Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas at the Hodge Lodge

It was my goal to post these Christmas 2011 pictures while it was still 2011. My dad came to visit for a week and spent Christmas with us. The girls had a great time with both their grandfathers. It was a nice, quiet Christmas this year.


Cute Christmas Couple!

We got these dresses at a thrift store. I curled their hair. The girls looked adorable.

Weeks ago...Eric, Autumn, Taylor & Amber decorating the tree. I helped, too, but mainly as the photographer!

The two grandpas. We celebrated Christmas with Eric's dad a week early, before he headed off to see the other grandkids.

Me and my dad!

Papa Gow and his two cuties!

Seeing Santa on Christmas Eve!

Christmas dinner!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Guess Who's 6?

Yesterday Autumn Brooke turned 6 years old! I made a "cat" cake and we had a little party at the park. She loved all of the attemtion. She is so adorable!



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Quote from Amber on taking care of the earth

"You know, if the world dies, we'll die."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

School Funnies

Today in school, Autumn was on the letter X. I said some words that end in X.

"Fox, Box," I said.

"Mox," Autumn said.

I said, "No, Mox is not a word."

Amber said, "Botox."

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween at the Hodge Lodge

For Halloween this year, Amber decided that she wanted to be Jessie from Toy Story 3. Autumn wanted to be Slinky Dog. Amber made her costume, with the help of her art teacher, Miss Rie. First, they painted black cow spots on white flannel for the chaps. Then they sewed the rest of the costume. I made Autumn's costume, but I did not do any sewing. To quote Amber, "The person who invented fabric glue saved my mom's life!" Um, maybe that's a little too dramatic. Anyway, we went costume roller skating with Young Life tonight. Eric and I were a 70s couple. Enjoy the pics!






School Stories

AUTUMN:

Today Autumn was on the letter V in school. She was coloring a picture of vegetables. I said, "What do we call these?" pointing to the picture. She didn't answer. I said, "What do we call carrots and potatoes and beets?" Autumn quickly said, "The CSA box." (It's a box of organic veggies we get each week). I said, "Yes, but what do we call the things in the CSA box?" Autumn said, "Carrots and potatoes and beets." I finally had to tell her they were vegetables. She sighed. "Oh, yeah, vegetables!"

AMBER:

In history today, Amber learned of a civilization in the Indus Valley called Mohenjo-daro. The city was abandoned in 19th century BC and was not rediscovered until 1922. She had to write a story answering the question, "What happened to Mohenjo-daro?" Here's Amber's story:

One morning, the people in the city of Mohenjo-daro woke up. They decided they would move away to Africa to seek their fortune. But before they could do it, a king tried to rule and conquer the city. Not just that happened, but a huge tornado came. A big, huge invention appeared in an inventors back yard. It was a big, huge helicopter. The helicopter was there to save the people of Mohenjo-daro. And that is the reason why they left.

Cocka-doodle-doo and other chicken stories

If it looks like a rooster and crows like a rooster, it's a rooster!

This morning, when we heard crowing outside our window, our suspicions were confirmed. We have another rooster. This time it was my chicken, Nutmeg. When we got the baby chicks, we all chose one to name. Kind-of prophetic--don't you think--that I named my chicken a kitchen spice since he's going to end up on the dining room table in the near future. We'll have to take him back to our friends who gave us the chickens. And then there were three...

Reverse discrimination in the chicken coop

We are chicken-sitting for our friend whose house flooded. Her chicken is a small white bantam. She's the only white chicken among the darker hens that we have. We call her Snow White. Several weeks ago when we introduced Snow White to the other chickens, they wanted nothing to do with her. They weren't violent with her. They just ignored her. When Snow White goes into the roosting box, the other chickens come out and when the other chickens go in, Snow White comes out. One evening I had forgotten to put away the chickens, so I went outside to round them up. They had already put themselves to bed, but Snow White was sleeping outside the coop. I can only imagine that they wouldn't let her in. And then there's the sleeping arrangements. When we peek inside the roosting box, all five chickens are on the bar, asleep. However, the four darker hens sleep side-by-side on the bar and Snow White is all the way over at the other end, by herself and facing the opposite direction! I hope she's not developing a complex!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cleaning & eating greens...what will they do next?

