Saturday, October 24, 2009

I'm Pooped!

I think I need a vacation!  At this point of the preparations I generally wonder if the trip is worth all the trouble.  Adding in all that food takes up a lot more space, plus we are taking some games and books for some family fun time.  I think I could sleep for a very loooong time, if no one would wake me.  But someone has woken me every night for the last 26 years.  Hmm, wonder what that is doing to my sanity?
I am looking forward to being lazy next week. How does Lazy Hands Lazy Minds sound for a new blog?

Friday, October 23, 2009

More Cooking and a Recipe from Devin

We are still cooking around here.  We are taking lots of food with us on vacation to eliminate eating out every day and we are filling the freezer for the next few weeks.  We will definitely need a vacation after all of this!!  Our vacation will cost so much less and our food will just have to be heated up for quick and delicious, nutritious meals.

Devin made chocolate chess pies, buttermilk pies, and breakfast quiches yesterday.  Today I made a huge roast which we had for dinner and I  bagged up the leftovers in two gallon bags.  I also made a beef stew that some of the kids sampled this afternoon for a late lunch and I bagged up some for the freezer as well.

We still have some bread, muffins and biscuits to bake but that will wait till tomorrow.  Tonight, Devin is finishing up her Chicken Tortilla Soup.  She already declares it better than the last time she made it.  She was willing to share her secret recipe with us.  BTW, I am so very thankful for daughters who love to work in the kitchen.    Devin and Kaelan bless us each and every day with good food for our table!

Devin's Chicken Tortilla Soup

3 cloves of minced garlic
half an onion, chopped
3 T butter
2 T all-purpose flour
3 14 oz cans chicken broth
4 cups half-and-half
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Rotel
2 cans Cheddar cheese soup
6 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and skinned (tonights with chicken leg quarters that were on sale a few weeks ago)
2 t cumin
1 packet fajita seasoning
3 T chopped fresh cilantro

To serve:
tortilla chips
shredded monterey jack cheese

In a large pot over medium heat, saute garlic and onion in the butter for 5 minutes.

Add flour and stir well, cooking for 1 minute more while adding in a little of the broth to keep from scorching.

Add the rest of the broth and half-and-half.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.  Add the soup, Rotel, chicken, cumin, fajita seasoning and cilantro.  Stir and continue to heat for 15 minutes.

Serve hot with crumbled tortilla chips and cheese on top.

Devin made a double recipe tonight that we will freeze in gallon sized baggies when cool.

I'm Too Tired for My Squash

Caedmon fell asleep at dinner tonight.  Stimulating conversation wasn't enough to keep him awake.  His nap wasn't a long one!  He did eat a good dinner of baked squash and potatoes.  He hasn't taken very well to solids yet, but he had seconds on the squash tonight.  Perhaps it was the butter and brown sugar that topped the squash!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Signs of the Times

Have you noticed the new trucks that are probably driving around your town?  They are built like the infamous self-moving trucks that are usually orange in color, but these trucks have moving advertisements of each side, front and back.  The ads change as the truck is driving down the road and each side rotates about 4 different ads before repeating.  How do I know how many ads?  Because I was distracted by this truck yesterday that I passed very s l o w l y waiting for the ad for the new Mexican restaurant to reappear because I missed the location the first time around.  Hmmm....cell phones are driving hazards?  What about these advertising trucks?

Today I saw a large RV driving down the highway.  Not that unusual, but THIS RV was totally covered in one of those vehicle wraps that are quite popular now.  There was a big red hand that said something like "Don't mess with my health care!!"  It was huge.  I hope their message is heard!!

Mamaw's House

As a child I loved going to my mamaw's house.  My mom was one of seven children and when we went to  my mamaw's house we always had cousins to play with.  There was a giant magnolia tree that we could climb and hang upside down from its branches.  There were hills to roll down, leaves to rake, dirt to dig in, a barn to explore, a pond to walk to, cows to feed corn cobs to, and, if our youngest uncles were nice (and they usually were) horses to ride.

