Monday, September 29, 2008

Long weekend! Late nights!

This weekend we had the pleasant surprise of getting to see some long-time, family friends that we haven't seen in a looong time! And what's even better is when you're able to pick up where you left off! It was a pleasant surprise that they were going through "our neck 'o the woods"! Pastor Schneider is the one that married Eric and I, and we've known them...forever! So after church, we had the Steves over for lunch along with the Schneiders, and it was a great afternoon to just be able to catch up with one another (along with a little chaos of all of the little peeps running here and there!)....after lunch the fellas just stayed at the table ALL afternoon while us gals sat in the living room and enjoyed a great Sunday afternoon...else called 'a day of rest.'
Then today... we're getting back into the swing of the 'work' week. Mondays...else called 'a day of detox'! (We're having to wean ourselves off of a fun weekend with daddy at home with us!) So this evening at devotions, everyone stayed awake...then after each individual was finished by one 'we lost a good soldier' as my dad has always said.

First, Lovey prays; then (if it's late at night) we jiggle Cricket, our early riser to pray; then Angelwings, our late-night gal, prays; then myself; then Ricci. But this evening everyone's so tired, so after each prayed, each fell asleep.

Lovey, trying so hard to stay awake, fell on into sweet slumber sitting on top of my purse while she held onto Pandi and her cute, little ballet backpack that Mimi gave her.
And then there's Cricket who gets more snuggly the sleepier she gets! All who know her well know that she just can't stay awake too late...not for anything!

My early riser!

Capturing a still, quiet moment!
Two things my little Cricket loves...cutting flowers and the peaceful, early moments of the day!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Geaux, LSU!

After the girls played HARD outside ALL day long, it was bath-time before anyone was allowed to sit down for a spell to watch the LSU~MSU game! Well, Angelwings had to have been pretty tired, for she took her shower and went on to bed...or maybe sick...that's really not like her! And Cricket and Love just had to watch the "big game" so I told them that they could watch it if they'd sit still and quietly, knowing that it was just a matter of minutes before they would fall asleep! Yep...momma was right!Now we just have to wait until Daddy comes home, for I can't pick'em up...sweet things are just getting too big!
And while the B-man's bed is in the wash, he was plum-tuckered as well, so look where he found a comfy place...big fella crammed himself into the top of a laundry basket...long day for all!
While Eric has run down to Walgreens to get some last minute sales, I'm working on making his favorite fall cake for Sunday dinner tomorrow, Irish Cream Pound Cake. The Schneiders are in town, so they'll be joining us Chans and Steves! I'm looking forward to seeing them!

A lovely night on the town!

Last Thursday night, we had 'the' most amazing evening! But first...a little background history...
This year, I 'broke away from the mold' [AO curriculum] and scheduled our composer studies to follow the Masterworks Series being performed by our local symphony, and this year the Masterworks Series was going to open with the magnificent music of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony featuring the CSO orchestra and chorus and guest pianist Sin-Hsing Tsai. So we've been over-indulging ourselves in Beethoven's music...he was such a talented being that had such an interesting life!
Then I asked Ricci if we had already gotten our tickets, and he said that we hadn't....aghhh! So we frantically added up the costs, and it was going to be $70 for some cheap-o seats. Not exactly what I was dreaming of! Then the next day, Ricci called home from work and said that he had won us tickets! Not only did God give us tickets....He gave us Center Orchestra tickets!
So on Thursday night, when Ricci came home from work, the girls and I were dressed and ready to go...shocking to him, I know...and he took us down along the river to the Bluff View art district, which is a lovely unique neighborhood originally fashioned in the style of a small European Village. Very apropros, I do say! We ate some delicious food at Tony's Pasta before heading off to the symphony at the Tivoli theatre.
The music was unbelievable, and the girls loved it! They were sooo well behaved! And at intermission, it was great to see some friends that we haven't seen in some time.What a lovely evening it was! I'll always be thankful!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The South will rise again!

