Friday, February 22, 2013

Winter Break

We are on Winter Break here.  I had not intended to take the week off, but with Bonnie and Todd both on break it was hard to push the boys to do school work.  Besides, my reasoning to have them do school this week was to insure that we would be done with school by end of May, but since Bonnie and Todd have to do school for the first two weeks of June, we might has well have school work to do during those weeks as well.  So here we are on break, and to be honest, I have enjoyed the week off.

Our break started with the North West Grace Youth Camp Winter Blast which is hosted at our church.  Eighty teenagers and twenty adults showed up late Friday night for a weekend of fun, fellowship, and spiritual growth.  Bonnie, along with five others from our church, joined in and had a blast.

On Wednesday, Todd took the kids skiing.  With temperatures in the mid to upper 40s for the past few weeks, the snow is quickly melting.  Not knowing how much longer we have left in the ski season we figured they might as well take advantage of the break and enjoy the slopes.  Also, with Bonnie in school, she has not had the opportunities to ski like the boys.
Our week is ending with Todd heading out to the Chumstick property to meeting up with an inspector.  One of our biggest concerns about purchasing this property is where we can put in a septic field.  Grandma and Grandpa Brehm used an outhouse for fourty plus years before finally putting in a bathroom and then he didn't use a legal septic field.  At least a 5 gallon drum buried in the ground isn't legal, is it?  There is all kinds of restrictions now on the property since a protected creek runs through the front acre so it has to be so many hundreds of feet away.  Any way, today an inspector will access the property and let us know where a septic field can be placed and how much it will cost us.  Still praying for open and closed doors. 
In all reality, this is the final hurdle we face.  If the report is good, we are looking at signing the papers.  If the report is bad, we turn it over to the Lord and trust He has a better plan for our future housing.  In all reality, buying this property and building a house will equal the same amount of monthly housing as to renting another house in town. 

Friday, February 15, 2013


It's is Friday and all is quiet here at church.  Today is the last Friday that the boys will get to go skiing with Todd's school.  Next week, however, Todd and Bonnie are on break from school so I imagine they will held up the mountain again.  The temperatures here have been abnormally warm.  It is supposed to hit 50 degrees today.  Our snow is quickly disappearing and there is no break in site of the warm weather.  Everyone has spring fever.  In fact, my plan for this weekend is to start scrubbing walls and floors.  To be honest, I am not looking forward to the scrubbing, but it needs to be done.  Todd and I are looking at the house we are living in and making note of all the things that need to get done if we are to move out within the next year or so.  Minor repairs, cleaning, and packing. Tim and Judy left alot of their own personal stuff behind that we will have to pack up and find a place to store if we move out and rent the house to someone else.  Secretly, I am wishing that their daughter will move in and take over the house for us, but that is a long story and I don't think it is financially possible for her to manage the house. 

Last night as an outreach to our community we offered free babysitting at our church.  We had 18 children here and several helpers from church.  It was surprisingly a lot of fun.  The kids had a blast. We fed them dinner, played games, made crafts, and watched a movie.  It is our goal to make this an annual event for our community.  We may even do it again in December to allow parents a day to go Christmas shopping.

Well,  I need to head downstairs and clean the church kitchen.  We were too eager to head home last night to vacuum and wash the final dishes.  Tonight we have 100 people showing up this evening for the NorthWest Grace Youth Winter Blast. If my luck holds out, Bonnie will be gone to the Winter Blast and the boys will spend the night at the neighbors. I may be all alone this weekend....with my scrub brush and bucket.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Short and sweet

Bonnie got the lead in the spring musical.  That's right, she gets to play Fionna in Brigadoon.  She is so excited and so am I.  Practice starts after winter break.   Yeah!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 here is the deal.  I got an ipad for Christmas.  I love it.  Probably too much...not probably...I love it too much.  I do everything with it...listen to music, play games, take pictures, keep track of my food calories, play Words with Friends, and Sudoku, read my books on it, do my devotions with the Bible get the picture.  I do practically EVERYTHING with it, but blog.  I wonder if blogspot has an ap?  hmmmm

For whatever reason, I can transfer my pictures from my husband's phone to my ipad and then easily transfer them to facebook or email them, but I can't access them with my blog which is a real bummer.  So to blog and add pictures or just to blog period, because it is a whole lot easier to type on a real keyboard than the ipad "keyboard", I need to put down the ipad and pry the netbook from one of the kids.  It just so happens that right now the kids are watching some dorky kids movie on Nickelodeon so I got the netbook out.  (Of course, since I have the netbook, my daughter ran off with the ipad.   Fifteen more minutes til bedtime then I get it back.  Mmawhaha..)

Here is the latest tidbit of news in the James household...
Bonnie is trying to get the lead in the spring musical at school - Brigadoon.

She has been practicing singing for the past couple of months and working on her Scottish accent.  There is only one other girl trying out for the lead, so Bonnie feels that she has a good chance.  Of course, the other girl is a senior so ...well, you know how that goes.   She also warned me that if she does get the lead, she will probably have to kiss the boy lead.

 I will have to start prepping my husband for that.  He is having a hard enough time realizing that his little girl is turning into a young woman.

Bryce is starting his third month with guitar lessons.  It was becoming more apparent that Todd's guitar was not working out for Bryce's hands.  Todd has a Seagull guitar which is known for its wide neck.  It was hard for Bryce to make the chords and finally his teacher pulled me aside and suggested we get him a different one (electric preferably) that had a smaller neck.  The guys at Avalon music are great and we found a really nice electric guitar for Bryce. 

