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Somebody told me there was no such thing as truth. I said if that's the case then why should I believe you" -Lecrae - Gravity

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Newspaper Chicken (Fried Chicken)

I have asked my lovely wife to contribute one of my favorite recipes for this special themed edition of WFMW. This dish works for us as a dish to pass at summer cookouts but also makes a great family dinner. Here is the lovely and Talented Mrs. Dad . . .

This is called "newspaper chicken" because we got the recipe from the newspaper. Creative huh.

**NOTE: This is a two-day affair, but well worth it!

Here's how I make it, but there are any number of variations you can make to make it your own. I take 5 lbs of boneless chicken breasts and cut them into small strips or chunks (I get the bag-o-frozen chicken from Aldi.) I cover them in water in a large tupperware bowl and add 1 cup of salt. Yes, one entire cup of salt. I put the cover on it, and shake it a few times, and refrigerate it overnight. Sometimes during the night, if I happen to get up, I shake it a few more times. In the morning, I dump out the salt water and rinse the chicken well. Really well. This brining isn't for flavoring. Then, using the same bowl while the chicken is on a plate or drainer, I put 2 cups of milk (I use skim) in the bowl and 2 tablespoons of vinegar and stir that up (handy dandy buttermilk.) Then return the chicken to the bowl and make sure the chicken is covered. If not, add more milk. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. I like to double dip my chicken because it comes out so crunchy, really good. I put 2 cups of flour, along with 1 tsp of the following: salt, garlic powder, chili powder, and 1/2 tsp of pepper and dry mustard. Mix it really well in a large ziplock bag (I've tried doing it in a bowl, but doesn't work as well.) So you take chicken out of buttermilk and save the buttermilk! Put chicken on a plate. Then with a pair of tongs or "grabbers" put a few pieces of chicken in the flour mixture to coat, then grab with grabbers, drop in buttermilk, and then back into flour mixture.

Place coated chicken on a tray (I use my pampered chef "stackable cooling rack" laid on top of a cookie sheet.) Once all chicken is double coated, let the tray sit in the fridge for another hour. This ensures the coating will stick to the chicken. **Sometimes I do have to make another bag of flour mixture. This double coating is messy, but it really makes for nice, crunchy chicken. After an hour, get a frying pan ready with enough oil to be 1/2 way up the sides of the chicken. I fry it over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, place a few pieces of chicken in the oil. If you're doing it right, as the hot oil is cooking the food, the salt water is coming out of the chicken, therefore, making it a nongreasy affair. Love it. So you fry it on one side for about 4 minutes (try to leave it alone here, don't check it a bunch of times), and the other side for about 4 minutes more. This, of course, varies according to size. Using bone-in chicken will take longer. Now, this is important: do not try to keep the chicken warm to try to serve in an hour or so. Either serve immediately, or allow to cool and either serve cold, or microwave to warm it up. If you try to keep it warm in the oven, it gets gooey, and nobody likes gooey chicken! This chicken also freezes quite well. I usually have enough for a meal right away, leftovers in the fridge, and then some in the freezer for a later meal.

Ingredients at a Glance:

5 lbs boneless chicken breasts
1 cup salt, water to cover chicken
2 cups milk plus 2 TBLS vinegar (or buttermilk if you have it)
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt, garlic powder, chili powder
1/2 tsp pepper and dried mustard
oil for frying

Thanks Amy. She also does a great impression of Jimmy Stewart saying chicken. She is certainly a woman of many talents. To see all the other recipes in this special edition of WFMW go to We Are That Family.
Next Time: No Junk Food June

Monday, June 29, 2009


Hero: Becoming the Man she Desires


Fred & Jasen Stoeker

I was given another book to review in the Library Thing Early Reviewer program. Click here to learn more about the program and read my previous review.

When I put my name on the hat for a copy of hero, I was unaware that this is the third book of a trilogy (Every Young Man's Battle and Tactics being the previous two). This book is thoroughly readable without reading the other two. I enjoyed this book so much that I am planning to read the first two later on this Summer.

In Hero the authors take a disheartening topic the failure of young men particularly Christian young men to be sexually pure and make an invigorating, hopeful but still immensely practical approach to male female relationships.

Fred Stoeker, His son Jasen, and his daughter in law Rose tell a story of victorious G rated living in a R/NC-17 world. Many books with multiple authors lose something in the transition. Not the case here, brief casual introductions make transitions as easy to follow as if they were merely microphone changes in a lecture hall.

