Sometimes I feel a tugging at my soul.  A sense that I'm supposed to do something.  Something specific.

There are times that I think the Lord is telling me to take a step in one direction, obey, make some sort of sacrifice.  Usually it involves time.  My time.  My plans.

Then it hits me (again) that it never has been My time or My plans.  Those have always belonged to the One. The Creator.

I think of Abraham in the Bible.  God told Abraham to leave the country he knew and go to a foreign land.  God told Abraham to believe that his wife would bear a son, even though she was "too old".

God told Abraham to sacrifice this only son. 

And Abraham took steps in the direction that the Lord wanted him to go.  He went up on the mountain and took his knife to slay Isaac...

And the Lord said, "Stop!  Now you don't have to do what I asked because I know you still love and fear me.  Thank you for obeying."  (Heidi's paraphrase - you can read the real version in Genesis 22.)

At times in my life, it seems that the Lord says something similar. 

He hasn't told me to sacrifice my children.  He hasn't told me to leave my country.  However, He has told me to give up my plans and give of my time, no, His precious time, to reach out to others in word and in deed. 

And when I take that step in obedience, there are times that I am to do what the Lord asked of me, but occasionally the Lord won't require it of me after all.

It seems like he's saying, "Stop!  Now you don't have to do what I asked because I know you still love and fear me.  Thank you for obeying."


A Christmas Apology

We just want to say that we are very, very sorry for the (at least) 13 people that we directly infected with the stomach flu this Christmas...

Love these cute kids!

Christmas Day kids choir at church (Jonny and Emila are near the middle, Matthew is on the right in front).

Our family on Christmas Day at my parents' house.

We really feel awful.  Sorry, again!  Hope you feel better soon...

And I hope the rest of you had a wonderful, healthy Christmas!



Today I am...

Rejuvinated by a very clean house (finally!!!).
Check out the shininess!
Refreshed from good conversation and prayer with a terrific friend.  Love her. 
Intrigued by the Health Food store at which I just shopped - even though the prices are outrageous!
Disturbed anew by the song, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"...seriously, very disturbing. 
Satisfied with my so-not-healthy fries and caramel mocha from McD's (see how easily I go from Health Food store to the exact opposite?? :) ). 
Contented in this glorious day.  Oh yeah. 



There are so many memories that come to mind when I make this delicious breakfast food.
And I make it often.  :)

My dad's mom, Grandma O, came from a family with 16 children.  Her parents immigrated to the UP from Finland and brought this recipe with them.

I'm sure there were mornings when her own mother made this breakfast delicacy to fill up the troops.  With 16 kids, I'm guessing she may have tripled the batch!

Then again, maybe not.

One of the stories I heard about my great-grandmother made her sound very frugal.  Her boys would ask for dessert after dinner and she'd say, in a thick accent, "Have another potato!"

The other story I heard was about the time she had a baby while she was working out in the field.
She wiped that baby off and got right back to work...

From L to R:  My mom, Glenida (can't see her face), Aunt Annie, Uncle Norm, Aunt Sina, Aunt Alice (4 of Grandma O's 6 children - missing are my dad and Uncle Leif), Cousin Luke
 Many times when someone in our family makes Pannu, especially if it's made when there's a loud, laughter-filled family gathering, we take pictures of the Pannu fresh out of the oven.

Why?  I have no idea, but it's become a tradition!
(I'm just glad that having a baby in a field is NOT our family tradition...)

My mom, me and Emilia
We have pictures of my dad's brothers and sisters pulling the Pannu out of the oven and waving the Finnish flag above it.  I do believe they're proud of their Finnish heritage.

Here I am, newly married, holding a puffy, gently browned Pannu. 

My cousin, Amy, got in on the family tradition and had her picture taken holding her first Pannu creation.

Amy and friends
It's almost a right of passage in our family to make Pannukakku and make it well.  And once you make it well, you need a picture to show the world (or at least the family) that you're now able to follow in Grandma O's footsteps.
Uncle Norm, Aunt Sina (brother and sister), Uncle Ken (Sina's hubby)

Cousin Heather
 It's so easy and oh so good.

My sis-in-law, Amber, with her gluten free version of Pannu
Here's the recipe in case you want to try it.

