Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Rice cooker rice pudding

Edited to add: Hello, if you are one of the 30 people each day that google "rice pudding rice cooker" I have a question for you. Is this what you are looking for? Or are you wanting a more traditional recipe that uses the rice cooker? My finding the recipe was an accident, I didn't know such a thing could be done. Anyway, I would love it if you would leave a comment.

Back to the original post.

Because I am trying to lose weight I started craving tapioca pudding. Mmmmmm tapioca.

Unfortunately, I had less tapioca than I thought. So I got to thinking . . . and a close second is bread rice pudding. Bread pudding is not gluten free so went with the rice pudding.

So I got to looking for a recipe that used uncooked rice . . . because I am lazy that way . . . and found this one. is my favorite place to look for recipes because I can almost always find what I am looking for.

I have to admit, I hate-loath-and-despise raisins. I love, love, love dried cranberries. So dried cranberries were substituted but I thought cranberries and apples go well together.

This wasn't the creamy off-white I was expecting, it looked like it had been made with brown sugar (not a bad thing, just letting you know.)

Apple Rice Pudding for a Rice Cooker Recipe

by HappySphinx

1 hour | 20 min prep


2 cups apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 cup short-grain white rice (Carolina Gold is recommended)
3 cups boiling water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
1 pinch nutmeg
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla

1. Put the rice, salt, 3 cups of boiling water, raisins, apples, and nutmeg in the rice maker.
2. Tell the rice cooker to 'cook'.
3. When the rice cooker says it is done or switches to 'warm', stir in the condensed milk, vanilla, and butter.
4. Tell the rice cooker to 'cook' again.
5. When it switches to 'warm' again or says it is done cooking, evaluate.
6. If there is too much liquid in your rice pudding for your preference, you can tell the cooker to 'cook' again.
7. garnish with cinnamon.
© 2008 Recipezaar. All Rights Reserved.

The Verdict

Hubby loved it. The kids thought it needed something, maybe more sugar. I personally gagged at the thought of more sugar. It was plenty sweet and rich enough.

I think maybe because of the condensed milk, it had a bit too much of a caramel flavor. Since I am not too big on caramel, I wasn't crazy about it. It was good . . . . it just wasn't quite what I wanted.

a Legacy of Faith

I was very blessed to come from a family with a strong faith. We were in church every Sunday and had prayers before meals. Not that any of that made me a christian, it just laid the foundation. I will write my testimony later, this is about something I found today.

I was involved in a organization called Rainbows -- the short explanation is that Rainbows is like Masons for teenage girls. Forget all the conspiracy things you have heard about Masons. It's not true. There was alot of scripture memory work and then some of the club type stuff with positions such as secretary and so forth.

When I reached the level of Worthy Advisor (like president) during my installation my Grandfather presented me with a Bible. When he presented my Bible he gave a short speech that he had written. The words would be meaningless except that he believed them and lived them. He was a man of faith.

My granddaughter, I hold in my hand the book of books, the Holy Bible.

Howsoever men differ in creed or theology, all good men are agreed that within the covers of the Holy Bible are found those principles of morality that lay the foundation upon which to build a righteous life, and the study therein will find the way to everlasting life.

The Holy Bible is the world’s supreme record of man’s experience and faith.

In this book are laid down the principles of successful living. It’s great men loom large upon the background of the worlds history. They lived, they fought, they loved, they sinned, they repented. And they left behind them – here -- the testimony that the keeping of God’s Laws and the doing of God’s will are the things worth living for. We need to know the Bible, to learn it’s precepts, to reverence it as our great book friend.

And my granddaughter that your feet may not falter and your path be well lighted, I place in your hands, your very own personal copy of the Great Light, with the prayer that it may indeed be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path.

While I miss my Grandpa, I was so very blessed.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

After Christmas

Well, Christmas is over and it went well at our house. We had a wonderful meal and then we unwrapped presents.

We gave Junior and Daisy BB guns.

yup. I'm in Texas.

It took hubby several years to convince me. He kept saying it would be fun for the kids. They wouldn't hurt themselves. They would be careful.

Just so you know, he has a BB in his chest from when he and a friend were playing and shooting each other.

I did feel alot better when Junior told me very solemnly "this is a dangerous present. I could hurt myself."

My parents had given us a Wii and a Wii fit. We actually opened it Thankgiving and so have been playing since then. It is so cool. While waiting for the meal to be ready and then after eating we all played with the wii. My in-laws had gotten the kids some wii games, not really knowing what it was. After a little bit of playing on it, they were tempted to get themselves one.

Listening to Junior yell "Papa, hit Meme really hard! Go on! Hit her!" seemed a bit odd but they were playing the boxing on the Wii. Then it was funny watching all compete on the Wii fit with the balance games.

All in all, it went really well. I did want to post some recipes, and I may do that even though it is after the holidays.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Because I am procrastinating the bazzillion things I should be doing . . . I decided to enter a contest.

Sagerats is having a contest that you can see
by clicking here. To participate in the blog contest, you just answer these questions.

  1. Why did you start a blog?

    To be honest, I don't remember. I guess it seemed like a good idea, although I didn't really get busy with the blogging until a few months back.

  2. What did/do you hope to accomplish with your blogging?

    To have the entire blog world love me and have Le Creuset donate a set of their cookware and . . .
    Not really.

    Ummm, I don't know that I really have a purpose, I just write because I have to. Something makes me write. I write online because I enjoy the occasional validation but I have also done journaling at others times.

  3. Have you found you don't post as much as when you started?

    it varies. It depends on whether or not I have something postable or not and if I have time to do so.

  4. If yes, why not?
    Ummm. Doesn't really apply.

  5. How important are comments to you?

    I enjoy the validation, but I have been doing this for a few months with not very many comments. I know there are some who are reading but not commenting . . . You know who you are.

  6. Do you ever find yourself wishing people would not always make comments that agree with you? Um, right now, I am just wishing more would comment.

  7. Do you comment on other people's blogs alot, sometimes or very little? Probabaly sometimes. I don't like leaving comments on those who have 60+ comments because it tends to get repetative. Usually, I just leave a comment if I have something to say. If I don't, I don't.

  8. What determines why you don't post a comment on someone else's blog?

    If I don't have something to say.

  9. What determines why you do post a comment on someone else's blog?

    If I do have something to say.

  10. Do you have more than one blog? Where?

    I suppose I do, although the other one isn't active. Right now I am just using it to post recipes for a post I am working on but is taking FOREVER. Most of the posts that are there I have moved here.

  11. Do you read random blogs off random blogger or off friends lists?

    Yes, I have found some really good blogs that way! I mainly do it when the blogs I keep up with are not posting very much.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Classical Christmas music

Ok, I just have to brag for a moment.

I was listening to XM classical Christmas (through our satellite) and Nutcracker came on. Junior was excited and said "It's the Nutcracker!" I asked who wrote it and he said "Tstashtotkee"

(In fairness Tchakovsky is very hard for many adults to say)

Then he said "He wrote some really good songs before he died."

Yes he did, Junior.

I might should mention Junior is 5. Kind of cool that he likes Tchaikovsky at 5.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pet Peeve

Hi, this is just a quick little not to introduce you to my pet peeve. I am so grateful to the many bloggers who don't do this. Some of you have the same music taste I do, while some do not.

How do I know?

Because when I go to your blog I am treated to an automatically starting snippet of music.

Now I love music. I truly do. I understand the quote "music tames the heart of the savage beast." I have used music to enhance my mood and to alter it.

But that is by my choice. Sometimes listening to your music just isn't convenient. Like right now, I have my own music playing.

Yes, I can and do turn my speakers off. Which means I can't listen to something else on the computer. Unless I turn the music off at each site. every. time. it. loads.

I hearby promise not to put one of those music thingies on my blog. If I find music that I just have to share, I will do something other than one of those thingies.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tomato Soup

I love, love, love tomato soup. I love soup with tomatoes in it. I love tomato-bread soup but it's not exactly gluten-free since it uses about half a loaf of french bread.

So I made Mom's tomato soup which is so much better than the stuff in a can. It's a chunky thick soup, more of a stew consistancy. And it is so stinking simple that a five year old could make it. . . if you let him use a knife.

I would have taken pictures of the soup but . . . we ate it. Even Junior who hates cooked tomatoes and onions, liked it . . . sort of. He liked it on the grilled cheese sandwiches when he dunked them. Considering how full it is of onions and cooked tomatoes, that is high praise indeed.

Tomato Soup

  • 2 28 ounce cans diced tomatoes (you can use another type but I prefer diced)

  • 2 cans condensed tomato soup

  • 1 onion diced (approx 1 cup)

  • 2 bell peppers (approx 1 cup)

  • 2 tablespoon sugar (or up to 4)

  • 1/2 teaspoon basil

  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley

  • salt and pepper to taste

Put it all in a large pot and heat over medium high until onions and bell peppers are tender. Serve with grilled cheese.