My girls never cease to amaze me. Today, I was cleaning the white board during school and Autumn said, "Let's clean the whole house today, Mommy." I said that we actually were going to clean the bathrooms today. She said, with a lot of enthusiasm, "Yes, Mommy! Thank you so much!" I didn't know cleaning the bathrooms could be so fun.

Last night, Eric was cutting up rainbow chard to steam for a snack. Amber said, "Chard? You're cooking chard? Can I have some, please?" Of course, Eric obliged. As Amber was eating her greens, she said, "I just know this is--like--so healthy for me."

A few days ago I was washing dishes and Amber and Autumn came running into the house. They had been picking up little pieces of trash all over our front and back yard. With excitement, Amber said, "Mom, we have the best idea! We want to go around the neighborhood and pick up all of the trash we see on the sidewalk. Can we do that this Saturday, please? We don't have school Saturday." Eric actually took them out that evening, after dinner. They walked a few blocks and only found an aluminum can. They had a great time anyway.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

First Signs of Fall

-- My house is all decorated for the harvest season! I did that yesterday.
-- I have a pumpkin spice candle burning in my living room.
-- There's a huge batch of granola in the oven and the smell wafting through the house is even better than the candle. The girls and I made the granola during school today.
-- There's zucchini bread in the freezer from my big baking day last week.
-- I'm going to make homemade hot chocolate later.
Sulphur Shelf Mushrooms
(chicken of the woods) grow on trees.
-- The girls and I went on a nature walk in the crisp, cold weather this morning. (I'll post about that later.)
-- The leaves are changing color.
-- I'm wearing a sweater and jeans. I love wearing jeans! That probably explains why I have 8 pairs.
-- I have crafts galore just ready and waiting for those rainy days when we'll be indoors. (or dry days)
-- Mushroom hunting season is coming up. (see picture)
-- Lobster season just started!
-- And let's not forget the holidays...my birthday, Halloween, Eric's birthday, Autumn's birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas!!!!!!!!

Oh yeah...I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this time of year!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today is my mother's birthday. She would have been 75. Earlier, I told the girls that it was Nana's birthday and Autumn immediately held up the toy that was in her hands and said "Here, Nana." Amber followed suit by holding up both her arms real high and saying, "It's a hug for Nana." We went out to dinner to celebrate her birthday, even though she isn't here with us. It helped, I think. It's interesting how these "firsts" can swallow me up in sadness. I think about my mom every day. But today is definitely different. More sad. More real. Next week when I decorate the house for the autumn season, the sadness will overwhelm me again because I always call my mom and talk to her while I decorate. Then there's one holiday after another... We decided to buy my dad a plane ticket for the week of Christmas. I can't wait to see him. It will be good to have him here. I wonder if they celebrate birthdays in heaven. (Please no theological answers.)

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mmmmmm good!

Whew! I am exhausted! I've been in the kitchen since 7:00 (and it's now 9:30). But it's a good exhaustion. I made 4 batches (8 loaves) of gluten-free, sugar-free zucchini bread. I've finally perfected my recipe. I wanted to develop my own recipe, one that tasted just as good as my regular zucchini bread. My family and neighbors and the ladies in my Bible study tell me it is even better.

I use Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Flour, and I use 1/2 coconut oil and half applesauce instead of the olive oil, and I use maple syrup or honey (whichever I have on hand) instead of the sugar. The last batch I made tonight was quite unique. It had a little bit of maple syrup, some honey and prickly pear cactus juice (hand made by our friends Ched & Elaine). I had run out of both the maple syrup and honey, and I still needed at least 1/2 cup of sweetener, so I opened my fridge and got creative! It turned out well, but I did have to bake it longer than the other batches.

I love zucchini bread best when it is hot, right out of the oven, slathered in butter. Now I have a stomach ache, though, from over-indulging.

Good night!

P.S. Stop by for a slice of bread.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I think he's on to our evil plan

My favorite scene in the movie "Marley & Me" is when the husband and wife are taking the dog to the vet to be fixed. The dog leaps almost all of the way out of the car as they are driving and John says to Jenny, "I think he's on to our evil plan."

We got five baby chicks on July 4th. This week we discovered that one (possibly two) of them are roosters. Tonight Eric is taking the one that we know is a rooster back to our friends who gave us the chickens. They will make the rooster into chicken pot pie soon. As I put Lyric (the name of the rooster) into the box, he took his very sharp beak and sliced it into my arm, leaving a 4-inch red mark. Ouch!