Last Friday, our family and some dear friends had the honor of attending the 145th Anniversary of the Battle of Chickamauga. It was such a fun, exhilarating day! There was not a cloud in the sky and also a gentle, cool breeze in the air! We had the best day, but I'm afraid that we all received a full month's worth of Vitamin D in one day (hence the "not a cloud in the sky")!
When we first arrived, we checked in and then listened to a brief lecture by the Port Columbus National Civil War Naval Museum from Columbus, GA. Their exhibit was so educational on 'technology' of the time with the ironclad ships and other various weapons used by the Union and Confederate navies. We'd love to go see their museum one day...we're coming to see you, Ivey!
Then we went through security (somehow there was even a metal detector out in the middle of the field) to have an opportunity to hear VP Dick Cheney deliver a great speech! There were lots of secret service agents...they even had something to do when the largest part of the stage fell prior to Cheney taking the stage. And the color guard from The Citadel was there as well!
Paying tribute to his great grandfather, Samuel Fletcher Cheney, who was a Union soldier (e'hem), Cheney spoke a very moving speech, reminding everyone that in just 48 hours, 145 years ago (to the hour!) the battles fought at Chickamauga were the second (next to Gettysburg) bloodiest battles fought in the Civil War. He and his family were then presented a beautiful, commissioned painting of his grandfather in full uniform on horseback. Here you can read a great report by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
After Cheney's moving speech, Labronda and I just sat on the ground and rested while the daddies took the kids to see more/take more photos! (Shayne took much better photos than my little camera ever could, so as soon as I get the CD of photos he made us, I'll post them...they're really good!)
Cricket striking up a conversation between her, her 'friends' and World War II Medal of Honor recipient Charles Coolidge!
This is what we call a 'field trip'!
A line of canons that were occasionally fired during the day. The canon closest was actually used during the battles of Chickamauga.

There was lots of shopping to be done on sutlers row for various period wares... and all of the foods and drinks were 'period' as well. All of the drinks were sold in beautiful glass bottles with either corks or bottle stoppers. For the bottle that the girls and I selected, it was initially $6 and $1 for each refill.

Not knowing that there was going to be so much to purchase for food and drinks, we all had brought coolers with us, so we headed back to the cars and 'tailgated' before gaining more energy to head back and do some more exploring and shopping before the battle re-enactments. I have no photos of that fun...perhaps, I was too know to actually stand up and get my camera. ;)

After our picnic, we took some time to walk through the camps...Cricket enjoyed speaking to each and every re-enactor. All (except General Longstreet who acted as if he were conducting strategic business) were more than kind to converse with her...although we weren't always certain if we were speaking to the person or the re-enactor.

This kind lady even invited us to come back later that evening for fried apple pies, baked beans and coffee. We all found it interesting the way the ladies would step on the inside of their skirt hem to avoid their dress swinging into the fire.This was a yard goods shop that Labronda, Cricket and I really enjoyed.

This store clerk (I was actually taking a picture of his sign...not him!) reminded me of Nels Oleson...very kind but of few words. But Cricket had him crackin' up with her going on and on about this and that!

The girls with the fans that Shayne bought for them. Thank you, Mr. Shayne!

Tressie literally tried on every, single hat that was sold in this booth and checked herself out in the little mirror.
Macy, of course, shopping for shoes! And we did find some that would be perfect for the ball in November! Hmmm...I'm thinking that these fine fellas aren't shopping for us gals...I think they're in the market for some well-deserved shade!

I just had to take this photo of Eric with his camping chair, pink backpack and a bottle of somethin''d been a long day for this fella that thought he'd marry a woman that wasn't still carrying a grudge against the north and that would give him lots of boys! "Bless his heart!"

Tressie enjoying a swig of yummy sassafras fizz! Macy and Savannah, truly two lovely Southern belles!
Again, Shayne took much better photos so when I get them, I'll be sure to post some of them...but until then, here are a couple of photos that I was proud to have taken!

It was such an amazing day!!!

Such a lovely day that we hated to go home!

But rest assured, the South will rise again!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Goodbye, twaddle! Hello, living!

Well, I've got the fever...not spring but fall!
I've been tossin' out almost everything not nailed down! I've divided everything into three piles: give (to some lucky/unlucky recipient...there's a ton in your pile, Jen!), toss (broken stuff/junk), and donate/sell (goodwill/JBF). And Brite's promised to come over to show me how to handle selling things on EBay...I mean, come' many signed photos of George Jones does one gal need?!? (Sorry, Mamaw!)

