Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Festval of Nations

On Wednesday, close to noon, I found myself frying and flipping a gluten-free adaptation of Palacsinta (Pa-la-cheen-ta), a Hungarian version of the French Crepe. They taste best nice and warm, you know! The fourth graders at my youngest daughter's school were hosting a Festival of Nations, and it was to begin at 1 that afternoon.

Since I am a full-blooded Hungarian (but born in the states!), Hannah decided to do Hungary for her presentation. Treasured embroidery (hímés) I've never let out of my possession before were entrusted with my 10 year old who treated them with respect.

My Dad's cousin in Hungary had embroidered and sent both me and my sister beautiful pillow cases, doilies, and runners as wedding gifts. Years earlier, a former neighbor brought back small decorative embroidered photo albums from Hungary as souvenirs for us, as well. These are what Hannah displayed.

Hannah's neighbor (at the event) and friend, Phil, who is 50 percent Syrian, did Syria. It was really interesting! You read of Syria and Damascus in the Bible, but I never realized how close it really is to eastern Europe, namely Hungary! The other interesting tidbit I learned about this country was it's flag. The green star on the left represents Syria, and the one on the right, Egypt.

Another really interesting and colorful display was Hannah's friend Shanzay's. She did hers on Pakistan. Shanzay wore a beautiful Pakistani costume, and had some interesting props from her country.

Italy, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, France, Sweden, and several other countries were also represented by the students. Ethnic foods were served at many of these stations, adding to the lure of this event which was open to families and friends, as well as to the students and staff at the school.

There were lots of really interesting exhibits the students presented, each with engaging and unique personal stories they asked if they could share. My only regret was that I was not able to hear them all! --LKR

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Do Your Exercises!!!

These are my youngest daughter's x-rays. Can you see the difference? In less than one year, the curvature of Hannah's back went from 11 to 15 degrees! While this still isn't too bad, it has the potential to get much worse. As a 10 year old, she'll be going through another growth spurt, soon, which could make things even more dramatic--and traumatic--very quickly.

As you would expect, a young child doesn't always take things seriously enough. (Adults don't always, either!) However, when Hannah saw this, no sooner had we walked through the door, she was on her balance ball, exercising. She did not want her scoliosis to get worse.

Recently, two friends' children went in for surgery to correct this. When I was growing up, another friend's sister showed me the brace she wore under her clothes. It looked awfully uncomfortable, but was worth it, she said. Another friend refused to ever do anything, and is severely deformed.

My sister was fortunate, and her scoliosis never got worse. Perhaps it was that she was athletic and had strengthened and stretched the right muscles.

Scoliosis is treatable, and the earlier it is detected, the better chances for exercises and chiropractic manipulations to correct the problem relatively easily. If you've been given exercises, please do them!!! And if you're at the point where either a brace or surgery is needed, seriously consider it. Your whole body will thank you! --LKR

Monday, April 28, 2008

Crystal Cave

Welcome to...

Crystal Cave!!!

These photos were taken at today's awesome field trip to Crystal Cave in Spring Valley, WI. This was my third trip there, and I think it was the best one ever! We had an excellent guide who was super with the kids and his knowledge about this cave. Chris is only 17 years old and is homeschooled. He told me he was so thrilled for the opportunity to have this job, which the adults I spoke with agreed suit him quite well!

Descending down into the cave... .
It's over 70 feet deep, and is the safest place to be during an earthquake, something that has me perplexed... . Anyone know why this is true???
Two little bats hanging outCute little faces!A different species of bat!

Cool shapeStalactites and Stalagmites
A way to remember which is which:
stalactites hang on tight to the ceiling,
and stalagmites might possibly reach the ceiling of the cave
You can also see what's called a bacon formation on the top right side of this picture.
Cool, huh???
Soda Straws
Can you see them dripping?
I was told this is one of the most photographed formations in the cave.
A fossil on the cave's floor in one of the roomsThis is actually the underside of an old mud puddle!!!
The Refrigerator
Can you see the hanging carrot (top left center), the soda bottle, and two glasses next to it??? There are also two straws, but they are harder to point out.
Use your imagination, and you can see more!

The Wishing Room
A section of a wishing wall

No, I didn't post any pics of the famous Charlie. You need to see it for yourself, and hear the story that goes along with it! Honestly, if you are ever in Eau Claire or the Twin City area, this cave is worth the trip!

Who'da Thought...

Whoa--am I dreaming???

Can you believe it???

The 28th day of April greeted us with heavily laden Evergreen boughs, about 6″on our deck's railing, chairs, and grill with heavy wet snow!!! Thankfully, there was only about 2" to trudge through in the yard, which was tolerable to both me and poochie. The roads were all clear--no shoveling needed, so this was a dream snowfall!
It was 31 degrees @ 7am, and our hummingbird feeder was frozen. Fortunately, no hummers have been spotted in Eau Claire as of yet, according to Journey North.
In 2002, a record was set when 3" of snow fell in town. Depending on where the snow was measured, we very well may have set a new record for this date!

