Saturday, July 23, 2011 I am thinking and writing and thinking and writing...and watching The Golden Girls...I love the Golden Girls!

It has been a very busy week around here and I have a lot to chat about! :) Aren't you excited!

The boys have been enjoying VBS again this week. Making memories...they love it!

Bug got to go to two this last week. In the mornings h
e went to the
Bible Church for Pandamania - he had so much fun and made some new friends. He loved the music - we got him a CD ~ so it will be Pandamania for years to come! LOL

In the evenings the boys went to FBC in Midlothian for Summer Blast. Here's a pic of the kids singing their little hearts out. They had so much fun! I have to
say that the music was awesome! Bug asked me for a CD of the music so he could play it in the car! :) Red kept asking me if it was time to go to that "fun VBS". LOL - I love it!

I have so many good memories of VBS as a kid...I am so glad my boys get to make good memories as well...summer time fun!

I have also been doing some canning this week as well. I got a great deal on peaches with an ad match last week and have really wanted to try my hand at making peach pie filling. So I took the plunge late one evening and started the peach peeling, pitting, slicing process. It was a bit of work, but I really liked seeing the finished jars on my counter! Here is my pre
tty peaches simmering in their yummy smelling broth! Oh how wonderful my kitchen did smell!

I am so thankful for the big stockpot that we found in the shed at Uncle Doug's
. It's the right size for quart jars! Yeah! It doesn't have a lid so I had to come up with my own cover...pretty "genius" huh? LOL

Here I am filling my jars...with my BRAND NEW FUNNEL! Woo-Hoo! Love it! I have to say that this was the best $1.23 that I've spent in a long time! LOL - it is soooo much easier to fill jars with a funnel! Love it!

Here is my finished pretty! I can't wait for it to get a little cooler so I can make some peach pie...or perhaps some peach tarts...hmmm...what else can I come up with???

Have I mentioned Bug's pumpkin? He planted an entire pumpkin of seeds...(from the Halloween pumpkins that sat on the back porch for months). He was quite the caretaker and diligently watered them and pulled the weeds. He was so proud when his pumpkins began to sprout and when this little one started out, he was soooooo excited! Unfortunately the heat just killed out the garden way before it's time and the pumpkins just didn't survive either. We decided to go ahead and pick his one surviving pumpkin before it literally dried up on the vine.

I figured it was the perfect pie pumpkin size anyway. Although it is WAY to hot these days for pumpkin we decided to put it up, parboil it and freeze it until the weather cools. Of course I had to dry the seeds for pumpkin planting next year. LOL

Another good ad match deal - pears. Red loves pears and I wanted to try out canning some! So here 'tis! I peeled, cored and cut them in to small cubes. Then I packed them with a light syrup and wa-lah beautiful pretty jars of fresh canned pears! I can't wait to try these out!

Hubby and I woke up today and thought...hmmm...we need to get those jalapenos and salsa canned.

I picked up jalapenos with an ad match ~ 3lbs for $1. So Hubby got busy slicing jalapenos while I worked on getting the kitchen cleaned up and ready for canning!

We decided to make some Cowboy Candy with the jalapenos!

Here is two of the finished jars. We ended up with four quarts in all. Of course that was after we "maced" ourselves with one quart that broke in the water bath. What a surprise ~ I took off the pot lid and !whew! Got an eye-full of pepper with that one! LOL - Hubby's comment. Just what I wanted to do on my day off...make home made "mace". LOL

Now onto the salsa. I picked up tomatoes 3 lbs for $1 too - woo-hoo! I was really excited about this deal because Hubby and I have been wanting to make some salsa.

Got the tomatoes in hot water for an easy peel!

Got the cold water all ready to dunk the hot maters! There are the jalapenos - no we didn't put all of those in. LOL

Here is hubby chopping the cilantro and the onions for the salsa.

He was also in charge of peeling the tomatoes and chopping them up a bit.

Bug decided to come in and help with this part...he got some lessons on knife handling and chopping without taking off a finger. ;)

Ready for the blender...

Ready for the jars!

And here is our finished jars! It was quite tasty! We are excited to see how the flavor developed after it sits for the next few weeks. So pretty!

