Saturday, October 29, 2011

beef & barley

We're a little low on (okay...almost completely out of) groceries. But I really wanted dinner to be waiting for us after church tonight. And I had some beef tips in the freezer, a few carrots in the fridge, and a semi-well-stocked pantry, this afternoon, I put the slow-cooker and the bread machine to work.

Beef & Barley
Beef tips (for stew), browned
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
8 garlic cloves pressed
1 cup dry barley
3 cups beef broth
14.5 oz canned tomatoes (with Italian seasoning)
1 1/2 cups water
garlic powder (to taste)
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)

with Honey Whole Wheat Bread in the bread machine.

As soon as we stepped inside the house tonight, Maya turned around with big eyes and said to me, "It smells SO GOOD in here!!!" and added a few seconds later..."Home. Sweet. Home!"

We're all excited for left-overs for lunch tomorrow.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Our Little House

When Laura left home to take her first teaching assignment, she stayed with the Brewster family in a town 12 miles away. Every night of her stay was miserable, awkward, cold, and sometimes frightening. The Brewster family was very unhappy, their child neglected, their home a mess, and their words were always bitter and angry. Sometimes there was cold silence for evenings on end, broken only by loud arguments and hateful words screamed all night long.
Although Laura never told anyone about her miserable lodgings, Almanzo came to the little school every Friday to bring Laura home for the weekend. She realized, as she left one world and entered another, that her home was warm and safe because of the love and kindness that her family had for one another. There were no angry words, no selfish complaints, no sharp arguments. Everyone did a great deal of work to provide for one another. The chores were hard and never ending, but everyone helped each other willingly with love and gratitude.

I wonder how much, if any, of this story is fiction. It doesn't really matter. I still love the contrasting pictures of family life.

And I use the images of the two women, Mrs. Brewster and Ma Ingalls to remind myself of the kind of mother I want my girls to remember. The kind of home I want to build. The sort of memories I want my daughters to have of how they felt...when they were home.

I have to admit, I also use the story to teach my girls about the effects of their words too. When I hear them yelling, arguing, whining, I sometimes ask "What kind of words do we want to fill our home with?"

I'm just waiting for the day when they turn around and ask me that same question.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

C.S. the role of "Uncle Screwtape"

Screwtape...on my car. Horrifying and funny. Makes the "real world" outside my car... seem very different. Far more poignant now than the first time I read it as a teenager.

"Aggravate that most useful human characteristic, the horror and neglect of the obvious. You must bring him to a condition in which he can practice self-examination for an hour without discovering any of those facts about himself which are perfectly clear to anyone who has ever lived in the same house with him or worked in the same office."

"Do what you will, there is going to be some benevolence, as well as some malice, in your patient's soul. The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbours whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus become wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary."

“The Enemy (God) wants him, in the end, to be so free from any bias in his own favour that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbour’s talents-or in a sunrise, an elephant, or a waterfall.”

“The characteristic of pains and pleasures is that they are unmistakably real, and therefore, as far as they go, give the man who feels them a touchstone of reality.”

Friday, October 07, 2011

In second grade violin class...

...we've been spending our first few weeks "getting to know the violin" and "getting to know the bow"...separately.

We know the parts of the violin and how to put it away in its case and how to take good care of it. We practice holding the violin in shoulder position...plucking the strings, learning their names and sounds.

We've also met the bow. We've practiced carefully removing the bow from the case, tightening and loosening the horse hair, rosining the bow. We've even practiced holding the bow correctly.

But every time I see a group of second graders in the hall or at recess they ask, "Do we get to play them together yet? Can the violin and bow meet now???"

This week, one second grader raised his hand and said thoughtfully (and innocently, I should add),

"Mrs. Corbin, even though the bow and the violin have
never even met,
they've been sleeping together all this time!"