Sunday, September 16, 2007


I talked to Teagan last night about Jade. Up until then, you all had been the only one in on my thoughts. For some reason, finding the words to speak to my husband wasn't happening.

He had the same conviction on the same day and it had been bothering him as well.

Same message, same day. That, my friends, is a confirmation from the Lord. It was not a knee-jerk reaction to my girl starting kindergarten, or a result of overflowing third trimester hormones. It was a directive.

We both knew before the school year started that she should be at home. We ignored the still small voice because the world kept telling us that this was the best thing for her. Obviously God Almighty disagreed. And now we are reaping the consequences of ignoring what we knew was right.

The decision has been made to bring her home. To do otherwise would be wrong. The timing is yet to be determined, but it will be soon. Teagan wants to avoid Halloween altogether and they start those themed activities at the end of September. I am not sure what the date will be. We need to get some things in place first.

I would be lying if I said I was completely confident. I am SCARED TO DEATH. I despise how hard this will be on Jade. I worry about breaking ties at the school. I wonder if I can do this. But somehow I am beginning to get a Peace about it. I know that God will not lead us where He cannot keep us.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ratatouille Recipe

Because I think everyone should try my wonderful Ratatouille recipe... (Yes, it is worth wrecking the canner to rescue)

1 eggplant (med-lg)
2 med. zucchini or summer squash (or combination thereof)
1 onion
2 whole cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3-4 fresh ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano

Dice eggplant into 1" cubes and slice zucchini into 1/2" rounds. Chop onion coarsely. Saute onion & garlic cloves in olive oil until soft. Stir in eggplant & zucchini; saute a few minutes more. Remove garlic cloves, crush with fork and return to pan. Add tomato & seasonings. Cover & simmer gently 30 minutes or until vegetables are cooked. Uncover and cook off liquid as needed.

**You can also use 1 can (14.5 oz) of Italian diced tomatoes in place of the fresh tomatoes & spices.

Friday, September 14, 2007

When canners attack!!

I did some canning yesterday. I had this great idea to make a quadruple batch of my yummy ratatouille and can it to eat after the baby comes. That way, I can use the overflow of seasonal veggies and stock up for post-baby.

Now, my ratatouille is made from only the finest fresh ingredients. Nothing fake or storebought here. Fresh from the vine (literally) tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, onion, garlic & basil. It is a thing of beauty. But a quad batch means 4x the chopping. I chopped veggies for over 3 hours. Then you have to cook it. My biggest pan barely holds a double batch. But, I found this big pot at a rummage sale for waterbath canning. 21 quarts, that should hold it. In the big pot it all went. Next problem, being both short and round, I could hardly reach to stir the big tall pot. So I stood on a stool. I wish I'd have thought to have Teagan take a picture. I'm sure I looked quite amusing.

So, finally the ratatouille is cooked. My jars are warmed carefully for hot packing, and with Teagan's help, everything is filled and sealed. Into the pressure cooker they go. You must pressure cook soups, I'm told by people more skilled at this than me. Next, close and lock the pressure cooker. Um... we have a problem.

The pressure cooker had just been fitted with a brand new rubber gasket because the old one wasn't sealing. The new one was, well, chubby compared to the old one. But the gurus at the hardware store said this was THE one. But the lid doesn't want to shut. You have to push it down into place and turn to lock. But this baby won't turn. Twenty minutes later, we ended up using a squeeze clamp from the garage to twist the lid into place. Finally closed, we cooked it for the alloted time and went to bed.

This morning we went to pop the lid off and retrieve the yummies. But, the lid is stuck. STUCK STUCK. We call in reinforcements. Will comes over to help but to no avail. A rubber mallet served only to break off the handles. In the end, it took a prybar to bend the lid away from the cooker. Next step was the Sawz-all, but we didn't need it, thankfully. However the cooker is a total loss. As is the brand new $13 gasket.

The ratatouille somehow survived.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Kindergarten or Kids In The Garden?

So I was at Tanna's today, out in the garden harvesting vegetables to put up for the winter. Ruby was out there with us and I had the most piercing thought enter my mind.

Which is better for my child, Kindergarten or being in the garden??