Hero faces the cold hard facts that Christians particularly men are falling deep into lives filled with pornography, masturbation, and multiple partner sexual relations prior to and during marriage. Hero takes the life stand of Jasen Stoeker to not kiss a girl until he kissed his wife on his wedding day. The book basically begins with that kiss and then weaves it's message through the Stoeker family history of being statistics in the Playboy revolution to Fred's desire to make a change in that history and Jasen's stands for purity in Jr. high., high school and college along with Rose giving her back story and a needed feminine perspective.

I strongly recommend this book for all men but especially for fathers and single young men.

Next Time: Newspaper Chicken

Sunday, June 28, 2009

But Dad, I'm not a boy or How Heaven is like going to the bathroom.

Two weeks ago we were at church and I needed to take Lucy to the bathroom. So being a boy, I took her to the boy's washroom. Which is when she reminded me that she was not a boy. It seems like all our children have taken umbrage with going to the wrong bathroom at one time or another. Lucy seemed genuinely concerned on this occasion that she was doing something wrong by being a girl in a boys room.

I told her that since I was a boy, she was allowed to be there, since she was with me. I went on to say that she could only go in the boys room when I brought here in there. And at that moment, maybe because we were in a church bathroom, the salvivic implications of our experience hit me.

Here is how getting in to heaven is a lot like going to the Bathroom:

Heaven is a place where sinful man is not welcome on their own. Man's sin has hampered our ability to be welcome in the home of the holy creator of the Universe. Man's attempts to get to God on our own (religion) all fail miserably.

Man can only get into Heaven as a result of God's doing and not their own. When the idea struck me walking out of the bathroom that I can only get into Heaven with God this verse from Ephesians came to my mind:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not as a result if works, so that no one may boast.

Now, no analogies are perfect, especially those relating spiritual things; particularly those pertaining to washrooms. In order for Lucy to go into the boys washroom, I have to bring her in every time. This analogy would be similar to the sacrificial system in the Old Testament. What Jesus did on the cross for us, was to make heaven accessible to all who would believe.

So that is how going to the bathroom reminded me of the wonder of God's redemptive love.

Next Time: Hero

P.S. Salvivic means of or relating to salvation. I paid a lot of money for 1 year of seminary, might as well use a word or two from time to time.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Civil Rights Game.

Well it's Thursday and time for me to tell you three things. Here they are ...

1) Our family celebrated the end of our school years by going to Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio this weekend. We did many amazing things like going to a Waffle House for the first time since my years spent in South Carolina. But by far the best part of the weekend was going to Major League Baseball's Civil Rights Game. Now, when my friend Patrick and I decided to take our families to a Cincinnati Reds game sometime this summer, we didn't decide to go based on the Civil Rights Game, we just wanted to go to any game preferably when one of the Chicago teams was in town. We were planning on going to see the Cubs play the Reds but that weekend did not work out on our schedule. So I noticed that my beloved White Sox were coming to Cincinnati on a weekend that did work out for all.

Great American Ballpark is an incredible place to take a family to a ball game. Located on the Ohio River, with Kentucky directly across offers a breathtaking view. The Ballpark offers many of the amenities that I love about U.S. Cellular Field, where the White Sox play. They shoot off fireworks when The Reds hit homers, as well as have many baseball skill related games for children to play. They also have a playground on the main level.

Beyond the view, and the amenities, the pregame presentation is what really made the evening a hit. The Civil Rights game is now in it's third year but the past two seasons the game has been a preseason game. This also marked the first year that the game was held at a major league ballpark. Earlier in the day a luncheon was held honoring three people who had made a mark on civil rights with Beacon awards. As the game began these winners were paraded onto the field for a presentation of the awards.

The winner of the Beacon of Life was Hank Aaron. The winner of the Beacon of Change was Muhammad Ali. The winner of the Beacon of Hope was Bill Cosby. I wept like a baby (I'm crying now just recollecting it) as they showed a video retrospective of Aaron, one of the heroes of my youth. Watching him hitting the home run breaking Babe Ruth's record on the jumbo tron reminded me of watching him do it live on t.v. so many years ago. I didn't know about the countless death threats he received then, which make his accomplish so much more inspiring.

Similar memories and thoughts greeted me during the retrospectives for Ali and Cosby. My family had come for a baseball game but instead were part of history.