"I think he's on to our evil plan!" I told my husband as he put the box in the car and drove away.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Day of School!

Today was the first day of school for my girls. Autumn is officially a kindergartner and Amber is in 3rd grade.  Here's some photos of our first day...

The happy school-girls!

Kindergarten!

Mommy and her students--self-portrait!


Autumn working on the little a.

Autumn loved the cut & paste page!

Amber at the calendar.

Amber's history book!


Craft project to go with our butterfly lesson.

Painting with an eye-dropper and a coffee filter.

The beautiful butterfly!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Process

Grief is a process. That's what I told Amber today as she watched me cry and cry over missing my mom. A friend of mine who lost her mom nearly 20 years ago, said she cries a bit every day. For me, the tears come in waves. Not predictable and never calculated. I may shed a tear or two (almost every Sunday in church) or the floodgates might open wide, like this afternoon. I wish there were a simple formula to follow regarding grieving. Do this, do that and then you are healed. Step one, step two and then no more tears. But it isn't that simple. And do I really want it to be? When my brother died three years ago, it was the most precious time in my life with the Lord. I never felt more close to Jesus than that day and that week when Steve died. Had I followed a simple formula for grief, I would have missed that sweet time with Jesus. And so here I am in the process again and again. Some moments I can hardly breathe, other times I am "okay." Almost every day, though, I want to call my mom and ask her about a recipe or a craft I'm doing or--when Autumn is driving me crazy--ask her "Was I like that when I was 5 years old?" Then it hits me all over again. Mom is gone.

My dad moved into a studio apartment yesterday. It was a win-win situation for him in that he qualifies to live in a Veteran's Administration retirement home for about $200 a month. Three meals a day in the dining hall is a nice bonus, too, since my dad never cooked for himself a day in his life. My parents had a precious, "old-fashioned" marriage. My dad went to work every day. My mom stayed home and cooked and cleaned, even long after the kids moved out.

My dad would have had to move eventually anyway, since the owner of the house my parents were renting recently put the home up for a short sale. It wasn't the home I grew up in, but it was the home my girls remember as "Nana & Papa's house." So it does sting a bit to think that we will not be visiting "home" next time we go to Arizona. Meanwhile, I've been on the phone daily with my dad as he packs up the house and gets ready for his estate sale next Saturday. There's just too much stuff for him to fit into his tiny apartment. He's set aside all kinds of sentimental things that he plans on mailing to me in a huge box. Each day I remember something else that is just too precious to sell, and he adds it to my box. Photo albums, of course, framed pictures, jewelry, anything the girls made my mom and--yes--even that 1970s orange Tupperware measuring cup and spoon set! Every time we use it, I will think of the days when I watched my mom make culinary delights for the family.

Good memories.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Berries for Books.

This evening an adorable college student from the Czech Republic came to our door selling books. Now I don't like buying food or magazine subscriptions from door-to-door salespeople, but I can definitely get into books. I love books! These were more like really cool textbooks. We liked the science series, and I thought it would be a great investment for our homeschooling this year, to use as curriculum. Autumn was definitely into these books, as well, and so Eric decided that if we all wanted them, the girls had to contribute $5 each. They agreed. Sold!

One way the girls earn extra money is by picking wild blackberries and selling them to Steve at Farmer & the Cook. So, we all set out this evening to pick berries. We were having a great time, but the patch of berries I was in front of was slim pickins. I had more cuts than berries in my bucket, so I took my dozen berries and headed to where Eric and the girls were. Crossing over a big log, I decided to sit down to retrieve a sticker from my shoe. I'm glad I did because as I sat down, the log gave way and I was tossed from my seat. Imagine if I was standing on it! Anyway, as I was tossed off of the log, so were the few berries I had in my possession. They went flying, and I was left with an empty bucket! Amber had a similar problem, tripping over a vine and spilling half of her berries! Oh well, at least it made for a good story.

While we were picking, a man walked by and scolded Autumn for getting too close to the berry bushes. He said, "Honey, watch out, those are berry bushes and you could scratch yourself."

I said, "That's what we're here for; to pick berries," and then he went into an intense tirade about how he crashed his mountain bike into a berry bush when he was 17 and got all scratched up." When he was out of ear-shot, we all had a good laugh...not at him or his story, but at how intense he was!