Okay so besides canning and VBS I have been busy working on our school stuff for the upcoming year. I had seen a link on facebook for a "free" planner and I was really excited when I started looking at it. Over the past several years I haven't had much luck in finding a planner that I really liked. I usually just adapt to something I find and end up doing a lot of changing or just abandon it somewhere during the year. I am pretty old school in my planning ~ I like the whole pencil and paper kind of planner. I have tried the online stuff and it just didn't work for me. But I was able to download the pages and calendars from the New Beginning's website ( and put together something that I think it is going to work. I am excited about it anyway. LOL

I have been slowly working on my curriculum and plans over the last month or so and had already come up with a little something on my own. A three ring binder with the subjects divided ~ this allows me to put any worksheets in the binder as well as my own lesson plans for that particular subject. Here you can see the binder with some of the various tabs.

Here is an example of my "pencil and paper" lesson planning strategy. This particular set if for Red's science next year. I went through and planned out my lessons and my ideas for each lesson.

I also have a section for supplies.

Here you can see the actual lesson plan pages. I printed these from the web site. I like this layout because it allows me to put the boys names on the side and then their assignments in the columns. I think this will be a lot easier for me to read, than what I have using int he past. As you can see I haven't started this part yet...I just printed these today. I only printed three weeks so far...figured that would give me a good base to see if I like it or not.

I also printed the monthly calendars for the rest of 2011 and 2012 from the website. They have their own section as well.

I have a year at a glance calendar, attendance chart, cute cover page, long term planning and curriculum resources pages to include in my binder as well, but they aren't in there yet.

Hubby and I chatted this afternoon about some of the upcoming plans and things we need to do/want to do, etc. and decided to make a few changes in our "plans". LOL ~ what's new right?

Hubby and I are excited about the upcoming THSC conference. We are planning to attend a whole host of workshops. I think my favorite on the list is Teaching boys and other kids who'd rather build forts all day! What a hoot! I love it! I think it will be good for us to go. We've never attended a conference before and are quite excited about the possibilities. I am excited to attend the book fair as well. I can't wait to see all the great stuff the vendors have to offer.

We have also decided to take a month off of school. The boys are finally getting their "summer". LOL - well not completely, but I think they will love it. We are going to continue our reading program. Bug is doing so well...he is such a great reader and has been reading up a storm for the summer reading program at the library. I do hope the day of the reading club carnival is not 1000 degrees (like it's been lately) b/c we will probably have no less than 1 million tickets to get rid of. LOL ~ okay that's a bit of a stretch, but he has been reading a LOT!!! So we will continue to read during the next month, but the plan is to put aside the rest of the work and take a break for a few weeks.

I have started myself a goal list ~ things that I want to accomplish in the next month (while we are on "summer break"), not necessarily in this order.

1) Stain & hang the back screen door
2) Complete and place at least two crosses @ MP
3) Finish printing and organizing school planner
4) Finish power of a praying parent bible study
5) Finish listing books on PBS & put on shelf
6) Get shelves put up in the school room
7) Redo chore chart
8) Set up continuing reading program for school year
9) Set up work box system
10) Clean up remaining canning jars
11) Finish planning GA's curriculum
12) Plan Campcraft class for ECCHO

Oh my goodness! I had better get busy!!! LOL

I know that I will probably find more things that I want to add to my list, but it's a start. ;)

Well I had better sign off for's getting late. ;) Until next time ~ love on your babies and be thankful for the little things!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ugh...where do I start...that's how I feel today. I don't know what is wrong with me, for some reason I have just been off the past few days. I need a dislike button for my mood...

We've had a busy summer so far...having fun with friends at VBS, visiting family, schooling, sweating (which seems to take up the biggest part of each day...) and just playing with friends and having fun with Daddy. I sometimes think that we will slow down at some point, but honestly - who I am kidding - it's just our dynamics. It's what we do. LOL

I am sitting here in the school room frustrated with my printer because it won't work. I ran out of ink refill 2 weeks ago (apparently I was not paying attention when I pulled out the last bottle.) :( So I ordered finnnnnallllly came in - I refill the cartridge, clean it and put it in and the ink light just keeps blinking. UGH! I have tried all sorts of tricks and stuff (I found on the net) and can't get it to stop blinking or print. Pooh! I am thinking the cartridge must be worn out and I have to buy a new one - which stinks! But I did - this morning via amazon, so now I will wait another week for it to come in. I am not a good waiter. Frustrating, Frustrating, Frustrating! I want to print out my home school planner and get it set up and I have to wait - again! Not good! Not to mention all the good coupons I am missing out on! Double not good! Okay now that I got that out I promise to move on!