The White Sox eventually prevailed in an ugly, error filled affair. But even if they lost, which seemed likely when they were losing 5-0 in the third, the game would still rank as the best regular season game I have ever attended. The Civil Rights game is being played again next year in Cincinnati, which has our family contemplating attending again.

2. And The Winner is . . .

Crazy Dave here. Cristina over at Home School Juggling is the winner of the Tony Dungy Book and Bible. Congratulations. Contact me Cristina so I can mail you your prize.

3. A New Thursday Staple.

Just got home from playing some baseball. Some of the home school families in our area are getting together and playing some baseball every Thursday. Charlie is having a great time! Being part of a Boy Sandwich family (a boy between two girls) he doesn't always get his fill of guy stuff. He was on the winning side of a 26-12 game today. I grew up on the pick-up game. Just get 6-20 kids together and play ball. While you still see that in basketball and football, baseball has been pretty much regulated to leagues and picnics. I better cut this short, I had to pitch today and I am having trouble moving my arms at all. For More Triple Plays go see Michelle at Psalm 104:24

Next Time: But Daddy I'm Not a Boy or How Heaven is Like Going to the Bathroom.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Run Around Place

Call it what you will, the indoor park, play land, play place at the mall. You know the place where your kids can play while you rest your weary feet?. We call ours The Runaround Place.

We have been going to the one at our mall since we moved to this area 8 years ago. It is really cool and has a health theme. The run-a-round place works for our family because. . .

1) It's free. You got it fun on a budget. I think all 3 kids now prefer spending time at the children's section of Barnes and Noble. But alas they have all discovered that things can be bought there. Nothing is for sale at The Runaround Place, unless you count the fact that is in a mall. Okay, point taken.

2) It gives our poor home schooled children the opportunity for much neglected socialization. Yes, I am being sarcastic. But the kids always enjoy making friends there.
3) It allows us as parents to watch our kids grow before our eyes. We see the little crawlers and think wow remember when Charlie used to do that?
4) It teaches our kids that places other than home, have rules and they need to be followed. There is a height requirement, a requirement to wear socks and rules about how to place nicely.
5) It teaches our kids that life isn't always fair. Our oldest is now taller than the height requirement and our second oldest is right on the cusp. Yet every time we are there they see bigger kids playing when they should not, or kids playing without socks. This gives child and parents alike an exercise in living out a good example.

I won't give you the runaround, this place works for us. To see what works for others out in Blogtopia go to We Are That Family. Also to participate in my Tony Dungy Book and Bible give-a-way before this Thursday click here.

Next Time: The Civil Rights Game

Monday, June 22, 2009

An open letter to the car behind me II

Warning: This article may contain sarcasm.

Dear Car Behind Me:

It happened again as it usually does on my first bike ride of the spring. It doesn't always happen the same exact way. This year, my wife dropped me off at the bike shop where my bike was being tuned up. I hit the bike trail for my first cycling of the year. Now I am not quite the cyclist I once was, but even in my heyday no one was confusing me with Lance Armstrong. Mainly because he was 6 in my hey day. For a 10 year period I cycled 100 or more miles a week. For the last 10-15 years I have biked less and less but for the past couple of years I have been getting back into it.

Now I am not one of these dangerous people. I wear a helmet, I mostly bike on trails and when I do bike on roads, I stay as close to the line as possible and when possible I bike on the shoulder. I use proper signalling techniques. I even stop at all stop signs which is uncommon for many cyclists. At 44, I can use all the rests I can get.

Yet that doesn't stop people like you from honking at me. When you honked at me I was no more than 2 inches off the line. Did you think a loud noise startling me from behind would be prone to keep me at a safe distance from you? If you ever have to take a field sobriety test ask the officer to blow an air horn halfway through your walk and see how you do.

Every year as energy and cost concerns increase, media outlets champion the idea of cycling to work. Who wants to bike to work while people are blaring their displeasure on us? Isn't that what awaits us on the job?

Please dear motorist, cyclists have a right to the road. During the cycling months you will just need to pay more special attention and pass us with caution. I mean, we're cyclists! You won't be behind us long.

Next Time: The Run Around Place

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Give-A-Ways Galore

Good Morning and thank you for flying Crazy Dave's give-a-ways a division of Home School Dad. As you keep your seats in an upright position I want to make you aware of the many give-a-ways going on today.

1. We still don't have a winner! Way back at post 75 I tried to give away a book and a c.d. One of my followers declined the prize package of a point of grace c.d. and a book of writings by Michael Kelly Blanchard. I then offered it to another one of my followers and have still not heard a response. So today, I am going to give it away to one of the commenters on that post. The winner is Michelle of Psalm 104:34.

