Sunday, October 31, 2010

That's What I Was Thinking

Sunshine in the House. Do you read her? She's my friend, my neighbor and I've taught all 4 of her children at one time or another piano. She just so happened to write a little bit about not only listening to classical music but studying it. So instead of me writing again, I'd like you to head over to her blog and read her thoughts. And because I'm link happy, here's the link to the article she mentions.
Angie, I echo your sentiments completely!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Very Own

I have claim to only one original recipe in my whole entire life so far. That's it. Almost all the rest I share with you are from someone else. But this one is my own. It is ham balls. Throw your head back and laugh if you wish, but make it anyway and your husband, your kids (for the most part) and any fellow neighbor you wish to share this meal with will be oh so happy. I'm also posting this on here for my friend, Stephanie, so that she will not have to have her daughter, Anna, call and get the recipe from me again. :)

Ham Balls
1 pound ham loaf (meat counter)
1 pound pork sausage
1 egg
1 hamburger/hot dog bun/ slice of bread
salt and pepper

In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients, tearing the bread into small pieces and add enough milk to make it moist (1/4 - 1/2 cup). Mix well until combined. Then use a large ice cream scoop and portion out the meat mixture into baking dish or freezer container. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, uncovered. 

This recipe is obviously flexible in that you can just double as needed. It also freezes really well, so I always make extra. Serve with BBQ sauce if you want. This recipe also pairs perfectly with this next one.

Hashbrown Casserole
1 32 oz. bag southern style hashbrowns
1 small onion, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
2 cups cheddar cheese

Mix all the ingredients together and pour into a 9x13 pan. Mix together 1/2 cup melted butter with 2 cups crushed corn flakes and spread over top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

This recipe freezes well and bakes at exactly the same temp and time as ham balls. Love that!!
This recipe is from our pastor's wife, Pam, whom I can remember making this all the time when I was in college. It fed her family with 5 kids plus a bunch of ravenous college students who were always lolly-gagging about. 

Double these recipes: 1 for your family, and 1 for a neighbor, or a mama with a new baby, or your pastor's family, or for your family later. You'll be glad you did!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Classical Composers for Kids

As I've said before, I am interested in my piano students learning not just the notes on the page, but also the composers. I think the more students know about the classical composers and their lives, the more meaningful the music they are learning will be. 
Here's some resources I love to help reach that goal.
The first is this series of books by Mike Venezia called Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers. Here I've linked to the Mozart book but there are many books in the series along with another series titled Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists. I think the author writes accurately and illustrates humoresly for an enjoyable read for all ages. Besides the illustrations, there are photographs of the art, architecture and times of each composer so the students can get a better visual grasp of the life and times. 

The next is an radio series entitled Classics for Kids. A short radio program about a particular composer and often there are printables or other activities available on the website to go along with the program. Very entertaining. Very well done. Very easy.

Finally, perhaps my favorite of all, is the set of recordings by Susan Hammond of Classical Kids. Right now my students and I are listening to Mozart's Magnificent Voyage. Other titles you may have heard of are Beethoven Lives Upstairs or Mr. Bach Comes to Call. I love, love, love this audio series. The story always focuses around a composer or historical story and a child or children. The music is aptly picked from the composer's own compositions to fit into the story. In that combination, you get a listening treat like no other. The students are captured into the whole story by way of relating with the child, moved by the music and drawn in by their own imagination of the story. I urge you to listen only first. Don't get the movie or the books (at least, not at first). Let your child's mind work without limitations. Then go on from there. What does Mozart look like? What was his opera, The Magic Flute really all about? What does Mozart's son, Karl, become later on in life?

With all of these series, you will find more listening choices. Often, the entire piece is not given, just a short example (except for the Getting to Know series because it's a book).

I hope you and your family will take the time to enjoy some classical music soon! 

Sunday, October 24, 2010


"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor. 12: 9, 10)

Do you know how many times I have heard or read that phrase in just the last 2 months? At least 5 times! And all by random circumstances. There is such a thing as double emphasis in reading the Scriptures, meaning God really wants you to get that point. So I've had it recounted to me 5 times now. What does that mean? (if you say thick headed, then no need for commenting)

I am struggling. I am wrestling with the whole idea of being weak. I don't want to be weak. That's a sign of weakness. Like I can't hack it. I just need to buck up, man up, press on. 
Paul says he will boast about it. What? That doesn't make any sense. You aren't supposed to boast, that's being prideful. 
The kicker? He says he delights in weaknesses! Whatever! I'm experiencing weaknesses right now and I am neither boasting nor am I happy about it. I feel like a failure. I feel alone. And I don't feel strong.

