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Archive for January, 2014

Joni Eareckson Tada has been a life-long inspiration to me.  This beautiful song that she recorded for the movie “Alone, Yet Not Alone”  has just been nominated for an Oscar.

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My Hero!

This lovely lady is my hero–Oh, to have an outlook and attitude like hers!

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Brothers

A few weeks ago, John had a school assignment to write a character sketch.  He chose to write about Brock, and I think he did a pretty good job of describing him.

There is one defining attribute of my brother Brock: his humor. Everything he says or does is somehow tinged with it. A news story, a serious movie, a math problem, a boring book–nothing is beyond the reach of his humor. Its touch, unlike those of people in myths, turns nothing into gold; instead, it morphs even the most serious subjects into jokes. Brock’s humor is perhaps his most overarching characteristic.

Brock’s appearance reflects his humor. His long mouth seldom frowns, for it rarely even rests from its many convulsions of smiling and laughing. Likewise, one can rarely find Brock with his clothing quite right. An inside-out collar, partially rolled-up sleeve–such mishaps as these characterize Brock’s clothing. It is almost as if even his own clothes cannot compose themselves after hearing his jokes. Brock’s appearance clearly reflects his humor.

Even other people find it hard to escape being infected with Brock’s humor. It is as if almost anyone within a certain distance of Brock suddenly and mysteriously gains a sense of humor not unlike Brock’s own. Furthermore, this infection causes most everyone to find his jokes unbearably funny. One can even see this effect in Brock’s most antagonistic enemies. This so-called “ailment” makes Brock somewhat popular; for, indeed, it even infects the most serious people.

Brock truly is a funny person. He definitely lightens many people’s lives. Brock O’Brien is an interesting person.

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Kara’s Gummies

gummy Collage

Remember this post when Kara was making cotton candy?  Well, she’s been at it again, this time making gummy candy! She is definitely a kitchen girl!

We gave her this gummy making set that is actually made by the same company that made her cotton candy  machine.  It works very well, but actually, the secret to this isn’t the machine; it’s the molds.  Gummies can be made using a regular stovetop, but this kit makes it fun as well.

The process is really very easy!  All it is is 4 (yes, 4) packets of unflavored gelatin with one package of flavored gelatin mixed with 1/2 cup of cold water.  This is boiled until all of the gelatin is dissolved, and then it is poured into a mold.  After it sets up, the candies pop out and really do taste good!  The kit came with molds for gummy bears, fish, and worms along with the giant gummy bear mold.

It’s kind of funny because Kara has wanted a giant gummy bear for a long, long time!  🙂  Those crazy things are EXPENSIVE!  So, when I saw this kit, it had her name written all over it!  Now she can make giant gummy bears to her heart’s content–and she can give some to her friends as well! 

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Gift Collage

It is wonderful being on Christmas break from school.  We love school, but taking a breather every now-and-then helps keep us all on track.  (It also gives me a chance to do things like catch up on this blog!)

We’ve pretty much been relaxing for the last few days.  The kids have been enjoying trying out their new gifts, watching movies, etc.  We’ve also been working on science projects….but that’s another story for another future entry!  🙂

The unicycle-type thing that Kara is riding in this entry’s picture is quite an interesting deal with an interesting story.  It is called a Cyco-Cycle, and I saw it on a Black Friday sale and thought that it looked like something the kids would enjoy.  So, I ordered it online not knowing who exactly would be receiving it.  Then I waited…..and waited….and waited!  Other things I had ordered at the same time came with no problems, but this cycle just didn’t come!  Finally I checked on it’s shipping status, and, believe it or not, it came back as “item is not shippable–destroyed in shipping.”  Destroyed???  How could this possibly be destroyed to the point of being undeliverable??

Anyway, I contacted the company, and they said that my money would be refunded if the item ever actually made it back to them.  That gave me a lot of confidence!  😛  I still wanted to get one of these as a gift, and I was fortunate in that they still had some available to order at the Black Friday price.  So, I placed a second order and hoped for the best on getting my money back on the first one.

Eventually it all did work out:  the money was refunded, and this one arrived in good shape.  As I got my list together for gifts, it was obvious that this one would go to Kara, and she has loved this silly thing!  It is more like a unicycle than anything else I have ever seen.  At first, she rode it hanging on to the seat, but now she can ride all over the place without hanging on (as the picture for this entry clearly shows!).  She can make it turn and twist wherever she wants to go, and can’t wait until the weather is nice enough and the days are long enough for her to ride it when we take our family walks in the evening.

Another interesting gift that was received this year was the Make-Your-Own-Music-Box kit that Kara bought for Cosette.  Cosette had seen these in a catalog and had wanted to try one, but I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be to make it work.  This thing is just a plain music box with no song built-in.  To make it play, you have to make your own song strips with a special puncher.  It works very much like a player piano.  To me, it looked kind of complicated.  It wasn’t intimidating to Cosette, though!  It didn’t take her long at all to jump onto Sibelius to write out the notation for “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”  Here is a picture of her doing that:

HPIM3016a

Then she got busy with the paper strip and her special puncher and got that all ready.  When she put it into her little music box and turned the handle, here is what happened:

Pretty cool, huh?! Not bad for a first try!  Since this one, she has put together another strip of “On the Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady.  She’s going to keep all of the songs that she makes and is writing the dates on them so she’ll be able to keep track of that as she grows up.  I think it’s a very neat hobby!

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Christmas Dinner CollageOne of our very special Christmas memories for 2013 was our family Christmas dinner.  We’ve always done a nice holiday dinner, but this year we decided to invite other special friends to join us–we always have plenty of food, so why not?  The more the merrier!  🙂

Our little house doesn’t work very well for group gatherings–especially those that involve food. Our kitchen is small, but our table is really too small even just for our own family let alone any guests.  So, rather than let this become a limiting factor, we decided to move our family dinner to the basement of our church, and that worked out very well.  There’s plenty of seats and table space, so we’ll definitely keep that as an option in the future.  And, yes, I do want this to become another Prairie Family tradition.  Christmas is for loving and sharing, and even though this was a lot of work, it was one of the most joyful parts of our celebration.

God has been teaching me a lot over the past few months, and this dinner was part of that.  By nature, I am a quiet, selfish person who is perfectly happy to keep to myself and do my own thing.  Earlier this year–even going back to this past summer–God began to impress on me that it was time to work on that.  I needed to get out of my comfort zone and reach out to others.  Others includes everyone regardless of age, social class, or situation.  I can be so harsh and judgmental–God has to constantly remind me that He alone knows the heart.  It’s my job to love.  Yes, that’s it–my job is to love and serve others.

So, I have been acting on that.  And, you know what?  I am happy–truly, truly happy!  I heard it said just yesterday that you can never have too many people as friends, and that is so true.  I need people, and, yes, people need me.  I want to take advantage of every opportunity that God gives me to reach out to others with His hand of gracious care.  That is my resolution for 2014.

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