If its too thick for you you could thin it down with water or broth or something.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Picky kids

As anyone who has been around kids very much can tell you sometimes kids are a little picky. I am lucky that my kids aren't incredibly picky . . . well for the most part.

Daisy's current list of dislikes are:

  • corn dogs with mustard(that's easy to avoid)
  • spicy hot food, ditto
  • raw tomatoes
  • raw onions
  • nuts, a little harder to avoid
  • sour cream, she doesn't mind it mixed in, just not glopped on

Junior on the other hand had an ever growing list of food dislikes. To be honest most of them we ignore because otherwise all we would eat as a family is cereal. A current approximation (I know we have missed some) contains (in the order we thought of them):

  • onion, raw and cooked-- SHHH! most of my cooking starts with onions
  • cooked tomatoes, (puh-leeze he could eat his weight in raw tomato)
  • spicy food, this one I give in on
  • mushrooms, we don't eat them often and don't tell him when it is in the food. If he can't see it, he doesn't notice.
  • coconut, (this is a new one to me)
  • mustard, we do mostly avoid it anyway
  • mayo, I don't use it much in cooking but he wouldn't notice it
  • french fries, Seriously, was he switched at birth?
  • green apples, he keeps insisting he likes red delicious but on the rare occasion I buy them he won't eat one because it "doesn't taste good"
  • he is not real big on meat, so typically whatever meat we are having we hear "I hate . . . " -- but he still has to eat some
  • pickles, this one is easy to avoid
  • black pepper, he just can't see it
  • sour cream - just its existance bugs him
  • hot dogs -- I don't like them either so this one isn't a big deal.
  • black olives, this just leaves more for the rest of us

All of this reminds me of a point I wanted to make. There are two types of people those who like (or tolerate) marshmallows on sweet potatoes and normal people those who don't.

I honestly thought I didn't like sweet potatoes until I made them mashed. See I had a rule for myself I wouldn't feed my kids anything I wouldn't eat myself when they were babies. So when I made a sweet potato for Daisy (boiled and mashed) I tasted it and it was good.

So now I use sweet potatoes alot, but I still don't like them with marshmallows.

I have a theory that there are many others who "don't like sweet potatoes" because they have only tried them "candied." I know there are many who don't like it with marshmallows.

The difficulty is when you live in a divided household. My mostly wonderful husband insist that it's not Thanksgiving or Christmas without candied yams. I think they are disgusting. So each year we have 2 types of sweet potatoes, with and without. But HE has to cook the with - or have his mom do it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bunny Babies

As I said, we had the seven that survived from the second litter (the first litter died).

There were 2 remaining rabbits that might be mamas.

Pie I don't think became pregnant. I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure that she didn't. She also hasn't been acting very perky, so I don't know how healthy she is anyway. Kind-of like a cranky old lady, everytime I walk out there she glares at me.

Flopsy had a rough day of it yesterday. She gave birth to a large baby that died and had alot of swelling and bruising. This morning she had 2 more babies and only one lived. That one wouldn't have made it except I found it before it froze to death. Flopsy had made a nest and pulled some fur in the nest box and then had the babies on the cage floor. I brought the kit in and it spent some time on Daisy's tummy to warm up. I then took it so she could eat some breakfast.

The plan is this: This kit and the runt from the other litter will be come nest mates. The runt hasn't been getting fed, sometimes they just aren't strong enough to fight for a nipple so this way he/she won't have to fight.

Some general info, these are Californian rabbits, they are all white with black ears and feet. They grow to be about 8 lbs. Rabbits are not rodents, they are Lagomorphs which includes only rabbits and cavies (guinea pigs); it has something to do with a difference in the teeth and maybe some other things.

Here is a picture of the little ones, they are a little over 24 hours old and have just been fed. Their little bellies are swollen like they just ate a Thanksgiving or Christmas feast. Yes the do look a bit like a tailess mouse or rat although their ears are a bit bigger. Their ears don't look like rabbit ears yet. They do have a bit of hair, like a peach fuzz on their skin and that is the odd silvery sheen they seem to have. They aren't really cute yet.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Good mommy

I bet you thought this post would be about me and how I am a good mom but you are wrong, wrong, wrong.

I don't think I am a bad mom but this post is about bunnies.

This year we are raising bunnies for 4-H, so we have 4 females and 2 males (2 of the females we knew were good, 2 we weren't too sure about and we weren't sure if either male would be able to . . . perform his duties.)

Anyway, contest is in Febuary and Daisy has to be able to take a pen of 3 or 4 rabbits that she has bred and are 10 weeks old (or maybe its 12, I don't know). So because we didn't know which males would be potent and which females would be fertile, we bred them all. Let me say right now, anyone who asks what we will be doing with all these rabbits, will get some in the mail.

Unfortunatly, the time for them to kindle (have their babies) is during a vicious cold snap for us. Yesterday was in the 40s and last night it was 29. Our average low this time of year is 40. Luckily, the electritian I married but up heat lights and we have the rabbits protected from the wind, it is about 10 degrees warmer in their spot than the rest of the yard. But anyway . . . .

Bunny mamas like having a nest box and a bunch of hay. They gather this hay in their mouths and move it and smoosh it and work at it until they have a lovely hay nest. Then they pull fur off their chest and tummy --I know is sounds awful doesn't it, but apparently the hair is loose--and use that as a padding between the babies and the hay and as a blanket.

First mama is named Dumpling, as a first time mom her skills were . . . lacking. She built her nest outside of the nest box and then sat in the nest box herself. She didn't pull very much hair at all, 2 or 3 tufts which wasn't nearly enough to keep them warm. Her babies were born tuesday morning, before the cold snap all outside the nest box. Baby bunies have no hair and cuddle together to keep warm but 2 of them had lost the others and so all were pretty cold when I found them. I took them in, got them warmed up and then put them back in the nest box. That night as it got cold, I brought the nest box in and they slept in the house. I took them out that morning and thought she would keep them warm (I don't know why I thought she would keep them warm in the day when she wouldn't at night). Anyway, when I went out to check them later, they had frozen to death. A lot of first time bunny mamas lose their babies so . . . .

Nim is our next bunny mama; she was like a kid with a new toy when I put her next box in. She would hop in, then out, then in, then out. She built a lovely nest inside the box, pulled lots of fur and we were able to see her as she was finishing giving birth (nothing graphic to see). She has a lovely litter with visitation rights. I take the babies out a few times a day and let her see and nurse them for about 30 minutes before I bring them back in. She is a wonderful mama even though she is a first time mom; oddly enough she and dumpling are sisters so I don't know why one is a good mom while the other . . . not so good.

Flopsey and Pie are the other girls. Flopsy has warted the hay so much, she has a large pile of it under her cage. When I put a cardboard liner into her nest box, she was finally able to build her nest to her satisfaction. She hasn't kindled yet, it should be today sometime, I keep checking about every 2 hours so we don't have another litter freeze. Pie hasn't built her nest so she may not be fertile . . . or maybe just didn't get pregnant.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Bad Mommy Award

Some days things just don't seem to be going well and the mom's response is . . . not what it should be. You know, those days you are sure you are about to get the Bad Mommy Award. Or maybe it's just me.

The other day I got very irritated . . . ok, angry at Junior. It was his Taekwondo testing/graduation and he had way too much energy. To make a long story short, I ended up having to fuss at him a good portion of the time, so my nerves were already frayed.

Since my in-laws were able to come, we were planning on going out to eat after we left. On the way out the door, after getting on my next-to-last nerve, Junior saw a snack machine. A snack machine. In my family, the vending machines send out a siren's call. The idea of putting coins in a machine and getting out anything - stale crackers, Dr. Pepper, stamps, any unknown item - has facinated various members for generations. Most of us have grown out of it, but there are some nameless family members who dare not walk by a slot machine.

Anyway, as I was saying, Junior was already on thin ice with me and saw the vending machine.

He asked to buy something.

I said no.

He stuck his lower lip out and whined and sulked and acted like a baby instead of a 5 year old boy.

It is a new behavior that just drives me nuts. No, I never give in to it, mostly because it just makes me want to say no to anything.

So I took him into the ladies room and spoke with him.

My kids say I yelled.

I wish.

That would be better than admitting I used the "mean voice."

You know, the voice that you can almost whisper.

The one that tells your child that they are going to be miserable if they don't listen to you.

The one were you speak low enough so that other people won't hear.

I really, really hate when I use that voice.

All the venom, but none of the volume of a yell.

I said something about how he was acting like a baby; he was old enough to know better; I was very unhappy with how he behaved during the taekwondo thing; and he was going to get a spanking if he didn't stop acting like that. All through tightly clenched teeth.

