Saturday, January 30, 2010

The World is White...Again

It started snowing a little before 6:00 last night.  The girls put one of my largest kitchen bowls out on the deck to catch snow so they could make snow cream today, and this morning you couldn't even see where they had put the bowl.  That's a lot of snow - well, it's a lot of snow for central NC.  And, it's still snowing.  It's supposed to snow, or be a mix of winter precipitation all day.  And it will be COLD.  It's 22 right now, but with the wind chill factor, it feels like about 10.  Again - I know it gets colder elsewhere, but thankfully, I've never lived elsewhere.  I can only remember one other year in which we got two big snow storms.  We haven't even had the ice problems we normally have (YAY!)- but we haven't gotten through Feb. yet.  The snow is better than the ice because it blows off the trees and utility lines, so I am grateful for that.

For right now, I'll stay warm here in the house and occasionally peek out the windows to watch the girls play.  It's kind of cute to see the snow so deep that their skirts trail along on top of it as they walk across the yard.  I'm pretty sure the girls will remember this winter for the rest of their lives.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Shhhh - It's quiet

I don't expect this to last very long, so I'll be quick. 
It's been, well, words fail me when it comes to describing the past week.  I've never had this many people in and out of my house on such a continual basis.  I like being alone, or just "alone" with my family.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy company, but I truly do like spending time with just my family.  This is different.  Nurses, therapists, people bringing supplies, family members bringing things in, or installing new stuff to help grandma - it feels a little like organizing fleas on a dog.  It really wouldn't be that bad if the people with the home health care co. would call to schedual things in advance - meaning MORE than 15min. before they want to be here.  Then there's the one that showed up this morning at 9:00, with NO warning.  I know this will all get sorted out, and settle down into a comfortable routine, but it really does make you that much more appreciative of quiet moments.  Even the children seem to feel it - they are all being unusually quiet right now - even though they are all awake, and no-one is sick.  Actually, it's kind of amazing.  I think I'll go enjoy it some more.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Cooking with Kids

Here we are on week three, following Mother's Hen's, Sally-Mae Cooks, on spending quality time cooking with your children.  You can click the above link, or you can use her button on my side bar to check out what Sally-Mae has made this week.
First, I'd like to say that it's possible that I told a story last week.  This week's post was not done before this afternoon (although the actual cooking was done by 10:30), and this week's recipe is DEFINITELY not good for you (unless you count it as chocolate thereapy - which I fully intend to do!).  But...we've had a very busy week, and I was at meltdown stage this morning, so I asked Ri to help Beenie do the cooking with kids today (it's good practice for her anyway!).  The first thing she asked was, "Can I cook anything I want?", and the answer, of course, was yes.  So we have Ri helping Beenie making Pioneer Woman's, Best Chocolate  Sheet Cake. Ever.  Ri loves trying out her recipes, and I have to admit, we've only tried one that we did not care for.
So here goes:

Mixing together the flour, sugar, and salt.

Melting the butter.

Adding the cocoa.  The water is boiling in
the background.

Blending in the boiling water.

Adding the cocoa mixture to the dry ingredients.

Mixing together the other wet ingredients,
and the baking soda.

Beating everything together - Beenie took
this picture.

Ri held the bowl while Beenie scraped the
batter into the pan.  Bree got this pic.

Ready to go in the oven.  They used a 10"x15",
jelly-roll pan.  There was a little batter left
over, but the other pans looked like they
would be too large or too small.

Adding powdered sugar to the melted butter
and cocoa in the pan.  Hmm-the begining of
the icing and the cake sound very similar-maybe
that's why this is so very nummy!

Chocolately goodness!!

They didn't know what else to put it on, and I
suggested a cookie sheet. I should have
clarified which one - this one is a lot little
beat up. Also, the cake stuck some in the
middle, but when you finish pouring the
icing over the top, it's much harder to tell
what it looked like. Besides, IT WAS
DELICIOUS!!!, and that's all that counts.
We ate it warm-all I can say is Ahhhhhh!!

We just had to go ahead and give it a try (even though it was 10:30am).  It was for science.  We NEEDED to make sure that it's rough landing out of the pan didn't, in any way, compromise the taste.  It didn't.
You're supposed to mix pecans in the icing, but since some of my children only eat nuts raw (NEVER mixed in ANYTHING-I hope they grow out of that), we just chopped some and sprinkled them on top, for the ones that wanted them.

