29 January 2012

It's Here

Whenever Bear and the Pillow Pet end up in a pile to be washed on the same day, that can only mean one thing...

GERMS! And lots of them.

Both boys have pink eyes and sore throats.

Fresh air, please!

Glad you two are getting along, but let's not get too chummy. Share crayons, not germs!

26 January 2012

Our Favorite Scones

If cereal bars and toast just aren't cutting it anymore at your house, give these scones a try. My family loves them! This is a good, basic recipe from AllRecipes (I think), and is a great base for different variations.

Stir together:
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sour cream

In a large bowl, mix:
4 C all-purpose flour
1 C white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt

With a pastry cutter,
Cut in 1 Cup butter (unsalted is best; if you use salted, cut salt back to 1/2 tsp.)

Dig out a hole in the middle of the flour, and add:
1 egg
Sour cream mixture

Fold mixture into flour until just moistened. Do not overmix.

Fold 1 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips. Again, do not overmix. (Like biscuits, the more you handle them, the harder they are!)

Turn out dough ball onto floured surface and pat into a circle, about 1/2 in. thick. Cut into 8-12 triangles. Bake at 350 for 13 - 16 minutes.

Variations: I usually divide my dough in half and do choc. chips for the guys, and blueberry Craisins for Addie and me. Other good variations are cinnamon raisin and choc. chip / cherry Craisins. Be sure to use dried fruit so they're not soggy!

23 January 2012


When my parents applied for their passports a couple years ago, my dad happened to show me his original birth certificate. The old Virginia birth certificates asked the mother and father to list their occupations. It caught my attention that my grandmother had written homemaker. It would have made just as much sense to write housewife, mother (after all, this was her 8th child!) or even none. But she chose to write homemaker.

In the last several years, when filling in that question on forms, I've written things like none, stay-at-home wife and mother, and PT school librarian. I'm never quite sure what to write! To be completely truthful, when I used to be able to write "HS English teacher," I took pleasure in the fact that people often acted interested in that description. But, it seems, "stay-at-home wife and mother" sounds a little... typical... boring... unambitious. So, while I strive to tell the truth, I always hesitate what to write. It also doesn't help that "occupation" sounds like something you get paid to do.

But, in actuality, Merriam-Webster defines "occupation" as "1. an activity in which one engages, 2. the principal business of one's life." And as any wife and/or mother who is at home most of the day will tell you, the "principal business," the thing that makes us most busy, is caring for the family's needs.

Those needs include everything from making sure everyone is fed, everyone has clothes to wear (ones that fit and ones that are clean), to being the main supervisor and caretaker of the children, to being my husband's personal home secretary - that means dealing with insurance or other business issues, making appointments, acting as the official "purchasing agent," and running errands that he asks me to do - and several other things in between. For the record, I list these without any resentment! I'm truly happy that I can help him and care for the kids!

So back to the "homemaker" label. Despite the fact that "homemaker" sounds right out of the 1940's, I think my grandmother had it right. More than that, though, doing the work of a "homemaker" is biblical.

"That they [the older women] may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home [homemakers], good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." (Titus 2:4-5). So, whether or not employment enters the picture, "homemaker" must be part of my description. God gives me the responsibility (which may or may not include some delegation) of making and keeping a home for my family. But, ultimately, the responsibility for seeing there is a home made lies with me.

Because of the stage of life we're in, we've chosen to make homemaking my primary "occupation" for now. Now, I do hope there will be a day when I can again write "teacher" in the occupation box. But at this "season" in my life, I think the next time I'm asked, I'll write, like my grandmother, "homemaker." And I'll do it with thankfulness and satisfaction.

06 January 2012

Lessons from my Papaw

My papaw turns 91 this month. So I guess it just seemed right to write out a few lessons that I've learned from him. Especially since I plan on sending several months-worth of this blog to my Grandma for some winter-reading. I think he'd enjoy hearing some of his stories retold by his granddaughter.

Do what's right, even when it's hard. Many times I've heard my papaw tell of working as an electrician in the coal mines during the 1950's and 60's. Conditions were bad, and many men seemed to have lost hope that they would ever improve. Cave-ins were not uncommon - one happened at the mine while papaw was home on lunch break. He was used to seeing men working with rocks falling onto their shoulders - and they simply trudged on - hopeless that it would get better. It was no way to live. In his early forties, Papaw decided to move his family from the mountains to the D.C. area. He left a close-knit family and a home that was paid for, and moved his family to a one-bedroom apartment while he worked as a janitor. It wasn't easy, but God blessed his desire to do right for his family. He eventually found a job as an electrician and God enabled him to make a good living.

God has allowed everyone to have strengths and weaknesses. Use your strengths and work on your weaknesses. Papaw has chuckled when he talks about the spelling bees and math games back in his Kentucky grade school days. He says he was one of the first ones out in the spelling bee, but usually the last one standing in the math game.

I'll never forget my sister and me finding a "Hooked on Phonics" book on my Grandma's bookshelf. Remember those commercials? Well, being the ten and eleven-year-olds that we were, we giggled and had some fun with that! Grandma overheard us and appeared from the kitchen. She told us very matter-of-factly, "That's your papaw's. He wants to read better so he can read the Bible better when he reads it in church." Talk about feeling only an inch high!

Reading was not his best subject, but numbers, on the other hand, he could do! I guess it was for that reason that the Army gave Papaw the job of setting the coordinates on the long-range guns they used during WWII. He tells of being woken out of dead sleep by the sirens, and hearing the coordinates being called out as he ran to the gun. And the stakes were high - if you got the coordinates wrong, you might be firing on your own men. But God gave him an ability to work with numbers and work with his hands. He used those abilities and did well.

Be duty-minded, but have compassion for others. When Papaw was stationed in Bora Bora in the Pacific during WWII, a boy in his company went AWOL. He apparently was found, or decided to return, and they met on the road as Papaw was getting ready to return to the States. This boy had enlisted the same time that Papaw did and should have been going home. But instead, he was being shipped to another island - an island, where we know now, there was an awful battle with many, many Americans killed. Papaw said when he turned to look at the boy once more, that boy was holding on to a tree crying his eyes out; he knew he had messed up and was probably terribly afraid. Papaw had fulfilled his duty and was given leave. But rather than talk about what a coward that boy was, he has always spoken of him compassionately - wondering into his old age if that boy ever made it back alive.

I'm so glad my papaw has shared these stories with me and the other grandchildren over the years. I have such good memories as a little girl of sitting on the bluegrass in his backyard while he told these stories from the picnic table; or in more recent years, sitting on the glider on the front porch while he reminisced of the war years.

If anything, it was worth writing this out so maybe my own children, especially my boys, will know their heritage. If they will grow up to possess these qualities, they will reap rewards in life, just as my Papaw has.