When we could no longer see in front of us, we decided to head on over to catch the end of Music in the Park. It was such a fun evening!

In the end, we were too late to go to Farmer & the Cook, so I decided to buy the berries from the girls for $5. Now all they have to do is sell another $5 worth and they will have paid for their portion of the books.

Berries for Books. Sounds like a good idea to me!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

This is my mom

I had the privilege of writing the eulogy for my mom's memorial, which is this Saturday. For those of you who didn't know her, or those of you who knew her and can not be at the memorial, here is a glimpse at my mom's life on this earth...

Vivian Annette Gow was born on September 29, 1936, in St. Louis, Missouri. She was sandwiched right in the middle of two older brothers and two younger sisters. At a young age, Vivian became a Christian. After finishing high school, she attended Midwest Bible Institute, studying Bible and accounting. She also taught Sunday School at her church in St. Louis. In fact, that is how she met her husband, George. He was a single dad and she was his children's Sunday School teacher. How convenient!


Back then, the Sunday School teachers would visit the homes of their students. Vivian visited George's house more often than any other. Of course, she would never admit it, but then again, she's not here to deny it.

Vivian's mom told her that she thought George was looking for a wife. Vivian's retort was that she was looking for a husband.

Six weeks later, they were married. That was almost 43 years ago.

Romance notwithstanding, you could say that the two combined forces to raise their five children. One year later, child number six was born.

In 1971, the family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where they finished raising their children. They attended Bethany Bible Church, where George and Vivian became volunteer youth leaders.

Vivian liked working with the teen-age girls, and there's a funny story about the time she volunteered to be a chaperon for the youth group's inner tube trip down the Salt River.

Vivian had a fear of water. She never learned to swim. She reluctantly agreed to being a chaperon because if she didn't go, the teen-age girls wouldn't be able to go. There she was, scared to death of water and floating in an inner tube down the river. But wouldn't you believe it, there was a bend in the river, and a tree branch knocked her out of her tube. Out of all the people on the trip, she was the only one who needed to be rescued.

Besides working with the youth, Vivian's passions included gardening, making cards and crafts, motorcycle-riding (as a passenger only) and camping. She was a charter member of the Christian Motorcyclist Association.

One of her bike buddies, Kim Looper, said Vivian made camping on the motorcycle look very easy.

Susan Harty, who lived across the street from the Gows for most of her childhood, also remembers the good-old-days of camping with the family. And then there was the Friday pizza nights, where Susan and her sister were always welcomed. Susan remembers laughing so hard that soda would sometimes come out through her nose. She especially remembers coming home from school and Vivian always having the best snacks in the freezer--stuff her mom never let her have.

Vivian sure did enjoy cooking, and--of course--feeding people. Entertaining was her specialty.

Her daughter, Deborah, said that her mom passed down to her the art of entertaining. Family gatherings were important to her mom.

Her daughter, Christine, said that her mom could throw a party like no one else. The food was always great. The table always set perfectly. The house always looked beautiful.

Vivian had an open heart and open home for those in need. Growing up, there was always an extra person in the house, whether it was a relative, friend or stranger.

One of the people Vivian reached out to was Dawn Luptak and her family. Dawn said that Vivian was a godsend to her because she watched her two toddlers, just to give Dawn some "mommy time." Eventually, the children called Vivian and George, 'Mommy & Daddy Dow.'

George said that his wife wanted to be remembered for being caring and giving and helpful to people.

He said that when the two of them went shopping, there were always extra items in the basket. He would ask, "Why are you buying that?" and she wouldn't respond. But he knew that she was storing things away for other people. She would buy something for someone, even if their birthday was a year away. Then she wouldn't be able to stand waiting to give it to them. That was just the way she was. She was a very giving person.

One gift that she left her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren was her positive attitude about dying.

When she was diagnosed with mesothelioma, she accepted it as part of God's plan for her life. She never complained, even when she became bed-ridden. She accepted it.

Vivian's positive attitude had an affect on everyone who came to visit, including the caregivers. They loved to come to her home because Vivian was so positive. She wasn't bitter. She wasn't bitter because she had hope. She knew she was going to be with Jesus.