 All of that was well and good, but mamaw's house was most special because mamaw was there.  My mamaw was a very special lady.  She had 20 something grandchildren, but remembered the favorite foods of each one and cooked accordingly.    She also loved to try out new recipes and always made the holidays special with scrumptious candies, cakes and pies.  She spoke my love language!!  She also loved her plants and spent lots of time in her flower gardens and watering and pruning her vast collection of potted plants.  Whenever she came to my house in her later years, she would go around sticking her finger in the pots and pulling off dead leaves.  I didn't inherit her love of plants!  Today, there are no potted plants in my house at all, but I am working on the outdoor flower beds and hope to put in a rose garden like she did.

Mamaw has been gone for almost six years and we all miss her.  Several years of living with alzheimer's took her before she actually died.  Mom now lives in mamaw's house and she is making special memories there for her grandchildren.  But to me, it will always be mamaw's house.

an old hay rake that my mom uses as a lawn the summer some lovely flowers grow up the wheels

We recently spent the weekend at mamaw's house.  This house was built by my grandfather and completed around 1960.  Just four years before I was born and seven years before he was killed in an automobile accident.  The wooden walls were from his mill.  The bricks were laid by himself and his brother who was a bricklayer by trade.  Lots of family in each piece of this house.  I asked Jordan to take some pictures and he, with his somewhat unusual eye, took these.  At my mamaw's house.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Quick Visit

My mom and brother, Chance, met  up here at Chambleeville yesterday to begin their road trip to DC this morning.  Chance just recently completed a three-year  service at the American embassy in Madrid, Spain.  He will be living in Washington for the next several months while getting more training and going to language school (French) before starting a three-year assignment in the Congo--as in Africa.  He leads quite an adventurous life and has lived in Mexico City, Lima, Peru  and in Seattle, WA.  He hikes, bikes, scuba dives, surfs, mountain climbs, skies and I don't know what all!  This Sunday he will be running the marathon in DC.   Mom is joining
him for the drive and will cheer him on during his run.  She will also help  him get settled in his new digs in the DC area (although he found out the other day that although he left Madrid almost 3 months ago, his belongings are still there!)  His business clothes haven't arrived, so he will either have to purchase new or go casual.  Mom will be flying to meet up with
us in Gatlinburg for a few days as well.

Mom and Caedmon on the porch

Caedmon in his deluxe wagon with seatbelts and cupholders that we got for his birthday

                                                      Ready to hit the road!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Weekend-Camping and Blanket Making

The menfolk made it home in one piece, although Jackson was soaking wet when they came in.  Apparently you shouldn't STAND in the lake when you have holes in your rubber boots!  I got him in the warm tub with a cup of hot chocolate, but he is now sick.  Coughing his head off, runny nose and a little wheezy!  I think the windy boat ride and then getting wet did him in...  Praying that he will get well soon!

Doesn't my baby look cold?  I don't know why his coat isn't zipped up!  Maybe I need to go with him next time!

Sunset on Trace Lake

Around the fire during breakfast

Jackson is happy to play frisbee golf

Jackson with his buddy John

Kaelan and Devin made fleece blankets Friday night.  It was easy to do, but Caedmon kept crawling on the middle of the blanket in the floor!  He loved the soft fleece.  He has his own fleece blanket in baby blue made by our sweet friend Anna B. last year!   The girls' blankets are matching except Devin's is teal on the solid side and Kaelan's is pink.  They are looking forward to sitting on the front porch of the cabin in the mountains next week, cuddled up warm in their blankets sipping a cup of hot chocolate or sitting around the campfire.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My New Helper

Caedmon isn't walking yet, but he can sure get around.  If I don't have the gate up between the den and dining room, he is quickly investigating the rest of the house.  The other day he discovered the laundry room with its fascinating washer and dryer.  He will stand and watch the clothes go 'round and 'round, but especially likes to push the buttons.  What is it with boys and buttons?  He is my fourth boy and they have all been button-pushers, much more than the girls.  Here he is ready to put a load in the dryer.