I am still canning these days! :) I picked up more vinegar on my last shopping trip so I finished up my bread and butter pickles. Three more quarts. They look so pretty!

Here is our basset hound Scamper! These pics are a little out of order, sorry - more about them being new in a few...

Bug gave him a bath and he was not happy about that. LOL

He ran straight to the back of the yard for a roll in the dirt. Crazy nut! It was quite comical to watch. Apparently he was not very excited that his hound dog stink got washed away. Funny!

Okay here's the dog update! :) My brother and Auntie gave us their bassets - Sadie and Scamp. We were very excited to welcome them to our home. They are precious and we just love them already! Even Lady Bug seemed excited to have them here. Her and Sadie had a few issues at first. I think it was just two gals trying to find their place in the mix. I think Lady is enjoying the company. Her and Scamp get to playing sometimes and chasing each other around the yard. It's quite comical to watch.

Here is Scamp...he is a mess...quite the nut really. He is so easy going and just one of those doo-de-doo kinda dogs. He is funny to watch. The kids love to play with him and have him chase them around. He's a bit hard headed, but what hound-dog isn't?

Here is our Sadie girl - she is just precious. Loves her Momma already. She is a good girl and listens well. She likes belly rubs and chasing rocks that Bug hits with his baseball bat. It's funny. She gets excited when she sees the cows in the back pasture.

Remember those beautiful Sunflowers I talked about on fb sometime back - well here they are - all dried and getting ready to be harvested. :(

Daddy rode down to the land in West last weekend. The State has begun work on the highway - a project to widen the highway - and a new restaurant has moved in to the Red building next to our land. He met the owners while he was down there. Sounds like a place to check out. He said they open August 1st. Friday nights all you can eat catfish...yum!

Well looking back through I can see I need to download pics from my more thing to do today. LOL

I have been working some this afternoon on my curriculum plans and such for next year. Friday afternoon I was working on History and literally decided to "chuck" the whole curriculum and start over. LOL - I just didn't feel like the one I had originally picked was going not to work for us. So I started researching and doing some reading and so forth and came up with another plan for History. Which I feel good about. This is a little out of the norm for me, I tend to pick one thing and stick with it. I am a big fan of stability. :) I am checking into work boxes - has anyone ever used those? I like the set-up and the idea, I am just a little lost in how to begin. I don't have room for a stacker or box set up so I thought out using either folders or coming up with something else... I am not sure yet - still working on this idea. I like the idea of them moving from one "box" to another with minimal disruption to the other lessons going on in the room. We have limited space and sometimes this can be an issue. (Not to mention the constant - I am going for a snack thing - :/!)

Well I had better get a myself in gear - it's already 3 o'clock! I want to make some banana bread and get my peppers pickled...not mention the laundry that needs to be hung, folded, dishes to do and a ton of other household chores awaiting my attention.

The boys just headed outside...I am hoping these clouds will drop some rain...

Until next time....remember your blessings...


Saturday, July 09, 2011

More updates from this past week! It sure was a busy one that's for sure, but it was a lot of fun!

A couple of years ago we ended up in Comanche with B's family for the 4th of July weekend. Well we were delighted and hooked on the exceptional display and loved spending the time with family.

We didn't make it down there last year, but decided this year we would go - it worked out well! The guys were able to get the shed taken down at Uncle Doug's house and we were able to spend time with Mimi Net and cousins as well. Plus we got to see the great fireworks show! Due to the drought in Texas this year most of the shows around Texas were canceled. The one is Comanche was PACKED, but we got a good seat and enjoyed a great display!

The fireworks were great. I wished I had my long lens with me. It was awesome to watch the boys sitting with their cousins in awe at the fireworks. We enjoyed watching the kids play a game of tag before the sky got dark enough for the fireworks. Brings back childhood memories for me. I love hanging out with family.

Here is my latest canning fiasco! LOL - Bread and Butter Pickles. I snagged cukes on sale 8 for $1 - can't beat that. And we got a precious few from our own garden. Darn heat is just killing everything.

Here's my cukes all cut up and soaking in the salt for two hours.

Here's my pickles cooking in the brine for 5 minutes. I figured out when I went to make the brine that I was almost out of vinegar. Grr...wish I had noticed that earlier as I was at Wal-Mart to get lids and rings. Pooh - oh well, more pickle making another day.

