Wednesday, September 30, 2009

First Field Trip of the Year

Last week, we had the first field trip of the school year with our homeschool group. We didn't have a big turn-out, but the few that went had a really good time. I think everyone tryinging to get into the swing of the school routine, plus the fact that we had to travel a little to get to this field trip, accounted for the fewer in number.

We toured the world's largest freshwater storm run off pumping plant, W.G. Huxtable Pumping Plant. Little did I know that we had anything like that anywhere near us! I like field trips that are a little off the beaten-path, and this one was. It seems like those turn out the best. Our tour guide was a mechanic at the plant (very down to earth), and he was fun. His name was Mr. Burt. You could tell he really loved what he did and that always makes for a great field trip. When you find someone that is passionate about what they do, the enthusiasm shows!

The girls especially liked our guide, Mr. Burt. When he handed out the pamphlets, he announced that the words were for the girls, and the pictures were for the boys! So of course, he made instant friends with the girls, which made up the majority of the children. The boys were good natured about it, though. We have a great group of kids.

We had a total of 9 children that attended. Here's a picture of the group. I wasn't the only one that was a little paranoid about being up so high above the dam was kind of creepy....I guess especially if you don't do well with heights (like me).

And a little fact that we learned about the plant that is amazing.....did you know they can pump 6 million gallons per minute? Wow! I was impressed! This pumping plant prevents backwater flooding from the Mississippi River.

After the tour, we pulled out the quilts and lawn chairs and enjoyed our lunch time together. We had a few pesky mosquitoes, which I'm sure was because we were so close to the water.

A funny thing happened on the way in, which I wish I had a picture of to show you. I was riding with my friend, Lori. We had our girls, Molly Grace and Joy, plus another little girl, Kasey.

These girls were very full of life, to say the least. On the way in, there was a group of cows near a pond as we came down the gravel road. The girls started yelling at the cows out the window and the cows followed us! They started running toward the vehicle and actually crossed the road in front of all the other cars that were behind us! It was so funny to see those cows running along after us. Of course, all of the rest of our caravan had to wait for them to all get across the road. We warned the girls ahead of time to PLEASE NOT call the cows when it was time for lunch! lol!

It was a really fun and interesting field trip! Then again, who doesn't like a field trip, right?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Faithful Fridays - "Half Empty or Half Full" & Back to School Recipe Pool

How can it possibly be Friday again? This week flew by!

First of all on this post, I'd like to share a little something for Joy's Faithful Fridays. You've heard the expression, "half empty or half full", I'm sure. That's kind of my Faithful Friday post in a nutshell.

I've decided there's a couple of ways I can look at an experience this week. This past Tuesday, Joy & I left the house earlier than usual headed for our weekly homeschool meeting, or "gym" as we call it. Being proud of ourselves for scheduling our time so well this day, we drove into town and stopped in Walmart for a quick errand; then came out and proceeded to the gas station. Along the way, I thought it felt a little rough driving down the road, but we reasoned that that service road was always bumpy. Since it wasn't far from Walmart to the station, we never thought that much more about it. As I was refueling, a man walked up and told us we had a flat tire. We ended up back at Walmart at the automotive department for them to check out the tire for us. Friends came to our rescue and gave us a ride to gym. And in the end, the sidewall on the tire was blown out. So, a new tire was in order. Tires for that car aren't cheap, so needless to say that was something unexpected financially thrown into our week. Don't you know that happens when you know you're going to have a "little extra" to use toward something else or pay off this or that?

But....we've learned along the way that you can look at these situations in two different ways.....kind of like the half empty, half full, scenario. It can be "why did this happen this week of all times", or it can be "well at least we had the extra money to take care of it". Besides that, I really am thankful that it didn't blow out completely as we were driving it, and that we were able to get the tire we needed. So we decided to choose the half full option. :)

Next of all, I wanted to share a recipe for Colleen's Back to School Recipe Pool (Week 5). This week's theme is apple recipes. I love apple recipes!  I knew what I'd like to share, if I had a chance to make it.  I did make it tonight and the house smells so yummy!  I always think of this recipe when fall arrives. It's very easy!  I like easy!  :)

Apple Crisp

6 large tart cooking apples
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. butter

Place peeled and cubed apples in a greased (11 x 7 x 2) baking dish.  Pour orange juice over apples.  Combine 1/2 cup of the sugar and the cinnamon.  Sprinkle evenly over apples.  Combine flour, remaining sugar and salt.  Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.  Spoon over apples.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is brown.

Serve warm or cold with ice cream or milk.  (We love it warm with a scoop of ice cream).  Enjoy! 


Thursday, September 24, 2009

.....The Rest of the Story

I do love the expressions captured in this picture....a moment forever frozen in time.

