Thursday, November 29, 2007

Priscilla is Accepted to the College of Her Choice!

The latest reason to celebrate around here is that Priscilla has just received the news that she has been accepted into the college of her choice! The next hurdle is scholarships, grants, financial aid sorts of things...and then maybe we will have our first child in college this coming fall. Today she is submitting her bid for the Emerging Artist scholarship, which would greatly help towards the costs.

She went to visit the college a couple of weeks ago and stayed overnight in the dorms. The next day she wanted me to come up and go to the meetings and selected classes with her. I was glad she wanted me to come, but I always hate being away from home during the day. I guess it's that idea of trying to balance mothering the older and younger kids at the same time. This time I put priority on Priscilla's needs and, boy, was I in for a treat.

I arrived in time for a meeting with the Financial Aid representative, toured with someone from admissions and had lunch with the lady who was in charge of admissions (and the food was actually good!). After lunch we went to some of the classes. I was so impressed and excited. It made me want to go!

First we went to a drawing class. They had a live model come in for a portrait drawing and Pris joined right in. Luckily, I had brought my nature journal with me so she used a page out of that. I thought I would need something to do so I brought a few things with me in my book bag. (It ended up that I was fascinated to just watch everything going on around me and didn't need anything to do. ) I enjoyed watching the art professor interact with the students as she went around the room giving tips and encouragement.

Next we went to a class called something like 'Outreach to Contemporary Culture'. The professor immediately introduced himself to us and apologized for not having a regular class that day. Instead, there would be a guest professor lecturing on a series of children's books. Had I heard of Phillip Pullman and his trilogy of books, the first being The Golden Compass? Had I! I just happened to have that in my book bag too because I was planning on reading that while Priscilla was in these "boring" (ha ha) classes. I was so excited and settled in to hear what they had to say about this author. It was a great class. The professor gave a brief biography on the author and then put up quotes from various interviews on the overhead projector. She then lead discussion on analyzing his worldview and had them compare and contrast it with Christianity. It was so interesting. I had to practically put a clamp on my mouth in order to not participate, since after all, I was just a visitor and a mother! The professor recommended all of the students read the book and see the film in order to engage in discussion with others. This is exactly what I had planned to do. I wanted to read the controversial books for myself and not do what I did with the Harry Potter series, which was depend on the opinions of others.

After this second class, we spent a considerable amount of time talking with three professors. Two of the professors, who were married, had homeschooled their daughter all the way through and now she attended that college where they both taught. It was great fun to talk with them about books and education! One of them quickly acknowledged that Priscilla was the kind of student they wanted on campus and another said encouragingly, "If the Lord wants you here, you'll be here!"

I was so impressed with the school and the instructors. Before this visit, I was not real excited for any of the kids to attend college but I came away with a new appreciation and an encouragement to help prepare my other children who might want to go.

Pris is pretty excited even though this school doesn't fit every single thing she wanted. She had quite an extensive wish list - truly Christian, close to home so she could live here, close to the dance studio, close enough to still be able to come to our church, and with a major in art. It is truly Christian, not too far from home (she would have to live on campus but she could come home on weekends and therefore come to church), and they do offer an art major. She would have to give up dance though. Not too bad considering her list.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Some Recent Art from the Girls

Kezzi completed this piece after starting it in her oil painting class where they had to choose a photograph to paint. We were all "wowed" by it. We stood before it expecting her to look up and open her eyes any second. Priscilla drew this portrait of a little girl in Kenya after her visit there. She was especially touched by this girl because she was only seven years old but she carried her little brother everywhere and cared for him constantly.

This is Priscilla's picture that she started in the oil painting class and finished here at home.

Hope has neglected her art but has been very busy with music. After receiving a new keyboard for her birthday, she has been regularly working at composing songs. She is enjoying her music and voice lessons very much. And I hear tale of a new Christmas carol in the works.
I can't express how much fun it is to live with all of this wonderful creativity!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Our Seventh is 7 on 7th in '07

Last week Annalise turned seven years old. We had a big breakfast that morning and this is what her place looked like when she came to the table. She was thrilled with all of the new little horses.

Grandma and Grandpa, Uncle Kenny and Aunt Lori and the cousins all came over for dessert that night. Grandma and Grandpa bought her a stable and some more horses. Kezzi got her a present to, the pig mama and babies you can see here on the couch in the background. The babies are so cute and attach to the mama with magnets.
Priscilla also bought her a horse - a really big one! She was all smiles and loved all of the horse things she received. When you have big sisters who are earning money you really get spoiled!