Now to be in context, Paul was writing about a particular thorn that he felt God has placed in his life and though he had prayed about it being removed, it was not and Paul's response is these words. Please understand Paul was no tenderfoot at trials, persecutions and difficulties. So if he is asking God to remove this particular thing, it must have been quite a thing! But Paul says, woohoo- if this means more you God, great! Bring it!

I'm a lightweight. I want an easy win, a quick fix. I'll take the trials without the try, please. I'm ready to reach the nations, just as long as it isn't too difficult. 
See, I can do all of that. 
But God is leading me down a different path. His grace fills in the gaps my weaknesses leave. His power can only be perfect when it is Him, not me. Him, not me. Paul boasts and delights because the more he is forced to recognize his short-comings (i.e. insults, persecutions, difficulties), the more the power of Christ can work. 

That power. It created a world in one breath. It multiplied bread in one touch. It healed in one word. 
I'm missing out, all because I don't want to be weak. But I NEED that power!! 

So I will wrestle with being weak. I will learn to embrace his grace that is sufficient. It fills in ALL the gaps. There are no holes left. I will learn to delight in weaknesses and when I don't, grace is there to hold me steady. I will let his power rest on me. Then I will be strong. But it will be him, not me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Farm Rap

My name is Grandma and I’m on a hayride
I’ve got 3 of my grandkids right here by my side

We’ve got cows on our left, horses on our right
We’re gonna have a bonfire later on tonight

I’ve got trucks and marbles on my floor
Frosting on a cake before heading out the door

Grandpa’s swagger wagon is big and green
Swinging in the barn is a sight to be seen

Opening gates, crossing creeks wide
Are all things you do on a hayride


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Won

I have a cousin that lives in California. Her name is Jill. All my memories of her are her being grown up. Not because she is old, but because our Grandma had two kids and then my "oops" dad came along later. So that's why. Anyway, she moved to California as soon as she could, I think, and has never come back except to visit her mom every once in a while.

Very soon after I started this blog, I got a message from a person name Jill, saying hi, her mom told her about my blog, etc. I was totally confused. It's not like I talk to my aunt or her very often. Once I figured it out, I was surprised and happy. I love how the internet makes a big world very small!
She told me to check out her blog that she runs, Frugal Plus, so I did. She has all sorts of coupons for restaurants, products, etc., and LOTS of giveaways! Well, I'm all for a free sample of this or that and I started following her and trying the samples and entering the giveaways. And I actually won! Woohoo!!

I won the book, The Very Fairy Princess, by Julie Andrews Edwards. That's right! By Mary Poppins/Maria herself! Now, I don't have a little princess anymore, though I'm sure Audrey would still love the book (a good take along to babysit book) and my boys aren't exactly into princess things, (Luke's exact quote: "I don't want a friend who likes princesses!") but I knew exactly who I wanted to read this book to! So I kept it tucked away for the day when I would have Ariana and Chiara over and then we would snuggle on the couch together, open a perfectly pink and princessy book and I would score as the best aunt ever! Well, that day arrived and I set the book on the ottoman while I finished up a few things. Meanwhile, Ariana comes over and sees the book, then says "The Very Fairy Princess." I look over in shock, thinking that somehow she can read but she says no, they already checked it out from the Ames Library and read it! Oh no! Crushed. Deflated. My best aunt ever dreams annihilated by the best mom ever! Fine. Whatever. Sit down and listen. We're going to read it anyway.

Just kidding. We did snuggle into the couch, we did open a perfectly pink and princessy book and enjoyed a wonderful time together.
Geraldine is a fairy princess and she knows just what it takes to be a fairy princess, though she hasn't quite mastered everything.
"My brother, Stewart, says fairy princesses don't wear sneakers and don't have scabby knees. I say sneakers help me practice my flying skills, ESPECIALLY when we're late for the school bus, and scabs are the price you pay. (Fairy princesses are very practical.)"

Isn't that so fun?! So, a big thanks to my cousin Jill over at Frugal Plus for the book. (check her out from my sidelink) And you can get your own copy at your favorite book dealer or (apparently) the Ames Public Library. All the princesses in your life will thank you.

A Walk

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Luke loves...

...Lightning McQueen, puppies, cars, bam bam baseball, choco bunny, Mommy, Daddy, ketchup, books, silent "e", red, Mt. Dew, trains, racing cars, Jesus, stories, music, Audrey, Ben, friends, preschool, Skittles, Hot Wheels, the number 5!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Things Boys Do/Say

I do these updates once in a while for the grandmas, just to remind them what their precious grandbabies are doing. Now you get to read it too.

Me: I can't play with you, Luke, because I'm making goodies for supper.
Luke: Goodies for supper? Do I like goodies for supper?
Me: Oh, yes!
Luke: Oh yeah. I remembered I do!!