Vivian's favorite verse in the Bible was Philippians 4:8, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Mom

Vivian Annette Gow
September 29, 1936 - July 19, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Teeth, Fish, Chickens, Horses

I would love to accompany these little posts with pictures, but my computer has been down for weeks and I don't have the energy to try to figure out how to get my photos on Eric's laptop. Someday I will add pictures (they are adorable). Meanwhile...

Lost Tooth

Autumn lost her tooth last week and got a dollar from the Tooth Fairy, along with a coin from Mexico. Autumn's & Amber's Tooth Fairy is a world traveler. Along with putting the tooth under her pillow, Autumn put a note that read, "What is your name?" The next morning, along with the dollar and peso, the Tooth Fairy replied with a tiny answer. Her name is TRIXIE.

Spearfishing Tourney

Sunday, Eric got 2nd place in the annual Blue Water Hunter Spearfishing Tournament. He weighed in an 8-pound white sea bass and two little calico bass. The fish weren't very big this year, but Eric managed to place in the tourney and received a plaque and a gift certificate. Eric has won this competition several times over the years and so I am running out of wall space for the plaques. I am so proud of him! 

Baby Chicks

We are the proud owners of five baby chickens. They were born in Ojai on the 4th of July. We traded our friends sea bass for chickies. They are adorable! They are in a box in our home, and we are going to trade car repair for a chicken coop to be built in our back yard. We are looking forward to fresh eggs daily. In the meantime, we are enjoying watching them through the plexiglass window on the box. Autumn especially loves the chicks and she sits in front of the box hourly and talks to them in a cute, high-pitched voice. We've named a few of them so far: Sparkles, Rainbow, Smokey... But I am sure the names will change over the months until they are full grown and the titles stick.

Horse Camp

Tomorrow is Amber's last day at Horse Camp. She has thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and has gotten to ride the horses every day. Along with learning about horses and how to ride them and groom them, the kids have studied the Fruit of the Spirit through Bible stories, songs, crafts and skits. While Amber has been gone five hours each day, Autumn and I have been making cards, cooking, reading and snuggling.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Answered prayer

On the way home from church today, my 5-year-old daughter, Autumn, gave her heart to Jesus. She didn't even want to wait the 3 minutes it took us to get home.

I was driving the girls home (Eric is at a spearfishing tournament) and we started talking about being a Christ-follower and some of the things the Bible has to say about believing in Jesus. Amber said, "Autumn is not a Christian yet." I informed her that--Lord-willing--she would be someday. Autumn said, "I want to do that now." I said, "Okay, we'll pray when we get home." (I wanted to concentrate on my driving.) Autumn said, "I don't want to wait until I get home. Can we do it now?"

So, as I was driving, Autumn was praying. She asked Jesus to forgive her for "the bad things she has done" and asked Him to come into her life and she said she would follow Him.

Today God answered my biggest prayer for Autumn. My #1 prayer for my girls is that they would fall in love with Jesus at a young age. Amber gave her life to Jesus at age 5 and I was overjoyed. Today, I am overjoyed again and overwhelmed with gratefulness to God! Both my daughters love God. What more could a parent ask for?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

She is so cute!

My 5-year-old, Autumn, does the cutest things. Sometimes she does them on purpose because she is the comedian of the house. But sometimes she just does the most adorable things, not meaning to, and not knowing that it will make me smile. Take today for instance. She was using the "shark" cordless mini vacuum to sweep up the bits and pieces of tiny paper left over from their craft day. She paused at one point and--leaving the vacuum running--sat down on the tile floor and started working on something. I asked her what she was doing. She got up, walked over to me and showed me two larger pieces of paper. She said, "These are too big for the shark, so I am tearing them in smaller pieces so I can vacuum them up." I chuckled and said,"Wouldn't it be easier to just throw them away." She laughed and said, "Oh yeah, mom, that's a great idea!"

Sunday, July 3, 2011

101

Flies, not Dalmatians.

Believe it or not, today I killed 101 flies in my house. No joke. No exaggeration. I am sorry if I've grossed you out. Some of you may never want to set foot inside our house again. But they're all dead, so you can rest easy the next time you stop by for a cup of coffee.

How did I kill them? Why so many? How did I keep count?

Well, I think they must have hatched in the window frame because I found them all over the window. They were regular-sized ones, but they were the slowest, stupidest flies I have ever killed. All I had to do was capture them in a kleenix, several kleenixes. That's it. So, I killed them and sprayed my homemade, natural bug spray all over the window frames.

