Category Archives: Project 366

A New Generation

Two summers ago, we had the opportunity to attend my nephew Timothy’s wedding in Siloam Springs, AR. At that time we had the chance to meet his lovely bride, Sunny, and to wish them both well as they embarked on the journey of becoming one in marriage.

My newphew, the OTHER Timothy Edgren.  Probably the New and Improved Version.

My newphew, the OTHER Timothy Edgren. Probably the New and Improved Version.

Now they have moved to Washington, and we get the chance to see them in action, growing in grace and becoming more like Christ as they encourage each other. Not only that, but now they have little John with them. It was so delightful to have them here for dinner, and to see them launch a new generation of our family in the person of little John Mark.

Sunny is a great Mom -- so glad to have her in the family!  And John Mark entertained us all with his chortling and falsetto singing.

Sunny is a great Mom — so glad to have her in the family! And John Mark entertained us all with his chortling and falsetto singing.

Tonight is also Rachel’s homecoming — but I’ll leave those pictures for Kathy, tomorrow. I’m not sure Rachel will want to be photographed after a long day of airline lines and travel.

Project 365, Day 135

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Murder Mystery Friends

One of the things I like best about living in Lakewood, and attending our church, is that we have acquired some very interesting friends. We’ve been here for more than ten years, now, and we have been greatly blessed. It is a little strange for me, since I’ve never lived anywhere else for more than five years at a time.

One couple that we greatly love and admire recently celebrated the birth of their seventh child, but chose not to have a typical baby shower. Instead, Peter and Abby invited us to attend a Murder Mystery party, hosted by John and Shari and catered by Chris.

Several items of great value were auctioned-off, adding some complexity to the game.

Several items of great value were auctioned-off, adding some complexity to the game.

It was a lot of fun; I played the bumbling detective, and Kathy was an actress-turned-shop-owner, but was secretly an heiress. Prizes were given for:

  1. Guessing the murderer
  2. Having the most net worth at the end of the game
  3. Playing their part the most effectively
Kathy and her 'uncle', who played the butler, and provided the feast (and corroborated her story).

Kathy and her ‘uncle’, who played the butler, and provided the feast (and corroborated her story).

Sadly, I did not correctly guess the murderer(ess), but we had a lot of fun along the way, and very much enjoyed the meal. Baby Tuff did attend, so hopefully he enjoyed the party as well.

Tuff was clearly the MVB (most valuable baby).

Tuff was clearly the MVB (most valuable baby).

Project 365, Day 58

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Snowed In

The snow has been falling and there promises to be more on Sunday. I guess we’re not technically snowed in as Tim took Joshua to a birthday party this evening and then went to the grocery store for me on his way home.

Sarah loves the snow


Ah, the joys of modern living. A grocery store around the corner and electricity. There is nothing quite like a little snow storm – slippery roads, cold wind blowing, and the promise of more snow – to make me thoroughly appreciate the conveniences of the 21st century. I can’t imagine how the early pioneers survived the hard winters.

I guess many of them didn’t. It certainly puts my grumbling about the cold into perspective.

here we go

we're heading down!

Eat snow, baby!

Rachel and David are not afraid to eat some snow.

Meanwhile, the children are in absolute snow heaven! Daniel and David have already planned their Saturday morning activities – basically get out in the snow as soon as possible. Tim and I often sleep in on Saturdays (even 8:30 or 9 am is luxurious when you are a busy parent). The children usually get up and watch a movie, being very careful not to disturb their night owl parents.

This evening Daniel came to me and asked if he and David could go outside when they woke up in the morning. You would have thought I had granted them a special prize the way the boys chortled and cheered at my casual nod. They ran off to gather boots, snow pants, and gloves and lay them in the living room.

“Just to be ready, Mom!”

I think they would have slept in their snow gear if I had let them. Ah to be young and unafraid of the cold.

Let's FIGHT!

Joshua finished his school work early yesterday and started a snowball fight.

snow ball or shovel?

Who needs snowballs when you can grab a shovel?

take this!

Daniel aims right for Joshua’s head.

Brrrr, I am a summer, warm weather girl. Give me weeks on end of hot sunshine and lazy days at the lake, pool, or ocean. It’s a little chilly to head to the pool now.

Of course, I’m tickled that the kids enjoy the snow so much. We certainly don’t get much of it in Western Washington. We keep our snow on the mountains where it belongs, and usually have more rain than snow. This snow storm has been an unexpected treat, especially so close to Christmas.

we need a bigger snow fort

“Do you think Joshua can find us behind this snow fort?”

This evening Tim and I walked over to a friend’s house. The street was quiet, the sky lit with reflected snow and the city lights. It was gorgeous. We held hands and tried to walk and not slide our way down the road.

At such moments you can only just revel in God’s creative handiwork and marvel at how the snow blankets the noisy suburb and paints the neighborhood in a lush winter white.


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Commercial Time

In November it seems the rain comes and goes only to come again. When the clouds lift and the sun attempts to shine, I send the children packing. I mean out playing.