I did appologize later that night. Just like he had to apologize to his teachers the next day.

I still feel bad though.

Maybe, that is the key. A bad mommy wouldn't care, wouldn't appologize.

But would a good mommy use the mean voice?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Let's be scientists -- December Module

I just got the newest Old Schoolhouse Module -- Let's Be Scientists and it looks great. Rather than focusing on one specific branch of science, this gives you a great overveiw. There are sections on weather, astronomy, chemistry, and anatomy.

Let's Be Scientists also has great experiments like "Ice Cream in a Bag" and "How Do Your Taste Buds Work". There is also an introduction to gross science which most kids will love.

As always, there are great quizzes, copywork and coloring pages. There are also recipes included that I can't wait to try.

Check out Let's Be Scientists.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Over the River and through the woods . . .

We spent Thanksgiving at my Grandmother's house and had a great time. My parents drove down and were there. One sister lives nearby and the other drove up with her fiance. My brother was there from college and my in-laws came as well.

My grandparents have lived there for 20 years, and every time we have gone to visit I ended up with a headache at some point in time. EVERY TIME. I thought there was something I was allergic to that grew there.

This time, I didn't have a headache.

The only difference is how I ate.

Typically, there are lots and lots of baked goods and I splurge.

This time, I severely limited the wheat products. Even for Thankgiving dinner, I only had tastes of things that contain wheat.

And no headache! There were a couple of days, I could feel some congestion starting and so I became stricter with myself. On the whole though, I felt great.

Wow. What a difference.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Tribute

I love Thanksgiving. I enjoy visiting with my family, trying new foods, the history of Thanksgiving -- all of it.

Well, except for one thing.

I miss my family who have passed away.

My Grandaddy (great-grandfather) died the Sunday after Thanksgiving when I was 17. He was the first close family member I lost and just a wonderful man. I was so blessed to know him, and to have him as long as I did. I just regret not learning more about him and his growing up years, but I thought everyone would be around for years more.

Each year I think about him as we are gathered around the table, as we watch the football game, and as everything gets quiet. He loved the family gatherings, and Cowboy football. We would all sit around and yell at the 'Boys when they weren't doing well, and cheer them on when they were doing well. I grew up knowing names like Roger Staubach, Danny White and Tom Landry.

I also miss my great-grandmother, she was such a neat lady. An amazing woman, many of my comfort foods are things she cooked. She taught me how to crochet a chain stitch, although we never got beyond that. I just recently realized that it was because she was left-handed and couldn't very easily teach me anything more.
One of my earlier memories, is me telling her that I liked boiled eggs, but not the yolk. She made deviled eggs and proved me wrong.

Then there is my grandfather who just passed away a year and a half ago. Not only do I have memories of him, but Junior and he had a very special relationship. Before he could talk, he just bonded with Grandpa and will mention missing him. I was blessed to be with my Grandpa when he slipped into the Savior's arms.

Thanksgiving is bittersweet for me. I treasure the time with my family, but I also miss those who aren't here anymore.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Little Boys and their brains

I will be famous, I will have statues in my honor. I have figured out the secret to why little boys do some of the things they do.

It may seem that they are not thinking, but really it is just how their brain works.

Let me back up.

Have you ever heard of the great scientist Mark Gungor?

This brilliant man discovered the difference in men and womens brains. You can click here to see a video of him.

Basically he said that women's brains are like large balls of wire, where everything has connections to everything else.

Men's brains he compared to a bunch of boxes; one box for work, one for family, etc. When a man is at work, he is in his work drawer. On the way home, he closes the work drawer and opens the family drawer. If you have ever seen a brief blank look of your husbands face when you ask him a question not related to what he is doing, you just watched him close one drawer and go to another.

Everyone knows what a junk drawer is, right?

That drawer that all the odd stuff goes into?

That is the largest drawer in little boy brains because they put everything in that drawer.

Just like they don't always put away their toys, they just dump every thing in there. It works fairly well, except when they get bored.

See, when they get bored, they reach in that drawer and pull out two or three things.

Any two things. They may not be related, in fact they probably aren't related.

It may be something like a seam ripper and walls which give the boy an idea of seeing what will happen when a seam ripper is used on a wall.

Or it may be makeup base and his sleeping sister, where he decided that she needs makeup (at 8) because she is a girl. Never mind that she is asleep, or that she isn't allowed makeup yet. She gets some of mommy's base on her face. The excess is just wiped off on some nearby furniture. Did I mention we weren't at home? We were visiting my grandmother.

Since you don't know what is in the drawer and what he is going to pull out, you can't possibly forbid everything he might get into.

Thankfully, Junior has been showing much better restraint since the seam ripper incident. There haven't been any more "experiements" lately. He may be done with his experiment phase, although I doubt we are completely through with it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Food and Nutrition Contest

Well this morning we had our county food and nutrition contest for 4-H. For those of you not familiar with 4-H food and nutrition, it's more than just being able to cook. The food is judged on appearance but not on taste (apparently there have been some food poisoning issues). The kids also have to learn the nutritional information on their dish. They are supposed to know

  • calorie content

  • subsitutions you can make, such as whole wheat flour for AP

  • primary nutrient and what that nutrient does, like calcium which builds bones

  • what food groups are on the food pyramid and which group your dish is in

  • they have to be able to serve it

  • and other stuff I can't remember

So its alot of information to learn.

Both kiddos were participating this year. Junior is in the Clover-Kids age group (5-8 yrs) and they don't really compete, they participate. They are "judged" by the older kids, but there is no scoring and all of them get green ribbons.

Daisy's age group is junior division which does compete with real judging. They go back individually, serve the judges and answer questions about their dish.

This year Daisy made Baked Apples Melt in the Mouth Baked Apples This was really yummy but since the judges didn't taste it, that doesn't matter. It also has only 90 calories. That is amazing for a dessert!

Anyway, Daisy won runner up this year (last year she won a blue ribbon and first place with Great-Grandma's Applesauce Bread.) If the other kid can't go to district, Daisy will get to go, but it's not likely. The kid who won, his family is heavily involved in 4-H.

Junior made Yogurt Parfaits He made them with vanilla yogurt, granola and pineapple -- I had my doubts that pineapple would be good with yogurt but it is wonderful -- just canned pineapple. We were able to hear his presentation. He did well . . . except he kept putting his glove in his mouth -- makes the gloves for serving food pointless.

I know he was really nervous, in fact I asked one of the older kids in our club to pretend to judge Junior so he could feel less nervous. I think that helped, but they judged the Clover-Kids last so he was nervous again by the time it was his turn.

All in all, it was a good competion, the kids learned quite a bit.

100 species challenge - Sweetgum and Greenbriar

I am finally doing my first 100 Species Challange post. With dead camera batteries and too much other stuff going on, this has taken longer than I thought.

  1. Sweetgum

  2. Greenbriar

Sweetgum leavesName: Sweetgum

Also known as redgum, american sweetgum, starleaved gum, gumtree and alligator wood. A deciduous tree with leaves that are deeply palmate, or star shaped. When crushed, the leaves have a very strong fragrance, kind of peppery, minty, mentholy. The leaves somewhat resemble maple but are alternately arranged rather than opposite.(see below for an explanation of alternate and opposite)

Sweetgum has a fruit that you would recognize if you ever stepped on one, looking more like a weapon than a fruit. It’s a spiny ball that will clutter up the yard.
Except for the messy balls, it is a beautiful landscape tree and is one of the top producing hardwoods. It is used to make flooring, veneers, furniture, paper pulp and basket making.Sweetgum leaf
The sweetgum sap has been used by oldtimers to make a chewing gum. Supposedly, the leaves when chewed and applied as a paste will releive fire ant bites. I have tried this on Junior and he said it helped, but it took awhile before I had the taste out of my mouth (think really, really strong mint gum). Since I avoid fire ant beds, I haven't tried this on myself. Yep, I am a wimp.


Greenbriar leavesName: Greenbriar

Also known as as horsebrier, catbriar, stretchberry, tramps troubles, blasphemy vine and hellfetter.

A common woody vine that grows in the same area as sweetgum. The leaves are very glossy, almost waxy looking and are broadly rounded. It is the only vine in the United States that has both thorns and tendrils.

The vine can form a thick thicket that is home and food to a variety of wildlife. The deer graze upon the leaves, birds eat the berries and cottontails make their home in its thick cover.
Greenbriar berries, notice the thorn poking out from behind
The berries can be mixed with the sap of the sweetgum tree, to make the gum stretchier. I have broken open these berries and there is a thin, clear stretchy membrane that really is elastic-like.

The young shoots, tendrils and leaves can be cooked as asparagus, ro eaten raw. The roots when crushed, washed and strained produce a red powder that can be used as a gelatin. This powder can be added to soups as a thickening agent or mixed with tannic acid as a soothing salve for bites, minor burns, or abrasions.