Let us just say that he is pretty happy with his new guitar. 

Brian is Brian...What can I say.  He is getting taller. Doing well in school.  Being an annoying big brother to Bryce and keeps my wood box filled with split wood every time he gets annoying.  Brian has become a book worm lately.  After seeing the Hobbit, he decided to read the book...twice. Then he got hold of  the Percy Jackson series and has read the first series in less than a week.  Tomorrow we head off to the library to pick up the next series of books by Riordan. 

Todd is busy, busy, busy..  Hopefully after the senior high winter retreat which is held at our church is over, he can relax a little, but probably not.  We are still dreaming and looking at buying my in-laws property and building a house.  We have the house plans now and an estimate on how much it will cost to build it.  So far everything fits into our budget.  We have a little bit more leg work and investigating to do to make sure we can build what we want to build and where we want to build it before we sign the dotted line.  Scary and exciting all at the same time.  Imagine ...we can be in our very own home this time next year.  Better than that, we can have our own garden this year, chickens, even a cat and/or dog.  My heads is swimming...

Finally, me.  I am doing great.  Celebrated my 44th birthday yesterday.  I have clothes money to go shopping with and can't wait to hit the stores.  I am eating more but still loosing weight.  I am smaller than I have ever been.  I am almost tempted to get out my wedding dress and try it on.  I think it will be too big.  Imagine that!  My husband is pleased as punch and has even starting watching his own diet to lose weight too. 

I think that is enough for now.  The kids have headed off to their rooms.  My daughter has returned my ipad so it is time to play some Words with Friends.  I finally won a match. lol.  Good night all.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

For the Master

Ok....this is my last video.  My husband and a friend are watching the Super Bowl, so I got my husbands phone and got all of his pictures and videos off of it.  I should stagger these out over the week, but I got the time now so why not.

About every other month, my husband goes to the local assisted living home to minister to the residents.  Today was his turn to go over again and this time his dad brought along his guitar to play and sing.  This is getting to be a rare treat since my father in law has Alzheimer's.  He often forgets how to play or the words to the song, but today he could play and sing.

Brian Tries to Jump


Every Friday in January and February, the boys and Todd head up to Mission Ridge to ski with Upper Valley Christian School.  The morning is spent in ski school and the afternoon is spent free skiing.  The school counts these Fridays as their PE credit and so do we.  What a great way to have school!

Friday, February 1, 2013


Today, Bonnie was awarded the Academic Excellence award for ...

and Science
We are so proud of her.  She made straight A's on her 1st semester report card.
Now she is in her second semester with a new set of classes.  This semester she is taking choir, art, Advanced English, Algebra 2/Trig, and Digital Communication, i.e. computers.

On the Road to Healthy Eating

Being on the Prism program and watching what I eat as been an eye opening experience.  I have learned a lot about our food and why it is not good for us.  The more I learn the more I desire to make everything that I can from scratch and the more I want to avoid those food products that come in boxes and cans.  If I could I wouldn't even mind finding a farmer who would let me milk their cow for fresh milk, yogurt, cheese, and butter.  (Yeah, I am a little weird that way.  I call it the "farm girl" blood that runs in my veins.  My mom did grow up on the farm, you know.)

One of the blessings about our current living situation is that the former owners left my pantry stocked with a lot of whole grains.  I have bins of whole wheat flour, rice flour, soy flour, kamut grain, cracked wheat, wheat bran flakes, wheat germ, sesame seeds, lentils, barley, etc.....So I have begun to experiment.  Remember that book I told you about, Nourishing Traditions?  Well, I have been reading it alot.  I mean, ALOT!   Besides making the muesli, I have also made kamut porridge for breakfast.  Yum!  With the leftover kamut porridge, I make fried mush which is one of Bonnie's favorite dishes to eat for breakfast or for an after school snack.  A litttle honey to sweeten and it is awesome.  To make the kamut porridge, you take a cup of kamut grain and coarsely grind it.  Add a cup of warm water and a teaspoon of vinegar, cover it, and let it sit for twenty four hours.  The next morning, boil a cup of water, add the soaked kamut grains, cover, and simmer for five minutes. I then add a teaspoon of honey and cinnamon to flavor it.  For fried mush, add an egg to the leftover porridge and mix.  In a skillet add a tablespoon of butter and melt.  Spoon in the porridge mixture and fry it in the butter.  Turn it over like a pancake and fry the other side.  Serve with a little honey or pure maple syrup. 

Not all of my experiments have turned out so well.  I am not a good bread maker, but I want to be.  I thought I would try to make a healthy whole grain bread with all of the ingredients that are in my pantry.  I took the kamut grain and ground into a flour.  I then toasted some barley and oats and ground them into a flour as well.  Mixing those flours with some whole wheat I tried to make a healthy bread and this is what I got....I'm not to proud to show my utter failures!
Not very appetizing.  It didn't even taste good.  lol    However, nothing must go to waste so I took the bread and broke it up into pieces, spread it over my cookie sheet, and set it in the oven at 200 degrees until it all dried up.  Then I ran it through my processor and made it into bread crumbs.
Now I will use it for meatloaf, meatballs, salmon patties, or breading for chicken and fish. 
I haven't given up on making whole wheat bread though.  I will try again, and I will eventually succeed.! 
On a final note....I weighed in at our meeting last night.  I have lost another 12 pounds since our last weigh in giving me a total weight loss of 28 pounds since starting the Prism program four months ago.  Since starting the journey to loose weight and getting in shape two years ago, I have now lost a total of 55 pounds!  Yeah!