Turn oven to 425 degrees and melt a half stick of butter in a 9x13 pan (put pan with butter in oven while it's heating up).

In a mixing bowl combine 2/3 C. flour, 1/2 C. sugar, 4 eggs, dash of salt (I may have edited the original version and added the salt - I think it gives it a nice flavor), and 2 C. milk.  For milk, I use one can of evaporated milk and then top off with whatever milk you have on hand.  The creamier the milk, the richer the Pannu!  Beat until frothy.

Pour the runny egg mixture over the butter that has melted in the 9x13 pan.  Bake for about 20 minutes. 
When it's golden brown and puffy, it's ready.  Serve immediately with velia (warm fruit topping made with whatever fruit is on hand), whipped cream, maple syrup, sugar, or plain.

It's excellent any way you eat it.  My mom told me that my grandma would even serve it cold, cut into squares, to the ladies she had over for a Bible study.

Another way to use this same recipe is to make "Skinnies".
Use the butter to grease the pan and pour the batter very thin.

Sprinkle sugar on top of Skinny.
Roll it up.

When I was a little girl, my grandma showed me how to cut my sugar filled Skinny into "wheels".  And I showed my kids how to do the same.  It's our favorite way to eat them.

As we photograph and eat our Pannu, we remember you, Grandma O. and we miss you...


Haircuts for Boys: Before and After Pics

Boys are easy, right?  There is no long drawn out process of combing their hair and then fixing it just so.  Although I really enjoy doing Emilia's hair, I can imagine that it would be difficult to get more than two girls (myself included) ready on a Sunday morning when you're already running late.  Not that we ever run late... :)

So, boys are supposed to be easy.  But when they look like this...

And like this...

I was taking almost as much time doing their hair as I was doing Emilia's!  You know how crazy their hair looked when they'd wake up?  Crazy.  I had to pull out the hair products just to make them look semi decent.

After weeks of battling their wild locks, it was time for a change.

Don't they look much better?

Nate got home and teased them saying, "Who are you?  I don't recognize either of you!  Where are Jonny and Matthew?!"  Which the boys thought was HILARIOUS.  Doesn't take much to make them laugh.  :)

They're happy with their less hairy heads.  And I am too!


Leo's Horse

After learning about Leonardo da Vinci in The Mystery of History as well as in this book,

Emilia had been dying to see Leonardo's "American Horse" because it is located rather close to where we live.  I had already seen the horse, but the kids had not.  So, we took the opportunity to see it a couple days ago.

The first thing you see as you take the path back to the horse is a smaller horse statue on a stand.  She was saying, "That better not be the horse.  That's small.  I'll be disappointed if that's the horse."  Then, as we rounded the corner...

This is what we saw.  The kids were in awe!

After we left Emilia told me, "My dream to see the American Horse came true.  I was not disappointed!" 

She really is too cute.  I love teaching and learning along with her.  It's such a pleasure.


A Family Christmas Dinner

This is the second year that my dad and mom have hosted a Christmas Dinner for our whole family in Frankenmuth.  I love it!  My parents used to take us to Frankenmuth fairly often when we were kids.  Being there, eating the buttered noodles, getting the plastic girl in my peppermint ice cream at the end of the meal...it all brings back so many fond memories.  I'm so glad our children get the chance to experience it as well.

We're very refined while we're there.

Jonny and Jadon, best buds, born only a week apart.

My daughter and my dad.

We were thankful to have our own room closed off from the rest of the restaurant.  I'm sure the rest of the restaurant is thankful too!  :)

Grandpa Buddy giving a gift to each grandchild.

My younger brother and his family.

My older brother and his family (including Santa Baby!)

Tommy stood really still while posing for the pictures and never ran off...

He loves posing for pictures.

The whole family.

Thank you Dad and Mom for a wonderful meal and special memories!  We love you!

A New Cousin

We first met Jade in the hospital, but hadn't been well enough since then to see her...until today.  
And my kids were SO excited.  They (we) love babies! 

