Saturday, August 30, 2008

The bounty is overflowing!

Just like God's amazing grace in my life, the bounty of friends and fresh fruits/vegetables is overflowing!

Sis and daughter Emmaline went with us this morning to pick some apples, pears, and apple-pears (I didn't know about those before today!) out at the home of our good friends, Greg and Peggy. The girls had the best time running around, playing on Alexx's "kingdom," catching butterflies, checking out the pond,...

It was so wonderful to see them running around in such a gorgeous setting!

I also had never seen a handy-dandy apple picker like this one either!

Or a fancy-shmancy pear picker like this one either!!!And what a bounty we brought home! Isn't it all gorgeous?!?

I'm so excited about making some applesauce and apple butter (for Ricci and the girls), an apple tart or two, pear and apple-pear preserves, and I beginning to sound like Bubba on Forrest Gump describing shrimp? And I'm sure that we'll find other ways to use our yummy gifts, for which we are very thankful! Ricci has fond memories of growing up with his grandparents' cupboard full of home-made apple sauce, etc., and I'm hoping that his grandmother will 'hook me up' with some good family recipes!

So it appears that my hippie friends aren't all that hippie and that I'm falling into hippie tendencies too, which leaves me thinking, " it hippie or is it being a good wife/momma?) Either way, I'll keep my preppy/hippie tendencies!

Thank you so very much, Greg and Peggy!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Blessed with a bounty of food and friends!

A sweet, dear friend suprised us today when she dropped by to share some goodies with us.

Every Wednesday afternoon, several of our hippie friends stop by a local drop-off and pick up their produce from a co-op that they are all in (Y'all KNOW that I'm kidding about the hippie-thing! And some of you may take that as a compliment [;)]). And throughout the summer, when our itty-bitty garden isn't producing what I'd like for it to be producing, I have to admit that I do get a eensy-teensy bit jealous!

So this afternoon, I was thrilled when Elaine stopped by and sweetly gave us what we wanted out of her basket!

There was so much bounty...full of amazing color, texture, shapes, etc.! (Our God is so good to give us what we wouldn't expect!) Now I'm excited about serving them to my family...and of course, Nick and Elaine too! Since they aren't feeling too well these days and don't feel like 'dealing' with these great foods, do you think if I prepare them some yummy things that they'll stop by next week?!? I won't count on it!

Here are the names and some pics from their shared bounty!

- Delicata Squash
- Garlic
- Tomatoes
- Sungold Cherry Tomatoes
- Zephyr Squash
- Cucumbers
- Zucchini or Sweet Peppers
- Hot Peppers
- Eggplant
- Okra
- Genovese or Cinnamon Basil
Isn't it all gorgeous?!?
Thank you sooo much, Nick and Elaine!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A garden that only an owner could love!

Once again this year... our gardening containers are flourishing, our flower beds are continuing to look better than they did last year, and.... our garden is only a garden that an owner could love.

You beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

The herb-side of the garden is doing really well with our cilantro, basil, mint, lavender, and rosemary! Too great, perhaps! And the vegetable-side...well, it's less than desirable! But our tomatoes are finally beginning to fruit after 'we' (Ricci) removed the horn-worm, and we did harvest one amazing zucchini from seed! So I'm happy with our results!

We don't have the space to go crazy with a garden area, so I'm happy with the results that we've achieved from our 4'x8' space! And this one flawless zucchini made an amazing addition to our lasagna that evening! The girls gobbled it up! (Of course, it was helped that it was also made with our yummy puttanesca, Aunt Jan!)

But I just had to share a photo of this tomato hornworm for those of y'all that are's quite a bundle of nature study! Oops...I just remembered that I was too afraid to take the lid off of the jar to even take a photo...yes, y'all can tell that I love a controlled atmosphere to do our nature study! [;)] But here is a photo that looks identical to the one that we had...complete with all of the 30 or so white eggs that covered it! And be sure to click here to learn more about this nasty, fascinating creature!

(Now we know why we haven't produced any more tomatoes than have been on the grocer's shelves!) Then this evening I walked by his glass house (a Ball jar with a lid w/ holes), and it was full of flying baby wasps! So BACK upstairs I went to get the girls BACK out of bed! Between impromptu nature study and allowing them stay up later than normal to watch the Olympics, thank goodness we homeschool!

It was amazing to watch the baby wasps chewing out of their eggs like they were making little hinged lids! Yes, we have gotten our money's worth out of our little $2.50 magnifier!

Monday, August 25, 2008

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas!

Yes, today is the day that I begin setting my expectation levels for the snowfall for the coming winter! And as usual...I already have high expectations!

Today the Farmers' Almanac released their published 2009 edition!

For those that know me well, they know that I don't prefer to get out in it, but I'll be the first one to wake everyone up shouting/calling that it's indeed snowing and that I'll get the hot chocolate started for those that wish to venture out! (Kendall, Shelley & Co....y'all can just plan to come on 'down' to our house, for I'm not coming 'up' there! So don't even start askin'!)

