Saturday, February 27, 2010

Earthquake in Chile

Almost 25 years ago to the day, I was sitting in the dining hall of a conference center in a small town on the central coast of Chile when the ground shook. And shook. And shook. It was 1985, and I was a young teenage missionary kid at the time. That earthquake occurred on March 3, and today, February 27, the ground shook again in Chile. And shook. And shook. My two younger sisters and their families are back in Chile as missionaries and thankfully, are safe. My youngest sister lives in northern Chile and didn't feel the quake. But my middle sister lives in Santiago, the capital, where the quake was felt at around a 7.7 (Richter) magnitude. That's slightly less than the 8.3 we had in 1985, but not by much. Please pray for my nephew, Matias, as he seems to be the most affected by this quake. School was to start again after summer vacation on Monday. That won't be happening as the classroom bookshelves and such came tumbling down...not to mention that the country is in a state of emergency for at least three days per the Chilean president. Please pray for the southern part of Chile, the most greatly affected by the quake. We know missionaries and families of friends who live in the affected area and have not yet been heard from. Thanks for keeping this beautiful country and her beautiful people in your prayers. Part of my heart is in Chile...and I'm saddened by her loss tonight.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Awesome Cooking Blog

I just had to share this link with you: It is a blog that I recently found that has the most awesome recipes that are economical and easy enough for this cook! The premise behind the title of the blog as I understand it is that the author has set out to make her meals during times of the day when she has a few stolen moments, in between being a home schooling mom of four kids. That way she can spend as much quality time as possible with her family. Many of the recipes make good-sized portions, especially the muffin recipes, which is great for our family of six big eaters. I have tried quite a few of the recipes on the blog already, and they have all been hits with my five men! Tonight we are having savory muffins with cheddar cheese and bacon...these stay in the fridge and heat up in the microwave so well as a quick breakfast or snack. I think you could freeze them, too, but they never make it that far in our house! If you try any good recipes from the blog, let me know! Enjoy!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I have several prolific young artists at my house. The hard part was figuring out what to do with all that art! My good friend, Bethany Hissong, had one of these fantastic shower curtain lines from IKEA hanging in her gallery, HATCH. I stole the idea and finally got it installed last weekend during our winter storm. It hangs along the only really long uninterrupted stretch of wall in the house...the little hallway in the basement that leads to our bedroom and bath. I would love to have several more of these, but for now, I will just have to have rotating art displays. If anyone else has some great ideas for storing and displaying prolific young artists' work, let me know!

a view to the right

a view to the left

a close up of the cool!

another place we hang art...this is in the kitchen

Nathaniel getting in on the act!

Benjamin loves to draw with an ink pen...lots of roads, houses, and people, all with a story to tell!

after the cats moved in, he had to color this picture (printed from the internet as none of the big people in the house could draw a good enough cat!)

hard at work

Friday, February 12, 2010

The View From Here

These photos were taken at the height of our snowstorm on Wednesday...the second big snowfall in less than a week! We probably got another 18" to add to the 18" we got on the weekend. It is the first big snowfall that any of our boys really remember...we haven't had this much snow in PA since 1996!

Nathaniel peering out the window in delight

the view up our street to the right

the view down our street to the left

you can see how much snow we had at this point by looking around the bottom of the van...we actually ended up with a lot more in the end!

this is a view of our deck, which was not cleared off between was taken through the screen, of course...I wasn't going out in that stuff!
School has been canceled since Wednesday. In our area we actually got less snow then Lancaster and York, a bit south of us. It really is amazing to see this much snow everywhere. I guess we were due after so many lean snow years. The boys have enjoyed playing in it, although it's been very cold, too, so it's not safe to be out for too long. Hope that, wherever you are, you have a warm and relaxing weekend!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Few More Random Photos

Here are a few more photos from our anniversary trip to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The first two were taken in St. Michael's, and the last three were taken on Tilghman Island as we walked around the area near our B&B. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Happy (Very Belated!) Anniversary to Us!

With so much busy-ness in our lives these days, I have not had the time to blog as much as I would have liked. But I'm trying to do better. So, I thought I would share some pics from our trip in late December to the Eastern Shore of Maryland...Tilghman Island, to be exact.

On December 29, Dave and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. For Christmas I told Dave the one thing I really wanted was to go away, sans children, for our anniversary. He said that was fine, so I began looking for a place to visit. I checked out all of our usual haunts...D.C. NYC, the Jersey Shore...but nothing was working for us. I then went on VRBO, which had been a great resource for our FL trip in November, and I started to see some areas in MD that looked interesting. Tilghman Island kept popping up, so I did a Bed and Breakfast search for Tilghman Island and The Chesapeake Wood Duck Inn was on the list.

Dave and I used to love visiting bed and breakfasts before we had children, but they are not too kid-friendly, so it had been quite awhile since we had stayed at one. The Chesapeake Wood Duck Inn had great reviews, and was running a "Winter Escape" special. I sent an e-mail early on Christmas week asking about the weekend right after Christmas, and thankfully, they had availability. In fact, we ended up having the whole place to ourselves! The innkeepers, Jeffery and Kimberly, were wonderful, asking about all of our food preferences for the four course dinner for two that came with the special offer, and sending us detailed directions and such on very short notice.