My the years fly by!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

They Call Her Granny...

even though she's only eighteen years old. So, for fun she thought she'd dress the part. I came home from Wal-mart with this gray wig after raiding the clearance Halloween section for additions to the dress up collection. After going out again that evening, I came home to this:

The Tripods

Remember when I said I was letting the boys choose our morning read aloud in order to encourage their interest in books? Well, it's working. Yesterday I smiled as I saw Abel dashing in the house with Paul on his heels to gleefully show him the books from the Tripod series. We are currently on book 3 and they even eagerly came to living room last night for an extra chapter before bed. And somewhere in book 2, even I began to enjoy the readings.
I really like the "boy" issues in these books. There is plenty of adventure and the boys encounter the need for resourcefulness and survival techniques. They are forced to face and deal with their own character flaws. There are quite a few adults in the story and they are not buffoons waiting for the kids to save them, but instead they provide direction and admonition. The boys in the story have huge responsibility and that is what makes a boy into a man, according to my husband. These boys shoulder that like men and I happy to inspire my boys with that good example. I could say much more, but I really hate writing reviews ,so I'll conclude with saying if you get these and read them to your boys, you won't be sorry.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Crockpot Cooking

While talking to Candace on the phone last night, she brought to my attention the fact that she had never made anything in the crock pot. She was talking about how difficult it was to come home from working all day and make a good, wholesome meal. I suggested she throw something in the crock pot before she left in the morning and that's when the above piece of news was revealed. How we had missed this vital life skill, I don't know. My crock pot is one of my favorite and most indispensable kitchen tools. But the good news is that she says Michael declares that she is the best cook in the world. Ok, then. She is off to a good start.

Here is one of our favorite crock pot meals for my darling daughter and anyone else who might enjoy it.

Rosemary Chicken (only 5 ingredients):
Cut up carrots and celery and place them in the bottom of the crock pot. About 1 c. each.
Place raw chicken pieces over the vegetables - we like boneless, skinless thighs.
Pour over all about 1/2 of a bottle of Italian dressing and sprinkle about 1 tsp. or more of dried rosemary. Cook for about 8 hours on low. Before serving prepare some rice or pasta. Serve the crock pot ingredients over the rice or pasta.

Something new I tried last week was Teriyaki Beef. I had a bag of frozen shitake mushrooms and I took these and a bag of frozen asparagus and dumped them in the crock pot. I added a chuck roast on top and poured some teriyaki sauce over all. I cooked it all day and it was delicious but I had to remove the asparagus before the roast was done because it was getting so mushy. Next time I'll add that much later in the cooking process.

The crock pot is so fun to experiment with. You just have to add some meat, vegetables and a maybe a sauce of some kind and you have the basic components of your meal. I love my rice cooker too because once employed with the crock pot, we have a complete meal ready to eat.

Random Seasonal Notes

I love this time of year, waking up to frosty mornings before dawn and snuggling up with a hot cup of coffee and a warm blanket. There is just something more satisfying about that morning coffee when it's cold outside.
Kezzi, Hope and I have been enjoying a cozy time of Bible study before everyone else gets up. We are working our way through one of Kay Arthur's Bible studies, this one on the the book of Daniel. I've really been loving this quiet time with my middle girls. It's amazing how much you can get from the Scriptures when you go through them slowly.
One reason I am thankful that I had so many children is that I will get to enjoy so many different stages all at once. It should be quite a while before I have to deal with "empty nest syndrome" and by then I will most likely have a slew of grandchildren to love and spend time with. With the older kids I get to enjoy deep discussions and watch them search for their path in life while still bringing delight to the younger ones with special toys and dress up clothes. But then sometimes even the older ones still enjoy dressing up...ahem...more on that soon, right Pris?
I always look forward to this time of year when it gets dark early and we all find ourselves inside in the evenings pursuing our interests. Reading, drawing, singing, building....just the enjoyable hum of life. I know I'll be glad when spring arrives again but for now, this chilly, dark weather is wonderful!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Trip to the Corn Maze

We took a trip to the local corn maze yesterday evening, grabbing a couple of cousins on the way. We thought it would be crowded since it was Halloween but we ended up almost being the only ones there. After a run through the maze, we had a short hay ride and then everyone threw a football around in a field until it was almost dark. Nothing monumental, but a nice way to spend an evening outdoors. Of course, we had to take pictures by the giant corncob made of milk cartons!