If you want the recipe, you can click on the link above for the Pioneer Woman's website (trust me, you want this recipe), and I urge you to check out Sally-Mae's site too.  It's good to encourage our little cooks in the making.

The reason I didn't write out the recipe this time, is because the post was already getting long, and I wanted to take a little space to glorify God and His work in our lives.  I was very tired and run down this morning, since this week has been full of new adjustments.  God, of course, knew all of this in advance.  Our church encourages families to meet with one another during the week (they're called Koinonia Meals), and the family that decided to host us this week offered to bring us a meal instead, since they knew this week was going to be very busy for us.  It was a such a blessing.  The mom stopped by this morning, and because of an unexpected gap in the flow of people that have been, and for the next few days, will continue to be in and out of our house, we were able to sit down with her for quite a while; getting to know a little more about each other, which is the whole purpose for these fellowship times anyway.  It brought a lift to my day that was very much needed, and the added benefit of having something already prepared for supper tonight (in a dish that we won't have to wash and return-Yay!).  We were able to share this wonderful cake with her too.
God blesses us abundantly, and I'm so very thankful.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Just FOUR - And No More

Hey everyone! It's Riah. I didn't have much to do this morning on account of doing extra school yesterday, so I thought I'd blog.

Yesterday while Daddy took Beenie to her guitar lessons and Bree and Kay to the library, I made half a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough for Momma, T. Lynn and I to eat. While mixing this batch up I asked T. Lynn if I could bake a few for a friend that is coming over today. She replied with a staunch "No".
"But he would really like cookies T. Lynn," I coxed. "Can't he have just a few?"
"No, it's my cookie dough."
"But it would be nice to let him have some, Baby."
"Ok, but just four!!"
"Four?! Can't he have some more?"
"No, its MY cookie dough!"
Now please bare in mind that we are still mixing cookie dough through all this. I was also texting the guy who's amount of cookies were in question. So T. Lynn says, "Tell him he gets four cookies!"
"I'm not telling him that." I was hoping to convince her that it would be nice to give him more.
"Fine, I'll tell him." She promtly picks up my cell phone and opens the slider.
"Oh no you don't. Put it down."
"But I wanna tell him he gets four cookies."
"But we might give him more."
"Nah - ah, he gets four."
Here I will mention that I was done mixing cookie dough and had started to pull out a pan to bake a few.
"If I let you use my phone can he have more?" She loves to text little words on my slider, it makes her day.
So I let her put in that she said he could have some cookies.
Well, I did finally convince her that he could have more, but it didn't really turn out the way I expected. Why's that? Because once I was done helping her text, she looked me in the eye and said very seriously "Fine. He can have five." I sighed and gave up!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

She's Home!!

I know, kind of an obvious thing after my last post, but we're just very happy.
We're adjusting to a whole new routine.  We've got a new medication list; all of which have to be ground in a morter and blended with water to put in her PEG line, but it's not hard, just different.  We've worked out a different feeding schedual for her already since the one at the rehab. center was giving her a final feeding in the middle of the night.   Ridiculous!  She has to sit up for 30 min. after each feeding, so that meant she wasn't getting to bed for good until almost 1am.  Like I said, ridiculous.  Our feeding schedual will be 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm, and 10pm.  Everyone gets to go to bed at a decent time. 
Yesterday was full, to overflowing, with everything that was going on - remember, on top of all the business of getting her home and having all her supplies, and a medical bed delivered (which got here about 7pm), it was milk day.  Today was going to be equally busy with all the normal stuff, plus a visit from the home health care nurse (the 1st visit is always long), tutoring my cousin, a trip to the library and the drug store, another visit from my uncle (to bring some more supplies), and Beenie's guitar lesson.  Hubby very generously offered to take Beenie to her guitar lesson for me, so (this might be considered taking advantage of the proferred generosity, but...) I told him of the other errands I was going to run, and asked him if he would do it for me.  He did - isn't he great!  That just freed up my entire afternoon! 

Okay - so my ENTIRE afternoon wasn't free.  I got a call at 2:15 (the lesson is at 2:30), and guess what was left at the house???  For all you mom's out there, you only get one chance - yep, you guessed it, the guitar.  So I tell hubby to go ahead and I'll meet them there.  It takes more than 15 min. to drive, and I had to stop to put gas in hubby's car, but the teacher was utilizing the time well, and the guitar was only 10min. late.  Not too bad, and the rest of the afternoon is fairly free, so, as Superman would say, "It's all good." (I have to assume this is a popular saying with public schooled kids.)