Those of you that guessed from seeing this picture on yesterday's post that the little girl was Joy were absolutely right. (However, those that thought it could be me as a little girl actually made a pretty good guess also as our childhood pictures look alot alike.) But there really was more to this story and that's why I was wondering if anyone could guess what was going on. (More on that later on this post).....first a little background on it.

This photo was taken over six years ago, in June of 2003. Joy was the flower girl in my cousin's wedding (Lindsey). Lindsey had a very unusual, but beautiful, wedding as it took place at 7:00 a.m. (Yes, that's 7:00 in the morning, people!). We had to have Joy there around 5:30 that morning! I think we got up at 4:00 that morning because she slept in curlers and I did her hair for the wedding that morning. Lindsey and J.R. were the lucky winners of an all expense paid wedding by a local news channel. It was a beautiful outdoor wedding. It was broadcast on TV that morning.

My nephew, Kemper, was the ring bearer. Kemper is one year older than Joy and they have always had a close relationship too as cousins. Joy was four and Kemper five. They looked so cute together and were really excited to be in Lindsey's wedding (and to be on TV). Here are a few pictures of the two of them.

During the wedding....walking down the aisle.

Here's Joy with the pretty bride, Lindsey.

Now on with the story......

Actually this picture was taken at the reception, after the wedding. That is my cousin, Nathan, holding Joy. He is the bride's brother.

Joy has always been a "people" person and rarely meets a stranger. She has always in particular, liked Nathan, and Nathan has always taken time to interact with her at family gatherings. And who wouldn't like Nathan? He is a fun sweet know the kind that's the life of the party! She always looked forward to seeing him. Well, on this particular day, she chose to be different! Nathan came up to her several times at the reception asking her to dance with him. She suddenly got this very shy I-don't-want-to-dance attitude with him and wouldn't budge. But Nathan was a very wise guy. Joy really wanted a piece of wedding cake (her favorite kind) and they hadn't gotten around to cutting the cake yet. Nathan waited for his moment, right after the cake had been cut, and then came over and asked Joy for a dance. Well, of course she turned him down flat again (I think the girl was just tired from being up so early), but then he used his wild card and offered to "dance her over to the cake". What magic that worked! In the picture, he was slowly working his way toward the cake, and I have no idea what he was saying to her, but she looks so solemn and I just love the expressions on both of their faces!

And here we go....mission accomplished....Joy got her cake and Nathan got his dance!

And about two years ago, at Nathan's very own wedding, he had no trouble at all getting this little girl (then 8) to dance with him! As a matter of fact, I think he had three little girls dancing with him at one time! (I told you he was the life of the party)! I have a picture of that somewhere, but couldn't find it!

Gosh, how is it that my little girl has grown up so much in these past six years?

And now you know..............the rest of the story. :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

My (Pretend) House

Okay, all of you grown up "little girls" out there, do you remember your pretend know, the one from your childhood? I bet you have a very vivid recollection of it if you let your mind wander back! Actually, I had several, depending on where I was playing, but my very favorite (and most elaborate) one was at my Grandmother and Grandaddy's house at East Lake. They lived right on the lake and ran a bait shop from their home. The house was a modest one, but they had a huge porch (or so it looms in my memory anyway) and THAT PORCH was my pretend house!

It really was the perfect house....actually I felt like it was a mansion! It had built in flower boxes with pretty flowers (caladiums, petunias, and ferns) all around, so it was also very decorative (I guess I liked decorating even then).

In this picture of Mama and me, you can see a little of the porch and just one of the many flower boxes in the background.

My house also had beautiful vintage furniture, complete with gliders and swings! I had three different doors in which you could enter my house! Well...really they were just steps in three different places leading up to the porch. The "front door" was accessible by going down a flight of stairs that (in reality) led down the embankment to the dock and lake.

These pictures show the view from my "front door" looking down toward the embankment at the lake and dock. (That's my grandaddy standing there and I can't make out exactly who is in the boat for sure).

I had a really fancy doorbell too (you know the kind that played an entire tune when my pretend guests came to call), and I would "glide" down the stairs to answer my door (you know like Scarlett O'Hara coming down her staircase), and beckon my guests to "please do come in". Then of course, my guests would come upstairs to the "next level" of my mansion and we would sit down in the beautiful parlor and chat and have tea, among the beautiful flowers.

That's my grandmother sitting there (in one of the spots that one of my guests might have sat).

I had quite an imagination, come to think of it! But then again, I guess, it was out of necessity. When we spent weekends there (which was fairly often), it was how I passed the time since there were rarely other children around for playmates. It was mostly retirees that lived on the lake. But I did love to see all the different people that would drive up and honk (that was the signal for Grandaddy to come out) and buy bait. I tagged along and listened (and probably talked more than I should too). I enjoyed being around all those people.

