What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Surprises around every corner!

This morning we saw our first Robin in our backyard! How exciting is that?!?! To celebrate, Corynn and I decided to walk to the store and buy a bag of birdseed for the little feller. What was meant to be a pleasant stroll turned into quite an adventure...which still has me reveling in its' glory.
I took my camera to take some pictures of the local dam-but the water was too muddy to make anything appealing but on our way back from the dam I spotted a large dog behind someone's house. Because Corynn is infatuated with dogs, I stopped and pointed it out. Then I saw something else move-then something else. I looked around and there were more than 30 Llama's and Alpaca's gathering around-poking there heads out to see the lady who thought a dog was more special than them!
The driveway led into two houses so I contemplated whether I would be "trespassing" or if I would just be going down a "lane" since it wasn't a particular person's driveway. I couldn't pass it up so I went ahead-keeping my distance just in case someone came out screaming at me. Two little boys came out and said, "Hello...." We exchanged social words then I asked if I could get up close to have a look at the animals. The one boy ran to get his mom while the other one led me to the animals-and told me all about them. The mother comes out and she is young-no more than 30. She's tall with a muck boots and a corduroy coat-and such a kind face. Her name is Debbie. She does foster care and has adopted 6 children with all different backgrounds ranging from 11 to 5 months. I meet three of the boys. What characters! We talk for over an hour and she ends up inviting me into their home! She tells me that they started a 4-H division in Candor-and that they homeschool! She tells me her dear friend has six children and homeschools too...they BOTH live in Candor! They have 30 animals between the Llama's and Alpaca's. That is not including the donkey, sheep, goats, chickens, roosters, guinea hens, and angora rabbits. The baby guinea hens and the rabbits live inside with them until it is warm enough for them to go outside. There whole property does not exceed 3 acres...not even two probably.
We went into the pens and Corynn touched all the animals-and even got licked a few times. At first she was frightened-just like she gets when she sees a dog or something-but by the end, while all sorts of llama's and sheep were sniffing her face, she was giggling. She was very brave-and I was SO happy. I have been so worried that she would grow up a sissy around animals because we can't have any in our apartment. But I realized today-I just need to give her these experiences and seek them out until they can be realized within our own lives.
As we left, Debbie gave me her phone number and email address and told me to come down anytime-even when they aren't home we can come a visit the animals. And so, on our way to the store and back home, I couldn't keep from smiling. It does my heart good to meet new people-friendly one's at that. I am so excited that there are living and breathing homeschoolers right here in my very own town. I have always loved Candor because it was our very first home. But maybe it will become our very own community too!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

For Pie lovers and skilled Bakers...the clumsy needn't read on. :-)

Here is the recipe for the blasted Creamy Peach Pie that so thoroughly spoiled my Resurrection Eve-it is VERY easy to convert into a "Floor Pie" just make sure the floor isn't completely clean (for added flavor!)

Pie Crust-just need one.
My favorite pie crust recipe uses only four ingredients.
*1 c. flour
*1/2 t. salt
*1/3 c. shortening (I use butter flavored)
*2 to 3 T. ice water

Combine flour and salt. Cut shortening into dry ingredients until mixture resembles cornmeal then add ice water one tablespoon at a time. Stir with fork after each addition. Form into ball-and you know the rest.

Pie "Innerds"
*Fresh peaches-peeled, pitted and sliced. (Recipe calls for four cups but I use a bit more to fill the crust to the top.
3/4 c. white sugar
*1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. nutmeg
Heavy Whipping Cream....recipe calls for 1 cup but I "eyueball" it and only pour it on top of the pie until I think there is enough. I think I probably use only 1/2 cup.

Peel and slice peaches. Combine sugar, flour, salt, and nutmeg. Add to the peaches and toss lightly. Turn out into pie shell. Pour whipping cream evenly over top. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven and back 35-45 minutes or until firm and golden brown on top.
If you use ALL the whipping cream-it is necessary to chill for several hours before serving. If you don't, you can chow down while it is still warm-the BEST way to eat pie in my book!

If you Dare....

A lady shared this website with me and I thought I would share it with "all" of you. If you are interested in cloth diapering but can't afford to buy the diapers-or can't bear to spend that much on one diaper-here is a website that gives you patterns to make your own. In fact, "Timedness" told me that she buys flannel blankets and sheets at rummage sales and uses it to make the diapers...making them even LESS expensive!

