Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Hairdo

Somebody has a new hairdo and looks a lot more like a little girl, rather than a toddler. This happened this morning and I think she likes it. Her mom tells me that right before taking this picture, Lena asked "PopPop and Nanna comin' to see you?" When her mama said no, she got really sad. How I wish we could go see her today! (Well, it's not that we can't, but we better save our trips for when they'e more necessary. That's not too far off.) Doesn't she look cute?

Well, she's making lots of changes getting ready for her baby sister. And she's dealing with big things, like two year molars, potty training, giving up bottles, etc. All through life we have our trials don't we?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Baking Soda: Count the Ways

Hey there. A happy new week to everybody. For some reason, I have the urge to talk about baking soda today. This chemical compound has the official name of sodium bicarbonate with the formula NaHCO3. Chemistry is something I know very little about, I'm sorry to say, so what this formula means is something I can't tell you. But what I can tell you is that this compound can be found in this house in large quantities and is used by this family in immeasurable ways. As far as I know, it is safe to use, especially compared to many of the harsh products which are on the market today. And, very importantly, in keeping with the post I recently read by Susan of Penless Thoughts on frugality, it can save you money.

Some years ago, I made a purchase of a little book which was then priced at $6.95, published by The Book Peddlers. I think the one I have is the first edition, and I see that it's still on the market today, though the current edition pictured above has a different look than mine. This was one of the most valuable investments I've every made. The author, Vicki Lansky, not only has come up with over 500 uses for this favorite product, but the opening chapter is a helpful discussion of just what baking soda is, where it's found naturally, and how it works. Very interesting reading! You can find this book many places on the web and it's still an inexpensive purchase when you think about all the benefits you'll derive from it. This is a hearty recommendation of the book!

But this is also a hearty recommendation of baking soda in general. Most of us know about its odor-fighting qualities, but every time I turn around I think of another way to make use of it. We get the huge boxes at BJ's and we go through them in not too long a period of time! Here's a quick survey of a few of its uses around here, but as I said, we keep finding new benefits:

1. Cooking: Of course we all add some to various baking projects, but did you know you can put a little in certain veggies while cooking, to offset bitter taste or to control odors while cooking?

2. Kitchen: What would our garbage disposal be like if we didn't frequently sprinkle in a little of it to sit overnight? Mixing some with water is invaluable for wiping inside the microwave and fridge. Sprinkle it in a pan that has stubborn residue, add water and let it simmer a bit. Same with crock pot. It has worked for me time and again to make that hard stuff easier to come off.

3. Cleaning: Great mixed with water to clean toys that get grimy, rinsing afterward. We have a dog--sprinkling some on carpet before vacuuming helps prevent house from smelling too doggy. I just saw that giving him a "dry bath" with baking soda and a good brushing helps him to be a more pleasant to be around. I'll try that soon.

4. Hygiene: When I was little, we used baking soda to brush our teeth more than we used toothpaste. From what I understand, it's just as good for the teeth, if not better. Can be sprinkled on various areas of the body and in the bath water. I just read you can use it to clean your eyeglasses! I want to try that. Nice mouthwash, especially after eating onions or garlic. I need to get back to sprinkling it in my sneakers and hope to try it as a foot bath.

5. Home Remedy: They say you should check with your doctor first with any home remedy, but I've been using it as an antacid for years. Soaking in bathtub with water and baking soda helps certain types of infections, as well as chicken pox and poison ivy. Making a paste from it helps on insect bites (diluted vinegar best for wasp stings, they say).

6. Babies: Good soak for bottles and nipples. I hear that sprinkling some in warm water is good for cleaning baby bottoms to help prevent rash. (I forgot about this--forgot to tell Bev!) I'm sure many of you sprinkle some in bottom of diaper pail. The recommended book has lots of tips in baby care, btw.

7. Laundry: I always sprinkle some in my load of towels. Sometimes we rub a paste on the underarm area of shirts and tops. I hear if you wet a blood stain and rub it on, the stain will be drawn out. Got to get it early, I'm sure. Presoak clothes in a water and baking soda for a few hours to get out certain smells, such as cigarette smoke.

8. Arts and Crafts: In the old days, my favorite craft clay was made with baking soda as a principal ingredient; we would cut out shapes and bake it and paint it. Such fun: hope I can do some projects with my granddaughters when they get old enough. Of course, some play dough recipes call for baking soda. Also, remember that there's the classic "volcano" experiment with baking soda and vinegar. That's always fun.