And here he is pushing the buttons to start another load in the washer.  Such a big helper!!  Today I have tried to remember to set the lock on the washer as he has interrupted several loads in the last couple of days.

Friday, October 16, 2009

What's Going on in Chambleeville?

Kaelan with multi-colored leaf cookies.

Red maple leaf sugar cookies

Fragrant cinnamon rolls cooling for the freezer

So glad you asked!  We are busily preparing to go on vacation soon.  We are looking forward to spending a week in Gatlinburg soaking up some beautiful fall sights and sounds.  Roasting hot dogs and marshmallows around the campfire, soaking in the hot tub and collecting leaves.  No, we won't be camping, but will be "suffering" in a 4 bedroom cabin with full amenities.  While I know we will enjoy our down-time, there is one thing we won't be doing.... eating out!  There will be nine of us (my mom is joining us) and we are just too cheap (this is where if I knew how I would draw a line through CHEAP and replace it with...) frugal to spend that much money on dining out.  Devin and I have been busy the last few weeks filling our freezers up with main dishes, soups, and desserts to take with us.  So far we have chicken strips, bbq pork,  chili, turkey pot pie, chicken and sausage gumbo, cinnamon rolls, Texas sheet cake, buttermilk pound cake, fall shaped sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies.  We actually have two or three of each of these dishes in the freezer.  I love cooking in bulk!!  The other day, Devin and Kaelan worked on decorating leaf and acorn shaped sugar cookies and cinnamon rolls, while I made a huge pot of pinto beans, a crockpot full of bbq pork and a pork loin roast with veggies for dinner.  The house was smelling oh so good!  What a blessing to have two sets of helping hands to tackle all of our cooking duties!!  We still have various pies, spaghetti sauce, roast, vegetable soup and chicken tortilla soup to go.  We won't be taking all of our goodies with us, but it will be nice to have a freezer well stocked for the busy days when we return and get back to our regular routine.

Tonight Jeff, Jordan, Aaron, and Jackson are camping out with the men and boys in our homeschool support group.  I am worn out helping them get things ready!!!  Next time they can mooch food from everyone else!  They are grilling hot dogs tonight with beans and chips on the side and will bake a peach cobbler on the fire.  They have batter made up for pancakes and bacon in the morning with coffee, hot chocolate and water.  Thankfully, they are just camping at the state park not five minutes from our front door.  Tonight will be the first cold night, so I am worried about my baby Jack getting cold.  Now that he is 5, he was allowed to go on the campout.  I am going to miss snuggling with him in the morning.  He and Caedmon both wind up in the bed with me every morning after Jeff gets up to start his day.  I know that one day they will be big like their brothers and won't snuggle with me any more.  I'll enjoy it for now.  Jackson said he would snuggle with me when he got home from camping, but I have a feeling he will need a thorough bath first!!!

Devin, Kaelan and I, along with Caedmon have a quiet evening planned.  I am sure Devin picked up one or two movies today at the library and she will pick up some Chinese food for our dinner.  We'll probably make a few chocolate chip cookies and veg out in front of the tv.  Or I might just tackle the pile of clothes in my bedroom floor left over from the great Chamblee seasonal clothing swap.  I think they are multiplying!!!

Tomorrow will be a work day to finish up some projects and to complete my lesson plans for next week.  I am also re-thinking my system for chores and school assignments and will work on that as well.  We are constantly re-evaluating and trying to discern God's will in all that we do, even chores!  Our character study will focus on responsibility for the rest of this semester and we all need to do become more responsible.  Developing Godly character is a daily task and we fall short many times.

Hope you all have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

God, Glory or Gold?

 I tried to post this last night but rain interrupted my satellite service TWICE and I lost the post!!  Here we go again.