There was my brother, who is four years younger than me. Although he was a pretty good sport and played with me quite a bit, this pretend house pretty much existed in my imagination. It was exclusively mine! I don't think he was that interested in my house. However, my brother and I did combine our imaginations to create some fun play times. One of my favorites was playing "gas station". I would "drive" my grandparents' old green Ford Galaxy 500 (translation: sit in the car at the wheel), and pull up to the "station" where Richie was the service station attendant. Yes, I am old enough to remember when you could pull up to the full service pump and ask the attendant to "fill her up". And so Richie would oblige and also clean my windshield, and check by tires and oil too. Now, the entire time, he was doing this, I'd be sitting in that driver's seat like some glamour queen, very sophisticated-like, puffing on my "cigarette" (Gasp!). I know...I know...that's bad........but I did. Really they were crayons (they made perfect cigarettes) that fit neatly in my little compact holder (just like my Aunt Jo carried). I thought she looked SO glamorous when she smoked. Funny how kids see things, isnt' it? (And by the way, I never grew up to REALLY smoke). Anyway, then I'd pay the attendant and "drive away". Then I guess, we'd just play the whole scenario all over, but maybe with little varying twists. Hmmm...Richie never asked to "drive". I wonder why! It's kind of ironic though, his very first job when he turned sixteen was at a service station as none other than an attendant, and he was really good at it! (Guess you can thank me a little bit for that Richie)....right?

I also played "army" and "fort" with Richie and one of the grandsons of the folks down the street, when he came to visit his grandparents, and Richie played barbies with me (shh....don't least he WAS Ken)!

I sometimes wonder how many kids are missing out these days (because of video games and computers and such), on the fun of letting their imaginations take them on amusing childhood adventures that they will one day treasure! I'm thankful for my very own childhood ventures and my (pretend) house that I can go back and revisit (in my mind) whenever I wish..........How about you?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

(Late Again) Faithful Fridays - "Explaining God...From a Child's Perspective"

I know it's Saturday, but I still wanted to do a Faithful Friday's post, so please forgive the fact that it's a day late! If you'd like to share something for Faithful Fridays, it doesn't matter that it's late. We'd love to read it. Grab the Faithful Fridays button to use, then go over to Joy's blog (Doodlebug) and let her know in a comment, so we can stop by and see what God is doing in your life.....or even just an inspirational, uplifting post would be great too!

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for the prayers for our friend, Richard. He had his prostate cancer surgery Thursday. Everything went perfectly well. He had the new "Da Vinci" surgery procedure done. I don't know if you're familiar with that or not, but it's done by a robot. The Dr. is controlling the robot from another place (near the table). It takes awhile, but the recovery time is supposed to be so much less, done this way. He was in surgery over ten hours! But all is well, and Richard is expected to get out of the hospital today. He had more pain from his arthritis (from being strapped in one position for surgery so long), than from the surgery. We give God the glory for bringing him through this surgery so well, and I thank you all that have prayed for him. I know Richard and Betty would want you to know that too!

Next, I would love to share something I received by email this week that really gave me a smile and blessed me! Sometimes, as adults, we can talk alot and just not say "it" as well as a child. This is an essay written by a third grader in California, explaining God. I hope you're blessed by it!


One of God's main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn't make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn't have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

God's second most important job is listening to prayers... An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn't have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.

God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy.. So you shouldn't go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad's head asking for something they said you couldn't have.

Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista . At least there aren't any who come to our church.

Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.

His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn't have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.

You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.

You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there's anybody you want to make happy, it's God!

Don't skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn't come out at the beach until noon anyway.

If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can't go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He's around you when you're scared, in the dark or when you can't swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids. shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases

And...that's why I believe in God.

Have a great weekend! :)


Thursday, September 17, 2009

From the Workshop.....

While I was working on fall decorating inside our house this past Sunday afternoon, Jason was working out in the workshop! I do get excited when I know he's working out there because he comes out with such goodies and I love the sounds coming from there and the smell of freshly cut wood! That usually means something "new" for my home! However, this time, it wasn't for me, but that's okay! I get excited for other folks too.....just thinking as we packed the order, that it will have a special place in someone else's home is very gratifying!

The customer (who has already seen pictures of them, by the way, before they were shipped to her), is painting them herself to match colors she already has in the room, so they were left unfinished for her special touch.

They are actually reversible. Turned one way, the hinges are visible, if you like that look...(like this one below).

Turned the other way, the hinges are hidden, if you prefer that look.

Of course, everything Jason whips out for somebody else, I want one of also (or two or three or four)! :) After seeing these sitting in my living room window, I decided they looked great there and I bet they would look just as good in those bay windows in the dining room! Yes, poor honey-do-workshop-list just keeps growing and growing! My Carpenter better get busy.....Christmas is quickly approaching, right?