The Associated Press published today that "Numb's the word!" Not looking at what I don't want to see (next summer's predictions), I immediately looked for what I did want to read...

We, the Southeast, should expect above-normal precipitation this coming January and February! I'll just pretend that they accidentally forgot to mention late December...bless their hearts!

Isn't this exciting?!?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Too precious!

I'm doing a little last-minute packing (what's new for this perfectionist/procrastinator?!?) for my little trip tomorrow, and I just had to show what I found in my purse...
A sweet little fairy must have added that to my wallet! One...she was thinking way ahead! Two...she is sooo thoughtful! Three...she could have been thinking about herself, but she's thinking of me...that's so precious that it's made me cry!
I just can't believe I've been blessed with such a wonderful daughter! With three!
I'll never understand why God has blessed me with such a wonderful, little family! A husband that serves our family by working diligently in/outside of the home, three precious angels who still think that I'm the most beautiful woman on the face of the earth (Bless their hearts!), a loyal puppy who adores me, two parents that I adore (and that I think are the two most beautiful people on the face of the earth (Bless MY heart! Just kidding, Meems and P-Daddy!), a wonderful sister who can only know things like a sister can, wonderful aunts who are like additional mothers, amazing friends....I can go on...yes, I've been sappy this week!
Anyway, Angel Wings, I love you with all of my heart, and I know that I have such a special bond with you that I never want to live without! You are the sweetest thing in the entire world!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

This Year's Hymn Study Schedule

September: “And Can It Be That I Should Gain” by Charles Wesley
October: “All Glory, Laud and Honor” translated by John M. Neale
November: “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” by Martin Luther
December: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” by Charles Wesley
January: “God, Be Merciful To Me” by Richard Redhead
February: “It Is Well With My Soul” by Horatio G. Spafford
March: “All People That on Earth Do Dwell” by Wil­liam Kethe
April: “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” by Charles Wesley
May: “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” by Thomas O. Chisholm
CyberHymnal and Wikipedia have both been extremely helpful in my research of the history of these hymns as well as the history of the authors, translators, composers, etc.

Shameless request!

Hey there, y'all!
This is a shameless request for comments on my blog from those of y'all that I know are dear to read it! Most of y'all just send me an email, and I greatly appreciate that...but I'm hoping that I can get my comments up, for I just realized that is how payperpost rates my blog. Sooo....the more comments and links to my blog that I have...the more posting opportunities I will have.
Let me know if you have a blog that you'd like for me to link to this blog!

Friday, August 15, 2008

"Field of Poppies"

Hmmm....can you guess what artist we studied this summer? Macy brought me this coloring this morning, and I am so proud of her for remembering such detail, for it's been a couple of weeks since we studied this painting/artist!
For those of you that might be interested, this summer we came across some excellent books that are written by an author named James Mayhew.
We are still currently checking out his books as often as we can, but this summer we read (over and over and over!) a set of books which describe a little girl named Katie who goes to art museums with her grandmother. Each book begins with Katie and her grandmother making the decision to go and visit an art museum, and once they get there, for some reason or another, Katie's grandmother always has to stop to rest. She allows Katie to wander around the different paintings. So through the beautiful, colorful pages Katie and her vivid imagination enters the individual paintings and discovers lots of interesting stories and details.
In the particular book, Katie Meets The Impressionists, when Katie jumps into a painting called, "Field of Poppies" by Claude Monet, she has a good time playing with Claude Monet's son Jean before going on a picnic with Jean and his mother in a "field of poppies." The other artists included in this particular book are Pierre Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas.
These books really make the art/artist more real for a child! I highly recommend them!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Only once every four years!

Well, it only happens every four years!
The summer Olympics and celebrating two special birthdays!
Mary Alice's 4th birthday AND Marigny Caroline B. was born on 08-08-08!! ("Mallie" as her parents are calling her...or "the unsinkable Mallie Brown" as Uncle Ricci is already calling her!)
Isn't she gorgeous?!?
So Friday afternoon we headed off to the hospital to meet the adorable new one, and then the girls and I got busy planning our fun evening to celebrate the 2008 Summer Olympics' Opening Ceremonies in Beijing! We had some dear friends over (that are also nuts for watching the Olympics like we do), and it was a fun evening! We bought the fellas some Tsingtao beer...tastes a lot like Blue Moon to me! Tressie pulled out her panda bears (even her panda bear soap!); we bought some Chinese to-go boxes to box up some of our Amaretto butter cookies (recipe's below...oooh, they're so good!) for party favors; and the girls dressed up in the beautiful dresses that Aunt Jan & Uncle Eddie brought them back as a gift from their trip to China.
We enjoyed a dinner of Mandarin Chicken (recipe's also below...a good recipe cooked in the crock-pot for a busy day!), white rice, green beans with toasted almonds, and a spinach/mandarin orange/almond salad....and of course fortune (I mean, blessing) cookies! Oh yeah...on their way home from work, the sweet fellas picked us up some yummy eggrolls, crab rangoons, etc. We cracked up about their hitting a Chinese restaurant on their way home, but ooh, it was all so good!
Dinner was yummy, and Eric set up the DVD projector, so we all sat in awe of the opening ceremonies....wasn't it incredible? And we also took turns playing this fun game to see every one's geographical, now y'all know why I'm that I can re-learn what I supposedly learned way-back-when! It is a fun game to do, if you have a minute!