Driving into town, it was interesting to see grass sticking up through the snow. There were even patches of green under several trees! But, it was really strange--in Spring Valley, about 45 minutes west of us, there were no traces of snow!!!

Unfortunately, I didn't have much time for a photo shoot. Some were shot through windows, and a few more were taken as I was heading for the school, early this morning. --LKR

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Tick Trip

Hi, it's me, Mister Poochie!

Mom and I were out at Lowes Creek County Park, today. It was fun fun fun! As Mom pointed out, everything is coming back to life after a very long cold winter, it is. There were buds on trees and bushes, and plenty of green along some of the trails.

We saw a dragonfly, oh, and a mourning cloak butterfly! It took a liking to me and followed after us, it did! Mom said we were probably in its territory and was checking me out, it was.

On Ridgeline Trail, we saw a turkey, we did. It flew over the creek right toward us! I wanted to make nice to it, but Mom told me to "leave it", she did. I'm a good boy, so I left it, I did.

Mom decided to lead along a less traveled trail you need a machete to walk through during the summer months. This path follows along the water's edge before stopping at a bend in the winding creek. I got a nice long drink of cool cool water, I did, and splashed around. This was while Mom took pictures of what I thought were funny looking insects. I pulled her, and she pulled me. I need a longer leash, I do!

There were also lots and lots of deer tracks all over, there were. It must be a popular place for them to cross over to the other side, Mom said. I sniff sniff sniffed. No one I recognized, this time! I know many deer that come through our yard, I do--at least by scent!

Walking back to the trail we strayed from, Mom stopped to flick a tick from her shoulder. Then she looked down at her legs, she did. I did too, and uh oh! A steady stream of ticks was crawling up both her legs, they were! Quickly and calmly she flick flick flicked them off one by one. Through it all, she seemed strangely amused, she did, but that is Mom. I lost count after 30, I did. I would not want that many on me, oh no!

We went home and Mom started dinner, she did. Many times she stopped, plucked off, and drowned even more ticks. Mom later told Alpha she found a dozen more on her after we got home. Thankfully Mom only found two on me! --Mister Poochie

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday's Song

Glory to His Name
(Down at the Cross)

Down at the cross where my Savior died
Down where for cleansing from sin I cried
There to my heart was the blood applied
Glory to His Name!

Glory to His Name, glory to His Name
There to my heart was the blood applied
Glory to His Name!

I am so wondrously saved from sin
Jesus so sweetly abides within
There at the cross where He took me in
Glory to His Name!

Glory to His Name, glory to His Name
There to my heart was the blood applied
Glory to His Name!

Oh, precious fountain that saves from sin
I am so glad I have entered in
There Jesus saves me and keeps me clean
Glory to His Name!

Glory to His Name, glory to His Name
There to my heart was the blood applied
Glory to His Name!

Come to this fountain so rich and sweet
Cast thy poor soul at the Savior's feet
Plunge in today, and be made complete
Glory to His Name!

Glory to His Name, glory to His Name
There to my heart was the blood applied
Glory to His Name!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday's Song

O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of Thy name.

Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’Tis life, and health, and peace.

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.

He speaks, and, listening to His voice,
New life the dead receive,
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
The humble poor believe.

Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb,
Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your Savior come,
And leap, ye lame, for joy.

In Christ your Head, you then shall know,
Shall feel your sins forgiven;
Anticipate your heaven below,
And own that love is heaven.

Glory to God, and praise and love
Be ever, ever given,
By saints below and saints above,
The church in earth and heaven.

On this glad day the glorious Sun
Of Righteousness arose;
On my benighted soul He shone
And filled it with repose.

Sudden expired the legal strife,
’Twas then I ceased to grieve;
My second, real, living life
I then began to live.

Then with my heart I first believed,
Believed with faith divine,
Power with the Holy Ghost received
To call the Savior mine.

I felt my Lord’s atoning blood
Close to my soul applied;
Me, me He loved, the Son of God,
For me, for me He died!

I found and owned His promise true,
Ascertained of my part,
My pardon passed in heaven I knew
When written on my heart.

Look unto Him, ye nations, own
Your God, ye fallen race;
Look, and be saved through faith alone,
Be justified by grace.

See all your sins on Jesus laid:
The Lamb of God was slain,
His soul was once an offering made
For every soul of man.

Awake from guilty nature’s sleep,
And Christ shall give you light,
Cast all your sins into the deep,
And wash the Æthiop white.

Harlots and publicans and thieves
In holy triumph join!
Saved is the sinner that believes
From crimes as great as mine.

Murderers and all ye hellish crew
In holy triumph join!
Believe the Savior died for you;
For me the Savior died.

With me, your chief, ye then shall know,
Shall feel your sins forgiven;
Anticipate your heaven below,
And own that love is heaven.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

What Happened to April Showers?

