Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cupcake Cones

This is one of those recipes that I've wanted to try for a long time and just never have.  So today, when I needed something to take to an ice cream party, I thought these would be perfect.  I didin't use a recipe exactly (it's just cake batter in an ice cream cone), but there were some instructions on the box of cones.  These "instructions" warned that overfilling could lead to overflowing.  "Only use 1/4 cup of batter per cone."  Well, I could tell right away that was too much batter, so I cut back.

Thank goodness I cut back, because this is how mine turned out.

UGLY!!!  But any cake decorator knows that icing can cover a multitude of sins.

So, after giving these dudes a "haircut" I topped them with icing and sprinkles, and if not for these pictures, no one would have been the wiser.

After some decorating they looked much better.

Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Cute, but.....


Now I see why you're supposed to wrap them in foil.  I took the foil off after baking, thinking it would make for a better picture.  Then I tried moving the tray full of cones. 

Bad idea.  BAD IDEA!!!

It was like the domino effect.  Once one starting flipping, they all flipped.  Miraculously, they sustained only minor injuries.  And after more cosmetic surgery they were back to cute.

OK.  So these look pretty good , but how do they taste?

Well...not good enough to make again I'm afraid.  The cones get soft.  I guess they absorb some moisture from the cake, and I don't know about you, but I like my cones crispy.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Writing on the Wall

Since starting school this year, I'm amazed at how much Ty learned last year during Kindergarten.  Now this is definitely not a post in which I brag about Ty's AMAZING Kindergarten teacher (because that girl really didn't know what she was doing!), but rather I'm just reflecting on how far Ty has come in the past year.  I remember the day when I thought he would never recognize the number 12.  Now he can count to 212.
Then there was that mix-up between the short vowels "e" and "i."  But he's conquered that hurdle too.  It's amazing.   I can go crazy trying to beat a concept into his little head, and then one day, out of the blue, everything just clicks!  (Note:  I use the term "beat" loosely, as I have never utilized this tactic in my teaching methods ; )

Another area of difficulty for him last year was penmanship.  This had to be his least favorite part of our school day.  He hated working on his writing.  HATED IT!  He would draw pictures all day long, but make him write letters and it was like pulling teeth.

This year has been a different story.  Thankfully!  Since he's started cursive, he's been really interested in learning and writing new letters.  It probably doesn't hurt that he's pretty good at it too.  Here's a sample of one of his lessons.  He's so excited for everyone to see his neat work, so if you see him, brag on him! : )

Sunday, August 22, 2010

News from the Coop

It seems it's been a while since I last posted about our chickens, so I thought I would fill you in a bit.

Ty and I finally decided on names for the rest of the chickens.  Remember, we already have Blacky Smooth and Wipey.  Well, when I pointed out to Ty that we had 3 gold hens, Ty had the ingenius idea to name them after the Golden Girls.  (I'm addicted to that show.  I've seen every episode at least a dozen times.  No, really.  I have.)  So now we have Rose, Blanche, and Dorothy.  Besides Wipey, we have two other white chickens, so one of those gets to be Sophia.  The other white one is a rooster (I think), so we named him Stan.  The last chicken is Gloria.  That makes 8 all together.  Did I tell you we lost four to some dogs?  : (

Unfortunately there seeems to be a problem with Blacky Smooth.  A handicap if you will.  It's her beak.  It's crooked...terribly.  I honestly don't know how she eats, but she seems to be dealing with it.  Take a look at these pictures of her.  The top half and the bottom half of her beak don't even touch!  Weird!

Her beak doesn't look so strange in this picture until you realize that she's got it "closed."  Poor girl!

And look!  There seems to be a fox in our hen house!
Notice how the bottom left door is crooked?  It seems that "someone" hit it with the lawn mower the other day, but I'm not naming names.
(Tool Man.)

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with chickens, but ain't it cute?  Love those cheeks!

"Would you like to see my chicken?"

"I think I'll take this one."

Poor Gloria!  Lucy needs to work on her chicken-holding technique.  She was not the least bit afraid of the chickens.  In fact we had a hard time keeping her from getting in the coop with them.

The Tool Man got in on the fun too.  I think he's got his chickens confused with parrots though.

P.S.  No chickens were harmed in the making of this post.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oops! A Clarification...