2. I chose the next giveaway in part because Father's Day is soon upon us, in part because I am going to Indianapolis this weekend, But mostly because I have them in my give-a-way pile. I am giving a copy of Tony Dungy's book Quiet Strength as well as a copy of the Quiet Strength New Testament in the New Living Translation.

Quiet Strength is an excellent book about how God can work in your life through great success and great difficulties. Those who know Tony Dungy's story know that he's had both. I love this book, even though his Super Bowl victory came at the expense of my beloved Chicago Bears.

You can enter for a chance to win them both my commenting on this post or at the face book feed for this post. If can earn a second chance by including in your comment something you appreciate about your Dad. You can earn another chance by posting about your Dad on your blog and leaving a link on my comments. I will announce a winner sometime next Thursday.

3. I want to thank the many followers of my blog with a special followers only give-a-way. I am giving a way a copy of the movie, The Second Chance. Michael W. Smith tries out acting in this tale of prejudice, faith and redemption. If you win this let me know what you think of it and I will let you be a guest blogger with a review on these very pages. I'll be right back with the winner. . .

That didn't take too long did it? The winner is Kim @ Forever Wherever.

Next Time: An open letter to the car behind me part II.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The End of Blogging

Don't freak out! In the words of the great Indigo Montoya, "It doesn't mean what you think it means." Besides, if I was going to stop blogging, I would have done so last time on my 100th post; making it a bye centennial.

The end in my title is the one defined at dictionary.com (#7) as the object for which anything exists; purpose. Titling it the purpose of blogging doesn't lend itself readily to my flair for the dramatic.

As I have been nearing 100 post mark, I have often wondered what is the purpose or end of blogging. Specifically what is the end of my blogging? The Westminster Shorter Catechism states that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Now the chief end of my blogging does not have to be to glorify God. However since my chief end of being is such, I would probably not want to pour much energy into a task that did not.

Blogging is something that I really enjoy doing. My blog really is an extension of myself. My blog like myself is a work in progress, but it is not something meant to define me. Blogging is not who I am. The title of my blog is Home School Dad not Blog Writing Dad.

There have been times when blogging has gotten the best of me. There was the NaBloPoMo debacle to begin with. You may have noticed that I no longer use playlist.com on my blog. I was trying to change music each week, which got a little cumbersome for me. cutting down to once a month or so, was so freeing that I decided to stop it altogether for a time.

Being way into numbers and patterns and having the love language of giving gifts I decided that I would host a give-a-way every 25 posts. I still want to continue the practice of give-a-ways, I just don't want to be so dogmatic about when I do them. So, I am switching from every 25 to semi-whenever. The next one is going to be relatively soon.

I like posting in Blog events like Works for me Wednesday, and Three Things Thursday. I think I do some of my best work in these venues. But that doesn't mean I have to participate in them on a weekly basis. The past few weeks have been super busy in my families life and as a result I cut down on my posts. This is one of the main reasons why I have not tried to launch s meme of my own. Believe me I have several ideas for them. But the bottom line is that I know that would take more time and energy than what I am willing to put into this blog.

The majority of my posts have not had much of a spiritual flavor to them. This will stay about the same. I do have a few planned in the near future that will have more of a spiritual emphasis to them. I hope everyone will enjoy the one coming in the next week or so entitled "How Heaven is a lot like going to the bathroom." Maybe there's a reason why my blogs don't have more of a spiritual flavor to them!

So there it ism my state of the blog address. Blogging as an extension of my self, not as an end in itself works for me. To see what works for other (perhaps less philosophical) bloggers out there, go to Works For Me Wednesday at We Are That Family.

Next Time: Give-a-ways galore (I told you it would be soon!)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Centennial Celebration

I tell my kids on a regular basis that people are more important than things. I tell them this, because I believe it is true. Like most true things that I tell my kids, I also try to model them. This post marks the 100th here at Home School Dad. I have noticed many bloggers make a list of 100 things about them as their 100th post. Since I believe that people are more important than things I present for you . . .