I could go on and on, but I think it would be a good idea if I got back to DOING some household chores around here rather than talking about it. Have fun with your baking soda and if you have any tips to pass on to the rest of us--bring them on!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Happy Birthday to Bev

Dear Bev,

We praise God for giving you another birthday today. We are thankful to our kind Heavenly Father for giving you to all of us another year. You are a gift from Him to us--a precious daughter, wife, mommy, sister, and friend. May you have many more and may this life verse we gave to you as just a little toddler continue to be your theme song all through life:

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Love, Dad and Mom

(For those of you who may not know her, our daughter Beverly is here.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Listmania - The Andy Griffith Show

I just made a new addition to my Amazon Listmania! and hope you won't think me corny or anything. But I do have to admit that I love the Andy Griffith show. We have several DVD's which we picked up various places, with each DVD featuring several episodes of this TV classic. I was just noticing that Amazon has all of the seasons, so I was thinking maybe I should get some of the entire seasons. Listen folks, I don't hesitate to tell you that I have looked at some episodes over and over and I can't help it, I laugh every time. Now tell me the truth: have you ever seen a better comedian than Don Knotts in his role as Barney, " the zealous but inept deputy sheriff." At least we can appreciate Ronny Howard back then, when he played Opie. We won't let what may be happening now take away our enjoyment of what used to be.

Do you have any of these? Are you a fan too? Isn't it wonderful to be able to sit down and watch a TV comedy without worrying about off-color jokes, bad language, or adult themes? Oh, we can't return to these good old days in television, but at least this is one reason we can be thankful for technology--we can go back and get some of them. I have a couple more that I'll be talking about in the future!

A snippet from one of the episodes we have, entitled "Barney's First Car": (Ours is a lot clearer than this.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Olympic Prayer Bracelets

Soon many of us will be watching the big happenings in Beijing, China--the 2008 Summer Olympics. But don't forgot that there are Christians being persecuted in that country. I just wanted to make you aware of a free bracelet you can get from Voice of the Martyrs to help to remind you and others to pray for China. If you want to get a bracelet for yourself or several for a group of you (at a fee for more than one), go to this webpage. Thanks.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

That Sweet Story for Children

I do admit that I have a particular affinity for people who minister to children, especially those who write for children. Knowing how much I love hymns, you won't be surprised that I would have a particular interest in those hymn writers who took special interest in teaching spiritual truths to children through music. There are several blessed saints whom I hold in high esteem because of this, such as Cecil Alexander and Horatius Bonar, among others. Lately, I've read about another jewel in the kingdom of God who not only had a concern about teaching children truths about Jesus in hymns, but she apparently also taught them in Sunday school. Now there's a precious soul if ever there was one! Her name is Jemima Luke and she lived from 1813 to 1906.

There once was a time when Jemima heard a tune being played in a school; it was a Greek melody called "Salamis" and she thought it would make a lovely children's hymn. Well, one day in 1841 the words just came to her while she was riding alone in a stagecoach. She wrote them down on a wrinkled envelope she happened to have, taught the words and melody to her pupils, and the following Sunday they sang them in Sunday school! The children were happy and excited!

There was an international convention of the Christian Endeavor Society which was held in Baltimore in 1904. Jemima sent a message to the young people which I thought was so precious:

Dear children, you will be men and women soon, and it is for you and the children of England to carry the message of a Savior's love to every nation of this sin-stricken world.

The Lord make you ever faithful to Him and unspeakably happy in His service! I came to Him at ten years of age and at ninety-one can testify to His care and faithfulness.

Praise God. What words for any children to hear from someone who has been walking with Christ so many years--from ten years old to over ninety!. May we send such a message to the youth of today. Now here are the words of the hymn, many of which were scribbled on an old crumbled up piece of paper so many years ago:

I think, when I read that sweet story of old,
When Jesus was here among men,
How He called little children as lambs to His fold,
I should like to have been with them then.

I wish that His hands had been placed on my head,
That His arms had been thrown around me,
And that I might have seen His kind look when He said,
“Let the little ones come unto Me.”

Yet still to His foot stool in prayer I may go;
And ask for a share in His love;
And if I thus earnestly seek Him below,
I shall see Him and hear Him above.

But thousands and thousands who wander and fall,
Never heard of that heavenly home;
I wish they could know there is room for them all,
And that Jesus has bid them to come.