If you dare...

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Banishing Baking...

Easter is at my parents’ house this year. We are having long-time family friends from Indiana named the Bibby’s, and like-family friend Dave over in addition to the family. Mom asked me to prepare my not-quite famous but oh-so-yummy Creamy Peach Pie and bring them along for the party…she asked for two pies considering the amount of people coming. Since Elizabeth is diabetic, I wanted to make her a special dessert that she could have too. I decided upon fruit pastries called Jeweled Cups. So, today was my baking day and on the list was two pies and six smaller pie tarts. The pies required only peaches but the tarts included peaches, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and pineapple. I had bought all the ingredients a few days ago-buying the peaches still a bit hard to make sure they wouldn’t be TOO soft for the pies. I bought about 10. I also bought a bag of frozen peaches for filler in case I needed them. As I cut each fresh one open, however, the centers were a weird color blackish gray. Only two or three peaches were fully useable and the rest I cut to gross part off and used-but hardly got any real fruit that way. So-out comes the frozen ones. After thawing I mixed them all up and realized (big shocker!) that there was not nearly enough for two pies-hardly enough for ONE! So, still cheerful, I say, “Well Corynn! I wanted to go for a walk anyway-let’s walk down to the store!” Matt has the car. In the car is the stroller and my wallet. Thankfully, I have an umbrella stroller that someone was getting rid of and I found a five dollar bill lying around. So off we went…
Got to the store. One fresh peach with half of it being too soft and squishy to use. No frozen peaches. All they had was a can of peach pie filling (which I think is pretty yuck-o). I buy the very squishy lone peach and a can of filling. When I get home, I rinse the filling part of the can off of the peaches-leaving me only the peaches. I cut the half squishy lone peach. I was right. Only one half was usable. I mix them all up. Still the pies were not full enough to make a full fledged pie so I decide to just make large tarts out of them. I put them in the oven then proceed with the tartlets.
All is well is pie baking land. The large pies-turned-tarts look mouth-watering with a nice golden crust and bubbly fruity goodness inside. I put them both out in the mudroom on top of my cookie racks to cool. Because my hands were full with a pie-I didn’t separate the cookie racks.
I check on my tarts. The pastry had unfolded itself and was laying flat against the cookie sheet. I didn’t have any toothpicks to hold them up long enough to bake them that way so being the quick thinker that I am (yeah, right!) I decide to scoop them up and put them in a muffin tin. The sides would go up as I slid them into place and would bake that way-fixing my problem. Wrong. Instead, the pastry flaked off. I also didn’t have time to grease the darn things so what DIDN’T flake off-ripped off. I got my mangled tartlets out of the muffin tin finally only to realize that I needed a cookie rack to get these suckers to cool. Especially since many had sticky holes in the bottom.
Out I go to rescue a cookie rack (still under both pies…) one pie is cool enough to touch so I move it…the other is still very hot so I decide to lift up the cookie rack it is on and push the lower cookie rack out of the way-freeing it for my use. I do so-and the pie flips off the cookie rack and flips over onto the floor, bouncing off the side and crushing it right through the center.
All that work-for what? A creamy peach tart that only a few people will be able to try and six dry and non-appetizing mounds of fruit and pie shell. Oh-and a counter brimming with dishes, a kitchen floor to sweep, a mudroom floor to mop, and an apron to wash.
Baking used to be one of my favorite things. But frankly, after today, I have had my fill. At least until I get a hunkering for pie. 

Thursday, March 24, 2005

"Helping Hands"

This past week has been a remarkable eye-opener for me that my little girl is growing up. She is becoming much more independent and so MUCH more helpful! She tries to put her shoes on herself, she throws things away for me, she will give things to her Daddy when I ask, even though she might want them for herself. Posted are some pictures of her playing "Mama" with her baby doll. She has also been known to do some dusting, sweeping, and "mopping" (washing the floor with water...) A regular Cinderella we are raising here! :-) Whenever I have groceries she takes each item out of the bag and hands it to me saying "He"-translated, "Here!"
Just last night she "set" the table for me-ceramic plates, silverwear, napkins, and her sippy cup. Of course, they weren't put into place settings or anything, she just piled them up there-but I am so proud of this accomplishment! Not just that she was careful, but that she WANTED to help me.
It is very exciting to see children who can barely ( if at all) talk-obey and help by doing things. Before Matt was a "veteran" parent, he was flabbergasted when we went to visit Owen's at the birth of their 2nd...and Millie was asked to throw a daiper away-and then she did! Now he sees such remarkable happenings each and every day. I hope to never lose such a fascination for the large accomplishments of the little people. Because little doesn't last forever....