100 People who have made an impact on my life
A few quick ground rules ...

A. This is not a ranking of the 100 people who most influenced my life.
B. These people are all people that I have met. These are not authors, artists, fly fisherman etc. who I have never interacted with personally.
C I am listing each person by first name, last initial and one piece of identifying information. This piece of information is not necessarily an explanation of their impact on me.
D. In cases where I know more than one person with the same first name and last initial I will not differentiate any further. SO, I don't want any comments like hey you said John S in # 27 and # 47. You only put 99 people not 100!
E. Finally, if you are reading this, know me personally and do not appear on this list. That does not mean you have had no impact on my life. I mean really Amy, maybe when I get to my 200th post you'll get a mention. Just Kidding! My lovely wife definitely made the list. If I would have made a list like this on my first post, She would make the list (of 1)!

No further explanation is needed (This much explanation was probably not needed) So without further adieu here is the list ...

1. Paul L - Who said opposites attract and then they grind.
2. Dave O. - Who was kind to me, when he didn't have to be, and most people weren't.
3. Geoff W. Who taught me that Turtle Soap really is best.
4. Jerome H. - Who showed me that people are worth the time.
5. Lisa B - With whom I discovered how giraffe's poop.
6. Carrie L. - Who may be the kindest person I know.
7. Sheryl R. who I used to listen to Lisa Whelchel records with.
8. Amy R. - Who said sure and meant it.
9. Dave I - Who taught me random.
10. Mark M -Who knows everybody.
11. Bob H - Who knows everyone else.
12. Chris H - Who hosted a weather talk show with me, in the dinner line at camp.
13. Steve K - who noticed I rode a 5 speed in a 10 speed world.
14 Dave R - Who took me to my first White Sox game.
15 Izola R- who knew me from the many.
16. Charlie R. who will invent so many things that people will say Thomas Alva who?
17. Melissa C. - Who plans her spontaneity.
18 Vladimir L. - who says I have the ministry of bad ideas (and is right).
19 Craig M - Who makes me seem normal.
20. Paul F. - Who was one of my first singing partners.
21. Mark M. - Who warned me against onus shifters.
22. Jeanne R - Who writes ourfamily history to the tunes of Christmas carols.
23 Bert F. - Who sold me my first car.
24. Emma R. Who will someday run a bunny farm.
25 Dominick A - Who showed me that life does not end when you lose your job.
26 Kathy A. - Who home schools her kids.
27. John S. - Who looked at a sports stadium and saw a field of souls.
28. Keith R. - Who never earned that 100 dollars but now has so much more!
29 Gordy J . - Who first called me Stroll.
30. Jon C. - who had a fellowship of the travelling pants moment with me, except the pants were a Ford Taurus.
31. Dan B. Who I will ask to write the foreword for the first book I ever write.
32. Terry N. - Who taught me that people who are a lot alike often dislike each other; then, when they are becoming friends one of them moves to Alaska (Okay, not all of them.)
33. Jeff C. - who never tried to be popular, and succeeded.
34. Brian M. - Who gave Amy and me great advice when he married us.
35. Chuck F. Who once made my wife the same kind of gift basket he made for Patti Labelle.
36 Tom M. - who never met a "quotation mark" he didn't like.
37 Dave H. Who lived with me and still likes me.
38. Bonnie R. - Who is much more capable than anyone thinks (including her.)
39. Rebecca C. - Who is as good of a friend there is.
40. Angela R. - Who introduced me to one of my favorite places (Stone Mountain),
41. Leanne P. - Who showed me that there are few things better than farm fresh boiled peanuts.
42 Harold H. Who knows everyone in Missouri.
43. Scott P. - Who taught me that a reputation is very difficult to lose.
44. Kim W. - Who made an eye emergency seem hilarious in retrospect.