I hope no one thinks that I've been catching any "flak" over our decision to homeschool Ty.  It just occurred to me that my last post may have led you to think that.  Sorry.  No one has said anything negative to me.  Although, as Mammie put it, "What folks says and what folks thinks is two different things."  (I do believe that for every situation you come across in life, there is a quote from Gone with the Wind that is applicable.)  Anyway, I hope I didn't give y'all the wrong impression last time.  I just wanted to let y'all know why I am grateful for the opportunity to teach my child.  What an enormous blessing and responsibility it has proven to be!

First Grade, Week One

Well, it's been 3 days since we started school, so I thought I would give y'all an update on how things were going.

We began bright and "early" Monday morning at 9:00.  I woke Ty up about 8:00.  He always starts his day with breakfast and a cartoon, so I wanted to give him time for that.  He didn't complain about having to get up, but he immediately fell back to sleep as soon as he got to the couch :)

Our first subject of the day is Phonics.  So far we've just been reviewing.  We've done all the short vowels sounds, and Thursday we will begin reviewing the consonants.  All this review has proven pretty boring for both me and Ty, but I know it's helping him get back into the swing of things.

Next on the schedule is Reading.  The aBeka curriculum doesn't have any lessons scheduled for reading during the first week of school.  So instead of just skipping this I've pulled out some of Ty's Kindergarten readers to get him some extra practice.

After reading we try to get in some seatwork.  Again, aBeka doesn't have any seatwork scheduled for the first week, so I've pulled out some extra Kindergarten worksheets for Ty to do.  I'm just trying to get him used to the idea of "seatwork" at this point, and I must say that so far, Ty has surprised me.  It's amazing, but he has actually sat and done his work in a reasonable amount of time.  Whooopeee!!!

After a short break, we tackle our writing.  This year I am teaching Ty cursive.  The aBeka program actually encourages parents to start this in Kindergarten, but I didn't use aBeka last year.  Ty's been really excited about learning to write in "cursip" as he calls it, and he has been doing very well.  So far he's learned to write lower case e, i, and u.

Here's a picture of Ty doing some writing practice tonight.  He wanted to know who was gonna see this picture.  He was proud of the way he was sitting up straight and holding his pen and paper.

The last subject we cover before lunch is arithmetic.  I think that out of all the subjects this is Ty's strongest.  We're just reviewing this week, so he's been breezing through the material.  I mean, how much time can you spend counting to ten?

After lunch we have another slot scheduled for Reading, and after that is Activity time.  Later in the year we'll be working on geography, health, or science three days a week.  Two days a week are reserved for music and art.  Until we begin our social studies I'm supposed to read Ty a story 3 days a week.  Today I read Ty some poems from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.  He loved them!  Tomorrow is supposed to be music day.  To be honest, I'm not really sure how to approach this yet.  Ty's not really excited about music time, and neither am I for that matter.  But Ty does like classical music.  Weird, I know.  Maybe I can find some way to incorporate this into his music time.

I really expect Activity time to be Ty's favorite part of the day.  When our curriculum arrived several weeks ago, he got so excited flipping through his science and geography books.  He wanted to stop immediately and do some of the experiments.  Ty seems to have inherited my love of arts and crafts, so he is reeeeeeeally looking forward to Art day.  I think I'm going to save this for Fridays, you know, sort of bribe him with it the rest of week ;)

Our last subject of the day is Poetry.  The first poem Ty has to memorize this year is "The Elephant."  Well........he's memorized it.  Already.  He's learned the motions to it and everything.  I guess you could say that he has a memory like, well, an elephant.

And what is Lucy doing this whole time?  Well, part of the time she's asleep.  That's the easy part.

The rest of the time she's making like a goat...CLIMBING.  On anything she can get her leg up on.  Ty didn't do this.  We've had to totally remove the coffee table from the living room because we couldn't keep her off of it.  She doesn't seem to mind though.  Now she just scales up the couch, chairs, end table, stools, boxes...you name it.   See for yourself.

When she makes it to the top she is so proud of herself.  You've never seen such a big grin.  Then she gives herself a round of applause.