In that beautiful place He has gone to prepare
For all who are washed and forgiven;
And many dear children shall be with Him there,
For “of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

I long for the joy of that glorious time,
The sweetest and brightest and best,
When the dear little children of every clime
Shall crowd to His arms and be blest.

Teach it to your children, would you? The tune can be found here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy Birthday to Husband

Today my husband celebrates yet another birthday! Last year, many of you signed an online card I posted for him which was a huge blessing to him. I am happy to report that the Lord has given him another year of walking with the Savior and of reasonably good health. We are thankful for his faithfulness to our family and praise the Lord for the time he has given us all to be together. He's not too keen on having too many pictures of himself plastered in the spotlight, so I've posted pictures of some of his presents and cards and of the lasagna Neesie and I made for his dinner. His birthday dinner has been lasagna for many a year and it has been a tradition for most years (not all) that it's lovingly made by his wife and whichever daughter is home at the time. So now we're on our way to pick up his cake and we're having our little celebration with just the three of us!

Happy Birthday dear Chuck! Happy Birthday to You!

Monday, July 07, 2008

It's All Write

Raise your hand if you enjoy writing. I'll raise mine! But I have to say the English language never gives up trying to trip us up with its many snags. No wonder we make so many mistakes and dislike the feared grammar courses so much. Who invented which spelling goes with which meaning and all that, anyway? Here are a few sentences, some in question form, to show how crazy it all is. Just wanted to poke fun at whoever all the wise folks were that thought this all up.

  • They're going to put their books over there. [How many times have you used the wrong one in the wrong place? Or should I say right one in the wrong place? Or is it the wrong one in the right place?] Stay with me, now!

  • Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway, please tell me?

  • So, yesterday I didn't have time to sew my buttons on because I had to go sow the tomato seeds.

  • Oh, are you two going to the store too?

  • We produce all kinds of produce on our farm.

  • The Polish girls are too busy to polish their nails.

  • I had eggplant for dinner last night; tonight we had hamburgers. I didn't have eggs last night, nor ham tonight. Crazy, huh?

  • Hey! Why do people sink slowly in quicksand and why is a boxing ring square?

  • There comes a day when your children will learn that a person who writes is a writer, not a writest. So does it make sense that a person who performs an art is an artist, not an arter?

  • Last month, all the teachers taught. What did all the preachers do?

  • I have more than one foot--I have feet. I have more than one boot--what do I have?

  • Oh, dear. I shed so many tears when I saw so many tears in my stockings.

  • Another thing--Why do we play at a recital and recite at a play?

  • When the lights are out do you see them? What about the stars?

My granddaughter is in the process of learning the English language. And by jove, somehow, like the rest of us, she'll get it. What a remarkable work of art God did when He created the human brain to figure all this out. A computer could never be able to do it! Just try letting your spell check sort through these.

If you have any of your own to add, please do.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A Happy Fourth

A happy and glorious fourth to all of you. I've been fighting an illness, some virus, for the past few days, so I won't be too wordy here. I have a poem for children which I found in one of my daughter's old fifth grade readers and thought it appropriate for the times and season. I pray that we would teach these sentiments to our children and grandchildren:

The Children's Song
Rudyard Kipling

Land of our Birth, we pledge to thee
Our love and toil in the years to be;
When we are grown and take our place
As men and women with our race.

Father in Heaven who lovest all,
Oh, help Thy children when they call;
That they may build from age to age
An undefiled heritage.

Teach us to bear the yoke in youth,
With steadfastness and careful truth;
That, in our time, Thy Grace may give
The Truth whereby the Nations live.

Teach us to rule ourselves alway,
Controlled and cleanly night and day;
That we may bring, if need arise,
No maimed or worthless sacrifice.

Teach us to look in all our ends,
On Thee for judge, and not our friends;
That we, with Thee, may walk uncowed
By fear or favor of the crowd.

Teach us the Strength that cannot seek,
By deed or thought, to hurt the weak;
That, under Thee, we may possess
Man's strength to comfort man's distress.

Teach us Delight in simple things,
And Mirth that has no bitter springs;
Forgiveness free of evil done,
And Love to all men 'neath the sun!

Land of our Birth, our faith, our pride,
For whose dear sake our fathers died;
O Motherland, we pledge to thee
Head, heart, and hand through the years to be!