While looking this information up, I found this book which looks like a wonderful resource. I love the look of this book, I was able to veiw some of it and found it a huge wealth of information. That is where I got alot of the info on the Greenbriar.
Ok I must confess, I just borrowed the graphic from Amazon. So if you want to see inside the book, you have to go to Amazon. You can just click here.


I promised to explain alternate and opposite. Here goes. Then you look at a branch that has leaves they will be either alternate or opposite. Opposite leaves would be like your 2 arms. They are on opposite sides of the body. Alternate means they are not opposite. They can be very close to opposite, but if they aren't even, it is alternate. Here is a little diagram I threw together to give a visual.
alternate and opposite

Friday, November 21, 2008

three sixes

I saw this meme on Our Little Togginator's blog and thought it looked interesting. So here goes.

6 things I value

  1. My relationship with God-This has gotten me through 2 high-risk pregnancies, my father's cancer, my mother's and my MIL's open heart surgeries and more small crisis' than I can count. As for wondering if He exists, since both my children are alive because of miracles, you can not convince me He doesn't exist.

  2. my children-I love snuggling up with them and reading a book, I love the smell of their hair, I love how they are getting into deeper thoughts, I love how they are relating to each other - most of the time.

  3. my husband- I am blessed with one of those "prince among men." He is kind, generous, compassionate, cool-headed and as handy as a pocket on a shirt. Except for his horrible taste in movies and television shows, he is wonderful.

  4. my family- I have got such a wonderful family, I was blessed by Godly grandparents; parents who took me to church even when I didn't want to go;and my siblings whose very existence taught me necessary skills like being able to pick bathroom locks. I love them all dearly, even though there is no such thing as a secret in my family. Information travels faster in my family than it possibly could in cyber-space. I am further blessed by in-laws who love my children and would do anything for them. They also love me too.

  5. the ability to homeschool- I love the ability to be with my kids everyday most of the day. I love to see that little spark that says they get it. I love spending time with them. I will admit it, some days are not good days but the good days outweigh the bad.. I know homeschooling is not for everyone but it has been wonderful for us.

  6. Friends - both online and in real life. Enough said.

6 Things I don’t support

  1. Lying - It seems to run rampant in our neighborhood, kids telling lies about each other. I suppose I should be glad that the neighborhood kids are not good liars, but my two fall for it. They have both been taught that lying is wrong and so they don’t understand why someone would lie for no real reason. Its just a pet peeve of mine, since I knew people who would rather lie than tell the truth.

  2. Cruelty of any sort - I don’t care if it is toward a person or animal. No one and nothing deserves to be treated with cruelty. Physical, verbal, or mental - it is all wrong.

  3. name calling and other forms of political *%^&#Grow up. It is not polite and participating in it just means you need your mouth washed out with soap. I have seen 5 year olds fighting over a toy that behaved better than both political parties.

  4. creatures that creep me out - I am not particularly girly in the animal department. I like lizards and horned toads and daddy long-legs and all sorts of things that creep others out. I just don’t like snakes in my yard, any other place is fine; crickets and grasshoppers; roaches; and mice and rats.

  5. aspartame - I know the FDA says it safe kindof like they did with cigarettes but I have had problems with nutrasweet and I don’t want my kids eating it. Did you know though, it is nearly impossible to get away from? It is in all children’s chewable medicine (I wasn’t able to find any that didn’t have it), chewable vitamins (hard to find without aspartame) and Juicy Fruit gum which contains sugar but they still add aspartame.

  6. forwards - I get so tired of those. I have already read many of them and to be honest, it just annoys me to be told “If you don’t forward this to 15 people you will have horrible luck” or “send this to everyone in your contact list and see how many send it back. If no one sends it back, no one likes you.” I refuse to send them back on principle so don’t feel unloved if I don’t send one back.

The third 6 is people I have tagged, however I am not going to tag anyone. If you want to do this one, go ahead, I would love to read it. If you don’t, nothing bad will happen.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I deserve an award of some kind

and I will be by to pick it up as soon as I have had a bath in boiling water.
* shuddering *

Most animals I like, there are very few things that just completely gross me out; roaches, snakes in my yard, mice, rats, and grasshoppers and crickets. yes, I know it's stupid to be scared of grasshoppers and crickets. They just creep me out. Bad childhood experience.

Daisy went out to feed her rabbits and called me out because she saw what she thought was a rat next to the house.

I don't want a mouse or rat near my house.

Neighboring town maybe.

So now what do I do? I can't leave it out there -- it could come in.

So I got a fishing net and trapped it. Put it in a huge rubbermaid tote that we had an outdoor goldfish in (long story, but the goldfish died and it was empty). I then got an empty fishtank that we use for the occasional small wildlife we catch -ususally frogs and turtles. I scooped the rodent from the tote into the fishtank and then went and threw up.

For those of you that think I should take it and release it in the country. Sorry, not me.

  1. I AM NOT getting in a small enclosed space like a car with a wild rodent.

  2. I live in the country. This could be one that someone caught in the city and released out here. Thanks for that!

By the way, I am now thinking it was a mouse not a rat. I held a ruler next to the tank and sizewise, it is the size of a full grown mouse. From some of the other things I read (tail lenght, ear size, etc), I am pretty sure it is a full grown mouse, rather than an immature rat. In any case, for my peace of mind, it is a mouse. If that means I won't get the award . . . still a mouse.

What am I going to do with it? I am going to wait until my wonderful husband comes home and he can do something with it. Maybe take it to the city, now that its vacation is over.

a few things

Its the oddest thing, I have run a low grade fever the past 4 nights from close to 7:30 until about midnight. Well the other nights have been pretty close to those times, tonight was the only night I paid attention. It's not really high, just enough to make me cold and achey. The rest of the day, I am ok. I dunno. Its just odd.

This morning, I got on the scale for the first time in a week and had a huge jump of joy in my heart. Then I realized that for me to lose 30 pounds in a week, something had to be seriously wrong.
I was right.
There was something seriously wrong.
There was a marble under the scale.sigh.

I was going to post a couple 100 species challange things, but my camera battery died and I didn't feel like looking for the card reader. Now my camera battery is charged but . . . I don't feel like doing that right now.

ummm. There isn't really a point to this post. I just thought I would share.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

an Attitude adjustment --NOT a rant

This post was origionally going to be a rant 2 rants in 1 day and none before that? Can we say hormones? I have realized though that God was apparently at work.

My patient husband was called to jury duty in the area we live in. Now being called into the county, state, federal, any of those I could see. But for crying out loud, we don't even have a post office, yet we have a court?!?! Apparently they only do 2-4 cases a year.

So he shows up for duty at 8:45, like they told him, and finds out that only 5 other jurors have shown up. No matter, they only need 3 jurors so they can all stay.

The case is this: Bob and Joe *not their real names* decide to go driving around at 2 am after drinking too much. Bob doesn't drive so well because of the beer and so they get pulled over. Joe had "fallen asleep" in the front seat and when his buddy was arrested for driving drunk, they woke him up. Joe said that he had had a 6 pack, but the officer was going to let him go with a warning if someone would come and pick him up. Joe couldn't get anyone to answer the phone, the officer couldn't leave him on the side of the road. The only thing he could do is give Joe a ticket for public intoxication and left him dry out in the drunk tank.

Joe now claims that he wasn't intoxicated; it was a 6 pack of water that he drank, and he was just tired from lack of sleep. Anyway they never did a urine or breath test so they can't prove he was drunk. Blah, Blah, Blah . . . .

I will spare you my rant about idiots who waste taxpayer's money because they don't want to admit they messed up. Suffice it to say, they found Joe guilty. Jury duty only lasted about 1 hour.

But then Hubby had the rest of the day off . . . so he went to work for a "few hours" at the church.

Our church is doing one of those Christmas light shows that is coordinated to the music this year. Well, they need a fair amount of electrical work in order to get it up and running, so this week hubby has worked about 16 hours on getting the wiring done. He was there today from about 10:00 until about 5:30. If he hadn't have had jury duty, he wouldn't have been able to do as much today and quite possibly the church would have had to hire someone to do some of the electrical.

So with that in mind, I suppose it was a good thing that he had jury duty.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Have you joined Freecycle?

I have. I am a member of 2 groups, one for the town I am in and one for the neighboring town.

Its a great concept, I have something i.e. swingset, baby stuff, etc. that I no longer need and post it on freecycle and someone who wants it, gets it. Or if there is something I am wanting, I might post a request.

Some people don't quite get the idea through.

I have seen requests like "My grandma is in the hospital and I lost her laptop. She is on a fixed income and can't afford to buy a new one. It needs to be one of those with all the capabilities of doing advanced gaming."
Are you serious! You think you are actually going to get something like that!
or My DVD player just broke and I am wanting one of those combination DVD/VCRs, if you happen to have a working one. yes, when I buy electronics, I always buy a few extra.