And it has been bitter sweet! I'm such a sap, so I can get misty when looking at things (clothes, books, toys) that the girls have outgrown. And then I'm also an organized pack-rat, so I can very efficiently stuff/organize things...give me a photo box or Rubbermaid container, and I'm happy as can be!
But it's also so free-ing to see an empty, clean space! We're unloading our bookshelves, closets, etc. Woohoo! Out with the old twaddle, and in with the new 'living' books! (That part's pretty exciting!) And as much as Eric teases me about holding on to all of my Southern Living and Martha Stewart, he is now teasing me about using them as the foundation of our new house when we start to build it...I think that's hysterical! He's always said that if there's a tornado warning, he's taking us to the basement to get in the middle of my 'neatly bagged' stacks of SL and MS magazines!
Again, it's sad to watch the girls' being transformed into young ladies, but it's such a reward at the same time to watch them! So we're in the process of re-arranging a few toys/pieces of furniture around here and there as we bring in a few more grown-up items. (Anyone just have a hankerin' to come and paint some walls with me?!?)
So with a fresh, clean slate, one has to re-decorate! Right?!? I get such a high from moving/changing furniture around!
'I' (with lots of Ricci's help) painted an old table and several chairs that we're using for all looks like new! We were given this table, which used to be just stained with an oak finish (oak's just not me!), and I've had these "Wendy's" chairs since I was living at home...they've been painted/recovered so many times! (Uncle Ray had some kind of business deal with someone at Wendy's, and all I can remember is that one year everyone in the family went home with several Wendy's chairs! Thanks again, Uncle Ray!)
So now I'm trying to decide on the fabric that I'll use to recover to other chairs that I've also painted a shiny black. I've already used the gold with black dots on the two chairs (above), and the other two fabrics still in the running are two black fabrics, each with red, sage and gold tones. One is more faded, and one is 'brighter' in contrast. Opinion?!? (They're resting atop the sofa that's already in the family room.) I just need to make my run to the goodwill and recycle center and then decide what to do with all of these twaddle books! Want some?!?

"They do look awful! And I'm being honest, Momma!"

After all of this canning/preserving fruits, painting furniture, and all-out Fall house-cleaning, my hands really do look like they need a manicure. And of course, I don't really dwell on it until we're headed out somewhere! (Shocking...I know...but I do consider myself pretty low-maintenance!)

So as we headed out and traveled down the mountain, I glanced at my stained fingernails (next to the black specks of spray paint), and I said, " hands really look awful!"

Of course, Angel Wings (like a typical, firstborn people-pleaser!) declares, "No, Mama! They don't look bad at all! I can't even seen what you're talking about!"

[Insert: a little, brief conversation on etiquette regarding speaking truthfully vs. fearing saying anything unkind.]

And of course, Cricket (like a typical second-child...happy-go-lucky), sitting in the back of the van and just enjoying the scenery, is completely oblivious to any conversation going on at all!

Then Lovey (typical "pat-me-on-the-back-please" personality) pipes up and exclaims, "Oh, Mama! You're right! They do look awful! And I'm being honest!"

Help needed/Following other blogs

Okay, I absolutely love this new Blogger function under "Blogs I'm following"! However, I'm wondering if I'm missing out on something that I should be doing.
I've listed the blogs that I follow, and I'm wondering if there's something that I should be doing (or clicking on) to mark off the posts that I've already read. Do any of y'all know?
You know me...I can't survive without a list that I can check off! Please tell me if there's one!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Anyone going to Target?!?

I just came across this great website, Money Saving Mom, and it reminds me of that grocery game that a few of us played not too long ago, but this is sooo much better! I'm sure that this gal could be a great friend, if she lived closer! Anyway, on her website there was a link on it for $5 off of a $50 order at Target...I only wish I saw this earlier this week, for it expires tomorrow. But if someone's going to Target today or tomorrow, here's the link...

Clip Art for famous kings and queens of England!

This last year, the girls and I each began a "book of centuries," and since then I've learned that it's not so easy to find great clip art to make the girls' books more interesting, so I was thrilled when I found this website that has great clip art for the famous kings and queens of England, dating back to Alfred The Great in 871!
Now we can either print out a copy of the clip art for the girls to paste (what kid doesn't love to paste things?!?) or the girls can copy their own drawing of the clip art into their individual books!
Here's hoping you can enjoy it too!

Monday, September 15, 2008

A fun CM week!

What a fun (and busy!) wrap-up to a great summer we have had!
As the leaves are already starting to fall and the rest of the growing season is wrapping up its final showing, we're relishing these last few days of summer! (After all, fall is my favorite season, and I'm eagerly awaiting it!)
One afternoon, a good girlfriend called upon several of us other gals to come and help her carry her burden of blueberries! Uh, yeah...we're there! So the next morning we all adorned ourselves with our buckets tied around our necks (like professional berry pickers) and met up with everyone to help out sweet Joanna! What a fun time we all had! It was so sweet of J to open up her yard and her home to all of us...and our kiddos in tow! The kids had the best time playing, and we would all pick for a while and then go outside and 'sit a spell' while we cooled off and had some tea, scones, cookies, etc. Fun! Fun! Fun!
Isn't this the cutest berry-picker you've ever seen?!?
And as we started off our new school year, two girlfriends and I hit the road for an impromptu over-night trip. We learned of a great SCM conference, settled our fams, and hit the road! We had a great time yackin' all of the way up there and back! We rushed out of town so quickly so that we could make it to our hotel in time for happy hour, and after enjoying some time relaxing, we went to a wonderful restaurant...I have no recollection what the name of it was, and I paid cash, so I have no receipt, but here's a photo of's down on the bottom left! Oooh, and I'm still craving their chicken with capers! It was soooo good! It was served over a bed of angel hair pasta with a lemon and white-wine sauce and with the most gently sauteed green beans and red tomatoes on the side!

