Life is made up of many pieces, like a puzzle. Here I attempt to put them all together.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Helicopters, Crickets, and Bananas

Austin has had a couple of interesting projects going this week.

His first project was his helicopter display.

First he used fuse beads to make a whole fleet of helicopters. He really enjoyed designing and making these.

Then we used light colored string to hang them from a corner of the downstairs hallway so they could fly.

We found some helicopter pictures on internet that I printed for him to color and he's going to add those to the display when he finishes them.

Another of his projects this week has been making a cricket habitat. We made some insect habitats earlier this summer but they didn't turn out very well. So we rethought the whole idea and now we're trying again.

First he took and empty container (this one is an empty K-Nex container) and put in a layer of potting soil.

Then he added some grass seed

and watered it.

We put the cricket in his new home ( I hope he doesn't eat grass seeds) and added some bread crumbs and a hiding place.

The cricket is in the top right corner in the top picture and in the top left corner in the bottom picture.

Hopefully the grass seed will grow and Mr. Cricket will have a nice, comfy home.

And now for the bananas. This was my little project and it, um, really didn't turn out so well. I had some extra bananas that weren't being eaten so I thought I would make some dried banana chips with them. I've never done this before so I found some information on internet and thought it looked pretty easy. And it probably is . . .but this batch was not edible.

Here's how they looked when I started out, just before I put them in the oven.

And many hours later, this how is how they looked when I took them out.

I tried one and they tasted even worse then they looked. Oh, well, I guess I'll try again another time.

Some Thoughts On Domestic Violence

The adult daughter of a friend was murdered last week and it has rocked a family who loved her to the core. While I did not know the daughter personally and do not know all the details, I do know she was killed by her boyfriend. She was taken from her son and and daughter and a family who loved her.

When her mother came to my house to tell me what had happened it was hard to believe i was talking to the same person that I see every day. The talkative, energetic woman I knew seemed merely a shell of her former self. She was trying so hard to hold herself together that she was not allowing any emtion at all to show. Her voice was low and monotone. Her face was sallow and expressionless. It ws as if the pain was so overwhelming that it had simply shut her down. She did cry a little when I hugged her, then pulled away and left.

And, once again, while I do not know all the details of this tragedy, it has made me think a lot about the sadness caused by domestic violence. And I wanted to say, needed to say, if there is anyone out there reading this who is in a situation of domestic violence-there is help out there for you. I know it’s hard. Iknow there is always the very real and well-founded fear of retaliation from the abuser for reaching out for help. I know because I have lived through some of that myself. While not as severe as many situations, it was an issue and was rapidly getting worse. I know the fear of not being able to make in on my own with two small children. And I know that when I let others help me I was able to come out on the other side.

If you find yourself in an abusive relationship please know this-




Please, reach out. Tell a family member, a trusted friend, a counselor or someone else you can trust. Take the first step. It is hard but not harder than living through the nightmare of an abusive relationship. Take steps to keep yourself safe as well as you reach out for help. there are resources available to help you through this process and I am listing one of those resources below.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

1-800-787-3224 TTY for the deaf

This site provides options for help, personal experiences of others who have lived through domestic violence, and news items related to domestic violence.

The Tree


As the tree spreads it’s branches and reaches forth it’s leaves to absorb the radiance of the sun

May I also reach for you, oh God, and absorb the beauty of Your love.

And as the tree reaches out it’s roots deep into the earth for the nourishment to grow and live,

May I as well reach for and receive the strength and sustenance You so richly provide.

And as the tree in turn provides beauty, shelter and shade for many living creatures

May I also be a source of blessing and comfort to all those around me.

Simple Pleasures

As I’ve been spending time wiht the kids the last couple weeks I’ve been thinking how much I could learn, am learning, about finding pleasure in the simple things life has to offer. Here is a sample of some of the things that I have seen bring huge smiles to the kids faces recently.

A pretty flower.

A pretty flower.

Spending time with friends.

Spending time with friends.

Enjoying a quiet moment with nature.

Enjoying a quiet moment with nature.

Helping someone else keep their footing.

Helping someone else keep their footing.

Blowing dandelion fluff has to make anyone smile. Don't know why, it's just the way it works.

Blowing dandelion fluff has to make anyone smile. Don't know why, it's just the way it works.

A beloved pet.

A beloved pet.

Good food!

Good food!

A good book

A good book

And, while this dead centipede found in my bathtub difinitely did NOT put a smile on my face, it did put one on Austin's do I included it. I just hope I didn't take a bath with it that morning. Ugh!

And, while this dead centipede found in my bathtub difinitely did NOT put a smile on my face, it did put one on Austin's do I included it. I just hope I didn't take a bath with it that morning. Ugh!

Now the chance to do this WOULD put a smile on my face.

Now the chance to do this WOULD put a smile on my face.


Yummy Snack (Or Breakfast)

Amanda requested Apple Zucchini Bread for snack today so this morning I made five loaves of it ( a double batch). It’s a popular bread here and never stays around very long. I am hoping to put two loaves in the freezer for later, but . . . we’ll see.

By request I am posting the recipe. Hope you enjoy it

Apple Zucchini Bread

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking soda

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 eggs

1-1/2 cups vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini

1 cup shredded peeled apples

1-1/2 cups chopped pecans ( my kids don’t like pecans so I don’t use them, but I’m sure they would be delicious)

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In another bowl beat eggs. Add oil, sugars, and vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients; mix well. Stir in zucchini, apples and pecans (batter will be stiff). Spoon into three greased 8-in. x 4 in. x 3 in. loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until done. Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.