45 Cynthia F. - Who missed a Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire game at Wrigley in '98 to visit with Amy and Me.
46. Alan J. - Who reminded me that life is an adventure.
47. John S. who took his passion and made it happen.
48. Kathy W. Who let me tag along.
49. Alec M. - Who showed me incredible kindness.
50. Lindy S. - Who showed me that politics and Christianity can mix.
51. Pat G - Who has given me new found appreciation for the Stevenson Expressway.
52 Don W. - Who writes just like he preaches.
53. Jeanette M - Who cared enough to knock.
54. Tab H. Who asked me what was wrong.
55. Diane I - Who taught me that p.k.'s are people too.
56 Phil B. - Who knows everyone in Mcdonough County.
57. Mary Jane W- Who is related to everyone in McDonough County (and outlying)
58 - Chris R. - Who is not my older brother, okay? Can we get together on this?, I am 18 months older!!!!!
Oh excuse me, I got a little carried away. Let's try 58 again:
58 - Chris R - Who is co-inventor of the best sport ever, garbage ball. Garbage ball season is any time you are supposed to be cleaning your room.
59. Lucy R - Who woke me up to play puppy on the floor.
60. Millard P. - Who taught me about valuing life, family and ministry.
61. Lisken S. - Whose dad is right, I am weird!
62. Laura R - Who kept my kids in vegetables.
63. Mike O - Who takes his Pinochle seriously.
64. Cassandra O - Who along with Mike and the rest of Roberts Road gave us an amazing Christmas gift.
65. Anna K - Who blesses my socks off.
66. - Pat G. Who takes scrabble as seriously as one should.
67. Gerald W. - Who continues family traditions.
68 John R. - Who taught me the power of a label maker.
69 Matthew M - Whose friendship I value more than his Dr. Who collection (He has every episode.)
70. Allen L. - Who made my 40th birthday party a musical event to be cherished always. (Thanks again Amy!!!!)
71. Donn A. - Who has held every job, except President ( and maybe that under an assumed name.)
72. Ed C. - Who's made our house, a gallery.
73. Sara C. - Who lets us watch their kids!
74. B. C. - Who sends us money on our birthdays and showers us with love the rest of the time.
75. Katie S. - Who gave a nine year old a shirt and then let me know where she bought it. Thanks for letting me do my own stunts!
76. Beth M - Who finally took my relationship advice.
77 Jimmy S - Who did the same.
78. Eileen F. - Who always spoke her mind.
79. Joe H. - Who called to say thanks.
80. Jeff W. - Who helped me through an emotional roller coaster with a story about roller coasters.
81. Dawny Jo C. - Who like many on this list disprove the notion that all of the good ones are taken.
82. Frank R. - Who knew me for our likenesses rather than our differences.
83. Joel A. - Who deftly mixes stand up comedy with biblical exposition (without a 2 drink minimum)
84. Vladimir L - Who made me feel like part of his family when I needed family the most.
85. Linda B - My first LTR, who introduced me to my First Love.
86. Jeff S. - Who put music to my lyrics.
87. Dale C - Who one mistook a grocery store for a jewelery store.
88. Kayrene A - Who knows more than any college could have taught her.
89. Roger J. - Who gave me my start in radio (if you call recording onto 8 tracks, radio).
90. Don B. - Who remembers W.H.E.N.
91. Mayn S. - Who provided for his family.
92. Jack C. - Who has the whole town talking about the Webb boys.
93. Dave D. Who I taught a Sunday school lesson on dating to and then gave him an exam when I double dated with him to his H.S. Homecoming dance.
94. Julie G. - Who was part of the trio "Just the Two of Us."
95. Beth G. - Who like my brother, left much too soon.
96. Judy M. - Who has the spiritual gift of Hospitality/Librarian.
97. Greg O. - Who is a kind sir.
98 Roy B - Who introduced me to my first LTR and equally as important brats boiled in beer.
99 Ray H. - Who shared a need, that God let me meet.
100. Steven W. - Who once asked my wife if I was funny. When my wife answered yes, he inquired about how often. Amy said about every 20 minutes.