After we ate and laughed til we could eat and laugh no more, we giggled our way back to our hotel room, stayed up way too late, and got up way too early the next morning. After enjoying a scrumptious breakfast at the hotel, we were off to the conference! (Notes to be posted later!)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Preserving our blessings one by one!

Whew, it's nice to be out of the kitchen! After our two families collected and sorted our yummy apples and pears (please note: I've decided to just call these apple-pears "asian pears"), Labronda and I got together for a day or so of canning/preserving!
(Two of our little helpers!)
It is always so much more fun when you do something as tedious as that with a friend! And we had a blast...but whew were we tired after having been on our feet for so long! And we still didn't get to do all that we wanted to do, so we split up the fruit once more!
So after a few days of looking at all of that fruit, I decided we just had to finish up what we had started (come this winter, we'll be thankful to be tasting yummy fruits!), so when Ricci called to say he was on his way home from work, he asked if there was anything that he could bring...I did put in a request for some 4-oz. jars...knowing that I couldn't find them anywhere! After about 30 minutes, here he came...with some 4-oz. jars! That guy's amazing....he got them at Ace Hardware! I would have never thought to check there! Well, now I know! It was funny to hear him tell of the jars' sealing themselves as he drove up to our house! Thanks, Ricci!

And there's still more to do!

Pear Honey

"This tastes so much like honey, your friends will never believe that the bees did not make it."

8 cups peeled, cored and chopped pears
1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
8 cups white sugar

Place chopped pears into a large pot, and pour pineapple juice over them to prevent them from browning. Stir in sugar, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir frequently to prevent scorching. When the pears are at a full boil, reduce heat to medium, and cook until the mixture is the color and texture of honey. The longer you cook it, the thicker it gets. Ladle into hot sterile jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the top. Wipe rims with a clean damp cloth and seal jars with lids and rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

Pear Preserves

3 quarts pears, sliced or chopped
3 cups water
4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 slices lemon
Wash and pare fruit. Cook until tender in water. Remove fruit and make a syrup of the liquid and sugar. Add fruit to partially cooled syrup and bring gently to a boil. Add lemon slices. Boil rapidly until fruit is clear and tender. Let stand in syrup to cool. Remove lemon. Pour fruit into sterilized jars. Reheat syrup to boiling and pour over fruit. Seal each jar as filled.
Pear Apple Jam Recipe

4 C. diced pears
4 C. diced tart apples 5 T. lemon juice
5 C. sugar
Grated rind of 1 lemon
Peel and dice fruit. Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Boil about 20 minutes. Take from heat and allow to stand for 10 minutes to plump. Bring back to boil stirring frequently until mixture is thick and clear (about 10 minutes). Pour into sterilized Kerr jars to within 1/4 inch of top. Put on cap, screw band firmly tight. Process in Boiling Water Bath 10 minutes.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

"That's what happens when God puts you in your favorite person's tummy!"

Today, my little cricket and I were snuggling together (although she's the child with the most energy...she a pretty great snuggler!), and I told her how I much I loved her.
She responded telling me how much she loved me.
Coming close to tears of joy, I responded by telling her just how thankful I am that God had chosen to give her to us.
And she matter-of-factly said, "Well, that's what happens when God puts you in your favorite person's tummy!"
She sure does keep us laughin'!

Monday, September 01, 2008

I do declare!

I do declare, Miss B.! You are amazing!
After her reading on my blog that we've been just worn out, I just received a sweet, sweet note in the postal mail from a dear friend who told me that she was hoping that we are feeling better and encouraging me in our new homeschool room/year!
I really appreciate that, B! I had a sweet aunt Carolyn who was wonderful at writing notes to friends and family, and just as she has passed away... so seems the art of writing to one another. Our girls love to write notes to others and to one another, and I hope to continue to instill that art/love in them.
So from one 'school marm' to another...Thanks, Bonnie, for that sweet card!