This week we are finishing up our study of the explorers.  We have been on this unit for about 10 weeks and I am ready for a change!    One thing that we have noticed is how cruel so many of the explorers were to the native people.  Most of the explorers that we studied established settlements in South America, Central America and the islands of the Caribbean.  So much violence resulted in the quest to seek gold and glory.  Most of these explorers were from Spain.  A couple of years ago, Devin and I spent some time in Spain visiting my brother.  We toured a couple of cathedrals and I, being a simple Baptist girl from the South, was appalled at the tremendous amounts of gold used in decorating these cathedrals.  I was reminded of all the indulgences that Luther fought against and was saddened by the tremendous wealth put in these buildings when all around the cathedrals were people who were begging.  Now, we have seen where all the gold came from and how mistreated the native people were.  How they converted to Catholicism at the point of a sword while keeping their pagan superstitions and customs.  Coercion does not lead to true conversion.

We have read about those who explored the southeastern and southwestern US, DeSoto and Coronado, who were searching for gold and the ever-evasive city of Cibola.  The southeastern Indians kept telling DeSoto that, yes, there is much gold...far away from here!!  They were no dummies!  DeSoto and Coronado died with neither gold nor glory.  DeSoto treated the Indians so badly that when other groups began settling in the southeast over 100 years later, the Indians caused all kinds of trouble.

It is very interesting that North America was eventually settled by men who were not seeking gold or glory, but God.  Men who were seeking religious freedom were led to the New World and established many settlements.  I am looking forward to our studies of the colonies and early settlements and those who first came to our shores seeking liberty to worship God as they saw fit and to raise their children for HIS glory.  I am so thankful to be able to learn right along with my children, instilling in them a desire for learning and  desire to seek after God and not gold or glory.  The Lord is so gracious to allow me this time with my children.    Homeschooling is a hard job, but it's the only job I want.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

This Boy and the Dentist

Yesterday THIS BOY had a dentist appointment to get two fillings done.  BTW, NONE of my 4 older children have had fillings, only numbers 5 and 6.  Either the good teeth gene is  being watered down or I have gotten lazy in the checking their tooth brushing skills department.

Anyway, THIS BOY had, unfortunately, had two fillings previously, but did great.  However, yesterday was a no-go!!  He got situated in the chair, was getting his dose of happy air, got his shot of numbing medicine and then the assistant decided to put in a movie for him to watch.  I don't know if that was what made things go downhill, but that's when it started.

Mr. Dentist comes in and is ready to get to work.  They try a couple of devices to help THIS BOY keep his mouth open to no avail.  OK, just keep your mouth open and we'll work that way.  THIS  BOY couldn't/wouldn't keep his mouth open.  Tried the devices again...gag, sputter, no way.  Try without again....couldn't/wouldn't keep his mouth open.  Mr. Dentist gives up and says we will have to try the pediatric dentist who has more tricks up his sleeve.  As we are leaving the dentist office,  THIS BOY with the numb mouth is upset that he didn't get a prize!!  I think Mr. Dentist needs a prize!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ronald Reagan Still Makes Sense


I was reminded last night as I was reading a Dr. Seuss-type book to Jackson about how much I could actually teach a 5 year-old just by reading a silly book.  I pointed out letters and easy words that were  repeated.  We talked about rhyming words and I paused in my reading to give Jackson time to insert the word that fit. We counted items in the illustrations.  All this took place in just 20 minutes and the best part was that we snuggled together while doing it.  I am always amazed by how I forget the simple.  I spend so much time and energy trying to contrive activities that teach when all I really need to do is go about life walking, talking, sharing, teaching  and loving as we walk through our day.   The Lord continues to tweak and prune me as I go about my busy life.   This teacher continues to learn needed lessons.  I sometimes think that is why God continued giving us children.  If the Lord tarries I will have 40 years of home educating my children.  Maybe by then I will figure things out!  God is teaching me to simplify even further and to focus on what is most important--  developing a relationship with HIM, developing a relationship with the individuals in my family and learning to enjoy every moment.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Swine Flu?

