Wednesday, December 31, 2008


We've been enjoying episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise via Netflix. Last night we were watching a couple episodes that featured an 'altered timeline' wherin Nazi Germany attacked and gained ground in the US, including Washington DC. Hubby and I remarked about the chilling sight of the Nazi flag hanging down the sides of the White House, as well as a propaganda clip wherein the US flag was flying with the swastika, subordinately.

Eventually Big Sister asked, "What are Nazis?"

I replied something along the lines of: "People who wanted to remake the world in their image, who were terribly evil and killed so many people." Struggling for a way to encompass Naziism in two seconds for a seven-year-old, and coming up short, I added, "you'll learn about it eventually in homeschool."

She thought about that for a moment, and then with some surprise, stated, "wow, we're going to learn a lot about Star Trek in homeschool!"

Monday, December 29, 2008


I was just journaling last night about how last week saw none of my daily chores accomplished. I have a general weekly routine; launder sheets on Mondays, clean toilets/sinks on Tuesdays, etc. I lamented that I had 2-week-old sheets and toilets! Ick!

Today, naturally, was day 13 of Toilet Germ Life. While the sheets washed and dried, and Big Sister gathered laundry from their room, I heard an unusual sound. Well, it wasn't so much unusual (sadly), but more unexpected. I thought Organique was downstairs with Li'l Artist, but the 'tap tap tap' I heard from down the hall was definitely something or someone in the bathroom messing with the toilet. I immediately investigated, and found a very wet Organique stirring in the toilet with the toilet brush (is it just my kids, or do ALL children find that to be their favorite toy at this age?). The plunger was in a puddle on the floor nearby, and the toilet water was a pale yellow infused with shreds and bits of stirred-up toilet paper. I hollered for backup (which was already en route; Big Sister had heard the same thing I did), flushed the toilet, and tried to figure out what to do first.

You'd think I'd have this down by now...

Anyways, the toilet acted plugged, which also surprised me, because their didn't seem to be anything, ahem, likely-to-plug in it, and I decided to give Baby a bath. I removed her wet clothes, and started warm water running in the tub. At this point I couldn't find the tub stopper... and I looked back at the toilet in an0guish. Her sisters hadn't seen it, and I had used it two nights ago when I took a bath, and it would've likely been on the edge of the tub. I SO did not want to fish for the item, especially not knowing for certain that it would be in there. I tried swirling a clear area for better viewing, but toilet paper shreds do not cooperate like that. I eventually used the plunger in an attempt to 'de-plunge' the toilet. That is, to carefully create suction and draw things upward as opposed to pushing things further through the system. Still nothing concrete. I found one of those little hook-hangar things that new socks come on, and tried to bend it to create as much length as I could. It did a good job of fishing out clumps of soggy paper. And then! Swirling up through the morass was the tub plug! I retrieved it, did my best to decontaminate it and myself, and started the bath again. Considering we can't get out the driveway (Hubby can in his truck, but that doesn't do me much good), losing that permanently wouldn't have been very fun.


Well, as just as I completed the above, the girls managed to pull over a five-shelf unit here in the computer room -- that Hubby cleaned carefully when the rest of us were out of town the weekend before Christmas. Thankfully, though Organique was part and parcel to the incident, it didn't fall on anyone, so aside from a big mess to clean up, we were spared.


Remember The Other Raid?

Not the FLDS this time, remember the organic food co-op family that was raided SWAT-style? They're fighting back, thankfully. So far it doesn't look like the original story was embellished at all.

