Jeneric Jeneralities ~ by JenIG

Ok, first…. A disclaimer: 

I was in the kitchen doing my dishes and feeling rather blissful at how easy dishwashing had become since I bought a certain little scrubby soap dispenser gadget for about $3 at Walmart.  During my great joy, I felt compelled to share this great dishwashing find on my blog pg.  Thus, I asked Ryann for her camera and snapped a picture of my little Scrubby Friend. 

Of course nosey Ryann wanted to know what I was doing, so I told her.  My brilliant future film-maker lit up, and said that it would be a much better idea if I was to show how good the Scrubby Friend was by doing before and after shots. 

I declined.  She persisted.  I called it the dumbest idea I’d ever heard.  She persevered with a phrase that always makes me succumb to very dumb ideas (like swinging on tree swings and going camping).  The phrase? It’s: “Oh mom, come on, it’ll be great memories”.  Sigh.  So I figured if I was going to act out Ryann’s little play I would do it with gusto.  So, here for your viewing pleasure, we (un)proudly present: 

 The Life Changing Effects of Scrubby Dish Gadgets


Here is poor Mrs. Dishwasher with only a lone dish rag to scour away layers of muckity-muck.


But hark, what’s this?  What could this be, which hath suddenly and magically appeared on yonder sink ledge?!

"traaaaaa ling!" 

 Oh, the bliss! The joy! The immediate miraculous changes that a little Scrubby Dish Gadget can make in an instant!


 (yes, this may be the dumbest thing ever posted by any living human.  And yes, Annemarie, that is your dress. The one I borrowed last year and never gave back.)

 Here is a behind the scenes shot when nobody realized the camera was still rolling:  

 "Get back to your room, you snivelling rodent children! You’re ruining my big film debut!" followed, of course, by several sharp, skull cracking, rolling-pin whacks

Thank you for suffering thru our presentation.  You’ll be happy to know that there are no plans for a sequel.

March 29th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

March 27th, 2007

I forgot that I had allergies.  I was rudely reminded yesterday en route to the Sevier County homeschool baseball game.

And even now, my eyes are all gummy.  Gross.  How can it be allergy season already? It just leapt straight from Winter to Summer around here.  It was 85 degrees yesterday — 20 degrees hotter than where we lived in California (I still listen to the news over there).  I feel so gyped.

Can You Come to A.T.I.C. ?    Maria is letting me help with a very excellent event in May, so if you live anywhere near Sevierville, I hope you can make it!  When we were in Ca, once a month our church would put out about eight tables — one for infant clothes, two for boys clothes (sorted by size), two for girls clothes, one for womens clothing and another for mens, and a table for household stuff, like lamps, curtains, pots and pans, toys, books, etc.  And then after church the moms would browse thru and take whatever they needed.  It was a great way for everybody to clean out their closets and de-clutter and at the same time bless others (and themselves).  It was ‘All Things In Common’ (A.T.I.C) based on the verse in Acts: 2:44 "All who believed were together and had all things in common".  neat, eh? Try to make it!

My son, James, loves to read books; he’ll sit forever reading a stack of ’em.  Lately when he finishes a book, he closes it and instead of saying, "the end" he proclaims: "Amen". Isn’t that cute? I will miss him when he is not this little anymore… 

March 27th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

March 23rd, 2007
Bubsy the Birthday Boy

My incredible son, Bo, turns 10 today.  I cannot express how much I love this boy.  He is probably the closest earthly thing there is to “a perfect son”.  What a blessed momsie I am; it is handy that he is my oldest son because he has been key in influencing and encouraging his younger brothers to be strong, honest, hardworking, kind (hyper) godly boys. 

He is also very very strange.  This is him a couple days ago playing on the tree swing after he had gone swimming in our muddy pond.  What is it about kids and swimming? He and Emmiko and Dippy ask every day.  It could be 20 below and they’d still be willing to paddle around in anything that holds water.  

 Happy Birthday, Bubsy!

It’s been another busy week.  Five more little chickies hatched (we’ve now hatched a total of 27 chickies in our incubator – and all 27 are still alive!) AND guess what we’ve been drinking? Um, nevermind, don’t guess, I’ll just tell you: GOAT MILK. My family *loves* it.  It tastes just like store milk (sweet even) and even better than the cow milk we were getting.  Actually, I don’t know this personally — I’m the only one in the family who hasn’t tried it.  But I have used it to cook with, so that should count for something.  Coie got this goat milking contraption that makes it entirely non-gross (no stuff falling into the milk) and then she puts the milk in the freezer right away.  Dippy asked if we had gotten “Sugar Goats”.

 I love that fact that I don’t have to buy milk and/or eggs anymore, and that we are able to cook up our own chickens.  You have to admit… that is *very* cool.