Swine flu symptoms:
sore throat-check
runny or stuffy nose-check
body aches-check
and some cases of diarrhea or vomiting-check

Jeff  took Aaron, Kaelan and Jackson to the doctor yesterday.  Each child had SOME of the above symptoms, but not all.  The doc actually said a sore throat was not a symptom, but I have read otherwise.
The other three children have experienced some of the symptoms and now Jeff and I have.  What do you think?  Swine flu or rhino/stomach virus combo?

On another note, today is Caedmon's first birthday.   We have not purchased gifts or planned anything.  So sad, but I didn't anticipate everyone being sick for the last three days.  We will plan a little party later....when we are all well or when pigs fly!  Whichever comes first!

Monday, October 5, 2009

We. Are. Sick.

We spent the weekend visiting my parents, brother and a sister.  However, we woke up Saturday morning with two sick children.  By that evening, another one was down.  We left my mom's house Sunday morning asap to get the sickies home and wound up with another down last evening.  Today, one more is sick.   Fevers are running up to 102.8.  The only one who is not sick is the baby!!  Nursing may be keeping him well!

Jeff stayed home today to help out as 5 of them are sick.  He took 3 to the doctor this afternoon and flu and no strep!!  We are thankful for that, but this is some type of rhinovirus that will just have to run its course.  Lots of liquids, ibuprofin and bed.  Should be over in 3-4 days!!!

I am starting to get a little congested so I took a good dose of my tonic....remember my tonic?  I don't know if anyone else will take any, but I plan on taking it morning and night to see if it works.    Tonight the kids are requesting chicken soup, saltines, grape juice, ginger ale and popsicles.  Jeff is out collecting our dinner.   BTW, it's raining again.  Last week was glorious and we cut out a good bit of school so we could enjoy outdoor time.  Tomorrow I think my sick children will watch A Man for All Seasons that just came in the mail from NetFlix.  It is about Henry VIII and Sir Thomas More.  That may be our school for tomorrow!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Filling in the Gaps

As a homeschooling mom, I learned early on that there is NO way I can teach my children everything they need to know in the typical 18 years that we are given.   My children are not pails that I can simply pour knowledge into and hope that it is all retained.  There are some things that we will not cover, intentionally or otherwise, but I have found that we can cover some of those gaps with good quality movies.  GASP!!  Movies??!!  Homeschooling??!!  Yes, you can use movies to fill in or to even teach some facts.  There are tons of great Creation-based science dvd's that are wonderful to introduce my children to different topics that we might not cover.  Schoolhouse Rock is great for teaching parts of grammar, history and government facts.  There are also lots of homemaking dvd's out there now that are interesting, entertaining, and actually teach a skill.

One resource that we have been using this year is our NetFlix membership.  I can request movies that we are interested in and they are delivered right to my mail box!  Or I can play them right on my computer!  This week we watched  the 1970 movie Cromwell.  This movie covered a brief period of English history (around 1640), but this was a very important time in the history of English government.  Cromwell was instrumental in bringing about the end of the English monarchy as it existed and brought in a democratic government.  England still had (has) a royal figurehead, but the Parliament became its ruling branch of government.

It was actually during this time of English history that my first ancestor came to the New World.   The Batte family (my mother's family) manor is still standing today in the village of Batley.  The manor is called Oakwell Hall and is now a museum.  My mom was blessed to go to England and tour Oakwell Hall.  We now have a print of Oakwell Hall hanging in our den along with the Batte family coat of arms and other symbols.  And yes, the coat of arms contains a bat!  It was neat to be able to watch this movie with the children and  trace those same events to our family heritage.

Filling in the gaps with movies works for me!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A New Blog Frog and Check Out My Community

There is something new going on at the Blog Frog.  It's a fun way to get to know other bloggers out there.   If you look at my right side bar you will find a link to My Blog Frog community.  You are welcome to post questions there for me or for other readers' input and I will post some questions for all of you as well.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...