After spending Christmas day at my parents' house in DE, we left the kids in their care and my sister's care, and we took off for MD on Saturday morning. It wasn't a bad drive at all from DE, and we made really good time. There was a fire burning in the fireplace upon our arrival, and we quickly made ourselves at home with the XM radio and wireless computer connection. Dinner was absolutely incredible, as Jeffery is a gourmet chef, and his recommendation of filet as our main dish was superb. Saturday night we had our dinner, and then we enjoyed two gourmet breakfasts the next two mornings which were out-of-this-world amazing. The innkeepers were very easy to talk to, and very helpful with directions and information on the island and surrounding towns. The Eastern Shore is very busy during the summer, but quite void of tourists in the winter, so we enjoyed the solitude and stark beauty of this unique landscape in winter. I would highly recommend The Chesapeake Wood Duck Inn and a trip to the Eastern Shore and we hope to visit again soon. Enjoy the photos!

a side view of the inn...the 1890 structure was used as a guest house originally, and was refinished by the current owners

a view of the back of the inn and the big yard

LOVE these adirondock chairs...unfortunately, it was a bit chilly to use them!

this is the view from the backyard of the is the working marina with fishermen coming and going all day long

one of the many fishing boats in the marina

thought this was pretty cool!

another view of the marina and the fishing fleet

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

UNICEF & Haitian Orphans

Please read the following post and consider how you might get involved. The children need to be heard!

For more information, my sister has various posts on this topic on her blog:

Ebony's Story

Ebony's arrival was a bit more planned than Tigger, Jr's arrival. Shortly after Tigger, Jr. found us, we knew he needed a playmate. Dave and I had two cats prior to the birth of our younger two sons, and we knew they enjoyed companionship, especially when left alone for long periods at home. Since I work in the mornings, we thought Tigger, Jr. should have a friend. We also knew we wanted another kitten so that they could grow up together and grow up with our boys. So, we went back to the rescue association that had helped us with Tigger, Jr., Friends of All Animals. Located in Lebanon County, Friends of All Animals uses foster families to care for animals while trying to find forever families for them. They take some of their kitties to Pet Smart in Lebanon each Saturday morning to see if they can find families for them. So off we all went to Pet Smart about a month ago, to see if we could find a kitten for Tigger, Jr.

When we arrived at Pet Smart, I was naive enough to think that we could walk in, fill out the papers, pay the fee, and walk away with a kitten. However, that's not how it works, and rightly so. First of all, there was only one kitten in the lot of cats that were there. Apparently it's not the time of year for kittens (who knew?). But there was one, so we held her and decided that she was the one (however you decide that!). We filled out the paperwork, but I didn't have the phone numbers for the references that I needed. When I got home I called the woman who runs the rescue association to give her the phone numbers. She remembered us from Tigger, Jr., but told us that she wasn't sure why the black and white kitten was at Pet Smart on this day, because someone was already interested in adopting her. She wasn't sure what was going on for sure with that situation, though, so she said to take care of a few things meanwhile (Tigger, Jr., needed to be tested for feline leukemia) and she would get back to us in a few days.

Well, the few days turned into a few weeks as we called back and forth and waited for things to happen. Happily, though, we were finally told that we could adopt our little kitten for Tigger, Jr. We were so excited! I called dibs on naming her since she and I were the only females in the house and I had been outvoted with Tigger, Jr.'s name. I knew that it needed to be feminine, yet reflect her personality and coloring. I chose Ebony and it seems to fit. She has been with us for a little over a week now, and is adjusting very well. She is definitely a little lady, but doesn't let bigger Tigger, Jr. get the best of her. She has really brought out the kitten in him, as we think he was never around other cats before...he had to learn to play, but he caught on quickly! Now they play and play fight and romp around the house like a little herd of elephants, but they can also be found snuggled together on our bed on many occasions. Life is good! (Click here for a photo of Ebony's adoption may have to scroll down a tad...)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tigger, Jr.'s Story

To see Tigger, Jr. now, you would never guess he was underweight and scrawny when we first met him, but he literally only weighed 1 1/2 pounds when he found us. Yes, you read that right...he found us. Tigger, Jr. was hanging around the church/school building where I teach Kindergarten, but was not allowing anyone to catch him. It had rained earlier that week, and when we first saw him, he looked like a drowned rat. One of the teacher aides was really interested in catching him and getting him some help, so when he showed up outside my basement classroom window, I figured I would try to help her out. I opened the window above a tall bookshelf in my room and waited. He was really meowing loudly, so of course the kids in my class were beside themselves and every time he would put a paw on the bookshelf, they would hoot and holler which sent him running for cover! So I told them that they needed to be quiet and go about their business as usual (whatever THAT is in Kindergarten!) and he would come in. Finally it was lunch time, so when we all left the room, I shut the door in case he came in while we were gone. Sure enough, when I came back to the room, Tigger, Jr. had ventured down the bookshelf and couldn't get back up...which was what I was betting on! Long story short, we finally caught him (he was so small he was under even the lowest shelf!) and put him in a box. The teacher aide who was interested in catching him had a friend who fostered cats for a local rescue association, so we called her, and she came and got Tigger, Jr. so he could be assessed and such. While she was gone, I called Dave and asked if he wanted a cat. The rest, as they say, is history! We were given all the supplies we needed for the cat by the lady who took him to be assessed, so we were good to go the first couple of days.

While we aren't certain about Tigger, Jr.'s date of birth, the veterinarian guesses he was born the beginning of October, so we will remember his birthday along with Nathaniel's each year. He has proven to be a great cat and adapted well to life indoors. We are glad he found us when he did, as he would have surely frozen to death with the cold spell that hit our area a couple of days later. As to his name, Dave and I had a Tigger who looked exactly like Tigger, Jr. before our youngest two were born. I thought we should honor Tigger's memory and not name our new kitty the same name, so I suggested adding the Jr. and calling him "Junior". However, I was overruled by all of the other family members, so now he goes by Tigger, Jr. or Tigger. I guess Tigger, Sr. wouldn't mind!