And this Sunday we are starting a New Members class at a church in Maryville.  When we first moved to TN we attended this same church for a little while, and we really really liked it, but kept trying to find something closer to us.  It is an hour away, but we are excited about becoming a part of this body of believers.  We had a chance to meet with the pastor and his wife, and they are precious.  We have a lot in common with them, (doctrinally, similar philosophies and plus, they are fellow California transplants) The last two Sundays (and this upcoming Sunday) we have been invited to share meals with people in the congregation. What a sweet group of brothers and sisters!  Geoff has joined their Monday Men’s Group and has been very blessed by the godly, mature men who are a part of it.  So that has been exciting for us.  Are you in a good church?  Corporate Worship is a picture of what eternity will be.  Someday we will all be all together, worshipping around the throne.  Not as individuals who are separately doing their own thing, but coming together as one body, united in Christ by His love and  His truth and His grace – especially by His grace.  

March 23rd, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

I am so thankful for the ladies in my bible study group.  I hope that you have friends in your life who speak truth and encouragement into your life.  What a blessing Christian fellowship is.  It is so easy to neglect, but we were intended to truly operate as a body – interacting with others who love Him.  If you are planning to start a bible study, I highly recommend the study resources by John MacArthur.

Minutes after I got home, I was changing my clothes (in my closet) and I heard a commotion in the dining room.  I only caught the last part of my husband bellowing, “No James, you CANNOT pee in the crockpot”.  Okaaaaaaaaaay, that was more than enough reason for me to take my sweet time locked away in the room.  


Please tell me I do not have the only 3 and a half year old who does stuff like that….


March 21st, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

March 17th, 2007
Mmmmm, Mmmmm, Chicken…

Believe it or not, this was not as disgusting as you would think. 

Yesterday was butchering day. Geoff, Coie and Ryann took down five roosters, and two are simmering (as we speak) in the crock pot with garlic and Italian seasonings.  You’ll be proud to know that even I got in on the action.  I rinsed them off after they brought them into the kitchen.  Not bad for a California girl, eh?


I am sure that Coie and Ryann will soon have exceptionally disgusting, gory, step by step snapshots of all that was involved, but this is as grodie as I will let my blog get.  I promise. 

And as a side note, I’d like to state that the Mr. and Mrs. B that Coie talks about in her latest post are *not* our dear friends the Burggrafs (besides, they are not in their 70’s and they are the exact opposite of what Coie is describing).  It is a great post tho.  What a proud momsie I am.


March 17th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

March 14th, 2007
"Life Learning"

Education is most effective when it is lived.

I truly believe this.  When I look back on this last year, it is interesting to note that despite the significant lack of “table and workbook” teaching, my children have learned more than they ever have before.  I wish that everybody had the benefit of ‘farm life’ – no matter how limited it may be.  Honestly, working together as a family is a rich and meaningful way for children (and parents!) to grow.  And you don’t need a farm for this sort of learning, any family project would do. As a matter of fact, my friend, Jacque has a great easy gardening project that any family could do.

I’ve always wanted to be more of an unschooler, but have never had the confidence to break out of the mold. My definition of unschooling doesn’t mean replacing academics with ‘hands on projects’.  My kids are still learning to identify prepositional phrases and compound verbs and infinitives within a sentence, and they are also acquiring needed math skills, etc.  I guess what I am discovering is that I can choose the context in which they learn – learning while living or learning while chained to the table.  I am thankful that we’ve had the opportunity to see our kids thrive this year with the former model.  What a blessing. 

Why is this working so well for us?  I believe relationship is the key.  And isn’t that the same model we have with our Lord?  It all starts with relationship – not a list of do’s and don’ts.  It is about us fully looking into His face, loving Him, seeking Him, and longing to obey and do right because we love Him – because we know Him.  If relationship is our foundation with our Lord and with our family, life becomes sweet and fully satisfying – Relationship will cause us to want to obey and learn more about our Lord in the same way our relationship will cause our children to want to obey their parents and trust that what we are teaching them is right and good.  

What a good and loving Lord we serve.  I hope you have a blessed week as you serve your family and our Lord.

Coie and her Daddems making a door frame for the greenhouse

The finished product! The back door of the green house opens into our basement, where there is a sink for washing veggies (when the time comes)

We were blessed with a ton of racks, which Geoff lined up in the inside.  This is a perfect set up for me.  My husband is so brilliant.  What a wonderful gift.

March 14th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

These last couple of days have been crazy busy with setting up our garden plot, picking up loads of compost (the stuff smells nasty but it is known to make plants yield enormous amounts of excellent vegetables), building a greenhouse, building a milk stand for Coie’s goat, raking out the barn, plus Geoff built me the most charming cedar garden bench for me to sit on that you’ve ever seen.  I am excited about the memories we are building with our kids.  It’s been a *lot* of work, which has been nice. There’s something satisfying about having sore muscles.