"We had a sheriff's department group of about 11-12, I don't know, 13 men come into our home. It was violent, it was belligerent, they didn't identify themselves," Jacqueline Stowers said.
She and 10 children were forcibly herded into a room and held there for at least six hours, she said.
"In the meantime we had people with guns inside and outside," she said.
The legal representatives said a report from the sheriff's department said one of the deputies "even snatched a cell phone out of the hand of a teenage son who was attempting to call Mr. Stowers (during the raid)."
"In addition, the complaint alleges the governmental authorities confiscated all of the Stowers' personal food intended to provide for and nourish them all through the winter months," the organizations said.
The complaint also seeks a preliminary injunction against the Department of Agriculture and declarations stipulating that Manna Storehouse and the Stowers are not a "retail food establishment" under Ohio's Food Safety Code. As a private cooperative, Manna Storehouse is exempted from the Food Safety Code, the organizations said.
Officials with the
Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education non-profit, said several of its members had been participating in the co-op, but now their food supplies are disrupted.
The Buckete Institute's spokesman, David Hansen, said, "The use of these police state tactics on a peaceful family in simply unacceptable."

Like the CPS dismantling families to 'see if' there might be abuse or neglect, this is abuse of government power. While the armed, no-knock raid for a third-degree misdemeanor charge is horribly over-the-top, so too is the idea that if the government hasn't stamped it's approval on what you feed your family they can empty your cupboards at a whim. One can live without a car, or even electricity, but food? I'm not really comfortable with the government holding the power of life and death over me in that way. Are you?

The Common Room has more, and commentary.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

FLDS Roundup

I'm woefully behind on blog-reading, let alone blog-posting, but within the couple-hundred unread posts in my google reader, was another FLDS update at the Common Room. You remember the FLDS fiasco in Texas, right, when someone made some prank calls claiming to be an abused teen, and several days later (because it was such an emergency) law enforcement raided their community, removing hundreds of children, separating families, and worse.

Her post is full of links and quotes, but I'll point out two of them here.

Crimmins [a CPS person] said the intention all along had been to conduct individual investigations, but the children were removed so that could be done. The agency had accused the parents of being uncooperative and deliberately obscuring the identity of the children.

The Headmistress points out the glaring admission here: CPS thinks children can/should be removed so then they can investigate. We should all sit up and take notice of this, if we haven't already.

The last paragraph is one to notice as well (actually, they all are). How does an agency like that continue in it's ways???

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Can't. Blog.

Too Busy.

Baking. Cleaning. Hubby's diet. Out of town. Snow storms. Back home. Stuck in driveway. Christmas cards unsent. Stamps lost. Dog ran away. Neighbor called pound. Nearly adopted. Bailed out. Locked in garage. Knitting unfinished. Sewing unfinished. Kids loose.

Must go.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

God's Great Baby Plan

I ran across an interesting post about the natural, God-instilled biology that actually facilitates the mother-child bond. Rina describes herself as "not a baby person" - never was 'into' holding others' babies and the like. She's had five (I think) of her own now, and has learned a few things. She cites scientific data and it all comes together to testify to God's great design. Fascinating.

**One thing she mentions is information about oxytocin... (a hormone that contracts the uterus during and after labor, and which is in force during breastfeeding, as well as other, more intimate *ahem* moments we share with our husbands)... I recall a study that found that injecting roosters with oxytocin caused them to cluck and gather baby chicks to themselves in a very nurturing, motherly way. :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Beyond Infanticide

Remember my rant about Obama's willingness to put the final say over my children's [education, healthcare, etc] into the hands of the government?

Admit it, you thought I was a little into the tin-foil-hat camp. The government doesn't want to hurt anyone, they just want a better society. They're not going to put you in jail over refusing to vaccinate your kids.

Well, get out your own tin-foil-hat now: Belgium already imprisons parents for that. Five months, I hear.

Oh, well just vaccinate your kids then. It's not like they're going to die from it.

I got an email yesterday highlighting Belgium's practice of murder* of children under 12 months. That's right, Belgium permits doctors to terminate the lives of “deficient” children up to a year old, even without parental consent, for the sake of “a better society”. (emphasis mine)

From the UK Telegraph:

Euthanasia is currently permitted on infants and more than half of the Belgian babies who die before they are 12 months old have been killed by deliberate medical intervention.

In 16 per cent of cases parental consent was not considered.

If "parental consent" was not considered in a portion of cases, I daresay it's not considered at all. That the parents may concede is of no consequence. Obviously it will be done no matter the parents opinion.