Well that's pretty much it for our day.  Oh yeah, Ty has homework.  Imagine that.  Homework.  For a homeschooler!  It's Reading.  No big deal.  He's just supposed to read a couple of pages to his Daddy every night.  Kind of hard to do on nights when Daddy closes Fox's.  So tonight he just read to me again.

So there you have it.  A day in the life of our little homeschool.  Nothing extraordinary really.  But it is pretty special.  Pretty special that Ty gets to spend those important hours at home with Mama (& Lucy.)  I know what he's learning.  I know what he's hearing.  I know what he's seeing.  I know what he's doing.  Some folks may think that I know too much.  Maybe they think that he's gonna be "weird."  Maybe they think that he needs to get out.  Maybe they think that I need to let go.

Well, you know what I have to say to people who think that?


Thursday, August 12, 2010

School and Such

I know that it has been a few days since my last post.  (Almost a week!  Gasp!)  But lately I've been using most of my spare time to get ready for the new school year.  Yep, just as traditional teachers are busy working to get their rooms ready for their students, this homeschool mom has been preparing her "classroom" too!

Thankfully our new curriculum has a pretty thorough list of materials and supplies that we will need this year.  My laminating machine has been working overtime preserving charts, cards, and games for Ty to utilize throughout the year.

I've also been working on a daily schedule for us.  Ty's probably not gonna like it, but he'll have to start waking up and going to bed a little earlier than he's used to each day (although it's nothing compared to what it would be if he were going to traditional school.)  Since Lucy's been taking long morning naps, I'm hoping to take advantage of this quiet time and have Ty complete most of his schoolwork while she's asleep.  (Yeah, right!  In a perfect world it might work out so smoothly!)  Then, when LuLu's up and about, I can tend to her while Ty works independently on his seatwork.  Another longshot, as I'm fairly certain this will be Ty's least favorite part of school.  He's not one to want to sit still and do worksheets.  As a matter of fact, he's not one to want to sit still and do anything - church, eat, haircuts, you name it!  But he's just gonna have to learn to deal with it.  'Cause there's always the alternative - 7 hours of sittin' still at "real" school.

Now comes the task of deciding where, exactly, to set up school this year.  Last year we were kind of here, there, and yonder, but this year I want a specific place for us have school.  I'd like to find a spot with a good bit of wall space to hang up some posters and charts and things, you know, to give us that "school" atmosphere.  And then there's the storage issue.  I need a place to keep all that stuff!

This problem has sent me into "purge and delete" mode.  To make room for the things that we have to have, I've been throwing away anything that isn't nailed down.

Okay.  Not really.

But I have been tossing a bunch of paperwork and a lot of junk!  I'm also considering paring down on some of the clutter around here.  You know, cutting back on some of the tchotchkes and what-nots.  After all, less is more, right?

I'll have to let you know how that philosophy works out for me.

Anyway back to the business of school.

As part of my trashing party I've gotten rid of some books and placed Ty's new textbooks here.

And remember I told you that I was looking for a little desk for Ty?  Y'all are gonna think I'm crazy, but I've had this desk under my nose the whole time!

From my childhood.  It's not that I hadn't thought about using this desk before.  It's just that I was thinking about getting Ty a "school" desk to sit in.  But, alas, that just wouldn't be practical for our setup.  Besides, this desk has some of the storage that I'm looking for, and I can pull down that roll top and instantly hide all the clutter!

So we'll be having school here every morning.

This corner of our living room has the wall space I wanted, and there's room to squeeze in another small cabinet or shelving unit to corral some more of our supplies.

In other news:  I've been working on some furniture facelifts.

See that chair up there?  This chair used to sit in my Mom's dress shop.  It has been in storage for years.  When I brought it home it was broken, dirty, and worst of all, it was painted peach.  Yuk!

Now look at it!

Mid-century modern, sleek, and cool.  Fits in perfectly with my new "Less is More" mantra.

(Boy, I sure do wish that I had the other 3 chairs and table that went with that chair!  But those seem to have, ahem, disappeared.)

I plan on putting this chair in Lucy's new room (keep your fingers crossed we get it finished).  I know that I told you I was going for a country cottage look up there, but I like the idea of mixing a little modern in with it.  Plus I think it will look great with a shabby, ruffly pillow tossed on it.  Sounds like another sewing job for Kathie Lee :)  In the meantime, I'll let Ty use it for his school work.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Most Precious

I told y'all a while back that I was trying to catch up on some scrapbooking.  Well, this morning as I was going through some photos I discovered what could be argued as one of the most precious pictures ever.