I started keeping count after the first ten. Our friend who had stopped by said, "I don't know what is more disturbing: that many flies in the house or the fact that you kept count." Ha ha ha!

But seriously, have any of you ever encountered that many flies in one place at one time? Just wondering...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The best day

Tuesday Amber woke up very excited. She said, "It's VBS and the park play day today!"

I said, "It's the best day of your life!"

Amber quickly informed me, "No, the best day of my life will probably be when I go to heaven."

This is my mother-in-law's doing, and I am so grateful to her for it. Myrna Hodge lived her life well. She died well, too, never complaining of her cancer or wishing she were healed. Two months before she died, Myrna said, "I feel like I have one foot on this earth and the other in heaven."

Myrna told her grandkids about heaven, what it would be like, and she taught them how to get to heaven. She made it so exciting that when she died, Amber's cousin, Sarah, said, "I'm jealous of grandma. She's in heaven with Jesus!"

I know--without a doubt--that when Myrna crossed over the threshold from this life to eternity with Jesus, God said, "Well done, thy good and faithful servant."

***

2 Timothy 4:7-8:
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."

Autumn's Loose Tooth

On Monday, Autumn--rather tearfully--informed me that she had a loose tooth and it hurt. It was her first loose tooth and the reason it hurt was probably because she was constantly wiggling it.

We told her all about the Tooth Fairy and she got excited. Tuesday morning, she lifted up her pillow and said, "I didn't get a dollar!"

We had to explain to her that she doesn't get a dollar until the tooth falls out. And so the wiggling began again!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Was it the gleam in my eye?

Yesterday, after the memorial, Eric's dad gave me a teapot belonging to Eric's mom. It matched the tiered server and the tea cups/saucers that Eric's mom had given me years ago. Tonight I was starting to find a place for the teapot in my china cabinet. I opened the lower cabinet doors, saw the contents, and the wheels of my mind started turning and going in a very familiar direction. I'll call it "the land of organization." It doesn't take much for me to venture into that land of fun and adventure.

Autumn walked into the dining room, looked at me and the open doors and said, "Are you re-arranging mom?"

I hadn't even told anyone what I was thinking of doing. Was it the gleam in my eye? Or does my daughter know me that well?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Almost

Yesterday I had explained to Amber that "on the house" means that you don't have to pay for your purchase.

Later, the girls and I were playing "restaurant" for lunch. I asked Amber how much the pizza cost. She said, "Nothing, the manager said it's on top of the house."

Even at 8 years old, Amber still manages to say the most adorable things.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

In Memory of Myrna Hodge

After battling cancer for 17 years (and I mean battling), Friday night my mother-in-law, Myrna, went home to be with the Lord. I just finished writing the obituary, and so I thought I would just copy it onto here, as it tells a little bit about the person she was.



Myrna Louise Hodge, 76, died in Santa Barbara on June 17, 2011. Myrna was born in Kingston, Pennsylvania and grew up nearby.

At the age of 9, Myrna accepted the Lord as her savior at an evangelistic meeting. She attended Philadelphia College of the Bible and taught Bible clubs in the inner-city of Pennsylvania. In 1968, Myrna married Robert Hodge. A year later, they moved to Santa Barbara, California, where she spent the remainder of her life on this earth with her husband and three children.

Myrna attended Santa Barbara Community Church and Shoreline Community Church. She taught Bible studies in Santa Barbara, worked in the loan department for Great Western Bank and was a bookkeeper for 12 years at Hill and Gaeden.

Myrna’s favorite thing to do was spend time with her family.

“She just loved seeing us all together,” said her daughter, Amy Tolsma.

Other things Myrna enjoyed were cooking, crossword puzzles, cross-stitch, playing the piano, writing letters and sharing God’s love with others.

“She was a cook, homemaker and spiritual mentor to her kids and many others,” said her husband, Robert.

Myrna is described by her family and friends as a woman who touched people’s lives everywhere she went.  Even a few days before she went home to be with the Lord, Myrna was sharing His love with one of her caregivers.

Myrna was preceded in death by her father, George Bomboy; her mother, Mary Bomboy; and sister, Emma Jo McGill.