If April showers bring May flowers, what will snow storms bring? Many of us in northern Wisconsin are left wondering.

Hayward, WI received at least 11 inches of snow, yesterday, with a snow advisory still in effect 'til later this evening. Here in Eau Claire, we only had enough to cover up any signs of spring.

Not that any of this is going to last, but when you are looking forward to something and it gets delayed, it can be a bit disheartening.
Mother Nature, after all, should not be tossing snowflakes and hurling hail at us, this time of year! It's just not in compliance with the laws of the land many of us would like to believe exists. Hummm--and some scientists still believe we have global warming? I think not!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Here We Go Again!!!

The gusty winds are howling, and the presence of snow mixed with rain and sleet is threatening the very nature of spring! NOAA Weather Radio has cautioned it's listeners to make sure we're all still prepared for winter conditions.

Last night, possible blizzards were being predicted for the Duluth area. Closer to home, they're now saying we could get up to 5" of snow on Friday!!! While that remains to be seen, fellow cheeseheads are heeding the warning and have cancilled soccer games that were scheduled for Saturday.

I'm no where near as seasoned as the cheddarheads living up here in the north their whole lives, so I'll follow suit. I'd like to tell myself this is all a bad dream, or maybe click my heels together and whisper, "there's no place like home," but the cold sharp winds encountered when I brought poochie in was a rude awakening.

My kids ran all the way home from the bus stop after school. "It's hailing and snowing, and it hurts when it hits you!" they shrieked. And to think, my son almost left the house this morning wearing shorts!!! --LKR

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunday's Song

All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name

All hail the power of Jesus’ Name! Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.

Let highborn seraphs tune the lyre, and as they tune it, fall
Before His face Who tunes their choir, and crown Him Lord of all.
Before His face Who tunes their choir, and crown Him Lord of all.

Crown Him, ye morning stars of light, Who fixed this floating ball;
Now hail the strength of Israel’s might, and crown Him Lord of all.
Now hail the strength of Israel’s might, and crown Him Lord of all.

Crown Him, ye martyrs of your God, who from His altar call;
Extol the Stem of Jesse’s Rod, and crown Him Lord of all.
Extol the Stem of Jesse’s Rod, and crown Him Lord of all.

Ye seed of Israel’s chosen race, ye ransomed from the fall,
Hail Him Who saves you by His grace, and crown Him Lord of all.
Hail Him Who saves you by His grace, and crown Him Lord of all.

Hail Him, ye heirs of David’s line, Whom David Lord did call,
The God incarnate, Man divine, and crown Him Lord of all,
The God incarnate, Man divine, and crown Him Lord of all.

Sinners, whose love can ne’er forget the wormwood and the gall,
Go spread your trophies at His feet, and crown Him Lord of all.
Go spread your trophies at His feet, and crown Him Lord of all.

Let every tribe and every tongue before Him prostrate fall
And shout in universal song the crownèd Lord of all.
And shout in universal song the crownèd Lord of all.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

More Signs of Spring

Lovely crocus in greater numbers than the year before brighten the day!So far, the rabbits and deer have spared these tulips... !Mole and mice tunnels and holes are revealed after the snow and ice have melted.
Several of these little beetles were scurrying around on the ground throughout our yard. When I was younger, I used to love to play with them! Fess time: I still do!!!
A flock of geese flying up above. A raptor, probably a red-tailed hawk, was later flying around, too. Sandhill cranes also flew overhead, this afternoon! A few weeks ago when we were in Chicago, I saw a flock flying way up high as we were driving into the city.
This is the second hummer's nest in the three and a half years we've lived here that I've found in our low growing, fragrant mock orange bush. Mock orange is a super butterfly magnet in the spring, as are lilacs!
A very skinny robin in search of food among patches of snow.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Spring Has Sprung!!!

Yeay, spring is finally here!!! Yesterday's 5" of snow has been melting all day, today! The frozen tundra is finally thawing!!!

Stepping out onto our deck, my eyes were drawn to a bright splash of color. Doing a double take, I found myself beholding a beautiful patch of purple crocuses!

We've been covered in a blanket of white snow since November, so it was rather shocking to see something other than blinding white (when the sun is shining!), black pavement, brown mud (just recently!), or the green of pines.

I can't wait to see more color! --LKR

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

No Foolin'!

It had snowed all day, yesterday, with more snow in the forecast all through the night. To be on the safe side, I tuned into the morning news. "All Eau Claire, Menomonie, and Chippewa Falls schools are closed," reported one radio station. This being April Fool's Day, I tuned into another station. (I later found out I wasn't the only one who did this!!!) They said the same thing. It was no joke--this was another snow day!

My kids spent yet another (boring) day at home watching movies and playing computer games 'til I finally kicked them out of the house for some fresh air. These two snowmen will not last long!!! --LKR