Jonny, Emilia, and Jade

Aunt Heidi with Jade

Jonny and Jade

Jade's mom :)

Matthew and Jade


Recognizing Art

Emilia's eyes were shining, eager.  "Mom, doesn't this look like something Raphael would paint?"  She held up stamps that my mother-in-law had in her purse.  To tell you the truth, I couldn't remember who painted this particular painting, but I was thinking it was probably Leonardo Da Vinci or Michelangelo.  But, sure enough, she was right! 

We've learned about various famous artists in our history book, The Mystery of History, so I shouldn't have been surprised that she knew who painted this Madonna and Child, but I was.  To say that I was happy would be an understatement.  I was thrilled! 

The academic part of homeschooling can be intimidating at times with thoughts of, Am I doing enough?  Are we learning the right stuff?  Will my children be smart?!, rolling through my mind.  But when the Lord allows me to witness moments of recognition, understanding, or connection...ahhh...it's pure joy! 

I understand that being able to recognize famous works of art is not the most important thing in life.  We pray that our children will first and foremost love and serve God.  But we also pray that they will be able to engage in the many different conversations that flow through the everyday.  That includes, but is not limited to, art.

Hopefully exposing them to some art culture will help them be able to engage more effectively - for the glory of God. 

I attempt to teach using Charlotte Mason's idea of exposing children to the best of the best in art, literature, music, etc.  

Talk of "engaging the conversations" I first heard from a good friend of ours, Chris Brewer, who recently published, Art that Tells the Story, a very well written and aesthetically pleasing book that portrays the Biblical story of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation through (modern) art.


Christmas Pictures

I hastily dressed the kids this afternoon and took them outside to take some pictures for a Christmas card.  We actually haven't ever sent out Christmas card/pictures, but my friend let me know about this deal and I couldn't pass it up. 

Just hoping that people don't expect a Christmas card/picture every year... :)

It's hard to keep a toddler happy for the whole process, especially when it's freezing, his nose keeps running, and he just wants to play!  These four pictures are the only decent ones I took.

Now, to choose one...I think I'll let Nate do that.  :)


Pennsylvania Trip (Oct. 2010)

In Oct. of 2010 we took a family vacation to Lancaster County Pennsylvania.   Nate thought I should write a post about our trip since I never did. 

We stayed all week in an apartment above the garage of a former Amish couple, Dan and Lena.  They were so gracious - inviting us to their church, letting us take a ride in the school bus that Dan drives for their Menonite School, and spending time talking with and showing us around their family farm.  They used to live on the farm.  When they got older they passed the farm on to the youngest of their seven children and built this house on part of the property.  They rent the room above the garage just to make a little extra money and have something else to do...not that they aren't busy enough with Dan driving the bus and working during Autumn at a corn maze, Lena working part time at a diner, and all the family gatherings/babysitting they have with their 7 children and something like 35 grandchildren, most of whom live nearby.  I think they are in their 70's - they amaze me!

The boys didn't go on the bus ride because they were napping, but Emilia and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to ride on a bus with Mennonite and Amish children and one Amish mother who hitched a ride with her son.  Dan spent the next hour driving around the beautiful countryside dropping these children off at their houses, sharing some history of the area.

One of the days we drove to Hershey and toured the Hershey factory, museum, and town.

Matthew Bud...always doing something to make us all laugh!

Dan and Lena have an enormous swing set in their backyard, which was fun for our kids, especially when their grandchildren came for a visit one night.  :)

We toured a little Amish village.  It was fun, even though it was a tourist trap.  :)

We gave the kids some money to buy a souvenir.  Emilia bought this prairie hat (totally not Amish) and the boys bought race cars.

We attended the Amish Mennonite Church with our hosts and met some very nice people.  That Sunday we were invited over to a young family's house for Sunday dinner.  Every Sunday this church has visitors, so they have a system set up so that every visitor gets invited to a house for dinner after church - talk about hospitality!  This family also had four children, so our kids had a lot of fun playing together (I have no pictures from their house...bummer).

Later on during the week, we were invited over to this house for dinner, along with some other couples.  They owned a snake, so that was a big hit with the kids.  :)  The kindness and hospitality shown to us while we were there was so refreshing and made our trip so much more fun.  We thank the Lord for the people we met.  Although we live differently, we both serve the same God, which was so evident.

We had such a fun time visiting Pennsylvania.  I'd love to go again someday to see the beautiful land and reconnect with the people we met!
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