For a better society.

Didn't Europe deal with this mindset a few decades ago? How is this any different than Hitler's "master race"? He did a lot to terminate the lives of the deficient for the sake of a better German society, did he not?

There are always those (yes, even in America) who think it's their right to define 'deficiency' and 'suffering' and 'quality of life' for the rest of us. Whether because they're footing the bill, or designing a pain-free utopia, I wouldn't know. But the question is, will we let them?

Faithfully Following has posted on the same issue.

*the term was originally 'assisted suicide', but I don't think they're taking the child's opinion or preference into consideration any more than they're considering the parents' wishes.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Careful Words..

A while back I read this post at Clothesline Alley which I thought was very thoughtful and timely. She writes from the point-of-view of someone wanting to have a child/more children, and how that situation feels when others are offering questions or comments on the planning of their family.

I know that some time ago I realized that a lot of what I said to people in this regard might not be received as nicely as it was presented.. That is, while I might be lightly teasing or even happily encouraging (and if I ever DID encourage anyone toward parenthood, be assured it was because I thought well enough of them to do so!), I could not know for sure what the situation was for the other person. Saying, "you should get one of these!" about my baby might not mean the same thing to the recipient of the comment.

For instance, I usually meant, "babies are wonderful, they're blessings, and I hope you will be so blessed." If the couple was actively preventing that blessing, would they take that as encouragement... or judgment? I never imagined it could be considered judgmental, but what if it was? Worse, what if they'd stopped 'preventing' (and I didn't know that) and were dealing with a recent disappointment? Responding with, "yeah, we'd like to..." then establishes an expectation, that the couple is "trying" -- and that's not anyone's business. What if they'd been trying and trying, and each month brought heartache? Wow, my cute little "encouraging" comment just became an arrow in their hearts...

It's best not to assume, and not to comment. Unless someone shares their fertility situation, it's just best 'not to go there.' We cannot know if the couple is making choices, or dealing with unwanted circumstances, and as Amy's post demonstrates, it's best to err on the side of caution.

Another good read on the subject is from Laine's Letters; here, another thought here, and a follow up, here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Here We Go Again...

Do you remember Hubby's crazy diet from last year? Well, I'm sorry to say he's put back on a chunk of the weight he so fabulously lost. The doctor hadn't seen or weighed him in awhile, and last month was alarmed at the speed with which he'd gained. So, he ordered another food-sensitivity test (among other things), and we got the results back last Wednesday, just in time for holiday get-togethers. *sigh* Hubby thinks it's mostly an issue of self-control, and I agree, but that doesn't make it any easier! Seems like over-indulgence causes his body to find certain foods poisonous, and that facilitates weight gain. Not fun.

He has more things he's sensitive to, this time around, but that's probably because they tested him on 154 foods instead of 115. Red pepper is okay (thank goodness), but black pepper isn't. Thankfully (and astonishingly) coffee remains fine, and even wheat, although rye tested sensitive. All shellfish but the clams are fine this time around, but he tested very high for sage (yes, the herb), and again for parsley. Carrots are ok. Spinach, notsomuch. And the yeasts were the highest reaction. No more homemade wine for this man! At least not for 90+ days...

I gathered up a few brain cells the other night, and organized the 'okay' foods into an amenable four-day rotation. Which is proving to make tonight's Church Christmas Banquet (which we've committed to and paid for) and exercise in extra-work. I need to plan and prepare something from "day 3," pack it and he can eat it while watching the rest of the world dine on cheese and dairy and pumpkin and vinaigrette. I'm pretty sure this church won't be serving a keg, however, so we're clear on that note. :)

Last night I steamed some broccoli, defrosted 3 quarts of cooked rice, and mixed it with a big pile of canned salmon. I seasoned it with toasted sesame oil and lemon juice, and while not something I'd make normally, he did eat and enjoy it, more or less. I made a bunch of it, so I can freeze individual portions for emergency "day 2" meals in the future.

