just barely blended is best. Add the salt, soda, vanilla, oatmeal and mix briefly. Add in the flour to get the dough consistency of  cookies that do not run all over the pan in the oven. You might work it in by hand or only a few seconds in the Bosch. Bake till lightly brown and take them out of the oven. They will finish pan baking in a few minutes and also be removable  by then. Hide till serving. Or watch them disappear immediately.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Playing (Planting Tulips, Baking Cookies, & Pictures) Instead of Working (Sewing).

It has been snowing all day. Our first good skiff. It comes down in big lazy flakes or whirling light snow. It is not serious snow, really, but maybe. So we planted more tulips today.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Marmeeing a Two Year Old

We had Benny here for a few days while his mom was in the OB ward birthing  and caring for a new baby. Asher James Graber has been introduced. Benny is about to have his world changed forever. Up to this point Benny has been under the delusion that the world rotates around his wishes and whims.
His parents have been working diligently on changing Benny’s narrow perspective about whose wishes are priority in the daily round.  Along with 101 church sitting, comes manners and obedience and now a new sibling. Big changes for a two year old.
But Benny is up to it. He talks/reasons. He understands manipulation. He understands the repercussions of disobedience and decides to obey. I love watching the gears turning in his little head. He misses nothing. He has a strong sense of fairness to the disadvantage of not understanding why what is okay for Gompa, might not be okay for himself. If he lived here; I’d have to give up chewing gum for awhile. Or I could use it as a little lesson on  “other’s may/you cannot”.  He’ll have to figure that out anyway. I tell him, “You’re too short in the hind leg.”
Having Benny for a couple of days was just fun. I especially enjoy this age. You get to baby them for hugs and bedtimes if you want. Yet, you can visit with them.  And you can have the most fun with them over work. Benny likes to help with dishes and picking up.  He loves routine. Meals need to be prayed over holding hands. One thing he hasn’t been brought up to speed about is folded laundry.  I turned my back the other day with piles of neatly folded laundry on the couch and found them all dumped on the floor ten minutes later. Believe me, if I would have caught him in the act, he would have been educated accordingly. I had half a mind to plant the same situation again, just to get it over with, but didn’t have a chance.
Two is the prime day of opportunity to plant all the proper seeds of godly manhood. I hope we don’t wait till two to start, but if you have, you still have time to dig in and begin. Obedience is SO easy to teach at this age. Good habits, work ethics, and happiness are all taught at this age easily and successfully. It’s hilarious sometimes listening to Benny ask for something.  He is completely habitual already with his “ please” and “thank you”. It just cracks me up to hear this little mite use “please” correctly and to his advantage over the littlest things.
My word to parents of littles. Go for it, expect the best and go get it. It’s fun when it’s done. Don’t wait till Monday to start.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dreams and Visions

outside stuff

Raking leaves and planting tulips today.  Yesterday, I bought a phone cover and as soon as I got to the van, I tried it out. Sure enough, it did not fit so I returned it on the spot. My dollars back in my hand; I went back to those fall planting bulbs I was thinking about anyway.  72 bulbs that are supposed to be red tulips next spring came home with me instead.  I am impressed that I actually had the forethought to plant spring bulbs, aren’t you?  I have always dreamed dreams, but to have vision and acting upon it is entirely another matter.


Explained the vision concept to Brad while we ricked up the firewood he has been splitting for several days. He just let it stack up and up and up. I asked him just what did he have in mind? My frustration at the huge mess sprawled all over parking area showing plainly. “I wasn’t worried about it.” Which I interpreted to mean that he didn’t have a plan. No vision and the orderliness perishes. That is out of context, I know.(I remind myself of my mom.) We then had a discussion about having vision in our work. Visualizing an end result and implementing a plan to get there. Ad infinitum to Brad’s ears. But hey, how else do you sprout vision in a young man? My questions: What did you expect would happen here? Did you have a plan? So we worked together for a good hour till even he could catch the vision of orderly ranks, and a clean raked area. My own rediscovery is that you teach vision by working shoulder to shoulder with them pointing the goal out ahead from that perspective. This way we have erased the possibility of excuse that it cannot be done or it is too hard. I don’t know a 14 year old boy who would argue the possibilities of anything that mom decides to tackle WITH him. Don’t’ expect me to have to hold his hand tomorrow with the same project! I’m tired. He isn’t.

2012-11-01 11.18.06
      I’ve been crocheting Queen Anne’s Lace Scarves again.  2012-10-30 08.44.56 And Amy sewed a dress this week.

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