So it took me a couple hours to write this, so I hope you laughed at leat 6 times. Some of you may recall that I promised give-a-ways galore in behalf of my 100th post. In short, I lied. If you expected sinless perfection you came to the wrong blog. I do have loads of stuff to give a way and will be doing so in subsequent posts. 100 has been awesome. I look forward to at least 6 or 7 more.

Next Time: The End of Blogging?

Friday, June 5, 2009

But Dad, You're not a girl!

Blog Insider - A look at the widgets, gadgets, and what nots of Home School Dad.

Tonight's Episode: Library Thing

A blog is a beautiful thing. What I especially like about blogs are all the cool little gimmicks and features around the posts. Early on in my career as blogger/crime fighter I discovered a cool little thing called Library Thing.

I originally saw it at one of my favorite blogs A Place Beneath. (I am not just saying that because she watched my kids yesterday when I went to the home school convention, but thanks!)
Library Thing is essentially a way to catalog your books and they can run a sidebar on your blog that always shows five random books from your library. The basic service is free. For cataloging over 100 books there is a fee.

But what does this have to do with me not being a girl? Excellent Question. The best thing about Library Thing is they give away new books! Cool, huh! It is a program called Early Reviewers. Each month several copies of soon to be released books are made available to Library Thing Members. As long as the book is available in your country, you can register for it. Sometimes there are 1,000 people vying for 20 books. What you are supposed to do if you win a book is read it and then review it. You can post the review at Library Thing or post it at your blog and link it at Library Thing. I have been trying since the January Bonus Batch to snag a book. No book in January nor in February but in March after registering for about 25 books, I won one!

It was this one. This prompted my three year old to speak this post's title when she saw me reading it last week.

Let me live up to my end of the bargain. Kathy's book is actually a pretty good starting point for Busy Moms trying to simplify their lives. Much of her advice is practical, and fairly solid. Much of this advice is not new and there is very little that seems revolutionary in her approach.

The chapters each have the same format. She will spend the first half of a chapter talking about the topic (money matters, happiness, safety etc.) She then presents general problems that Busy Moms would have within the topic and her solutions. I found this question and answer format initially engaging. As the book continued the format began to grate on me.

Another thing that grated on me was how she tries to pass herself off as a just like you mom when she constantly name drops through the entire book. Okay I appreciate how having a paper route taught you valuable life lessons. I had a paper route and it taught me the same. But not everybody gets insight from life at parties hosted by Erik Estrada with music provided by one of the Pointer Sisters.

Over all I did like this book. Since I am not a busy Mom I can't tell you how it's target audience feels about it. I am married to a busy Mom, who is going to provide her own review in a future post.

I also like Library Thing and would encourage anyone who has not yet joined to give it a try. I won a book in April as well (it can take 4-8 weeks to receive a book that you've won.) It is a book for single men. At least it's the right gender this time!
Next Time: A Centennial Celebration

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Last Weekend, This Weekend, and About a boy(cott).

It's almost Thursday and I have my three things in advance. Let's get to them shall we.

1. Of Tall Buildings and Birthdays.

I started telling you a few posts ago about my weekend. We certainly fit a 50 lb weekend in a 10 lb bag. We went to a marriage conference at out church on Saturday. It was very good. Amy and I certainly do have a lot we can work on. But as my last few posts, pointed out, we are both blessed to still be married to our best friend.

We had to cut out of the marriage conference before it ended in order to go to the airport. I had been told that a Russian friend of mine and a friend of hers were going to be in Chicago for a day and needed me to arrange a place for them to stay and to pick them up at the airport. In the two years that I had lived in Russia, I had learned always be prepared for anything. So I was not too surprised that instead of 1 friend, Marina had 9 Russian friends with her!

While I could only fit her and her friend Irina in my van(my family was filling up the other 5 seats.) I was able to make accommodations at the same motel as I had for Marina and Irina for her 8 other traveling companions. I got those 8 in a couple of cabs towards the motel.

We then asked Marina if she wanted to go to the motel or to go into the city. She said she wanted to go out in the city as today was her birthday. We went out to Chicago, to the John Hancock Building and went to the observatory.

It was a lovely evening and we had a spectacular view.

Going to the top was not inexpensive, so we did have Lucy wash a few windows to defray the costs.

When we got down from the observatory we had a fantastic dinner at The Cheesecake Factory which is located on the bottom floor of the Hancock.

The wait staff even came out and sang a birthday song for Marina. From top to bottom it was an excellent evening!

2. Home School Conference

This weekend is also a pretty big to-do. The Home School Convention is a major part of our planning for the next school year. There are excellent seminars to choose from, some great main session speakers, and the big draw, the vendor hall. Imagine Sam's Club filled with Home School products and you have an idea what the vendor hall feels like. We generally plan our curriculum for the coming year and purchase it (generally at the best prices of the year) at the convention. This year we have some Konos material that we bought a few years back and have not yet used. This will probably be a large part of the curriculum but there are still a few other things to figure out.

Speaking of Konos, Jessica Hulcy, of Konos, was supposed to be a speaker at the convention this year. As many of you may already know, she was involved in a major car accident between her and a fire truck. You can get more information on her condition by clicking here. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.

If you are interested in further convention info, the organizers will be blogging live from the conference.

3. There's Nothing Wrong With Esther.

A dear friend of mine recently joined a group on facebook. The group exists to encourage a boycott of the upcoming Warner Brothers film Orphan. The movie is in the horror/slasher genre. According to the group description, the film perpetuates misrepresentations of adoption, and it serves to reinforce the perception that older adoptees are very troubled.