Since I ran out of vinegar I only made one batch and ended up with a quart and a pint. I am quite proud of my first batch of b&b pickles. I do hope they are good!

Here is my first batch of freezer jam. I made red plum freezer jam. Boy is it yummy. It turned out a little more tart than what I get at the store, but I have to admit I like it that way. It was so yummy. We at it on toast the next morning and in PB&J sandwiches! I ended up with six 1/2 pints in all.

While we were down in Comanche I did quite a bit of cemetery hot as it was I did enjoy myself. While out visiting Mimi Net I was looking online and found a small rural cemetery about four miles down from her house. Imagine that!!! Mercer's Gap is a precious little rural area with a tiny Baptist Church and a cemetery. There was a geocache there so Daddy, Red and I took off that afternoon to go check it out. I waymarked several woodsmen of the world markers and a homemade headstone as well as the cemetery itself. Daddy snagged the cache while I was exploring the cemetery.

This precious little outdoor church stable structure sits right next to the little white church house. It was so cool to see. It doesn't look like it gets much use - but I am sure the Summer temps have something to do with that.

I surveyed the Sardis Cemetery and uploaded quite a few pics for find-a-grave. It is another rural cemetery that has quite a bit of history in it. It's still in use today and very well kept. But watch out for the stickers - they will eat you up! There is a cache here as well so i grabbed it while I roamed around!

This particular grave caught my attention...lots of love here...

While at the hotel we spent quite a bit of time in the swimming pool. Bug's favorite place. Cousin Davin came over to swim and the boys had a ball playing in the water. Red not so much, but he did get on the steps (on his own accord!) and play around in the water a bit.

Red decided to become the photographer for a bit and took a few pics while we were "lounging" by the pool . I thought he did a pretty good job on this one!

And here is mom, reading her book! ;)

I have to fit this one in! LOL

Daddy decided that with the grass so dry that he needed to cut the yard before we left out for the weekend. Less chance of catching on fire I guess. Well since it was soooo dry and just walking across the ground causes a Texas dust storm he decided goggles were necessary eye protection, with his sombrero and googles in place he was ready to tackle the yard. LOL

And a dust storm it did create! I didn't dare head out there with my camera - but it was quite a sight!

Over the July 4th weekend we traveled to Comanche to visit with B's family and tear down the old shed in Uncle Doug's back yard. He wants to clear out the yard so he can have a bigger space and put up a fence. So off we went for some demolition, family time and fireworks! It was hot, hot, hot, but we had fun and the boys got the shed down - which was their goal. This post covers the demolition of the shed. Boys and their love of tearing things up! Let me tell you - it was hot, tiring, sweaty, dangerous, messy, dusty and they LOVED it! LOL

The demolition has begun! Brian and Uncle Phillip up there tearing it up!

This building made of solid cedar was built back in 1907. The boys recalled painting it several times in the years they lived in this house. They also predicted that their Daddy was rolling over in his grave that they were tearing down his shed. I predict they are probably right.

This is proving to be one sturdy building...Papa J. would be very proud!

Well there is more daylight inside than this building has seen a the last century!

The roof is coming apart!

Tearing it up!

They succeed in pulling off one board with Mark's truck. LOL - not the results they were thinking they'd get...but boy destruction drama all the same. LOL

Uncle Phillip started working on the corner - trying to pry the roof rafters from the corner post to weaken the side of the shed.

The boys hooked up to the side wall thinking they would just simply pull it down. LOL - it wasn't quite that easy.

The tug of war with the side wall brought down the should have seen their faces! LOL

You should have seen their faces....priceless!

They couldn't resist one more tug - Mark got them started by hooking up the rope to the side wall.

It's DOWN!!!

Well after another tug of war with the wall, they got it down at last. It was funny how the small tree outside the wall gave it so much leverage to stay up.

Well here are the guys surveying their handiwork. Funny how men love to tear things up and then set back and look at what they tore up! LOL

At the end of a hard days work you can find Uncle Doug taking a rest in his favorite spot! hehehe! Say hello to your new facebook profile pic! LOL

Well here is the final product of all that hard work. The guys got it all torn down. There is a little tree trimming to do and a some junk to clean-up, but overall the back yard is much much bigger! :) I can't wait to see what plans Uncle Doug has in mind for his new space!