Here are me and the kids building our garden.  I learned that putting newspaper down will control weeds, and it attracts worms.  Worms in a garden is a good thing, just in case you city folks were a’wondrin.


 After the paper is down(and nice and soaked) then you throw some of that miracle magic manure on top of it.  That was a lot of work.  Geoff did most of the work, however, since he’s not in these pictures I will take all of the credit.  And yes, I am wearing my pajamas with my work boots.


I will post pictures when it’s done.

As lovely as all that was, things got even better because of the many blessings we received over the last couple of days.  It started on Thursday morning.  We got an email about a Pyrenees dog.  My husband has been searching for a Pyrenees ever since we moved here.  We knew we would have to pay around $200 or $300 if we wanted a full Pyrenees, but good gravey, who ever has that sort of extra money laying around?!  We weren’t sure we’d ever get one. But on Thursday morning we were offered a full blooded Pyrenees for FREE.  So now Banjo is the newest member of our family.  He is so sweet and so good with the kids and all of the animals.  We love him!

The owners had wanted to keep him, but their other Pyrenees kept beating him up… so they just wanted to find him a good home with a family who would love him.  We drove five hours up to Kentucky to get him. The entire trip was grand. The family had a beautiful farm, where they held horse shows and kept all sort of animals. They let us stay for a long time and they even let our kids ride one of their horses. James was a little nervous at first.  Afterwards, Pauline gave them ‘horse’ trophies. My kids were in heaven.



We also got to see one of the smallest miniature horses in the country.  Isn’t she amazing? What a sweet family they were!  

And then, the next day, the splendid Mr. Burggraf called geoff and told him he could come and pick up his fabulous rototiller for all of our garden needs.  What a huge blessing!  Geoff plans on tilling about an acre to plant corn.  That would have been hard to do with just a shovel.  Mr. B also sent us home with some of his excellent soap.  

On top of that, I got a vacuum cleaner.  That may not sound like a big deal but this isn’t just any old vacuum cleaner.  My husband found a $400 vacuum cleaner on clearance for $100 and this thing is incredible.  Check it out, doesn’t it look like a sleek little Robotic Suckasaurous?  It also transforms into a cannister vacuum cleaner somehow. Seriously.

Ryann had taken a picture of all the CRUD I was pulling out of our nasty carpet but that shot got deleted.  Bummer, you would have been astonished.  And my hand is up like that because i was holding the cord. And yes, those are the same jammies I was wearing the day before in my garden. What can I say? They’re comfy!  I stole them from my sister in law (accidentally).  Sorry Erin, at this point I don’t think you’re going to get them back. 

*all pictures courtesy of Ryann Igarashi

March 10th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

March 7th, 2007
Are You Up to Your Elbows?

The other day my nephew Levi gave me a video tape that I had recorded ten years ago.  I brought it home and watched it with my kids. It was amazing.  I was a mere 23 years old.  Coie was seven, Ryann and Emmiko were in diapers, I was pregnant and at the time we were also raising my eleven year old younger sister (our mom had just died; our step father died shortly after). 

It was a real mix of emotions.  I forgot how squeaky coie’s voice was.  My babies were SO cute.  But boy howdy, it was a mad house.  Utter chaos!  I had forgotten how hard/ loud/ chaotic those years had been!  My kids were bouncing all over the place, everybody competing for mama’s attentions at the same time.  I generally swung between being completely overwhelmed to being totally bored.  It was hard not having adult interaction for long stretches of time.

I remember one day an older friend was visiting and I told her how overwhelmed I felt.  She told me, “I remember being up to my elbows everyday in poopy diapers, and I thought the rest of my life would be like that” she went on to assure me that it was a short chapter in my life – one that I would look back fondly on and even miss!  And she was right.  Now that most of my kids are hitting (or are in) the pre-teen / teenage years, life has been completely different… easier, sweeter and I think the best thing has been the satisfaction of seeing the results of those exhausting/ hard/ loud/ chaotic/ boring years. But those years paid off big time in more ways than I could have ever dreamed.

If you have big kids, you know what I’m talking about!  And if you have little kids, be encouraged!  It *is* a short time, believe it or not, this chapter does come to an end.  And it is such an important time! and so very very worthwhile.  Remember to take lots of pictures and video! You will want to look back and remember these years.

March 7th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

…then this post is for you.  We met the Burggraf family last year around this time.  I called about a free rooster I saw listed on the Sevier County Homeschool list and thus began our fabulous friendship.

Think of the most sincere, kind, generous family that you know, and then times that by 12.  That’s the Burggraf family.  They are really special to us.  Anyways, one of the very neat things that Mr. Henry Burggraf does, is that he puts together retreats.  He is best known in these parts for his Father/Son campouts, but last year his Father/Daughter campout was also a big hit.  The Lord blessed them with an incredibly beautiful, serene piece of property, and it is their desire to honor God by opening it up to bless others.