Now, I am always good for a boycott, or any other kind of principled stand against wrong thinking or action. The problem is, I have never seen a horror/ slasher film, and I cannot think of any scenario whereupon I would. So you could say that I am already boycotting the genre. So how can I kick Warner Brothers in the pocket book when none of my money is heading in that direction? I can appeal to you the horror/slasher movie people out here in the blogosphere. If you see 17 horror/slasher films this year do not see Orphan. See Saw. I can't reccomend that film, I just wanted to say seesaw. Also let Warner Brothers know that you are not interested in seeing a film like this, by joining the group on facebook, or by going to Petition Spot and signing the similar petion there.

Those are my Three Things This Thursday. Join Michelle at Psalm 104:24 for more three entertainment.

Next Time: But Dad, You're not a Girl!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A handful of salt when a pinch will do

So as for yesterdays post, many of you may be wondering. Why did you dedicate that song to Amy, when you were only friends. Well mainly because our friendship was the perfect blendship (There's a Broadway song there for the taking, it's so good you could use it on Brady Bunch). But particularly because Amy gave me the title for the song. I would often get 3-4 letters a week from Amy, when I was in Russia. I would send her about the same in return. Again for those playing at home, this would be a clear indication that there was something deeper than friendship growing. Amy and I weren't getting that vibe. We were just writing a lot of letters.

Now, I, over the years, have had many "friendships" with girls that I wanted to be more. This was not the case with Amy, I was very satisfied with just being her friend. In fact, my only fear was that someday she might fall in love with me jeopardizing our friendship. I mean, I am the perfect blend of Tom Cruise, Tim Hutton and just a pip of Denzel rolled into one handsome man. I took my fears and made them a joke. I would say things like "no falling in love with me today." when we were driving home for spring break.

Well I am a little off point. But I wanted to give you guys some deep background. Now that we have established are bff status, let me tell you about the letters.

One letter in particular was a symphony of silliness. At the end she waxed poetically about how much she liked me. You're like a handful of salt when a pinch will do, she mused. You're like a rainy day in June. Well I took that sentiment and ran with it, with the song I introduced last post.

Next Time:Last Weekend, This Weekend

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rainy Days in June

I know I promised to continue to blog about my weekend. I will continue with that in a few days. For now the weather outside, albeit not frightful, has dictated my next few posts. I hope you enjoy them.

Amy and I weren't always the mom and pop operation that stands before you today. No, for the first seven years I knew her, we were "just friend's". The thing is, nobody believed it, except us. Everyone fully expected us to get the memo and get married. It is kind of hard to believe, especially when in 1993 I wrote her a love song. Now before you say "you did what?!!?!??!" Let me just say that Amy and I communicated a lot by songs in the early stages of our friendship. Like this little ditty I wrote for her in 1990 or 1991

Amy, as I come to an end to this song.
Please get me right, don't get me wrong.
In baseball's hall of fame you really don't belong
'cause after all you're just a girl.

Now at the time, A League of Their Own had not yet come out, so I was blissfully unaware that Women (or known girls) were already in baseball's hall of fame.

When I was in Russia in 1993, it was early April and I was going to visit one of my students. I was walking to my bus and it was raining. This song came to me which I dedicated to Amy and then recorded for her on my portable cassette player and mailed it off to her.

I didn't think of it as a love song as much as a friendship song although the lyrics I love you are right there. But in dedication to this first rainy day in June and to the best wife a guy could ever be best friends with is that smash of the mid '90s, Rainy Day in June

Rainy days in April almost every day.
Rainy days in April, flowers come in May.
Rainy days in May, they're are still a few
But I love a rainy day in June spent with you

Rainy days in June, baseball gets delayed
If it's really pouring some games don't get played
Though I'd miss my baseball I will tell you true
I prefer a rainy day in June spent with you.

Though you can't predict them like these April showers
And you sure can't pick them like the sweet May flowers
If I could choose my favorite time of year, and the weather too.
I would pick a rainy day in June spent with you.

Aim I miss you dearly
I wish you were nearer
We still get some rain here
Here in sweet Siberia
So when the rain comes falling
In April, May or September
Rainy days in June and you I will remember

(Musical Interlude)

Though you can't predict them like these April Showers
And you sure can't pick them like the sweet may flowers
If I could sing of my favorite time of year and the weather, too
I would sing of rainy days in June spent with you

I love rainy days in June and I love you

(repeats indistinctly)

Next Time: A handful of salt when a pinch will do

A to Z 2023 Road Trip

#AtoZChallenge 2023 RoadTrip