I'll start with the thank you, to my mother-in-law Eleanor...she sent me her sewing machine! It arrived this morning, and I can't wait to set it up and finish the apron I cut out for Camille last week, and start lots more things.
Recipes: Paul grew up loving his grandmother's molasses cookies, so here it is...
1 cup brown sugar
4 cups flour
1 cup shortening
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
1 cup molasses
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup hot water
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp lemon extract
Sprinkle with sugar before baking, I added cinnamon to the sugar, that made them really yummy.
Combine ingredients in order given. Drop on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.
The next is the white cake I made the other day, I really liked it, had to throw the last few pieces out so I wouldn't eat them while I waited for the kids to eat them.
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
3/4 cup shortening or butter (I used some of each)
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
I mixed the dry ingredients, set aside. Mix up the shortening/butter, add the sugar, then the eggs,vanilla, then the milk, add the dry ingredients to it, then mix it up till fluffy.
It is rather dense, but flavorful, and good with fruit and whipped cream.
Now, on to some answers. I had a question about keeping the kids home from school. So here goes...
My oldest child who is still in school is fifth in her class. She does her work because she wants to do well. The next youngest from her is homeschooled this year because she decided, for personal reasons, that she would rather not be at school. I believe that decision, for her, was lifesaving. The next three girls are all on honor roll or high honor roll, report card after report card. Then there is Jonathan, who is homeschooled this year. Then the two little girls. The two little girls get excellent grades. Charlotte Claire now gets 100's on all her spelling tests, and is really advancing in reading levels. She gets math, and does well there too. Camille is very advanced, her reading level is improving by leaps and bounds. She can read just about anything, and fluently. She also "gets" math. I don't know if school is slow, or if these kids are clever, but they seem to do well in all they are given.
The older kids know they have to go to school regularly, or they will fall behind. So they do. Sonja still misses too much and has to work hard to catch up, but we are working on that. It's hard when you are 11 years old and have teenage issues, in my opinion. Anyway. The younger kids do miss a bit of school, sometimes a day a week, but then I try to get them to go the whole week the next week, and so on, so they aren't just absent all the time. They make up their work, but at their grade levels (1st and 2nd), it isn't too difficult. There are days they miss because of things like pajama parties with movies (they can do that at home!), or half days which for them would be spent mostly on the long bus ride there and back.
So here's the thing: Sometimes I do need my "kid fix". But also sometimes I sense they need a "mommy fix". Life goes by fast, they grow up, their time to be little kids and just play...it is so limited. Their school days are long, they get home after 4:00, and head to bed a bit after 8:00, with daily homework, usually. Add in dinner, maybe a shower, and they have no time for playing house or office or school or Barbies.
I do not officially homeschool them when they are home. But I talk to them. Camille asked me yesterday if there were east and west poles, or just north and south ones. Char just asked me what one quarter of ten is. When I answered, she said, "I thought so!!", very excitedly. I interact with them, and they learn from life. School has it's place, it teaches them about reality and that life isn't fair and how to get along with others. But it isn't the end all and be all of a kid's life. My kids learn how to stop and smell the roses, and how to cuddle on the couch with a book. They go out and about with me and learn about coupons and prices and checks and ATM's and tax and gas mileage and speed limits and signs and how badly mom sings in the van.
Perhaps I don't play by the rules, but so far, the school hasn't had any issues with me, or with the kids. I know they don't love when kids miss too much school, and I know they lose state aid when they are absent. But on the other hand, look at all the state aid they have gotten from all my kids going to school all these years....:)
If I wasn't allowed to keep the kids home as much as I have, I don't think I would send them to school at all.
I hope that answers the question.
And on to other things....my kids have enjoyed their vacation. It is cold out, snowy yesterday, sunny today. It should warm up a bit today though. I have to go work at the baseball stadium today for a double header. It will be very busy there, and I hate to leave the kids, but I have some babysitters here and Paul will watch them this evening. I also like going because I am working with Emily and Joseph and lots of my friends.
Tomorrow, I am taking the kids to Kids' Camp at church, for the day. They get to play together and do activities, and I get to talk to the other parents.
I am excited about Easter! I am filling baskets for 14 of my kids (Sorry Ben! Ashley can fill you one this year!), and Sam of course can't have any "contraband" while in Basic Training. Plus, three baskets for three friends from church who are staying in the area, Stevie and Adrian and Andrew. Em doesn't want any candy, well, she conceded, just a few things...so I am filling a bowl for her to share with Abigail and Mali. I LOVE filling the Easter baskets. Simply love it. We are having our Easter dinner on Saturday, our baskets on Saturday morning, because there is a baseball game on Easter Sunday. I figure one day is the same as another, basically, so why not sign up to work the baseball game, since I know lots of others won't be so thrilled to work on Easter....
We have a spiral sliced ham from Target. They had $10 off if you spent $50 on food, not too shabby. I have red potatoes, and veggies, and the makings for a chocolate pie with chocolate graham cracker crust, and a coconut cream pie. Oh, I need my jaw wired shut for the next week! I WILL behave.
And now, I have to get my daily letter to Samuel written....