Hi Sarah!

Sarah loves playing outside, especially when she can chase her 3 brothers.

I spent a good portion of the Saturday evening looking for clips of old commercials. I’m teaching a Financial Peace class for high schoolers at our homeschool co-op. We studied consumer awareness this week, and I thought it would be interesting to watch a series of commercials in our next class period.

The boys are preparing for their own commercial.

Unfortunately, as Joshua observed, commercial viewing is kind of like eating junk food -

A little bit goes a long way.
While flavorful, there’s nothing of real substance.
It’s tasty/fun at first, but eventually makes you sick.

It’s been much more difficult than I thought to come up with a list of classic commercials. Come on, what are the ad campaigns that have stuck with you over the years? I need help generating a list.

“Where’s the Beef?”
“Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand”
“I’m a Pepper, You’re a Pepper”
Mac vs PC
Doublemint Twins
Nike – Just Do It
“This is your brain on drugs!”
“Trix Are for Kids”

The boys are reporting for duty.

Joshua, David and Daniel boys are advertising, um, sticks. Right.

What else? Do you have favorite commercials that you remember? Our class is going to study marketing strategies and effective advertising techniques. Since we don’t have a tv in our house, and haven’t since Tim and I were married, I am a bit handicapped in this area.

Based on my research thus far, I can say there are an awful lot of beer commercials, and many ads I would be embarrassed for my children to see. Oh, I also found some of the most emotional commercials come from a Thai insurance agency. Weird.

You can save me hours of youtube research by sharing with me some of your favorite (family friendly) commercials. I’ll take jingles and slogans as well. Think of it as one way you can help out a busy homeschooling mom.


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Harvest Time

One of my favorite lines in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is spoken by Ebenezer Scrooge, confiding his avaricious glee to his clerk, Bob Cratchit:

Christmas is a very busy time for us, Mr. Cratchit. People preparing feasts, giving parties, spending the mortgage money on frivolities. One might say that December is the foreclosure season. ‘Harvest time’ for the money-lenders.

(I’m not sure if that quote appears in the original — it appears in one version of the movie, among at least five that I own. I’m too lazy to check the book.)

Michael Caine as Scrooge
Michael Caine makes a very believable Scrooge.

The way Scrooge rubs his hands together as he rolls the R’s in the word ‘Harvest’, sends a chill down my spine, as I contemplate the harvest he is about to reap at the hands of the three spirits.

Today I had to admit that the tomato growing season is pretty much over. We’ve had a couple of gentle frosts, and the tomatoes are rotting on the vine. When it rains, the tomatoes split and get moldy, and even the ones that don’t spoil have lost that sweet, sun-warmed flavor of August.

Now what do we do with all these tomatoes?” I asked Kathy, rather petulantly. Even though many of the vines are yellowed and have dropped most of their fruit, there still remain hundreds of tomatoes on the 50-odd plants I tended so happily through the summer months.

Tomato Warrior
The kids were having a war in the backyard with various friends, so I drafted some of ‘em as migrant workers.

I paused a moment to reflect on the change in my attitude about these little red globes. I remember when each of them was like a precious child, long awaited and enjoyed with great glee. Now, when half the crop falls neglected to the ground, I’m tired of tomatoes, and haven’t been out to pick any for a week. It has been several days since I even ate a tomato.

Maybe next Spring I’ll exercise some moderation in my planting?

Tomato Cannery
Either that, or get one of these bad boys to help me process my crop …

Kathy Googled™ for the answer, and found that we could save tomatoes for use in winter stews. “You”ll freeze ‘em,” she assured me, rather breezily.

“Sounds good,” I agreed. “What do we do, chop ‘em in half and toss ‘em in a freezer bag?”

Kathy read further down the page and laughed. “No, they all say you have to skin the tomatoes, first.”

I blanched. Literally.

(OK, that was a dumb cooking pun. Blanching is apparently what happens when you expose a fruit or vegetable to boiling water for a short time. Not, in this context, what happens when all the blood runs out of your face in terror.)

Excess tomatoes
Fifteen minutes’ harvest.

I checked it out — sure enough, every source we could find agreed that you had to remove the skins. So I got out a big pot and boiled some water. Beside it, I prepared a bowl of ice water. Then I put a dozen tomatoes in the boiling water for 45 seconds or so, and then plopped ‘em into the ice water. As advertised, the skins came right off, along with a fair bit of the tomato.

Kathy nearly suffered an infarction. “I can’t believe you’re actually doing some of the work,” she chortled.

It was a gooey job, and I quit after bagging only two quart bags of tomatoes. At this rate, I’ll have all the tomatoes ready for freezing by the time next year’s crop is on the vine.

“I’m leaving the rest of the tomato processing as an exercise for the student,” I told Kathy, waving my hand grandly at the remaining trays of tomatoes, as I scampered out of the kitchen.

Now we just need to find a tomato student. Any takers?

Project 366, Day 299

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