Not all of them are bad though. I saw one with a request for firewood, since I have a friend whose husband cuts trees and they end up having to have bonfires to burn all the trees he hauls off, I passed the information on to her.

So Freecycle does serve a very useful purpose, its just some people try to take advantage.

Does anyone have a giant screen tv laying around taking up space? I will be happy to take it off your hands.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Feeling Blessed

It's amazing how a humdrum, same-old/same-old Monday can be so wonderful.

Daisy had asked Jesus into her heart on Oct 3, 2006 --she was 7-- and since then we have had some fairly deep discussions. We have discussed things in front of Junior, but in a fairly toned down way.

About 4 months ago, we were finishing up the Narnia Chronicles, with The Last Battle (an absolutely wonderful series, I highly recommend it). The Last Battle **spoiler alert** deals with the end of Narnia, somewhat as a parallel to our end times. So she and I were discussing that, and how those who haven't accepted Jesus would go into the pit, according to the Bible. Because Junior was in the room, I chose pit because it was less scary than "lake of fire", "hell" or any of the other names. He didn't say anything but was apparently listening.

Then in early September he had a little problem with a slightly damaged wall and was completely convinced he was going to die.

This morning, a normal quiet morning, I was checking my email while the kids were finishing breakfast. Junior crawled up next to me and said "Mommy, how do you get Jesus in your heart?"

The laptop closed and my full focus was on Junior and his heavenly Father. I told Junior, what to pray and immediately he folded his hands and prayed. After talking with him, I found out that he prayed because he didn't want to go into the pit. Because we hadn't really been talking with him, he didn't know how much more there is.

I had assumed, silly me, that he was too young to think about something this big.
But God knew better.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pieces of my past

I hate that the modern life is so busy. No matter what phase of life we are in, we seem to fill it to the brim; sometimes we fill it too full and important things are washed out. Sometimes we keep putting something off until we have more time to devote to it . . . unfortunately we never seem to have more time.

Then the guilt sets in, the guilt that says "you've taken too long, it's too late."

I had some friends I treasured, friends from high school and college. But I moved, and we lost touch. We all had busy lives and things going on. I waited to call or write or email until I had time to do so. Time to devote to it, to do a thorough job.

Some of them, I was able to contact about 8 years ago but busy-ness got in the way and rather than send a quick email, I waited until I could send a longer one. Waited too long. I am realizing now, I should have just at least sent emails that said "I am thinking about you." Knowing me, once I started it would have gotten longer. But I waited . . . and lost contact.

These are friends that I laughed with and cried with. They hold pieces of my past, we share memories. We have all moved on with our lives, built new ones. But we don't have to throw away our past. We can still keep our old friends.

Can we be as close as we once were? Probably not. I would like at the very least to be on each others Christmas card lists. I know they are busy too but I think emails once a month or so would be nice.

Speaking of which, I have an email to write. I encourage you to get in touch with an old friend.

Make new friends but keep the old
One is silver and the other gold.
The circle is round and has no end,
that's how long I want to be your friend.

Cold weather has arrived

Yep, it got really cold last night. You won't believe how cold. We woke up this morning and didn't want to crawl out of our toasty warm beds.

Do you want to know how cold it got?

Are you sure you can handle it?

Well ok, it got down to (shuddering) 1 degree last night.

ok, yes that is 1° celcius . . . which converts to 34° farenheit . . . which I know is not cold for some of you. But for us, it is cold! According to accuweather our average low for November is 46°F and our lowest average is 38°F.

So we are bringing out the thick fuzzy socks, and making some hot chocolate with marshmallows.

My Darling hubby and house weather geek informed me that it was colder than 34°, he saw some thermometers in town announcing it was 27°. I hate being cold.

Friday, November 14, 2008

God's World of Extremes

I was looking for a way to enrich our geography lessons, make them more than just places on a map. The October Old Schoolhouse module is what I was looking for. God’s World of Extremes is full of amazing facts, such as the most rainfall happens in India with 500 inches! You will never guess what amount is the least average yearly rainfall.

God’s World of Extremes has learning opportunities such as maps of each continent; coloring pages for the younger ones; price comparisons for things like bread and gas; games kids play around the world; and a “which continent are we on” worksheet.

There are also loads of links:

  • Easy foreign language
  • More about countries such as Greece, Mexico, Chad and even the United States
  • A penpal website
  • An extensive resource list
  • And more

In God’s World of Extremes my favorite is the copywork pages, one for each continent with a fast fact section that includes things like land size, largest river, and number of countries. These would be wonderful for lapbooking or notebooking.

My daughter can’t wait to start this one. This is a fabulous module that can be used with the Old Schoolhouse Planner; however, owning the planner is not necessary.

God’s World of Extremes will get your kids excited about geography.

Prayers needed

There is a young man who used to go to our church who just graduated from high school this year. He has had an awful time of it recently. His mom battled cancer for a couple of years and passed away close to his graduation. To watch his vibrant, joyful mom waste away was hard enough, now I have found out he has even more sorrow.

His paternal grandfather died 6 weeks ago and then his dad passed away on tuesday. I don't know how or why, I know his dad's death was sudden but I don't know anything specific beyond that.

He is at such a fragile age and has lost 3 close family members in less than 6 months. He is either going to cling tightly to Jesus or become angry with God.

Please just keep him in your prayers.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I loved my blog over at Homeschool Blogger but I found I wanted some of the bells and whistles that are over here at blogger. So rather than open up another blog, I decided to move everything over here.

This isn't exactly the way I want it Does anyone know how to put a graphic at the bottom of each post? but it is getting there. Its taking longer than I would like, partly because I have never messed with CSS, just html.

I plan on moving all (or at least 98%) of the posts over at homeschoolblogger over here, but it may take a bit. You are welcome to browse around here if you want to see what I have missed or what I haven't moved yet.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

100 species Challange

I was over at the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival at Jimmie's One Child Policy blog (well worth checking out even without the carnival) and found this entry:

Faith Alterton shares a most creative post at Blessed Quietness -- And yet another use for mud. That got your attention, didn't it?

Of course I had to check it out, and then I looked around and found the 100 species challenge.

What is the 100 Species Challenge you ask?

Well, it seems the person who came up with this challenge had read a book that mentioned most people nowadays cannot identify 100 species of plants within walking distance. So she took the challenge and has challenged others to do the same, identify 100 species of plants in your area.

You can do this on your own or you can blog about it. If you blog about it, these are the official rules.

The 100-Species Challenge

  1. Participants should include a copy of these rules and a link to this entry in their initial blog post about the challenge.

  2. Participants should keep a list of all plant species they can name, either by common or scientific name, that are living within walking distance of the participant's home. The list should be numbered, and should appear in every blog entry about the challenge, or in a sidebar.

  3. Participants are encouraged to give detailed information about the plants they can name in the first post in which that plant appears. My format will be as follows: the numbered list, with plants making their first appearance on the list in bold; each plant making its first appearance will then have a photograph taken by me, where possible, a list of information I already knew about the plant, and a list of information I learned subsequent to starting this challenge, and a list of information I'd like to know. (See below for an example.) This format is not obligatory, however, and participants can adapt this portion of the challenge to their needs and desires.

  4. Participants are encouraged to make it possible for visitors to their blog to find easily all 100-Species-Challenge blog posts. This can be done either by tagging these posts, by ending every post on the challenge with a link to your previous post on the challenge, or by some method which surpasses my technological ability and creativity.

  5. Participants may post pictures of plants they are unable to identify, or are unable to identify with precision. They should not include these plants in the numbered list until they are able to identify it with relative precision. Each participant shall determine the level of precision that is acceptable to her; however, being able to distinguish between plants that have different common names should be a bare minimum.

  6. Different varieties of the same species shall not count as different entries (e.g., Celebrity Tomato and Roma Tomato should not be separate entries); however, different species which share a common name be separate if the participant is able to distinguish between them (e.g., camillia japonica and camillia sassanqua if the participant can distinguish the two--"camillia" if not).

  7. Participants may take as long as they like to complete the challenge. You can make it as quick or as detailed a project as you like. I'm planning to blog a minimum of two plants per week, complete with pictures and descriptions as below, which could take me up to a year. But you can do it in whatever level of detail you like.

Because of 4-H wildlife this year, we do have a bit of a head start. This is going to be a fun challenge for us, and may make it easier to study for Wildlife contest next year, a contest that 8 & 9 year olds compete with highschool kids. To be honest, I am not quite sure who is at the disadvantage, LOL.

The first plants will be posted later today. Because of wildlife, and because I believe the original author complaining of the lack of botanical knowledge was referring to wild species, I am going to attempt to limit us to stuff we have not planted. For instance, I have a lovely rosemary bush but I know what rosemary is, I know what it does, etc.

