Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm in charge of bringing the pies to our Thanksgiving Feast. I opted for the standby pumpkin and then threw in one of Warren's favs, cranberry apple crunch and then tried a new recipe, German Sweet Chocolate Pie. Funny story about acquiring the recipe. Just yesterday I was in the grocery store checkout lane when I glanced at the cart ahead. There on top of the woman's purse was a computer printout with a large turkey on it and in large capital letters, German Sweet Chocolate Pie. She was placing the ingredients, I assumed, up on the belt. When she stepped back to grab her purse I commented about this being the time of year for pies. She agreed and mentioned how her family wouldn't let her come to dinner unless she brought this pie, pointing to the recipe. I said, oh a chocolate pie? I'd like to take a chocolate pie to our feast, too. That's when she grabbed a pen and scribbled down the website on a scrap of paper and said I had to get the recipe and make it. So there it is in the lower right corner. Tomorrow I'll garnish it with dollops of cream and mini chocolate chips. I licked the whisk tonight and YUM!!!
I pray that your blessings outweigh your burdens.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Look Who's Trying to Crawl

Granola Head

I'm not really a granola head, but I did make granola today using this recipe. We were sampling it and giving our opinions as to what should be added.
Me: toasted pecans and dried cranberries, maybe a little more coconut
Nick: mini chocolate chips then they would taste like chewy granola bars
Friend M: raisins would be good
Sam: You know what would make the granola really good......Butterfingers
I can see my kids have a thing for chocolate. I can't blame them, so do I.

Deer Hunt 2009 Opening Day

The basement was filled with blaze orange Friday night in anticipation of opening day. At 5:30am they all headed down to suit up for the day. It turned out to be a little cooler than predicted, but still a nice day for hunting.
It was incredibly foggy this morning. That's part of the crew that hunts here.

First year hunting - First day of the hunt
She shot two deer. First a spike buck and then 15 minutes later a doe. There weren't many deer shot just a couple other does. She was definitely the #1 big buck killer today. I am so proud of her. Her brother and sister are proud of her too.

Dad thinks it was pretty awesome too.

I don't want to leave you with pictures of deer with their tongues hanging out so here's the cutest boy in blaze orange I saw today.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Canned Pumpkin Shortage

Do you have any canned pumpkin in your pantry? If so, consider yourself lucky. Today in preparation for Thanksgiving I stopped by Walmart to pick up a couple quick cans of pumpkin. I wasn't the only one; two other women were down on their hands and knees searching behind the apple pie filling for any lost cans of pumpkin. Unfortunately they didn't find any. Another lady stopped and said she heard something about a pumpkin shortage due to wet fields. I stopped at another grocer and ran into the same situation. Luckily when I got home I found one large can of pumpkin in the pantry, enough to make two pumpkin pies. I guess that'll have to do.

And speaking of pumpkin pie here's a tasty recipe for making your own pumpkin pie spice. A lot of recipes I make this time of year use it, but boy is it expensive. I make my own and store in an airtight container.

Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. ginger
1/8 t. cloves

Obviously this makes 1 teaspoon. I always make a huge batch at a time, starting with 8-10 tsp. of cinnamon and then altering the recipe accordingly.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Learning Letter Sounds

Samuel is working at perfecting his beginning letter sounds. He isn't much for paper and pencil unless it's for math. He loves his math workbook. But for letters and sounds he'd much rather play games. What we've been doing lately is to pull out the tub of animals and bucket of ABC tiles. Then we select an animal say its name and find the letter tile representing its beginning sound. He loves this and since we have plenty of animals, never get bored doing the same b is for bear over and over.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What We've Been Up To

Yes, I ended that phrase with a preposition. But really, what would be correct?

What we've up to been.

We've been up to what.
Up to what we've been.

As you can tell, we've been doing a whole lot of grammar around here lately. Emily and Nick are really moving along in their Language of God workbooks. I'm finding Level E to be extremely helpful and look forward to advancing to Level F in spring.

Warren and a few heating and cooling guys installed an outdoor wood burner. If you plan on taking on this project be forewarned that it will be way more involved than you think and will end up costing way more than the estimate. Today at about 3 pm it was completely finished. We are now heating the house and shop with the wood burner. The basement is cleared of the old wood stove, extra duct work installed, trench filled in and yard somewhat raked smooth again.

I finally finished Amber Lou's Kitty Cat Love quilt.

Amber Lou took a crack at riding the dirt bike. She progressed quickly. After about 10 times around the house she asked to go further away from us where no one could see her. So she dirt biked to her beloved horses and back and called it a day.

And Little J is 15 months. We are quickly approaching the anniversary of his heart surgery and as of yesterday's pediatric and cardiology appointment he is in great shape. He's up to 16 pounds 10 ounces, always smiling and just learned to clap his hands, too.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Couple Resources

Since this is a homeschooling blog, I think it's about time I actually write a bit about it. I have some favorite resources I'd like to share.