As a homeschooler who firmly believes in the school of life being the best education, my answer would be in the garden. I watched my little girl, barely 2 years old, helping bring in the harvest alongside us. She was learning life stuff. What each vegetable is, what color they are, where they come from. Carrots come from the ground, but tomatoes grow on vines. Eggplants are purple but zucchini are green. Squash comes in lots of varieties. Chickens like to eat yucky tomatoes. Here she was, being useful and learning and talking and helping - doing things that it took me 27 years to learn to do.

Then I felt the pang. Where was my other daughter? Not in the garden where she had been a couple of weeks ago, learning alongside us. She was in Kindergarten. Held captive by a system we don't believe in, yet willingly sacrificed her to. My mind drifted to an article in this month's The Old Schoolhouse magazine. It was written by a homeschool mom who had attended public school all her life. It was titled "I was raised by wolves". The wolves she referred to weren't just the teachers and the "system", but the students -the peers. The entire thing is set up to drive parents out of the picture. You no longer raise your child. THEY DO.

So here's Jade. She just started kindergarten. She can read at a 1st grade level or higher. She can do addition in her head. She can write sentences. She can count to 100 (at least). She draws 3-D pictures that put my stick people to shame. She gets overwhelmed easily. She gets angry when things are out of order. She gets frustrated when things don't go her way. She has trouble communicating with others. And yet, she makes friends. She shows affection. She prays every night. She memorizes Bible verses.

In some ways, she is way ahead of kindergarten. She was learning fractions tonight as I chopped zucchini. She picks up everything we do and say. She learns.

And yet we send her off. In our minds we justify it. She needs to be with her peers to learn social skills. She needs the routine. She needs the speech therapy. But, she can learn social skills with her siblings and with friends & cousins that we see often. We can build a routine for her. There are ways to get speech therapy now that she's on the children's waiver. The holes in our justifications get a little bigger all the time.

But there is still a conundrum. She likes school. Really, really enjoys it. She likes riding the bus and seeing her friends and having things be the same every day. And I need the time off. Let's be honest, parenting a special child is hard, hard work. But it is my work. And God has called me to it. He gave me this child and nowhere in the Scriptures does it rescind the command of Deuteronomy 6 in cases of autism.

And there are issues with the school she loves so much. When she comes home, she spends the evening zoned out, tantruming, or repeating over and over some song or something that she learned at school. She's never HOME. She used to love our Bible time after dinner. She listened and took great pride in reciting all the verses - even the ones Kordell forgot. Now she sings, and bangs on the table, and does this bizarre echoing herself thing with the verses. It is driving us all batty. She's not there. She's still at school and we are outsiders.

I don't know what the right thing is yet. To pull her out of school willy-nilly would be devastating to her. To homeschool her would be a challenge, to say the least. To abandon her to the wolves is not an option. It seems for the moment, that this year's course is set and deviating from it would not be the best thing.

But still there is a stirring in me that begs for her presence in the garden.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Weeks in Review

The long awaited update with pictures is finally here!

First, Jade's first day of Kindergarten. She could not be more excited about being back in school!!

Next, the kitchen pictures...

Please note the beautiful handmade custom hutch that my husband built, and built out of totally free reclaimed & salvaged wood at that! Talent, I tell you. The man has talent.

The peaches...

And just for fun, look how big our kitties are getting! Still on the fence about their future. Hoping some will just run away. LOL

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I saw my midwife today and had my glucose tolerance test. She does the test with food instead of that orange syrupy stuff, and the blood test is only a finger poke, so not too bad. I tested borderline high though. Which means I'm at risk for gestational diabetes. Instead of a longer blood test like a doctor would do to recheck, I have to test my blood sugar 3 times a day for the next week and see what the results are. I am not looking forward to poking myself. The thought kind of makes my stomach curdle. Please pray that I would get through this and have good results this week. I don't want to do this for the next 3 months, and I don't want GD. :-(

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Another short update

I will get a long update done soon! In the meantime...

The kitchen is DONE except for putting the base moulding back on around the new floor. That will be done early next week. Otherwise, the walls, floors & hutch are all completed and the kitchen is officially crossed off the to-do list! I will post pictures soon, very soon...

Here is a picture of me from last week to tide you over. I was 26w4d. Today I had another person ask when I was due and be shocked that it wasn't for another 3 months. Oy.