I don't specify native because . . . there are many, many invasive plants that are non-natives, not just kudzu but also pretty things like honeysuckle, which would be useful to know more about. Also, to be honest, with plants you don't know, you don't know if they are native or not until you research them. I don't want us to research and then find out they are non-native and tell the kids "oops, we can't use this one." Besides on the wildlife contest there are non-natives like honeysuckle.

Any one else care to join me on this challenge?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Here are some family pictures

I have been taking pictures of the kids doing 4-H stuff and the like. Just not so many just of them.

I do need to do that but here are some pictures taken in the past 16 months.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Veteran's Day Parade

Our homeschool group has participated the past three years in the Veteran's Day parade that our town does. This was the first year, we were able to join the group and I was so glad we were able to do so.

I have family that has served in the military and so Veteran's day reminds me of them.
I was saddened to see the low attendance to honor those men and women that have done so much for our country. I also realize that I have been guilty of doing the same. This is the first Veteran's day event that I have attended -- that I know of.

Anyway, we passed out candy to the kids and said a big "Thank you" to the vets we passed.

To any veteran reading this:

Thank you!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Ok, I can't lie and say I am happy because I am not really. I wasn't one of those chosen for a job offer.

On the other hand, I know I have so very, very much to learn. Some of the others already had prior experience in marketing. Others already were doing some work for TOS, like product reviews.

I was so richly blessed by this class. I have learned so very much, both about marketing and about myself. I tend to be shy and this class pushed me out of my comfort zone but in a good way. I have made some new wonderful friends, so that is wonderful.

My new friends and my new knowledge are very rich treasures indeed.



I don't know about the results of the class yet. I should find out tomarrow. All I can do is pray.

. . . and try to mess up my blog.

I put the facebook icon up tonight and somehow messed up the coding. Thankfully, I have a backup copy for the coding, but then I would have to redo some of the stuff I have changed since last making a backup. But with it I was able to figure out where I messed up the coding so . . .

its all fixed.

Now to update my backup copy of the coding.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I was going to put some mentholated rub on Junior's chest when he had his cough. First I let him smell it.

"This smells like frug." *said like rug,the kind on the floor*

I don't say anything, just look confused. He then says

"I don't know what they look like 'cause I just made them up, but this is what they smell like."


Well I did it.

I signed up for facebook the other day.

Ok, you need to sign up. I was able to make contact with people I haven't talked to in 8 years. I could talk to people I haven't talked to in 17 years, but . . . many of them are part of the reason I homeschool.

You can also keep up with current friends and family through Facebook.

Check it out.

Amusing Mathematics Old Schoolhouse November Module

I really enjoyed Amusing Mathmatics. which is pretty amazing since I have never really liked math.

Ok, the truth is I hated math.

I am still not too fond of math but I really enjoy Amusing Mathmatics. My daughter liked it too. In fact, I didn’t get to read through the whole thing at first because I had to stop so she could play with the tangrams.

Amusing Mathmatics. is a great ebook, even for confirmed mathophobes like me. There are activities such as

  • tangrams - ancient Chinese puzzles of shapes
  • jokes and riddles
  • Pattern Blocks
  • math puzzles
  • sodoku.
Tips are hidden throughout, like an easy way to figure out the answer to 9 x any other number.

I love the copywork for Amusing Mathmatics.! It has rhymes to help remember the difference between coins; the difference in measurement between cups, pints, quarts, and gallons; and other math rhymes.

If you want to add a little fun into your math studies, look no further than Amusing Mathmatics.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

whooping cough part 2

*happy dance* Junior's whooping cough test was negative. *happy dance*

I still have things to do for my class so I will update more later.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Homespun Holidays

I just love the smells of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  • The slightly smoky smell in the air outside from people using their fireplaces.
  • The spicy scent of apples cooking with cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • The toasted vanilla fragrance of cookies baking.

These all make me anticipate the upcoming holidays. The Schoolhouse Store has got an ebook that will help you get that holiday spirit. Homespun Holidays is a wonderful ebook that has so many ideas and recipes for the fall and winter, ideas that come from homeschool moms like you.

With soups to chase away the chill, casseroles to keep you satified, and desserts to make you drool, Homespun Holidays is more than a cookbook. There are also crafts and other activites.

  • Play Thanksgiving ABCs, or Going to Mamaw's Bingo
  • Make a scarecrow or paint your windows.
  • Make a trashbag wreath or a handmade nativity. /li>

What is an e-book?

An e-book is an electronic book that you either download immediately or buy on a computer disk. You can keep it on your computer and read it from there or you can print it and then have it bound. (There are also ways of binding it yourself for very little investment, which I will cover in a later post, I will also discuss different ways of printing to save money.)

Look at Homespun Holidays here before any more time passes. I was absolutely thrilled with my copy.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's nearly over

Ok, I have been taking this marketing class for almost 4 weeks, and have loved every minute of it. I am so thankful that I was able to take part. From the beginning it seemed to be a God thing that I was able to participate, and when we chose partners.

It has been an intensive class with a fair amount of reading, but it's been amazing. It has gotten my brain thinking about thing I didn't know about.

  • I now see what we did wrong at our 4-H fundraiser, a food booth at one of the local town's celebrations. We tried to sell a food plate with a beef sandwhich, bag of chips, drink and cookie for $5, we did sell some but not nearly as many as we were hoping for. We really should have made it the lunch with a free cookie. The word free could have drawn them over. Not to mention we needed to let people know we were there, instead of waiting for them to meander over.
  • I have so many ideas. Ideas for my blog template, ideas for posts, ideas for sell sheets . . . .
  • I learned my creative bone wasn't broken when I got pregnant, it just hid.

As much as I have learned, I know I still have so much more to learn. I had never heard of a white paper until Wednesday night, but I can see applications for it. I may have even read some before, but didn't know what they were. I am not sure how many other marketing things I have never heard of.

On a personal level, this class has done so much for me. I can't even describe how great it is to be using my brain for something other than grocery list and planning our homeschool week. I do have periodic "projects" like learning html, or learning how to tat, but that's different. If I can't figure them out then no one has to know.

I have made friends, the ladies in the class are all wonderful. I am seeing myself as more creative and smarter than I have in awhile. I just feel that God's hand has been in this whole experience.

What a blessing!

Go Vote!!

Ok, I will be honest. Part of me wants to say go vote only if you are going to vote as I did.

However, I am not going to say who to vote for. I will tell you who not to vote for.
  • Don't vote for race
  • Don't vote for gender
  • Don't vote for "charisma"

Vote for policies, vote for politics, vote your conscience.

And remember -- who ever wins-- God is in control. He is not surprised. He won't be sitting up there in heaven saying "Darn it, I fell asleep and forgot to have _____ win." (Hah, you thought I was going to slip up and tell you who to vote for.)

Friday, October 31, 2008

whooping cough -- again

It's been a very long day today.

Some updates -- when we went to get Junior tested for whooping cough, they told us that they would contact us on friday if Junior had whooping cough. If we didn't hear from them, then he was negative. I assumed that they told the same to the mom of Becca's friend (let's just call her Cindy). So I called Cindy's mom yesterday to verify that she hadn't heard, Cindy was tested monday, so she should have gotten her results thursday, as per the promises of the health department.

Awsome! ! ! We are out of the woods because Cindy's mom hadn't heard from the health department.

Today, Cindy's mom called and, well, Cindy does have whooping cough. The health department hadn't called because they are so busy but the mom went to the health department to double check. They got a little upset and told her she had to leave the building and get Cindy home before she infected more people.

ARGHHHH. So we find this out after taking Junior (who still has a bit of a cough) to Taekwondo and then to a fall festival at one of the local churches. He may not have it but we aren't going to find out for a while because they have so many tests to do (an entire school) and they can only process 17 at a time.

Does Junior have whooping cough? I don't know, I had a cold and he could have caught it from me and that may be the reason for his cough. OTOH, apparently in the beginning whooping cough resembles a cold.

I hope he doesn't have it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

For Women Only -- Go ahead. It's not that bad!

Ok, this post is for women only. Women who are 35 and over. Everyone else can either look at another post or go to someone else's blog.

Are they gone?

Well here goes . . .

We have all seen them.

You know what I am talking about.

The cartoons, the jokes about having someone park the family van on one breast. How a mammogram is absolutly awful, painful. Almost as bad as childbirth.

I had my first mammogram yesterday and it was not that bad. It wasn't fun, wasn't really comfortable but really the worst part was all the paperwork.

I have been more much more uncomfortable with my kids squirming in my lap at times.