Anyway, I just had to show you his latest workshop project. I am going to put a picture on my sidebar after this post, so if you would like to have custom window sill shutters for your home too, just contact us with your window measurements and we can quote you a price, He really enjoyed making these!

And by the way, we still have a couple of sets of the "regular" shutters for sale at a special price. The prices shown include shipping to the lower 48 continental states. For shipping to other places, please email me for shipping costs to your area. If you're interested in any of these, just drop me an email. We'd love to ship these out to your home! (Custom sized shutters can be made like these too...just let us know your size and we can quote you a price on those).

This set is unfinished, ready for your special touch. The size of this set is 7" wide x 35 1/2" long.
$39 (includes shipping).

Here are a couple of smaller sets......each being 7" wide x 24" long. They look shinier than they really are in person....guess it was the flash. They do have a coat of a satin polyurethane, but still very prim looking, not much shine at all.

This one is black distressed with barn red. $36 (includes shipping)

And a barn red set distressed with black.... $36 (includes shipping)

They are really so versatile, for indoor use! I have a set flanking the opening of my fireplace. It was just the splash of color I needed there for all seasons!

And that, my friends, is what My Carpenter has been up to......out in the workshop!


As I was finishing up this post today, our mail lady honked. That sound means one thing.....a package too big to fit into our mailbox! And sure was...a belated birthday gift. It was from
Donna of Never-So-Simple. In the package was a very sweet birthday card, a package of yummy smelling crispy cinnamon cookie tarts and an autumn wreath Yankee Candle!

Now this just shows what kind of person Donna really is....with all she and her family have experienced lately and waiting to be back in her own home, and she sends me this! Donna, thank you so much! You're a sweetheart! You really had no idea how much I love the scent of cinnamon! Really! My house smells wonderful right now from your box of goodies! I hope you're blessed ten times over! You are so kind hearted!


Thanks so much for stopping by! I really do enjoy and appreciate every comment!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hints of Autumn

Sunday afternoon, it was an overcast day with rain showers occasionally throughout the day and even a little bit cooler. It had the look of fall, just looking out the window, (if you know what I mean). It gave me that feeling of wanting to be inside all snug and cozy. Therefore, it was the perfect day for putting out the few hints of autumn decor that I have. I really don't have that much in the way of fall decor, but just having simple touches of fall here and there makes me happy.

I think a stop into Hobby Lobby for a few more berry and leaf picks and twigs is in order because it really is a simple, inexpensive way to add touches of fall and I keep finding places that could use just that touch. But for now, here's a little tour of the hints of fall decor around our home.

In the living room:

I usually begin with the fireplace and go from there.....

Just a little touch to the crock in the crates..

The piano just got a little vine of colorful flowers across the top and Mr. Scarecrow stands guard on the shelf above.

That's my beloved win from Colleen's giveaway last year on my makedo picnic basket table between the recliners. That little arrangement is so perky! I just love it...makes me smile thinking Colleen made it!

A little bit to the cedar chest coffee table....Dawn made me those sunflower ornies...I love those!

On the end table by the couch....I have a fall stitchery to put here but it's not tea stained yet, but I'll show that to you when it's done! For now, "Welcome" is always nice! :)

And just a little fall touch to the little blue wagon with another scarecrow...

In the dining room:

A little closer look....tucked in the basket is just a little scarecrow and some leaves.

I just added a few leaves to the berries in the crock.

The swan was just adorned with a few berries around the neck.

This little basket is siting on the hutch (I didn't get a full shot because Jason's stuff was in the way). I'll have to get a full shot when he's not home with his computer and work stuff sitting there!

And on the dining room table....a wooden bowl of harvest bounty:

In the kitchen:

To my stove, I only added some leaves to the bowl on top and the fall dish cloth to the handle of the oven.

A little closer look:

Just a tiny hint of fall with the berries on the prim bowl rack...

This is the pass-through above the sink from the kitchen to the dining room. I just added a little harvest to the bowl.

My beloved stepback cupboard received just a few touches as well..

On the side of it:

On top of it in the crock:

And inside, more berries in the bowl...

I'd like to do something a little different here, but for now, this was all I had. Who knows, it may change tomorrow! :)

Just a few I boring you with my berries yet?

And in the breakfast nook, on the kitchen table:

A few apples on the kitchen counter:

I haven't done any outside fall decorating yet, so that will have to be a different post. Again, I usually just do very little on the front porch and maybe a touch near the carport out back. I think a visit to our local nursery for some pumpkins and mums will be in order soon!

I've really enjoyed all the fall decorating and fall recipes! Don't you just love this time of year? It seems, here in the south anyway, that it sometimes jumps straight from summer into winter weather. So, I'm really hoping for a season of autumn favorite season!

Thanks for stopping by! If I haven't stopped by to "see" you lately, I hope to get there this week! Have a wonderful day!