We have been tremendously blessed by participating in their retreats/campouts, therefore, i wanted to let everybody know about an upcoming retreat that is being planned right now for men.  Another neat thing about this retreat is that it is free. 

My husband will be at this retreat and so will gena’s husband.  I hope your guy can make it, too.  I am sure all the men there will be blessed!  Here is the info on the retreat, and Henry Burggrafs email addy is at the bottom.  Send him an email for more info and/or for the registration form.  I know he’d be pleased to hear from you! 

Also, ask him for the info on the Father/Son and Father/Daughter campouts as well.  Those are also free (tho donations would be great if you’re able to contribute). Geoff and Paul will be at those, too.  It was probably one of the most memorable things that our children did with their dad last year.

Men’s Retreat

April 27-28, 2007

Do you want to become a better husband and father? Would you like some practical how to? Then plan on coming to the East Tennessee Men’s Retreat. It will be a great time for Christian fellowship and to be challenged to grow in your role as a Christian man. The theme for the retreat will be Leaving a Heritage. You will learn some ways to leave a heritage that will live on forever. What you will learn will be cherished by your wife, children and their offspring for generations to come. So do not miss out on this exciting time in the Lord and what He has in store for you. Registrations will be limited so make your plans today.

There is no cost for the retreat. You do need to bring your own food and drinks for at least 3-4 meals. You will also need to bring a tent and sleeping gear as the campsite will be in a rustic setting.

The retreat location is 17 miles outside of Tazewell, TN. It is a very quiet and peaceful location and a great place to spend time with the Lord. Directions will be sent to those who register for the retreat.

If you have any questions, please e-mail me.

Henry Burggraf

March 2nd, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

March 1st, 2007
HodgePorridge Thursday

Yes, I know it’s hodgepodge , but doesn’t hodgeporridge sound better?

*On Monday (or was it Tuesday?) I learned something very cool.  It is the only way that seems like a reasonable (non-hard-workish) way to grow potatoes.  You people who live in an apartment could even do this.  Ok, here’s what you do.  You get a garbage can, right? And you fill the bottom up with several inches of dirt and straw and bark and junk like that.  Then you drop some potato eye pieces down there and cover them up with the same dirt mess.  After a while you’ll get this greenery that will start growing up, and then you dump more soil and straw, etc over it.  Then more green stuff will grow up and you keep on dumping dirt over it, right?  Well, within several months, after you’ve continued to dump a bunch of dirt layers over the growing greenery, you can dump the whole garbage can upside down (preferably not on your living room rug) and get about 100 potatoes out of there! They require very little water, so the bottom does not need holes poked in it.  I am very excited to try this.   Is that not the coolest thing you have ever heard?  I am so ready to try being a garden girl again.

*My son, Dippy, was incredulous that I was unwilling to taste his Strawberry Sparkle Blast toothpaste this morning.  Am I mean, or is he just weird?  He just brought the tube over to my desk and was like, “Hold out your finger, you just gotta try this”.  To further seal my decision to abstain, I noticed it was all gooped up and crusty around the top and edges.  I just don’t think that’s normal.  I’ve never carried my toothpaste around and offered it to others as a snack.  I don’t know about that boy.   

*And in weirder news, last night I dreamed I was walking thru my house and saw James head lying in the hallway.  So I picked it up and he sort of smiled at me.  So I found the rest of his body and held his head against his neck and got coie to drive us to the Emergency Room.  And the nurse who checked us in acted like it was not that big of a deal.  And instead of trying to reattach his head, she kept trying to feed him.  Which of course was ridiculous since it would only fall straight out of the bottom of his neck.

I told you it was a hodgeporridge Thursday. And no, I am not experimenting with PCP.

*And lastly, even though it is more than my expected three subject posts (according to Jay – the only person in the world who would notice such a thing), I’d like to recommend the first chapter of James.  I am going thru a bible study group and I just love it.  I really liked what John MacArthur had to say in the section I read last night: 

“James major emphasis in this section (the first chapter) of his epistle (and really in the entire letter) is this: if a person’s faith is genuine it will prove itself in times of trouble, whatever the nature or source of the trouble may be.  For that reason, this epistle is valuable for unbelievers as well as believers.  That is especially true for unbelievers who consider themselves to be Christians and need to recognize that a faith that is reliable only when things are going well is not saving faith and is worth nothing.  It is, in fact, worth less nothing, because it deceives those who trust in it.  Not only will it fail them when they need help the most, but also it will lead them to think they are headed for heaven when, in reality, they are headed for hell.” taken from John MacArthur Bible Study on the book of James: Guidelines for a Happy Christian Life


Isn’t that SO well put? 

PS this post has been edited thanks to, who else, JAY. thanks Jay, i am glad to have friends who are much smarter than me.

March 1st, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments