Thursday, July 31

Here and there and back again

All dressed for a trip to townCatching a breeze on Lake Superior between errands
One of the Duluth lighthouses
Poppies outside my back door
Funny, if I'd been diligent about weeding, I'd have pulled them!


I was saying things on my blog in a way to let people know things, but the way I said them implied pride. I did not intend to imply pride because that's not who I am. Sorry about that.

I'm going away again

Later today I'm leaving for Fergus Falls and won't be back 'til Sunday. I'm going to the MN Trapper's Association rendezvous. We're gonna camp there for a few nights. I'm taking money and skins because there are going to be a lot of dealers buying and selling stuff, and once I sell my skins I'll have plenty of money to buy this fall's trapping supplies with. I might even have enough to buy some more traps at the auction.

But buying and selling isn't the real reason I'm going. Fergus Falls is too far a drive to just buy and sell stuff. There are going to be a lot of clinics on trapping where I can learn how to catch more fur and meat.

Well, I woke up at 6:00 am and couldn't get back to sleep, so I went out to pick blueberries. I have no idea how, but my bucket got full of slugs. I've never had that problem before. I had to keep pulling slugs out of my bucket, and don't think I enjoyed that.

Wednesday, July 30

Here's how we started the day

I told Jon, "Go stand in the foyer."

He went into the foyer and did jumping jacks.

Monday, July 28

Lynae's booklist

You know, I am a typical bookworm. If I receive a book, I read like heck until I finish it. In between Christmas and my birthday I usually read school books, but in the Summer I can read whatever strikes my fancy. So far this year I have read:

  • Lost Queen of Egypt; an interesting fiction book about King Tutankhamen's wife.
  • Hamlet; Although Shakespeare's works are long and rather boring, I found this book rather interesting.
  • The Lost Prince; I don't remember much about this book, but I know I enjoyed it and found it rather easy to read.
  • Watership Down; At first this book seemed very boring but by the end I wanted to read it again. It's about a bunch of rabbits who experience the differences between living in the wild and being raised for meat.
  • Black Ships Before Troy; This is a book about the basics of the Trojan war. Its information is taken from Homer's writings.
  • Beautiful Girlhood; The title says it all. This book is a guide for godly young women that covers everything from apparel to relationships. I read it every year.
  • The Cricket on the Hearth; I didn't really understand this book until I finished it, but it was very good and held my attention well.
  • Romeo and Juliet; The tragic story of two lovers whose parents hate each other. Another of Shakespeare's writings.
  • Kenilworth; Written by Sir Walter Scott, this one is probably my favorite book from c.1600 A.D.
  • The Hiding Place; An amazing story about the faith that Corrie Ten Boom had in Christ during WW2.
  • Penrod and Sam; A fun story about two young boys trying to have fun during the early 20th century.
  • Love Comes Softly, Love's Enduring Promise, and Love's Long Journey; What can I say about these? If you've read them, you know how wonderful they are, If you haven't, You're missing out. I'm waiting for Love's Abiding Joy.
  • Never Miss a Sunset; The true story of a hardworking 13 year old girl who has 9 brothers and sisters and is left with the responsibility of taking care of them when their mother's sick.
  • Tisha; The true love story of 19 year old Anne Hobbs who becomes a schoolteacher in Alaska in the 1920s. I found this story very interesting.

'Tis the Season

It's that time of year again, when any little thing can lead to Jon having a meltdown. Even situations he's handled well for some time can now trigger negative behaviors which quickly escalate beyond belief.

My goals for the next six weeks are to minimize the destruction (of all types) and keep us both as calm as possible. I trust that God will see us through as He has every other time we've traveled this road.

It is additionally challenging that this time of year coincides with gearing up for a new school year. I do neither of us any favors if I expect him to cooperate even more for me. In the past, that has led to a lot of frustration on my part. I've learned that all but the most passive learning just has to wait until he's back on track.

Your prayers are appreciated!

Homemade toothpaste

I like fluoride-free toothpaste, but I don't like paying dearly for it. And so, you guessed it, I make my own. The kiddos love it because it's tasty and Mom made it. I love it because it's so darned easy to make, I'm pleased with all the ingredients, and the recipe is fun to play with.