It's the little things that kill. Did you know saltine crackers have yeast??? Who would think? I thought I might make a salmon-loaf type thing last night, but couldn't use bread crumbs, obviously, so started looking at the saltine crackers (now, before you take me to task, NO, I usually don't buy such things, but just recently did for making my favorite Christmas Cracker Candy, ok? Forgive me.). But yeast is in there. Plus, they were not only wheat, but had malted barley flour, and that just complicates things terribly. Barley is reserved for a different day. I mean, c'mon.

So, that's what we'll be doing this holiday season. Talk about practicing self-control.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Shock and Awe

The other evening, Hubby said something about wanting to 'make something for dinner' that he hadn't had in a while. Well, I wouldn't want to let an opportunity like that pass me by, so I busied myself with some knitting during the time I'd normally be fretting over and preparing dinner. I did ponder what I might make for myself, since Hubby's cooking is, well, not always palatable to myself. Let's just say he enjoys strong and varied flavors.

I tried not to begrudge him a package of precious ground beef, nor a quart of my hard-won frozen tomatoes, as he went to work trashing the kitchen preparing the meal.

In addition to the beef and tomatoes, there was tomato paste, a can of olives (which were 'blended' so finely he had to remind me they were in there), salted pistachios, an onion (diced, but of notable size), some rolled rye flakes, and I'm not sure I want to know what else.

There were a few tortillas left, and some of us ate it that way, with cheese and sour cream. Others ate it in a bowl with the cheese and sour cream as toppings.

Did you hear that? *I* ate it.

It was edible.

It was... it was delicious.

Maybe we could make a habit out of this, eh?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Freedom" of Choice

Of course, it's the kind of freedom that enslaves and destroys.

Have you signed this petition yet?

I've posted before (I think) about Obama's promise to Planned Parenthood that "one of the first things" he'd do is sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which effectively repeals any and all state and local restrictions on abortions (parental notification, partial-birth abortion ban, etc) and require religious and faith-based medical institutions (Catholic hospitals) to provide abortions. Also, more taxpayer money would be funneled that direction.

I recall Obama's assertion that "privacy" is a right he sees in the Constitution, and as it pertains to abortion should not be infringed upon "any more than our First Amendment rights." I'll remind you he has no qualms about infringing our Second Amendment rights - apparently just because they were written up by the same brilliant and inspired minds at the same time, by the same people, in succession, does NOT mean that they hold anywhere near the same weight in importance. I mean, come on. Let's not jump to conclusions here. *ahem*

In any case, fight FOCA, if you can. Sign the petition, write to your representatives and senators (especially if they'd be likely to support it), tell your friends. Someone's baby will thank you.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Customer Disservice

Some months ago, my mom pointed out the darling family portraits she was exhibiting of my brother and his wife, and my stepbrother and his family.

"I just need one of you guys, and then I'll be set."

"Ok, I'll try to get us together and break out the tripod."

"No, I want a REAL family portrait. Taken at a studio."

To her, "studio" means Sears Torture, er, Portrait Studio, which I long since abandoned. I grimaced a bit, and put it out of my mind.

Some months later, it was still in her mind, and she mentioned it again. Again I requested to do it myself, and again she declined. Then I pleaded. Pointed out that dragging my three darlings into a germ-infested waiting room to catch every virus wiped on the chairs and toy table wasn't high on my wish-list. That trying to get anyone to smile - much less me - after hours of waiting in uncomfortable clothes, getting hungry, tired, cranky was the kind of misery I should have the freedom to avoid as an American citizen. To no avail. Perhaps it was my less-than-motivation that made her offer to pay for the photos (I don't think she paid for my brother's, but she probably did for my stepbrother). Even that wasn't enough to get me on the phone to book an appointment, but I became obligated, nonetheless. Finally, a couple months later, she 'reminded' me again, about the time I got some sales-pitch postcard in the mail from Sears.

I bit the bullet and called their 1-888-Make-An-Appointment-With-A-Less-Than-Congenial-Employee number, and asked for the earliest available appointment the following Saturday. She gave me 10:30 which I accepted, and we hung up. I got to thinking about early December Saturdays at the mall, and at the portrait place specifically... and decided I might need a better plan. I called the local Sears and got the direct line to the portrait studio where I explained I'd just made an appointment, but was considering making another, so as to get the "kids only" photos out of the way. She said they weren't usually busy at all on weekdays, so I booked an additional appointment for the following afternoon (a Tuesday). I asked about how their Saturday mornings usually went, whether to expect a long wait or not. She asked when my appointment was, and then pointed out that this studio would be open at 9 that morning, and they had a spot at 9:30 if I liked. I liked, so I switched to 9:30.

My Tuesday appointment went fairly well, though combining a photo shoot with other errands like grocery shopping and a visit to the dentist wasn't the brightest thing I've done.

Come Saturday morning I am, of course, a mad woman, trying to get three children dressed and brushed and in the car (not to mention Hubby and his less-than-enthusiastic involvement) -- PLUS I had to have my hair down and makeup on (requirements of the Check Writer). We slipped into the parking lot at exactly 9:30 and I bailed out of the car to let them know we had arrived, and not to talk any walk-ins ahead of us.. please?

The automatic sliding doors didn't open for me, however, and I stood there for a moment, perplexed, before an employee pried them open for me and some others who had walked up to the door. I hurried through the next set of doors and turned into the portrait studio... which was empty, dark, and not at all bustling like I expected. I stood another moment, perplexed again, and began to wander around. On the counter was a printout of the day's appointments, beginning with a 9:00 booking. Worse, we were on the list, but not until 10:30! I waited for Hubby to bring the girls in, wishing I'd remembered my knitting. A woman I recognized from Tuesday showed up, and I asked her about the situation. "Sears decided not to open until 10:00, I guess. I'm only here this early (it was 9:40 by now) for a conference call. I'll call someone, though." She proceeded to call "Tammy", her short conversation consisting of, "I need you here right now, there are people waiting and no photographer." I was hoping Tammy was across the store, or across the parking lot at worst, but no, she just happened to "live closest" to Sears. *sigh* Another family came, with two young girls, and eventually I disclosed to her the situation. A photographer showed up, but didn't seem in too much of a hurry to get things rolling, other than clocking in at the computer and checking a few other things. A third and fourth family showed up, and then "Tammy" who took a look at the schedule, started asking who was there, and when our appointments were. I explained to her that we had arrived at 9:30 for a 9:30 appointment, but somehow the time had reverted to my original appointment. She apologized, saying their server had gone down for two whole days and they couldn't book appointments or anything, and unfortunately she had to start at the top of the list. By now it was 10:15. She took one family into a studio (there are 2), and the other, earlier-arriving photographer sorted through some paperwork, and looked as if she might ask us to fill some out. I pointed to their little pocket of paperwork on the wall, saying mine was already in there from last week. At this point I was also on the phone with my dad, saying such tempered things as "just HOW badly does Mom want this family portrait???" and "they'll be lucky if [Hubby] doesn't walk out of here after burning the place down." Apparently mom wanted the portrait, even if charges of arson were eventually filed. The gal looked at our old paperwork, and thought we were just doing pictures of the girls. "No," I explained, "we already did those earlier, today we just want a family portrait, just one shot of all of us together. White background, sheetrock, whatever's up." Pointing this out, while plucking my youngest from all kinds of mischief -- and possibly the thundercloud on Hubby's face -- helped common sense prevail, whereby she said that she would take us if it was just one quick shot.

I'm so glad my husband didn't have to go to jail for arson. It took two shots (Organique had her tongue hanging out in the first one - which I had Christmas cards done up with), and we were ready to order (again), pay (more), and leave, thankyoujesus.

So, while we left in fairly good spirits (and with considerable compassion for the employees dealing with such a scheduling debaucle), I think my Smile Savers card will go unused, notwithstanding bribes and other manipulations. Mom (she never reads here, so I'll have to tell her again in person), if ever you get it in your head to have happy little family portraits that are *not* taken by yours truly, you're gonna have to dig deeper and spring for the shmancy photogs that have little shops and studios downtown, ok? That's the new rules. Maybe Hubby will even smile for them.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Are You Kidding Me???

An aggressive SWAT team raided a home and held the family at gunpoint on their couch for 9 hours - children and babies included.

Their crime? No official charges have been filed yet, but it centered around their 'family business.'

Ooo... what do you think it was? Meth manufacture? Drug dealing? Prostitution? Sex slavery?


They run an organic food co-op from their home.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Turkey Into Soup

Well, the Green Death is all et up, as is the pecan pie (that went fast), pumpkin pie, peach pie, peach cobbler, stuffing (we ate that for 3 meals/day for quite some time...)... and I'm sorry to say the mashed potatoes served the birds. That is, they were all calorie-infused what with butter (a lot) and cream cheese (a lot). They were intended for a potluck that wasn't, and while reheating them in the crock pot worked grandly, keeping them warm in said crock pot for ... a day or two... probably wasn't the best idea. I tossed them when they began to turn a toasty brown shade.

But the turkey! It continues to bless us.

On Sunday I took to it with a knife, dicing up a gallon ziploc full of bits, and mostly filling another with larger chunks. These went into the freezer to make pot pie and other yummy things later. I removed the skin (and attached quills, ahem) and fed it to the cats and dog, and broke the remainder up and put it in my roaster thing. Does anybody know the name for that? My mom used to call it "the Nesco", but this one isn't a Nesco brand. It's like a giant, rectangular, steel, thermostatically-controlled crockpot. Great for roasting, and making big bunches of whatever. Anyways, into this contraption went the skinless bird - lots of meat, and all the bones. I turned it to just over boiling (212 degrees or so) and let it simmer that day. And night. And yesterday. Wait, did it really cook that long? Hm. Well, as long as it's kept at least 140 (the magic bacteria-inhibiting temperature) it's fine. I didn't boil it all that time, but kept it hot. This morning I turned it off for a few hours, and then did the tedious task of separating everything within it. I get out several bowls of varying sizes, and sort accordingly: Bones Which Might Kill The Dog (Hubby requests I not feed her such, otherwise I would), Nice Meat Which We Will Eat, and Weird Creepy Stuff For The Dog. What's left is a murky, bit-infused broth, which is remedied by pouring through strainers/sieves/filters until it's fairly nice. This is a step my mom didn't (doesn't?) do, and it's made all the difference in the world to me in the palatability of homemade soups. I'm also much pickier between Meat and Weird Creepies. (Sorry Mom)

At this point I looked at the clock and freaked out because we were making an unusual Tuesday trip to town - consisting of grocery shopping at Costco, portrait-taking at Sears, and a dentist appointment. And if that's not a perfect schedule for a masochist, I don't know what is. But don't worry: we survived, if barely. Organique only screamed and cried when it was her turn to have her picture taken. And ran around. And left the studio. And tripped and banged her head, which of course, resulted in more screaming and crying, only this time with a nice mark upon her forehead.

But we were talking about soup. Tomorrow I will dice some carrots, de-insecticide some celery, then dice it, cut up an onion, toss in some (more) bay leaves, thyme, maybe savory or sage, and eventually some peas, and have tastey soup. Oh, and probably some barley, and a pound of salt. Hubby doesn't think it's food if a spoon can't stand straight up in a bowl of it. I don't think it's food if it isn't nicely salted.

Once upon a time I let my turkey carcasses end up in the trash. Now I never do (perhaps because so much effort and expense goes into raising and readying the buggers), and I encourage you to try it, if you haven't. It's wonderfully nutritious, perfect for the season, and makes several meals with the addition of a few cheap veggies and a grain.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The "Need To Know" Basis

This is a public service announcement:

Children need to know the difference between sharpie markers (used by Mama to label and date Ziplocs of leftovers) and dry-erase markers (used by Mama to mark up the refrigerator like a white board).

It would also be helpful for them to know that the latex-painted white back door IS NOT a white-board equivalent, as is the fridge.

My children (now) know these things.