There isn't a history of breast cancer in my family, so this was just a routine "baseline." All the same, because of mammograms and monthly self exams, it is now uncommon for breast cancer to lead to death.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and so if it is time to get your mammogram done, go call your doctor. Go have it done. It really isn't that painful.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Whooping Cough

Sunday morning, Junior woke up with a fever, a slight fever but a fever. So we skipped church. Except for the fever, he seemed ok but you never can tell with kids.

Monday early, early in the morning, he woke us up crying. He was crying because he said he was coughing and his throat hurt and he was never ever going to get well and he was going to die.

Did I ever say he is a bit meladramatic?

I finally got him to stop crying because I told him that it would make his throat hurt worse to cry.

Until I mentioned that he had a fever. Then it started again.

Anyway, we have been staying at home mostly because it is cold and he is sick. Well, we found out today that whooping cough is going around and has been documented at one of the local schools.

A school that Daisy has a friend at. A friend that she was glued to at a 4-H food and nutrition workshop where they made food that they ate. A friend that has a cough. A friend that went to the health department and was told to call us.

So we went today to the health department, got Junior tested, and received antibiotics for the whole family.

I am so grateful that we didn't go see my in-laws this weekend. While my mother-in-law is done with her surguries, she still hasn't completly recovered (I posted about it on my other blog here).

So we need to stay home at least until friday and we find out for sure if he has whooping cough or not.

Last week I had wished for a quiet week at home. This isn't quite what I meant.

Marketing Class

This marketing class has been such an amazing blessing for me. I have learned so much not only about marketing, but also about myself. Last week's assignment was something different.

We had to divide up into pairs, something that is always stomach turning (which is why I made the previous post). One of my classmates, Donna, had reached out to me and we became partners.

Working with a partner was a learning experience on its own. So much of being a mom and homeschooler is done solo. Yes, you are teaching your children, but you are the teacher, you come up with the lesson plans, you follow the plans. Sometimes you may work with someone else, like a spouse, but usually one is more "in charge" than the other. In anycase, ususally you know each other somewhat.

This was different. We really didn't know each other at all, and we were equal partners. We had to learn to work together while not being face to face. Our entire "discussion" was email and "windows live messenger."

I have been so amazed at what we have been able to learn from each other. I don't know that I would have learned as much if I hadn't been teamed up with Donna.

One of the big things for me, I learned how to speak up. Donna had an idea for the title and so did I. She mentioned hers first, I had a hard time mentioning mine, (what if she didn't like it, blah, blah, blah). I did mention my idea, we discussed back and forth, we ended up using both in different ways, and the world didn't end.

As a shy person, speaking up is very hard for me. I realized though, if I didn't speak up, it would be her project and she would have to do all the work on it.

The project was to write a short sell and long sell sheet for a product. In our early conversations, we found out that I was eating wheat-free and her family had been eating gluten-free/casein-free (casein is a milk protein, and 3% of people are sensitive to casein. More are sensitive to lactose, but if you had problems with milk at a young age, it's probably casein.)

So we invented a gluten-free/casein-free cookbook that gives recipes, and how to make your own mixes, etc. I would really love to buy this book. It has everything I could possibly want. Unfortunately, it doesn't exist.

The project was alot of fun and I had an excuse to putter with graphics. I also found that brainstorming things that would make me want to buy a cookbook was informative.

What makes you want to buy something?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

One Random Thing I am Grateful for about Homeschooling

Ok, this is going to sound silly but I am so glad my children will not have to experience P.E. sports. Its not the athletics I object to, it's the way teams are divided up.

Choosing two captains and letting those two captains take turns picking who is on their team.

Well, someone has to be last.

Guess who that was at my school.

I blame my sister. She got all the athletic ability in the family. I don't care if she was born 7 years after me; she took more than her fair share of athleticism.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Our Other Child

We have two precious children who live with us, Daisy and Junior and every day I thank God for their presence and health.

We also have a little girl, equally precious, whom we haven't met. She lives in the mountains of Bolivia with her many brothers and sisters. Delia is 6 years old. We receive letters from her teachers and her mom because she is just learning her letters. She is able to go to school because she has been sponsored.

We sponsor her through Compassion International. Every night we pray for Delia and her family, this has broadened my childrens view. They know the money we send allows her to eat and go to school.

Please consider sponsoring a child. It is only $32 a month but it changes your sponsored child's life. You can either click here or click on the widget on the right.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Music Mania Module for September

Wow, The Old Schoolhouse September Planner module is wonderful! I love music and the classical composers but my children have looked at music as a chore. Music Mania will help me get them excited about music.

Music Mania has a brief biography of some of the major composers; my children will be able to pick which musician they are interested in studying during music. The information on the orchestra will help them understand how the music is performed, the difference between the 4 types of instruments, and where they are located in the orchestra. I didn’t even know the seating order for an orchestra was standard.

Music Mania has even more! There are links to research more of the top composers, games, word searches, coloring pages, directions for making your own musical instruments. I love the yummy sounding recipes, especially the Inside Out Green Peppers.

If you like your children to do copywork, there are pages of it. Each one is a quote by a composer, with a Fast Facts section which includes a space for their birthday, interesting facts, type of music and major compositions. If you do notebooking or lapbooking, these copybook pages would be an excellent addition to the lapbook

Best of all, Music Mania has stirred up my imagination on what to do for music. I plan on bringing out Benjamin Britten’s Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf so we can listen as we are learning the different parts of the orchestra. Music Mania has helped me think of ways to make music more fun and educational.

Now if I can find something to make math fun . . .

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I have been thinking that my thyroid is underactive for years. I have had it tested, and tested and it always comes out normal. After some research I found not all Drs think the T3 and T4 test is the be all end all. Some think that the "normal" range is too wide or to high (peek here) . With a list of my symptoms, I finally talked my dr into letting me try thyroid medicine. It has made a difference. I am less tired, temperature closer to normal, etc.

So I went back to the Dr Thursday. He still isn't happy about me being on this medicine, doesn't think their is a need for it, it goes against what he knows medically, yada yada yada. I think he was hoping I would lose interest in taking it. It is a bit of a pain to take.

I don't want a dr who hands out meds like candy but I am a reasonable adult who does alot of research before seeing a dr for something like this. I appreciate it when they don't treat me as just shy of illiterate.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Theology from a childrens book

Each night my kids each get to pick out a story for me to read. My daughter usually chooses a chapter in a book (right now we are reading The Princess and Curdie by George Macdonald) while Junior chooses a storybook.

The only exception is when it is way past their bedtime, I choose one book. Last night we had our 4-H club meeting and it was late when we finally got home. So I picked one they hadn't heard before but it was one of my favorites as a child.

The Little Red Caboose is about a caboose on a train that doesn't like being at the end of the train. Kids wave at the engine, the flat cars, the coal cars, the oil cars, and the passanger cars but they have walked away by the time he gets there. One day though, the train is going up a steep hill and it goes slower, and slower, and s-l-o-w-e-r, the car right in front of the caboose warns him that they are going to start going backward but the caboose puts on the brakes until 2 shiny black engines come behind him and help push the train up the hill. They tell the caboose that he is a hero because without him, the train would have gone backward down the hill so then he is glad that he is at the end of the train. All the kids wave more to the caboose because he is a hero.

So what does that have to do with theology? Just this, sometimes we are unhappy with where we are in life. Just because we think we are in (what we think is) an unimportant position, does not mean that we are not where God wants us. He could have us in that place to do some great work, then again we may never know why we were put there. But God has put us there for a reason.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What would happen it . . .

I did something without thinking about it, over-analyzing it, worrying about it? Well, I just found out and I'm not humiliated, dead, or any of the other things I would normally envision.

The Old Schoolhouse put out a call for people wanting to take a marketing class and normally I would not have applied. I still don't know exactly what happened, those usual thoughts of "why bother," or "you don't have a chance" were silent for once. Before I had thought about it, I had sent the email. When I got the followup email, asking for name, education etc, that was harder. I didn't finish college because of some stupid mistakes I had made. I've tried to go back a few times, but I finish one or two semesters and thats it.

Wednesday was a long day, part of me was hoping for good news, the pther part was sure that the news would be bad. I had completely given up when I saw the email. Four hours later, I was still shaking.

This marketing class is going to be such a blessing. I am so excited about the material we will learn and the people I will "meet".

Next time will I take a leap like this without over-analyzing. I hope.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Today while discussing poetry, Daisy (9) and I got to discussing various types of poetry and how they rhyme. After reading her a haiku, she decided to try her hand at writing one. Here are the results:

My Rabbits

I have six rabbits.

They're cute, white and black and sweet.

They love to explore.

To update on her reading, she still isn't fluent but she has been reading a story to her brother almost every night, just because she wants to. I don't know if she is on "grade level" or not, but she is catching up.