She is survived by her husband, Robert Hodge; daughters, Sonja Hodge and Amy Tolsma; son, Eric Hodge; son-in-law, David Tolsma; daughter-in-law, Christine Hodge; and grandchildren, Pieter and Rachel Tolsma, Sarah Hodge, and Amber and Autumn Hodge.

A memorial celebration for Myrna will be held at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, June 25 at Shoreline Community Church, 935 San Andres St., Santa Barbara.

In lieu of flowers, Myrna requested donations be made to Food For The Poor,
6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, FL 33073
, www.foodforthepoor.org.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Graduations, Anniversary, Reunion

A lot has happened in the past 12 days. May 31 I picked up my sister, Deborah, from the airport...June 1 Deborah cut everyone's hair in the Hodge Lodge...June 2 Autumn graduated from preschool...June 2 (right after the preschool ceremony), Eric and I went to Avila Beach for 5 days for our 15th anniversary...June 8 I took my sister back to the airport...June 9 I did lots of laundry...June 10 I did lots of laundry...June 11 (today) we all went to Santa Barbara to celebrate Eric's cousin Grace's graduation from UCSB--and to have a huge Hodge family reunion! Whew! I need another vacation!

Kindergarten, here I come!

The happy graduate & mommy!

Auntie Deborah gave the girls new looks!

Anniversary dinner at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort, where we stayed.

We biked or walked almost everywhere!

Congratulations, Cousin Grace!

The Hodge family (most of them)!

Eric and his sisters, Amy & Sonja. I can never get a serious picture of those three!

Cousins: Amber, Sarah & Autumn. I can never get a serious pic of them, either. Hmmm...I wonder why?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

15 Wonderful Years!!!

Today is the 15th wedding anniversary for me and my sweet husband, Eric. Tomorrow--after Autumn graduates from preschool--Eric and I are going to Sycamore Mineral Springs (near Avila Beach) for 5 days! My sister, Deborah, will be entertaining the girls while we are gone. She's been here only 24 hours and has them spoiled rotten! Ha ha!! Words can not describe how grateful I am to God for bringing me and Eric together. After our first date (15 3/4 years ago) I knew Eric was "the one" for me. He was--and still remains to be--my knight in shinning armor.

Friday, May 27, 2011

School Project #4: Calendar Collages

We did this project today with recycled materials. I had two calendars that I never used (you know, the free ones that you get in the mail). I also had these huge manila envelopes that a friend gave me. The result: Calendar Collages.

All you need is scissors, a glue stick, an old calendar or magazine and a large sheet of paper. (We used the envelopes because they were free!)

The finished project! The girls actually spent about an hour on this because they talked to each other about the animals and asked me questions, such as, "Do mountain lions eat cheetahs?" or "What animal eats a turtle?"

The girls said they were going to use the envelopes to put cards and drawing inside. But if you just used paper, you could tape the finished product to a wall or hang them on the fridge.

School Project #3: Bead Caterpillars

For the month of May, we studied caterpillars. It all started when Amber brought home a black, fuzzy caterpillar and he became out class pet/project. We researched and found out what kind of caterpillar we had (see pics at the bottom). Then we watched time-lapsed videos of caterpillars forming cocoons or chrysalis and becoming moths or butterflies. To end our series, we made Bead Caterpillars. It was so easy...

Step 1: Gather pipe cleaners and beads with large holes (plastic &/or wooden). Have your kids thread 5 or so beads onto a pipe cleaner. Leave 2 to 3 inches of pipe cleaner at the top for the antennae.

Step 2: To make the antennae, fold the pipe cleaner at the top into a heart shape and tuck the end of the heart into the top bead. For the large caterpillar, weave the remaining pipe cleaner around each bead and tuck the end around the first bead. For the small caterpillar, cut off most of the remaining pipe cleaner and tuck the end into the 4th bead.

The girls have had so much fun playing with these. They carry them in their purses and take them everywhere.

Here's "Spikey," the caterpillar that Amber found. He is a "Giant Leopard Moth" caterpillar and he will be black and white when he emerges from his cocoon. We were able to watch him as he ate through leaves. It was so cool! (Yes, those are his little poops.)

"Spikey" grew out of his little container into a nicer, bigger home. He has stopped eating, and from our research, that means he is an adult now and is getting ready to make a cocoon. We are hoping that we will get to see him become a moth.