Here's what I used this time:

  • 4 Tbsp coconut oil (which is so healthy for you, it must be a God thing)
  • 6 Tbsp baking soda
  • 10 drops peppermint oil
  • 10 drops spearmint oil
  • 3 big pinches of stevia
  • a drizzle of glycerin (softens the mixture, and might keep it from hardening below 76 degrees, we'll see)
I just mix these ingredients together until they're about the consistency of cake frosting, then carefully pour/scoop into a 4 oz. canning jar. That's all there is to it! To use, we just dip the toothbrush in. The coconut oil and glycerin kill germs, so it's not actually gross.

You can experiment with the amounts of these ingredients, and choose whatever flavor your family would enjoy. I got the idea for this toothpaste from Julie at Seeking the Old Paths.

Saturday, July 26

I am back

That went fast. I had a blast at camp. I got so used to shooting compound bows that when I tried a recurve on the last day, I couldn't tell if I had it at full draw or not. Did I fail to mention that it was an archery camp? I also shot a 20 gauge, a 12 gauge, a .410, a .22, a .243, and a .270, in that order, when we went to the range. That was really cool.

Everyone at camp knew me by day 3. On the evening of day 3, I was walking around the North Star Lodge minding my own business, when suddenly all the other campers started shouting "Toby! Toby! Toby!". I wasn't sure what was going on so I went to my dorm. They ran after me. I felt like one of the Beatles. They quickly filled up my dorm, so I ran to Great Hall. When they got there, I ran back to my dorm and locked them out by putting a broom through the handle and behind the whatchamacallit, and breathed a sigh of relief. "Toby! Toby! Toby!" They came running up. The mob opened the door and bent the broom handle. I ran out, came back again, this time locking myself in the bathroom with my guitar (to entertain myself rather than just sit there doing nothing.) They gave up the chase, and after that I was very careful not to be seen by more than 20 people if I could help it.

Matt, (one of the counselors at camp), had a riddle for everybody. It went like this. "There are 4 countries in the world that have only one vowel one time. 'Y' does not count as a vowel. No abbreviations are allowed, and only countries existing today count. What are they? The fastest anyone has gotten it in is an hour and a half." So during canteen, when he told us the riddle, I moved my chair away from the crowd of people to concentrate. After about 10 minutes I got number 1; Chad. A few minutes later I got Egypt. About 20 minutes later I got Kyrgyzstan, and shortly after I got Cyprus. All 4 in 45 minutes. I cut the previous record in half without looking at a map.

So yesterday there was an awards ceremony where everyone got an award for something everybody noticed about a certain person. My award was "The Wandering Minstrel Award," because I was singing everywhere. Cool huh?

Fifteen years ago

Fifteen years ago, baby Toby and I left Maine and drove to New York. Then we flew from New York to California, where he met his daddy for the first time.

I was reminded of this as we drove home from camp this afternoon, with him sleeping beside me.

I started this post with the intent of waxing poetic about the precious uniqueness of the relationship between a mother and her firstborn. But I don't have the words to do so. Either you understand it perfectly or you don't.

Anyway, I love that young man, and I'm glad he's home.

Saturday, July 19

I have been really busy.......

With Summer School lately. I had a great time and learned a lot. My schedule was as follows:

Week One

  • 9:00-9:45 Old Fashioned Games
  • 9:45-10:15 Swim Level 2
  • 10:15-11:00 Fleece Blankets
  • 11:00-12:00 Basketball
  • 12:00-1:00 Board Games
Week Two
  • 9:00-9:45 Old Fashioned Games
  • 9:45-10:15 Swim Level 2
  • 10:15-11:00 Computer Games
  • 11:00-12:00 Digital Photography
  • 12:00-1:00 Board Games

As you may remember, I made a brief post last year about my swimming lessons. Well this year, with a little nudge from Mom and Dad, I decided to try one more time. I was trying to be optimistic, but on the first morning, I felt terrible about myself. I ignored my fear and told myself that if I passed level 2, I didn't have to keep going, and if I didn't pass, I could stop trying.

We got to the school, I saw Grace to the pool, and started my first class. Everything was going smoothly and I was having a pretty good time. Class ended and I walked down to the pool, wondering how Grace was doing. I decided not to think about swimming, because I knew nothing positive would come out of it. I got to the locker room, got Gracie's stuff out of the backpack, and went to get signed in.

Then it was time. A woman called my name and told me she would be my teacher. Then she told me that we were going to work 1 on 1 so I could catch up. I nearly cried, I was so happy! God had cared all along and had made it possible for me to overcome my greatest fear: deep water. I said a silent prayer and promised myself to try extra hard.

My teacher was kind and helpful, and by the end of the day I had basically finished level 2. For the next two weeks I tried extra hard to do well, and every day I would come home and tell Mom about what I'd done.