Mandarin Chicken
(This is a really great crock-pot recipe that I originally found in a Kraft magazine, but I may have adapted it somewhat!)
1/2 cup Barbecue Sauce
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup orange marmalade
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. grated ginger
6-8 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
Stir barbecue sauce and flour in small bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Add all remaining ingredients except chicken; mix well.
Pour sauce mixture evenly over chicken in slow cooker. (Do not stir.) Cover with lid.
Cook on LOW for 3 to 5 hours. Serve chicken topped with the sauce.

Amaretto Butter Cookies
1 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. white sugar
2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. amaretto
White sugar to dip cookies
Beat together butter and sugar until creamy in large bowl.
Add flour, salt and almond extract, stir well.
Chill dough for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pinch about 1 tablespoon of dough and roll in 1 inch ball.
Flatten in crisscross pattern using fork dipped in sugar.
Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.
Remove while warm dip into white sugar.

Speaking of cooling, the weather outside has been so wonderful! It does feel like Fall is around the corner (although the weatherman says this won't last!), so Saturday was the most wonderful day to celebrate our dear friends Mike and Bridget's little girl's 4th birthday! She is so precious, and that party was quite a party! They served the yummiest bbq, slaw, baked beans, cake and ice-cream, and then the gifts...I've never seen so many gifts! What a fun day it was!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Here comes Autumn!

Well, the new school year has me even more eager for the smell of Autumn in the air! And it's almost here! I'll wait a couple more weeks before I start nagging Ricci to get out my Fall decorations, but I did succomb to the self-imposed peer pressure today when I lit my Autumn Wreath candle that Jen gave me last year for a hostess gift!
Thanks again, Jen! It smells sooo good!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Update on "Being worn out!"

Thanks to those for the sweet calls and checking on us!
As for now, no news is good news!
After having taken Tress to the pediatrician on Monday, we had to have Dr. Phil (close friend of ours) drop by and make a house-call on little A...thank you, Dr. Phil! For on Tuesday night when we were finishing up devotions with the girls, Annie grabbed her chest and started saying she was having chest pains! So for quite a while that evening her heartbeat was very irregular, and thankfully Dr. Phil correctly said that we could spend the night at home instead of the ER, and when we took her in the next morning, the irregular heartbeats did still show up on her EKG. And interestingly, mom told me that it was when I was going into 3rd grade that my irregular heartbeats began...isn't that interesting?!? So we're keeping an eye on her and trying to keep her that's a feat! ;) But please keep praying with us that we'll know how to take the utmost care for her! She's such an active child [;)] that it's often difficult to know when it's a chest pain that deserves medical attention or if it's just 'normal.'
So after spending Wednesday morning at the hospital, we met up with Efrem to take him out to lunch for his birthday...then over to Wally World; then on Thursday we took Craig to lunch then over to Wally World; we were in there for four hours...and through a terrible storm which took out the electricity three different that was a trip to write home about! And I've learned that it's more helpful to them if we just work on their shopping list, not mine; so by Friday, sweet Eric took the afternoon off to assist me in our 'back to school' shopping, and there we were....back at Wally World! Then Target, Office Depot, Walgreens, etc.!
Then on Saturday morning, we took the girls to the annual library party (I just LOVE those goodie bags!), and although it was a hot day, it was fun! Then Sams and back home to work on getting ready for another school year!

Enjoying a quick popsicle with the Chans and the Steves!

Isn't this Sam the cutest thing?!?

So today we begin a new week! I'm almost scared to look into the sales ads to see what other great stuff is out there, but here are a few of my favorite finds: the 'buy one, get two' Mirado Black Warrior pencils from Walgreens, my new Sharpie pens (love'em!), my new book easel, and our new book case from Target! Oh, and our new artist Sketch books for our nature studies!

The family room is looking better too...I still have a few more things that I would like to finish up to make it 'perfect' for us, but I just love the way it's lookin' already! (You know...that feeling you get inside when you've moved furniture around?!?)

I'm really looking forward to getting everything else set up, but here's a quick peak at my new organizing individual cube for artist/composer, history, literature, nature study, and one still to fill! Then the girls each have a cubby for their individual books! (Organizing gives me such a thrill!)
We (at least momma and daddy!) are soooo looking forward to more structure with the day-to-day 'back to school' lifestyle!