A great nature study idea:

Cindy posted a great idea of nature study here On Our Journey Westward that I am going to do, for nature study soon. I will use old socks though because they may not be usable afterward.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Earning Stripes

Well Junior has not been involved in Taekwondo for very long but he has gotten 2 stripes. One I am not 100% sure he deserves, but the other WOOHOO. They each had to stand up and do the form? where they say "get back" (high block) "leave me alone" (3 punches) "I'm safe" (stepping back) and Junior did it perfectly.

He is . . . very hyperactive, so him being able to do this is great. He is listening, sortof, to the announcements that they make at the end of class. His teacher was talking about the graduation that will be held on thursday, and Junior has taken it to mean that he will graduate on wednesday to an orange belt.

I tried to tell him but he is still pretty sure I am wrong. Wednesday's class might be interesting.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

11 ways hurricane season is like Christmas

Sometimes you just have to laugh.

Top Eleven reasons hurricane season is like Christmas:

Number Eleven:

When it is over, you are exhausted and have a big mess to clean up.

Number Ten:

Decorating the house (with plywood).

Number Nine:

Dragging out boxes that haven't been used since last season.

Number Eight:

Last minute shopping in crowded stores.

Number Seven:

Regular TV shows pre-empted for 'Specials'.

Number Six:

Family coming to stay with you.

Number Five:

Family and friends from out of state calling you.

Number Four:

Buying food you don't normally buy . . . and in large quantities.

Number Three:

Days off from work.

Number Two:


And the number One reason Hurricane Season is like Christmas:

At some point you're probably going to have a tree in your house.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Homeschool Freebie of the Day

What an amazing resource ! ! !

They find or produce a freebie for every day of the week, some are audio, I have seen some videos, and many, many ebooks. Its well worth the time to stop by every day, but you can also sign up for their "heads-up" mailer where you get an extra freebie each week. Don't wait till the end of the week though because then it's gone.

This week they have an Emergency Preparedness ebook which is on our minds with the aftermath of Ike.

Check it out here.

They are also offering the freebies missed last week to people who lost power due to Ike. How cool is that ! ? !

Sunday, September 21, 2008

hurricanes and appliances

Well, we were threatened with Gustav and survived Ike.

We did a little learning about hurricanes, and tried making an anemometer. It wouldn't spin in the hurricane force winds, then again it was pretty poorly made.

I have a more complete post about the hurricane at this blog. We could have done school after we got power, (ok, we could have done school even with the power out) but we just took the week off. The local public schools were off for that week and we did spend a large amount of time helping our neighbor out.

Tomorrow we start back up and I am almost tempted to start whining "Do we have to do school." I am afraid this break has given me a case of the don'ts. I have revamped (again) our schedule so hopefully it will be even better than before. I think I was trying to cram too much into our school day. and now I have gotten it pared down even more, but we are getting more subjects.


Rita had killed our fridge and our freezer. During the pre-Ike washing, my washing machine started leaking. I had forgotten and put a load on to wash today so now the floor is wet. Thankfully DH is the handy type. We have figured out the pump is what is leaking. So that will be a $40ish part instead of a $300 washer. I could blame it on Ike (insurance won't pay for it or anything) but it isn't really Ike's fault.


I loved my planner but since I am changing the format of how I schedule out each day, I may be changing some of the pages in it. If I ever get one, I am mostly happy about I will post pictures.

Unfortunately at our back-to-school homeschool meeting, I slipped and fell and spilled tea all over my beautiful clean planner. I fully expected it to get worn, but not that quickly LOL.

wheat free and gluten free eaing

My sister used to get alot of headaches. ALOT of headaches. She went to eating gluten free (or at least mostly gluten/wheat free) and has stopped having as many headaches.

Even though I was thinking it would be absolute torture to go gluten/wheat free, it hasn't been too bad. I allow myself one splurge a day (although most days I don't eat any) so I still get the occasional pasta dinner, roll or muffin. If I cook it at home, it is usually wheat free. I have my own pasta, but have been doing rice alot. I can make a decent cream gravy with masa harina (corn flour for tortillas). Its been difficult since my favorite food is pasta of just about any sort and I used to use it in alot of my cooking.

Has the change been worth it?

Oh yes!! The payoff has been much fewer headaches. I was averaging about 3-4 a week, some really bad and some just annoying. I have gotten rid of 90-95% of those headaches! ! I do still get the occasional one, but not anywhere near like I was.

Am I sure that is what it is? Yep, if I start to cheat too much, (I pretty much quit following it after Ike) the headaches come back.

I don't think it is so much the gluten as it is the wheat that gives me problems. I don't seem to have a problem with oatmeal (which contains gluten). OTOH, I don't really eat oatmeal often enough for it to cause a problem.

Is this a pain in the neck? Yes, but I am not getting pains in my head and so it is well worth it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hurricane Season and Ike's Aftermath

Living about 160 miles north of Galveston, we are sometimes effected by the hurricanes. We were in part of the area that was declared a disaster area from Rita (Sept 24, 2005), although we were very blessed to only lose our freezer and refrigerator. We also did not have power for a week, and being without electricity for that long was a definite learning experience.

For some reason, Gustav didn't concern me. My only guess is that it was a peace from God that we wouldn't be effected. I did the preparations (bought bottled water, made sure we had canned food that could be eaten cold etc.) but wasn't very concerned.

Ike was different. I don't know if it was a combination of the date (9-11) and that my mom's surprise birthday party down in Houston (on 9-13) was going to be cancelled, but I was down and worried. We made more intensive preparations (charge portable DVD players for kiddos, bought ice for the cooler, even brought the rabbits inside so they could go through the storm in their carrier cages in the bathtub). We were as prepared as we thought we could be for a week without power.

Before the kids went to bed, we pulled the mattresses off their twin beds and used them as an extra headboard to block any potential glass from the large window over our bed and then had the kids sleep with us. Mr. Duck and I waited up to see what was going to happen, but finally went to sleep at 3 am. There were some wind gusts but the amazing thing was watching the clouds move across the moon. I don't think I have ever seen them move that fast.

7 am the winds had picked up alot, but we still had power. The lights went out at 8:30 but then came back on about 9:30. They were on for about an hour and then went back out. We had gathered all the flashlights into one place and all the oil lamps into one place. Nerves were too on edge for a good game of cards, so we taught Daisy how to play solitaire (which we saw her play several times the next few days).

We were incredibly blessed to have no damage, just a mess in the yard from the limbs and leaves. After the storm, we went for a walk around our neighborhood. Most didn't have alot of damage, but one of our neighbors had a tree fall on the back side of her house. She is an older lady (71) with her 91 yo mom staying with her. She has a son in the Houston area, but his area was damaged much worse than ours. We have been helping her out any way we can, cleaning up her yard, bringing her a carafe of coffee (with our gas grill I can cook just about anything) and Mr. Duck checked out her electricity to be sure it was safe to have power in all her rooms (the tree and rain could have caused problems). I even "accidentally" made too much supper one night so that I could bring her and her mom some so they could have a hot meal (that they didn't go out to buy.)

We ended up getting power back on the 4th afternoon so we were able to have our lives mostly back to normal but our hurricane prep list has had some things added to it. We do not have a generator so for us no power is no power.

Our Hurricane List

(in no particular order)

  • Fill containers with water (now adding filling at least 1 cooler with ice)
  • Fill propane tanks
  • Plug in corded phone (cordless phones do not work with no power)
  • Make sure there is plenty of food for the animals
  • Freeze stuff like milk, cheese ect because it will last longer if the power is out
  • Top off gas tanks (don't want to have to wait in line, and prices may go up)
  • Print out an easy to read county map so when on the radio we hear the eye is over _____ county we know how far that is from us (easy-to-read because of the power outage)
  • Plenty of canned food, easy to eat stuff ie. peanut butter sandwiches. On the other hand only get stuff that your family will eat anyway. If the hurricane doesn't come, you don't want to be left with 20 cans of tuna when your family hates tuna.
  • Bottled water, both the drink bottles and gallon bottles. If you remove some of the water from the gallon bottles and freeze, they will help keep fridge and freezer cold longer.
  • Gather flashlights, and know where replacement batteries are. Gather oil lamps and fill them all. Get matches or lighters and put them where you can find them (up out of kids reach if you have small children).
  • Find a portable radio to listen to the reports, and extra batteries. A hand crank radio/ flashlight like this one is very handy
  • An inverter (one of those things you plug into the cig lighter and then can plug in a normal plug like this) allowed us to recharge the DVD's as well as plug in the router so we could access the internet and weather radar using the laptop.
  • Fully charge cell phones, and anything else that uses batteries.
  • A week (or more) supply of any med you take regularly

This is by no means a complete list, I am sure I have forgotten something. In addition, being this far from the coast, we don't need to plan as much as someone on the coast.

I would also like to thank all the linemen and their families who put in many, many hours to restore power as quickly as you did. We are so grateful to you.