Ri has already, very kindly, offered to make supper, and Kay will head up the general tidying up once she gets home (she and Bree were the ones that needed to go to the library).  I'll put Bree on laundry duty (leaving Beenie and T.Lynn to help Kay and Ri as needed), and that will free me up to finish looking over school work,  and, if I'm very lucky, finish the ironing (I will leave the napkins for T.; she loves ironing them),  Right now I'm going to try to slip in a 30 min. nap - if at all humanly possible.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Grandma's Coming Home!!

It's official.  Grandma's coming home tomorrow.  My father, my uncle, Ri and I all went up to the rehab. facility today to learn how to do her feedings through the tube and how to work with her on her swallowing.  Kay will learn how to do it too, but tomorrow is milk day, and since Kay is going to SC with me tomorrow, that would leave Ri here with Grandma, once she was home - obviously, she needed to be the first to learn.  Everyone is excited.  We've throughly cleaned her room and put fresh bedding on her bed.  We are so glad that she will finally be back home.  Thanks to everyone for their prayers!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

When not to post on your blog

If yesterday is any indication, you should never try to slip a last minute post in when you're trying to get everyone headed out the door.
I had sooooo many typos in my post yesterday.  I also forgot to put in a link that should have been there.  I ended up editing it four times, catching various things wrong at different times; when I was trying to link the post to Mother Hen's post - apparently I even flubbed in the title  - as I was linking up, I realized that the title read Cooling with Kids, instead of the intended Cooking with Kids :), when I was answering a comment (that drew my attention to the missing link - thanks Mother Hen!), when I was showing the post to T.Lynn, and when Ri was looking at it. 
Whew!!  I got tired of finding mistakes.  I'm sure anyone who read the post before all the editing was done, was wondering about me - at least a little.
And for the record (the post has been corrected now),  it was Pumpkin muffins, not Butterscotch muffins.
At any rate, I appologize to anyone out there who had to stumble through my post before I fixed it, and in the future I'll try to get my cooling (:D) with the kids done, BEFORE Friday afternoon.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Cooking with Kids

Here we are, week two of cooking with children (you can check out Mother Hen's site here or you can use the Sally Mae cooks button on my side bar too).  T.Lynn was helping again today, and she made pumpkin muffins.  We got the recipe from Tammy's Recipes , and we just love them.  They are great for making ahead and keeping in the freezer to pull out for a quick breakfast. 

Adding flour...

baking soda

baking powder

brown sugar


grating nutmeg - careful with those fingers!

Mixing the dry ingredients together.

Sniffing that egg - it's a keeper

She wanted everyone to see the two chips
that were stuck together.

Taste testing again.  Hey - she's using a spoon
this time - but you don't want to know how
big a spoonful she picked up at first.  That
didn't fly, she had to try again.

Filling the muffin tins.

All done.

Don't these look nummy?

If you're wondering why the last two photos look better, it's because Ri took them.  I used Bree's camera in the first photos and something on it wasn't set right (at least that's what Ri told me).  I picked the best of the photos I did take, but as you can see, a camera in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing makes all the difference.  Here's the recipe:
Pumpkin Muffins
2 & 1/2 c. flour
1 Tbls. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 & 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 & 3/4 c. pumpkin
4 eggs
1/2 c. oil
2 c. nuts (optional)
2 c. butterscotch chips (op)
Combine all dry ingredients.  Add pumpkin, eggs, and oil.  Mix until smooth.  Add nuts and butterscotch chips if desired.  Bake at 350 for 20 min., or until top springs back when gently touched.

The changes I make to this are:  You can use freshly ground pastry flour in place of some of the regular flour.  I use melted butter instead of oil.  If I'm using canned pumpkin, I never bother measuring it, I just use a small can (it's about the same amount).  This time I used some of the pumpkin I cooked and froze last year.  I froze them in pint bags, and I didn't bother to drain it.  I use an 11oz bag of butterscotch chips - it's not quite 2 cups (more like 1 & 1/2), but trust me, that's plenty.
We hope you'll give these a try sometime soon, and I'll try to make something really healthy next time.