What did I tell you?  How sweet is that face?

Anyway, I thought you might enjoy that.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bargain Hunting

I finally had the opportunity to go to the Munchkin Market this week.  For those of you who don't know about it, Munchkin Market is sort of like an "upscale" consignment sale for children's things held twice a year over in Monroe.  My friend DT has been telling me for years about the nice things you can find over there, so last night we rode on over to check it out.

As soon as we (the Tool Man, monkeys, and I) walked in the building a lady stopped us and told us that no children were allowed.  She said there were 400 people in there (which was a lie) and that it was too crowded.  Well, I asked the fam to wait outside while I went to speak to DT for a second, but I guess the Tool Man and monkeys were looking awful pitiful out there, because they were finally allowed to come in.

Boy, was there a lot of stuff in that place, a gymnasium full of children's clothes.  Not to mention separate rooms full of toys, furniture, and baby paraphanalia.

I jumped in looking for clothes for Lu Lu while the menfolk went to rummage through the other wares.

Here are a few of the things I found, some of which still had the original price tags on them.

There were tons of smocked dresses and jumpers for sale.  I had picked up several Christmas ones to choose from when I ran across this one...

...the only one that had anything to do with the true meaning of CHRISTmas.

And as a bonus it's blue.  I love the way blue looks with Lu Lu's eyes!

Then I found this LSU cheerleader suit.

You know football season is right around the corner.  How many days is it now, Uncle Jude?  I know you've got your calendar marked!

A pretty white sweater and a plain white turtleneck...

I just might have to pull out Kathie Lee and embroider something on that turtleneck!

And last but not least...SHOES.  RED ones!  Have I told y'all how much Lucy loves shoes?  Really.  She'll go to her (my) room and get a pair, bring them to me, and make me put them on her.  She loves to wear shoes.  She has a pair of little red Mary Jane's that she has almost worn the finish off of.  So when I saw these I had to get them for her.

Never been worn.  One pair for now, and one pair for later.  Every girl needs a good pair of red shoes!

And for those of you who were wondering, I did look at clothes for Ty, but, alas, no luck.  I always find it so difficult to find cute boy clothes.  Most of what is out there has some grungy looking skull or skateboard stuff on it, and I can't stand that mess!  Why can't designers make decent boys clothes?  I dunno, maybe there is some stuff out there, but I just don't know where to look.  Let me know if you find it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Surprise for Me! Yippee!

Wanna hear some exciting news?

I've got a brand new Brother!!!

No, it's not a miracle of modern medicine.  Ha!

I'm talking about a sewing machine.  Out of the goodness of his heart, the Tool Man decided it was time for me to have a new machine.  You see, my old machine was, well, a worn out piece of junk.  Don't get me wrong.  We had some good times together.  I've sewn curtains, pillows, blankets, baby clothes, you name it, with that thing.  Over the past 9 years I've gotten my money's worth out of that machine...all $99 of it!  Ha!  But there comes a time in a girl's life when she wants more than just a straight stitch.  I wanted something with a few more bells and whistles.
A couple of weeks ago, the Tool Man took me to a local shop to check out some embroidery/sewing machines.  After much deliberation we settled on this beauty.

Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!  Isn't she gorgeous?
A Brother Innov-is 2800.  I think I'll call her Kathie Lee! ;)

And here she is all dress up, ready to embroider some fantabulous design!

So now I've got a lot of sewing to do.  I haven't been able to sew too much yet, but as the pizza business begins to work itself out, I'm finding more time to waste spend with Kathie Lee.  (I am beginning to notice that I've fallen behind in my housework since her arrival.)  It's gonna take some practice for me to be able to learn how to use her.  She's a little more complicated than my last machine.

Here are a couple things I've created with KL so far.

The beginnings of a Halloween outfit for Lucy Lee.
Some wide-leg ruffle pants for you-know-who.

Is it just me or does Lucy seem to be getting the most benefit from this machine?

I've got a few more projects in the works, so I'll show you those when they're done.

P.S.  Did you happen to see the picture of the cute little girl in the background of the first photo above?  It's me circa 1984!