Art Projects For Kids - I love this art teacher's blog. The art projects have easy to follow directions, adaptable to a wide age range, making them perfect for homeschooling families. She has a great list of topics in the lefthand sidebar so you can easily find an art project to coordinate with a particular artist, holiday or season.

Rookie Read About Books - I believe these are aimed at K-2, which makes them perfect for us since I have a K and a 2. The Rookie Readers are a great introduction to nonfiction reading. Here are links to three of the series:

Today Amber read Veterans Day from the Holiday series which was quite helpful. We talked about ticker tape, poppies and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. All of which I don't think would come up very often in our average daily conversations. I like this series because they offer books about holidays celebrated in other countries as well.

Schlessinger Movies - These are short informative videos about holidays, history, folk tales and more. For a complete list go here.

That Grin

Today Samuel smelled of cologne, lots of cologne. When asked if he had gotten into dad's cologne he just smiled. You know, that sheepish little smile that keeps growing the more he thinks about what he did. He didn't have to say a word. We knew the answer by the grin on his face.

Veteran's Day Sunrise

Dear God,
We thank you for all our veterans-
the deceased, the crippled, the wounded,
the soldiers still fighting today.
We thank you for giving them the strength
to stand up for America.
Bless them abundantly in this life
and grant them eternal rest when their day comes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kids' Funnies

It's haircut time around here for all the boys. We were discussing what type of cut each wanted and Sam asked:

Can you bald me around the edges and leave a mohawk in the middle?


Amber is always full of her own words; here are her latest dictionary entries:

shaggy pants - stretchy knit culottes/split skirt

hannatizer - lazy man's version of hand sanitizer


The newest game around here is just a remake of an old favorite. Hide 'n Seek is fun with people, but how about with kittens. The kids bring the five kittens into the porch, close their eyes, and wait for the kittens to run off and "hide". Then they search for the kittens. Simple, but by the squeals and giggles I hear is obviously tons of fun.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

All Saints and All Souls

I really enjoy celebrating All Saints and All Souls days. We had a big chicken dinner on Sunday, the Feast of All Saints, and had fun looking through the Patron Saints book. We found out that there is a Saint for just about any occupation, ailment or condition. In our search for patron saints we came across St. George, St. Isadore the farmer, St. Anne, St. Hippolitus, St. Joseph, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Francis of Assisi and so many more. Do you have a skin rash or lost article? Then ask St. Anthony to intercede on your behalf. I wish I had more knowledge of the Saints and their virtues. I do try to read their stories, but the reading wish list is so long that I'm sure I'll never even make a dent. Emily and Nick are studying many of the Saints through their Reading Comprehension studies. They read silently and then narrate to me all they learned, in this way we are learning together and typically I have many questions for them and I think they like taking on the teacher role sometimes.

I think many people have a misconception as to how the Saints are "used" in the Catholic Faith. For one we do not pray to the Saints, but we ask for them to intercede on our behalf. They are obviously more holy and closer to God than I am and Catholics believe they have a special place in heaven and are a direct link between us and God. So if you have misplaced an item, it would be appropriate to ask St. Anthony to present a special prayer to God on your behalf that you might find that item. That is called an intercessory prayer. I love introducing our kids to this type of prayer because it gives them something tangible to hang onto. I believe it helps them feel related to God in a much closer way. All those who have died before us are also the saints in heaven and can be called on to intercede on our behalf.

All Souls Day is serious and fun all at the same time. It's a day to pray for the souls of all the departed that may be in purgatory that their soul might be cleansed so they have eternal life in heaven. We used this day to put into action the Corporal Work of Mercy - Bury the Dead. We headed out to the cemetery to clean up around a few family grave sites.

We also celebrated it with a little Latin American flair by making these very cool Day of the Dead skulls.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Weekend Rambling

It's not really the weekend anymore, but I have lots to ramble on about from the weekend. First off cranberry harvest is done. I wasn't able to get in all my virtual cranberry harvest tour posts due to the weather. We had so many rainy, windy, freezing cold days that it was hard to get out and take pictures. The pics I did take turned out dark and blurry from the rain, drizzle and haze. But the harvest was a good one none the less.

We carved pumpkins.

We roasted pumpkin seeds. The kids love these. I don't wash off the pumpkin; that's what gives them the flavor. We just melt about 2 Tbsp. butter on the cookie sheet and then put a single layer of seeds on the pan, salt them and roast them for 12-13 minutes at 350 F. YUM!!!

And of course did a little Trick-or-Treating on Halloween. This year we had a soldier, cowboy, nurse and Nancy Drew. Little J wore his hunting clothes and slept in his carseat the entire time.

I spent quite a bit of time sewing in 15 minute increments. I'm making a little gift for a friend's birthday this Friday. Emily and I also made taggy blankies, one for our new nephew. He weighed in at 1o lbs. 9 oz. I don't even know if the receiving blanket will wrap around him. The other Emily made for Little J.
We had a very cold weekend, especially Saturday. I spent about 1 1/2 hours outside cleaning up the yard, feeding the birds, basically general cleaning up before the snow flies.