Here she decides to help me dust the bookcase...what a gem-I need all the help I can get! Posted by Hello

Corynn decides her baby is hungry and decides to feed her some bubbles...delicioso! Posted by Hello

After each mouthful, she says "Mm, Mm, MM!" Finally, she persuades herself she is missing out on such delicacy and decides to take a bite herself. I wish I could have captured the look after she ate the bubbles but alas my camera is not that quick. Posted by Hello

After feeding her baby, she walked over to the towel and cleaned her up. It is amazing to me that as little as she is, she is able to do tasks in a practical and sequential order. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Corynn's favorite spot...right in that little cave between my head and neck. Posted by Hello

Corynn would be perfectly content being her Daddy's shadow all day long. She thinks he's the Cat's Meow. She's a smart one, she is. He is just that. Posted by Hello

My little bookworms.... Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Gather Ye Rosebuds: Lessons from Yesteryear

A people of eloquence and chivalry. A picture of beauty and intricacy. A style I long for but can not afford! :-)
I love to watch movies set in Victorian times. I love the way the Victorians spoke. Not just their dialect (though that is wonderful too) but in the way that they speak. They speak with such refinement. Words were thought about and pondered, refined and shaped within the mind so as to bring forth from the lips the most powerful message with the most subtlety. Broad-sweeping statements were not carelessly thrown out, in fact, there was nothing careless about the Victorians.
Another such fascination is not what they spoke or how, but rather, what they did NOT speak, and why. Gestures and images were very important. Often, the most effective and powerful conveying of intentions and messages were seen through a means other than verbal communication. Such is true in our time as well, though in a different sense. While it is true that we have become a much more blatant and unimaginative culture, relying solely on the obvious and simply-put, we do also communicate through a means apart from words. While the Victorians relied on meanings of images and concepts, it is our inclination to rely on actions. We see one person say something and do quite another and we think “What a hypocrite!” That person’s actions were inconsistent to his words and so we grasped the TRUE meaning of his message in a round about way. The 19th century Victorians, communicated in a different way; one way is through the use of flowers to convey thoughts, emotions, and wishes. Flowers were given specific meanings and by simply giving a flower to a person you could reject them, degrade them, say goodbye, apologize to them, compliment them, encourage them, declare your love for them, and yes, the most romantic notion ever: propose to them.
If you are as interested in Flower meanings as I, here is a website that I found that has an incredible (though not exhaustive) list.
Here is what my favorite flowers say about me:

~Hydrangea: Heartlessness (This isn’t good….)
~Calla Lily: Regal Beauty
~Lilac: First Love
~Rose: different colors mean different things-
Pink: friendship
Red: passionate love
Red & White: unity
White: Purity
Yellow: Zealous
*Different characteristics of Roses mean different things as well:
~Rosebuds mean beauty and youth.
~Bouquet of Roses means Gratitude.
~Thornless Roses mean Love and First Sight.
~Tulips also have many different meanings for different colors.
There are so many more! All flowers are beautiful and uplift my soul!
I daresay, there is not a flower I wouldn’t mind getting-ill intentioned or not. Well, maybe MONKSHOOD…it declares “Beware! A deadly foe is near!”

I think my most chivalrous gentleman friend would do good to include in my “tussie-mussie” some Orange Blossoms (marriage and fruitfulness), Hydrangea (perseverance), ivy (fidelity), and a little Primrose throughout (I can’t live without you)!

"Sweet violets, whose fragrance is the first
in garden and in woodland wild awaking,
Before the birds their new songs have rehearsed,
before the green trees into leaf are breaking-

They speak my wish for yo-a fragrant year,
by hope and happy promise sweetly scented;
And ever,ever when the skies are drear,
the perfume of a heart with life contented.

