Tuesday, April 18, 2017

FHE: Amara's Key's of History Scripture Stories Game

 So, this family night was a couple months ago, but Amara was really creative and made a fun game for us to play, modeled after a timed trivia game we play for our history curriculum.  The game board is a circle with spaces that have different events or items from the scriptures on them.  On your turn, you simply roll the dice, move your piece and answer the fill-in-the-blank trivia card associated with the space you landed on.
Game setup

The cards had the topic and picture on one side...
Front view of the cards
 ... and the fill-in-the-blank trivia on the other side.  If you got the answers correct, you got to keep the card and put a marker (yellow skittle) on that space to mark it out of play.  If you didn't get the answers correct, someone else would have the chance to get that card if they land on that space.
The back side of the cards.   

the game board
 We had a lot of fun playing that game, and I saved it in case we want to play it again someday!

For dessert, there was microwave mug cakes with whip cream and sprinkles.  I love family home evenings!

Flood In The Crawlspace

We had a lot of water this past year, and lots of snow this winter.  In February the weather began to warm up and there was all kinds of muddy floods in the neighborhood, our front yard also had standing water beneath the snow that was melting.   Around then, our toilets were flushing funny. If you flushed one toilet, the other one would empty. So, I called my neighbor, Lloyd, an ex-plumber, and he said he'd bring his boy by after school and see if they could help. 

You may remember Lloyd because he's our angel that helped us get our yard all nice. He has a bad back, so he couldn't investigate, but his boy could, and did.  Well, we discovered that the sewer pump was floating in our crawlspace which caused our main drain pipe to angle upward, thus causing our flushing issues. 

That pipe in the picture above should be resting in that strap hanging from the joists. 

So our plan of attack was to pump the water out of the hole the sewer pump sits in, then anchor it down by shoving a board from the floor above onto the sewer pump below. 

We borrowed a pump from Debbie, one of the sisters I visit teach. We pumped and pumped, about an hour and a half later, Lloyd's son took a shovel and went to work removing and maneuvering mud so the pump was at the right level.

In the meantime, the main sewer pipe busted from all the pressure on it. So, we tried not to use water in the house while we got that mini crisis fixed, which Lloyd's son handled practically on his own, mind you he's doing this all for free and he's only a young teen. I can't tell you how thoroughly impressed I am with him!  And I'm so grateful for all the help and expertise offered to us from everyone. 

Eventually, we got the sewer pump in place and anchored down. The only thing left to do was to pump and pump until the ground water got low enough that we could install a sump pump.  

Below you'll see the water level on April, the highest we have seen it. 

And below is a picture from April 10, the water level much improved. 

Here we are months later and we are still waiting for that day, although it does seem that it is coming nearer, since we haven't had a rain storm for over a week now. Yes, we're still using that borrowed pump everyday to pump out the pit. 

I've been trying to stay really positive through this entire ordeal because there's no need to make a bad situation worse with your own misery, and I even set up some lawn chairs next to our mini underground ponds so I could comfortably wait for the pump to drain the pit. Amara even joined me one morning and we did her math lakeside with the roaring hum of the pump in the background.

I'm happy to report that things are looking up for us and we even have a couple neighbors who offered to help us install the sump pump when the time comes. 

We haven't investigated damages yet, but we will cross that bridge when the time comes. Until then, wish us happy pumping!

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Chocolate Covered Fudge Egg Legacy

I've always had homemade chocolate-covered fudge eggs for Easter thanks to the family tradition my grandma started when my dad was a boy. On Easter Eve this year, this tradition brought together 4 generations as my grandma piped the frosting leaves, my dad piped the names and flowers, my sisters hand-dipped the fudge, and my nephew scraped the chocolate from the bowl and straight into his mouth! 

My dad remembers always having a chocolate covered fudge egg in his Easter basket that his mom would lovingly make for them every year.  As we were talking about it the other day, my dad reminisced about the time his mom made these fudge eggs for a fund raiser to build a new church building in Guam. He said she worked so hard and packed them perfectly into coolers to take and sell. As they heaved the coolers from the warm car, the handle slipped, and down it went with a crash. His mom was mortified. They gently picked up the cooler and lifted the lid, and beneath was the aftermath of a chocolate egg hailstorm. She was distraught. 

 Dad says he thinks she cried, but didn't just toss it all to the birds, she carefully took each egg and repaired what she could and did her best to redeem them from their fall.  Smashed icing was carefully removed and new icing could make the eggs look new again. All was not lost, and thanks to her contributions, a new church building was funded!  

My grandma is a remarkable woman who cares deeply for her family and puts her heart into creating a beautiful and memorable life for her children, and grandchildren might I add.  My dad is no different. Not only did these eggs never miss an Easter appearance at our house growing up, the neighbors also looked forward to the ones we would bring them. 

I also remember one year my parents took orders from the neighbors and sold these eggs to earn a little extra money. According to my mom, they were "so much work, and so much pressure" that they only did that the one time. However, the neighbors praised my dad up and down and hinted they'd like more, but my mom tried to reason with him that he was killing himself trying to fill everyone's hopes for an egg. 

Even with the fewer fudge eggs, my dad still pumps out several dozen of these every year, and they're still a lot of work.  It is recipes like this that are more than just substance, they carry emotion with every bite. You can truly taste the labor and love that went into bringing your mouth a little morsel of heaven.  

Thanks be to God for families and to Jesus Christ who made it possible for us all to be together for eternity!  Happy Easter!  

P.S. There will be fudge eggs in heaven, I'm pretty certain.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spring Is Nature's Poetry

I love the blooms of spring!  All the photos featured in this post show some of the springtime blooms at Grandma and Grandpa Christensens house.  Here's a little part of a poem my daughters recite:

Afternoon on a Hill
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I will be the gladdest thing under the sun, 
I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one, 
I will watch the cliff and clouds with quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass and the grass rise,

And when the lights begin to show
up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine
and then start down.

We learn pretty poetry as part of our grammar studies, and I love to hear my sweet daughters voices as they recite. Ask them for a poem some time. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tommy Is A Big Helper

I had to capture this moment when Tommy agreed to help me with my hair a few weeks ago. April and her family surprised us one Monday when her husband and his dad and brother came up this way to go fishing. So we got to spend a few hours with them that day, and it was wonderful! This brushing hair episode happenned before that though, it was a week or two before that.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Cute Cousins

Amara and Tommy FaceTiming a couple years ago. Aren't they precious?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Crazy Christensens Bean Boozled

For Christmas, Steve got a game called Bean Boozled. It is basically a small box filled with Jelly Bellies that are different flavors; some are delicious; some are disgusting! The tricky part is that you don't know which flavor you are going to get.  You spin a spinner which tells you what color to pick, then you get that color and it will either be good or gross.  You may get lime or lawn clippings. Peach or barf. Strawberry-banana smoothie or dead fish.

One family night in January, Steve was in charge and he did a lesson about our agency and the gift we have to choose for ourselves. The lesson was wonderful! He went over 4 things that must be present for agency to be in effect: 1- a choice, 2- opposition, 3- knowledge, 4- law.  He used coins and a volunteer to demonstrate those principles in a great object lesson.

And later, for the game, he broke out the Bean Boozled game!

And my mom went first!

Good times!  Now watch the girls in action!  Is it coconut or spoiled milk?