The boys play a game of baseball with a flyswatter and a flip flop. (in my living room!)

Luke: "My puppies are professional killers. They kill the bad guys."
One puppy stands guard at the front door and another is guarding the piano room. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Best Dam Run

I'm not swearing, I swear!! That's the name of the race! Okay, this year it is called The Best Inflatable Dam Race because Waverly is going to install an inflatable bladder on the top of the dam in hopes of controlling some major flooding that has happened in recent years. 
The race was a couple of weekends ago and the kids and I went up to Waverly to run it and also to see my mom and dad and great-grandma.
The morning turned out rainy and cold so Audrey and I did all we could to stay warm before the race. Here's a picture from my phone of us two beforehand.

Audrey and I ran together the whole 5k (3.1 miles) until the end where her youth overtook her and she sprinted the last bit and where my knee overtook me and I could just keep barely running. The course was nice with only 1 major hill. It was a good thing we finished how we did because Audrey ended up winning her age bracket for girls and I ended up seeing Grandma and the boys just get there!
After our race, the boys each had a fun run. The littlest ones were first, so Audrey ran with Luke, which was a good thing since he totally crashed as he was speeding so fast! She ended up carrying him until the last few yards. He got an owie on his knee but it was okay because he got a prize at the end.

Ben ran his fun run race with his big sweatshirt flopping all over the place. He did not crash and had a LOT of fun! In the prize sacks was a coloring book, crayons, a pass to the local fitness area and a free meal at Pizza Ranch!! 

I will now show you pathetic...

I will now show you happy...

P.S. Bill was in Wisconsin on some major Dualsport ride called Big Woods with his buddy, Joe. There are no pictures because we only have one camera and I obviously had it. He had fun, though.

Rockin' the House!

I wanted to let you all know of an awesome worship concert going on at my church this coming Thursday. The band is called Anthem and let me tell you, they take worship concert to a whole new level! If you're thinking candles, Michael W. Smith- forget it! If you come, you may seriously want earplugs!! Get a little taste of it by going to the Anthem website and listen to a few songs. Yep! Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

I love the first album Anthem put out! It is on my mp3 player and it has gotten me through the last month helping me regain eternal perspective and return to worship when I don't want to. I look forward to this next one!

Over on the right, in my blogroll is a guy, Mark Arant. He's the pastor at Cornerstone's new sister church in Iowa City, Veritas. He is a part of Anthem and has written a little about it on his blog, Metropuritan. You must go read it, especially since my bro is a part of it. He's mixing the sound for the concert and he does an awesome job. I can hear his mixing from anyone else's!

I hope to go to the concert but I'll just have to see! Maybe I will only have to open my windows here in Huxley and listen!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Was there online shopping before Amazon?

Okay, friends, it's been a while. We've been a tad bit busy and if you look over at my blogroll, so have most of them been. (Note: I do have more friends than those on my blog list and my 17 google followers.)

That being said, I want to let you know about a great deal. I love I do. I love the subscribe and save, where you get 15% extra off your purchase and free shipping. I love the free shipping with qualifying order. I love the convenience of not having to go out shopping at a store where they may or may not have what I'm looking for. I love the universal link for wish lists! Ohhh- I love that feature! I love the free shipping. Did I already say that? (I shop plenty local and business is business.)

So, right now, if you go to Amazon under this link, you can sign up for a free trial of the Amazon Prime, which is basically free 2-day shipping. It is called Amazon Mom. Not a mom? How 'bout a grandma, a dad, an aunt, etc.? Pretty much anyone is covered except say college kids- and who knows? They might have their own version of Amazon Prime. It is a free 3 month trial and you can extend it if you buy at least $25 worth of stuff through the baby section. Diapers and wipes are 30%! Man, diapers delivered to your door! (Bill says we can't have another baby just for delivered discounted diapers, though.) Don't need diapers? Baby gifts? Bingo!

How did I find out about this? Well, one place I like to check out once in a while is Want Not. Mir searches the web for great deals and lets the rest of us know. She has a special affinity for shoes, Target and Amazon, so she and I get along great!

I could add the Amazon thing on my blog to make some money, but I'm not doing that right now. However, I'll tell you one favorite that Luke and I are so enjoying right now. Skippyjon Jones! Yes- indeed-o! This little Siamese cat thinks he's a chihuahua and his closet is where his imagination comes alive. If you love a good picture book, get these! All of our Skippyjon Jones books came with an audio cd. I just let that play for Luke while I get supper ready. Then we all talk for a week using our best Spanish accents, dude!

Last year I had Amazon Prime and it was GREAT for Christmas shopping! Now, it will be the same this year! Hooray!!