No soft prayer, no stately measured phrase,
Sonorous words of grandeur here shall meet you:
A simple wish that grew in happy ways
is all I send-Sweet Violets to greet you."
Clifton Lingham

Friday, March 11, 2005

This is a puppet theatre I made for Corynn out of the changing table box from Elizabeth's baby shower. I used some scrap fabric and old let over paint to make it snazzy. The curtains can even be drawn at the end of the show! ;-) Now...I guess I just need to work on puppets for it. I have been far too busy preparing for the upcoming craft show I am setting up at; until that is done, I guess it will be a "Window of Opportunity" for Corynn's imagination. (Or is it not true imagination unless it is creating forts or mowing lawns? hehehe) Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

When I walked out of the room, I heard her count to four-with no prompting from me! I didn't know she knew how to say the numbers, let alone grasp the concept of counting! Posted by Hello

Splish, Splash I was takin' a bath! Posted by Hello

Language Development in Children (and Adults!)

Corynn is finally starting to talk a bit. It has taken quite some time (at least it seems so to her impatient Mama) but this past week, great strides have been made. She constantly asks "What's this?" Time after time. It is like the incessant "WHY?", except with one saving grace...it can be a one word answer! The other day we were in the bathroom and she was pointing at a clear glass vase filled with flowers. She asked, "What's this?" and I said, "It's Mama's vase with flowers." She said, clear as day, "Yeah, but what's THIS?" She was actually pointing to the marbles at the bottom of the vase. I was amazed. Here is a child who is barely saying individual words, yet put a four word sentence together-and understood that my one answer was true but she wasn't talking about that. Wow. I was flabbergasted. The last time we were at my parents' house, one of the children who is nearly Corynn's age, pointed at her shoe and said "Shoe." Corynn shook her head yes and repeated it. "Shoe!" She hasn't done it since, but she doesn't know I heard her and know she said it! My last brag story for the day is a tub-time story. The other day Corynn was taking a bath and playing with a bunch of leftover rubber duckies from Elizabeth's shower. I counted them, counted them, and counted them some more. Then, I went out of the bathroom to go and get her pajamas. As soon as I left, I heard "One, Two, Three, Four..." I stopped and stood still. Again. "One, two, three, four." I poked my head around the corner and she was counting the ducks. Posted is a picture I snapped in disbelief. I really think she doesn't want me to know she can talk, because she is doing a lot of it behind my back! :-) So-I am very excited. She isn't talking my ear off (except with jabber that doesn't make any sense to any one except her) but she IS getting somewhere. I am just thrilled and can't wait to actually have interactive conversations with her!
On a related topic, I read an article in a magazine my MIL had at her house called the The American Educator (or something like that) this past weekend when we were visiting. The article was called Eats, Shoots, and Leaves. It was an expose (?) about punctuation and grammer. The title was a joke about a Panda walking into a bar, eating, shooting the place up, and then leaving. When asked why he did that, he replied-"Look my name up in a dictionary. Panda: Wild black and white bear that eats shoots and leaves." After reading the article, I felt like a complete idiot. The author wrote an incredible amount of absurd and illiterate grammatical/punctuation errors that were supposedly obvious and ridiculous. Half of them, I didn't even realize were mistakes! I need some serious help in this area of writing, I suppose. I am going to look for a book that teaches these things so that I can get a hold of this problem before I look like an idiot. As it is, this blog must be just saturated with proof that I am a written word nincompoop. My first question (knowing full well a former English teacher occasionally checks my blog)is this. When do you use this ';' mark? I don't know. I kind of make it up as I go along. My use of it always seems right. :-/ Be merciful to me and my shortcomings, please....

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The whole Cantrell clan gathered for the weekend on the occasion of my sisters' shower. My mom fairly jumped up and down at the chance for a family picture with ALL her children! The weather was nice enough to let us get outside on the porch for a nicer background.  Posted by Hello

As Promised....here are some photos from Elizabeth's Baby Shower!

Elizabeth and Michelle-both in the family way. Posted by Hello

Chef Bob and Assistant Chef Wayne cooking and serving the delectable dinner. Posted by Hello

Opening a plethora of presents.... Posted by Hello

Here is the group gift given to Elizabeth...if you can't tell, it's a changing table that she had wanted. Posted by Hello