Then was the last day (yesterday). I was excited and a little nervous. I had the entire half hour to have free time. I practiced the front crawl with the breathing and went off the diving board without floating devices at least 20 times. Then I got my papers. I was trembling as I opened the bag. I pulled out the papers. I had a certificate saying I had passed level 2....And one for level 3.... and one for level 4! I couldn't believe it! Now not only can I swim well, I also have the confidence to go next year for level 5!

Tomorrow I'm going away

Tomorrow I'm going to camp. But never fear, I'll be back on Friday. Maybe you should fear if I'll be back that soon.

The other day a long tailed weasel crossed the road in front of us while I was driving to Sandstone. That was cool.

I got sick of having to look for five minutes through my bookmarks every time I wanted to go somewhere that I had bookmarked. It took too long. Bookmarks are there to save me time, so I had to do something about it. So now my bookmarks are neatly arranged into 4 categories: Sports sites, music sites, blogs and web pages, and big kid stuff. The big kid stuff isn't anything to fret about, I just had to come up with an appropriate name for colleges and government offices and David Nasser.

Today I went to Sandstone to shoot trap. I hit 1 clay pigeon out of 6 shots, which isn't very good at all, but at least I hit 1.

I must now stop bugging you fine folks so I can rest.

Tuesday, July 15

Why I'm Smiling

  • It's mid-July, and the summer heat is still tolerable without installing the air conditioner.
  • I have a batch of dog food cooking in the kitchen, and the dogs love it way more than store-bought. They keep telling me, too.
  • God is managing our finances.
  • My A1c went down again (6.0), and I've never eaten more ice cream in my life!
  • I'm loving my new perm.
  • My new glasses will be in this week; no more super glue, nail polish, or weighted contacts.
  • The garden is growing.
  • We have 27 happy chicks growing in the back yard to fill our freezer in a couple months.
  • Lynae is now a more confident swimmer than her mama.
  • We've sold 11 dozen eggs in the past 3 days and have room in our refrigerator again.
  • By changing the direction of a table in the kitchen, I've effectively doubled our usable work space.
  • I found relief from deerfly bites today, using plantain. It's not very tasty, but it works! After years of knowing about this wonderful plant, I've finally gotten smart and harvested some to keep on hand.
  • Lynae has memorized our bread dough recipe.
  • When Loren woke up (in the recliner) a while ago with a leg cramp, I rubbed his leg with a bar of soap and he was able to go back to sleep. (He keeps two small bars in the bed, and no longer suffers from leg cramps there.)
  • I ate peas from the garden today.
  • My sons are working together to clear a pond. I understand they're making up songs while they work.
  • I got to watch a young bluebird learn to fly yesterday.
  • God is still on the throne, and I get to enjoy the wonders of His creation.

Monday, July 7

Last night I drove in the dark

I drove us home from Moose Lake last night. It was about 10:00, and I drove home on 61 and 43. I used my high beams, but I still didn't go faster than 50 miles per hour. During the daytime, I have no problem going 55, but in the dark is trickier.

I've caught 2 more skunks since I last wrote. I was consistently catching them too far back, so I moved the trigger wires closer together, which may also deter raccoons which could be attracted to my set. This way the skunks who get caught will be caught in a more desirable location.

Today I became a member of the kdnw listener advisory board. It was pretty easy, I just listened to music and rated it. Now that Chip Ingram is over, they're playing Matthew West. Sweet.

The other day I got a call from Mr. Nathan, my driver's ed instructor. He heard that I had gotten my permit, and he was surprised that I hadn't signed up for behind the wheel yet. Well, on July 12 I'm gonna do my first session of behind the wheel. It's 2 hours of driving. I might go on the freeway, but then maybe not. I'm perfectly comfortable driving at 55 on county roads, so maybe I'll be comfortable going 65 or 70 on the freeway.

Thursday, July 3

I'm SO embarrassed!

At some point, my DSL problem was reduced to an ID ten T error.

On the plus side, the garden is actually starting to look good, thanks to some warm weather and extra TLC.

Wednesday, July 2

We're still here

A summer storm took out our DSL last Friday, and it's still not back up. I've been using dial up, but this house only has one semi-convenient phone jack, so I'm not online much (and the kids aren't at all). For that and other reasons, we'll be a bit scarcer than usual for a while longer. But we're still here, still doing well, still loving the variability of Minnesota summer weather, and still battling swarms of mosquitoes.