I made butter today.  I know, not rocket science.  I've actually made butter plenty of times, but today I made it in the blender instead of my food processor.  Why is this news worthy?  Because I managed to make it this time without having cream or buttermilk all over the counter, food processor, and anything else nearby.  I know I probably wouldn't make such a mess if I didn't put so much cream in, but who wants to make butter in 6 tiny little batches, when you can make it in two (and complain about the mess :D ).  At any rate, I tried it in the blender today, and it did great. 

See that neat little ball of butter at the
bottom of the pitcher?

And here it is in the bowl.
I didn't bother washing it until I had the entire quart of cream done.  I ended up with another ball of butter just a bit smaller than this one, so when all was said and done, we had a nice amount of butter made.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mr. Nobody

While commenting on Mother Hen's blog, I mentioned that I couldn't decide between "Not Me", and "I don't know" as the two culprits who must be behind the dishes that keep mysteriously showing up in the garage (not to mention a host of other things).  Mother Hen made the comment that it couldn't be "Not Me", because he lived at her house, and another commenter said that "I don't know" lived at her's.  It all put me in mind of a little poem I came across some years ago, and I wanted to share.

I know a funny little man,
As quiet as a mouse,
Who does the mischief that is done
In everybody's house!
There's no one ever sees his face,
And yet we all agree
That every plate we break was cracked
By Mr. Nobody

'Tis he who always tears our books,
Who leaves the door ajar,
He pulls the buttons from our shirts,
And scatters pins afar;
That squeaking door will always squeak,
For, prithee, don't you see,
We leave the oiling to be done
By Mr. Nobody

The finger marks upon the door
By none of us are made;
We never leave the blinds unclosed,
To let the curtains fade.
The ink we never spill; the boots
That lying round you see
Are not our boots - they all belong
To Mr. Nobody

All of us have those types of permanent house guests in our home.  In addition to "Not Me" and "I don't know", "I didn't do it!" weighs in heavily as a potential trouble maker around here.  His name is usually the one shouted at the tops of everyone's lungs right after we hear a big crash. 
As a side note - when she was very young (say 3 or 4), Beenie's standard answer when you ask her anything was, "I know nothing".  I used to accuse hubby of watching Hogan's Heroes re-runs with her in the room.  Of course, he didn't - as he pointed out, the re-runs didn't come on until late in the evening, but I could just hear Schultz in my head every time she did that.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Cooking with Kids

MotherHen, at Ship Full of Pirates, has started a weekly link on cooking with children.  I'll try to get the cute little button on my sidebar in the near future.  T.Lynn was just itching for Friday to get here so she could participate.  With a little help, she has made us a batch of Vanilla Wafer cookies today, partially in preparation for the banana pudding I want to make later, and partially because we just love these cookies.  We went on ahead a did a double batch, but I'll put the regular size recipe at the bottom of the post.
So, without further ado, here she is:

Mixing together the dry ingredients.

Adding sugar to the butter.

Carefully adding an obscene amount of vanilla
(but that is what makes these sooo good!) to
the creamed mixture.

Every child's favorite task - cracking eggs.

It's never too early to teach them, that if you get
your eggs from a farm, you need to check those
little buggers, BEFORE you add them to a recipe.

Scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Adding the dry ingredients.

Guarding us from the flour trying to escape from
the bowl - probably because we were making
such a big batch.

The all important "Does this one taste good raw?"
test.  And it does, if the quantity of dough she
was caught sneaking is any indication.

Piping the cookies out on the sheet pan.  This
really is an easy way to get small, reasonably
uniform cookies.

Ready to go in the oven.  We did try out some
on this pan using our small cookie scoop, but
the cookies were a bit too large.

All done!  The lighter colored cookies were the
ones we used the scoop on.  They were a little too
thick, so they didn't get as crisp.

These cookies are great in banana pudding; that is REAL banana pudding -  don't you dare use boxed vanilla pudding mix - and using banana flavored pudding mix is just criminal!! 

Vanilla Wafer Cookies:
1/2c. soft butter (no substitutes!)
1c. sugar
1 egg
1Tbls. vanilla
1 & 1/3c. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Combine dry ingredients and set aside.  Cream together butter and sugar, then beat in the vanilla and the eggs.  Add the dry ingredients and mix well.  Put in a piping bag and pipe out small cookies.  I didn't even put a tip in mine, I just used the coupler.  You can scoop them out with a teaspoon if you want.  Bake for about 12-14 min., or until they are begining to turn brown around the edges.

No, these aren't the healthiest thing on the planet, but at least you can pronounce all the ingredients in them, and they make your house smell heavenly while they are baking!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Out With the Old, In With the New

I've wanted to recover my ironing board for a couple of months now.  But, with Thanksgiving and Christmas to take care of, it just wasn't a high priority.  It's really been bugging me though.  You can see why here:


I've no idea what the stains are.  I'm guessing someone spilled something on it and then whatever it was scorched the next time the iron was used.  I just know that I couldn't get it out in the wash.  And, although you can't really see it, there's a fuzzy spot just across from the two biggest stains where someone had their interfacing turned the wrong way when they were trying to put it in.  Nothing was coming off on anyone's clothes, but it looked just awful.

Now, drum-roll please...


In the picture it kind of looks like there's a dark spot near the back - I don't know what caused that, but there's nothing on the fabric. 
Some might think that we have a pink and white striped ironing board because we have nothing but girls - and they would be right - but for the wrong reason.  I didn't pick it out because the girls thought it was cute, or pretty, or anything else; I picked the pink and white stripe because the girls wouldn't have anything to do with it.  All I heard while I was making it was "Ewwww", and "WHY, did you pick THAT?", and "It's!"  The fabric was in a box of stuff that was given to us  free not long ago, and I chose it specifically because I knew I wouldn't be able to get any of them to even consider it for an apron (although I thought it would make an adorable apron-just, not for me).  T.Lynn even turned her nose up at it, and she likes pink.
Oh well, it's done, it's cute, and best of all - it's CLEAN.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

So Far, So Good

Everything has started off well.  We got the de-Christmasing done on Monday, in a remarkably short amount of time.  I don't know if it was because we had a couple of extra hands, what with Superman being here and all, or if it's just because the younger ones are all just a little older and are also a bit more help.  But whatever the reason, it was all done well before noon, so I decided to go ahead and utilize the extra hands we had, and have him help me run all the other recycling to the dump box site.  We finished everything up (including an impromptu trip by the grocery store) and were back home, fixing lunch by 1:00.  Then, hubby made an executive decision to start school off anyway, by putting in some history documentaries after lunch dishes were cleaned up.  So, we sat around watching those and shelling some of the pecans we've been storing in the garage.  Superman and I cracked, while the girls removed all the nut meat from the shells.  We ended up with just a bit over 3lbs of shelled pecans.  Don't ask how many we have left to shell - this is a positive post. 
On Tues. the milk run went pretty well, despite the fact that we had to do some of our trip in reverse of what we normally do - and it was COLD!!! - But - it wasn't raining! Yay!
Today we worked school in around several things, such as tutoring my cousin (which means the girls watch his baby while he and I work), Beenie's guitar lesson (the girls did some of their school in the waiting area), a trip to the bank to cash everyone's Christmas checks, and open a savings account for Bree, and a trip out to visit Grandma.  We were a little early for the guitar lesson, so I got to meet another mother there that I had not seen before.  This was her first year homeschooling, and she seemed a little stressed out, so I got to talk with her for a bit, encouraging her not to compare their work at home with what her son would have been doing in the private school he had been in (this was what was causing the stress).  I sincerely hope I was able to help her out, if even just a little.  Overcoming the intense desire to compare your homeschool to public, private, or even other homeschools can be difficult, but it is incredibly important.
So, all in all, I think the year has gotten off to a terrific start!!  I hope all of you are having a great week as well.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Off to a Great Start

At least, thats what I'm claiming.  Under normal circumstances we would be starting school again tomorrow.  Actually, I have been known to start school on Jan. 2nd before, depending on what day of the week it fell on, but this year the girls won't be starting back until the 5th - unless you count de-Christmasing the house a good home-ec project.  Hey - it's a necessary life skill!  I love getting my tree down and my house back in order as promptly as possible after Christmas, but with the necessity of having one of our family dinners on the 2nd, we left the decorations up this year, and boy, has that tree been bugging me.  Superman will be coming over tomorrow to haul it off to the recycling center in his truck.  I just couldn't bring myself around to vacuuming pine needles out of the van when such a marvelous alternative presented itself.  Then Tuesday, I'll set out the work I want the other girls to do while Ri, T.Lynn and I go down for milk.  Ri will do all the schoolwork that doesn't require the computer in the van, and T's work will wait 'til we get back home.  She won't have that much to do her first day back after break anyway.

All in all, I think it will be a great start to the first week of our New Year (especially the part about getting that tree out of the living room-yay!).