Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Special Delivery

I certainly was surprised when a UPS truck drove in on Monday, February 14 with a long package for me! Wow! This was a first! As I opened it, I allowed myself to enjoy the gift of a dozen uniquely colored roses from my husband!
I once heard a gal say " His gifts cost me money". I confess that this sassy attitude is similar to one I have occasionally taken-I don't need, nor do I want, anything extravagant. However, just this once I have really enjoyed the special treat of these beautiful roses! They are exquisite! There are 3 lavender, 3 salmon, 3 pink and 3 chartreuse (I think that means a lime green). I'll be honest with you- the pink-edged bud in the center is actually my daughter's rose- my light pink one was passing away by then and I didn't want to photograph 11 roses. They all matched each other so well in the intensity of their pastel shades! They lasted a full week.
These roses are a testament to God's Grace and the gift of the Sacrament of Matrimony. There are good days and bad days, good years and bad years, good decades and bad decades!!!!The key, so far, has been to hang in there, keep praying and loving, and avoid quitting 5 minutes before the miracle happens. Thanks for everything, Honey!! I'm crazy in love with you, too!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ponies and Other Barnyard Pals

The girls are now riding at a different horse farm  and our young pony April was invited to live there in exchange for their work.
This was great news to us because our small run-in shed does not have an automatic waterer and the girls had to carry buckets of water to her twice a day. The water would then freeze and it was difficult to manage. Now April is living the high life at a beautiful barn with acres of fenced fields to roam in.
The girls still muck out stalls as in their early horse days, but a lot of their work now is to ride and train the horses and ponies. Ponies are not baby horses. They are different from horses in that they are often smarter and more stubborn. People buy them for younger children so they need to be well-trained in order to be safe. I guess this one is pretty safe since Miss N. is texting.
Our newest little rider is now receiving lessons from her sister, which is great pay back for all the lessons Miss N. has received from her older sisters.
I was really hoping to get this youngest lady into piano lessons instead of horses because I lack any horse skills. However it is too late. She's hooked!

She's reading horse books and picking up on lots of horse vocabulary.
Going to the barn is also fun because there are many beautiful and cute animals to see.
April is now being trained to walk and trot.
She is responding well and making progress.
Through the generosity of many people and by their own HARD work, horses and ponies have been an important part of our girls' lives. Please God that this youngest one can enjoy some of the same benefits and also remain safe.

Monday, February 21, 2011

American Revolution Pockets

In order to alleviate some burn-out, the kids and I took a week long "math holiday" and substituted this hands-on history project on The American Revolution.
This book, which only cost $15.00, is published by the Evan-Moor Company. It took me this long to use it because I was thinking that I would have to copy each page three times so that each kid could make their own booklet. I finally realized that we could all work together and that one project would suffice for the family.
 The seven pockets were 1)Introduction to the American Revolution and 2)Causes of The War
3) Famous Patriots and 4)A Soldier's Life
 5) Battles and 6) Spies and Traitors
and 7) Birth of a Nation. We used large paper grocery bags for the pockets. Each one contained an overview of the topic and a book mark of "fast facts", as well as fun-to- make projects that pertained to the theme.
 In "Spies and Traitors", we learned that this secret message is called a Cardan Mask and was used by the British. The cut-out sheet is laid over a piece of paper and the real information is written inside it. Then the 'mask" is removed and the author of the letter writes in words before and after the message so that it seems to make sense to a person reading it without the cut-out in place.The mask and the letter were both mailed to the recipient in two different envelopes to avoid detection.This pocket had a little project on Benedict Arnold and had a secret message in a backwards alphabet code.
In "Battles", Sam assembled a small booklet of famous patriotic quotes. John Paul Jones said "I have not yet begun to fight" and Nathan Hale stated " I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country". The Famous Patriots pocket has a nice paper model of a man on horseback riding  across a bridge."The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere", by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in its entirety is put in booklet form below it which begins:
Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

This poem is so beautiful and moving that I can't read it aloud without bawling, over and over again.
 This was a week well spent. I am not a real artsy-craftsy kind of Mom, so I really enjoyed the ease of this ready to go project. I would highly recommend this product which is also available in other time periods like The Civil War, Moving West, Explorers of North America, and  the Ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome. I found that it was necessary to copy each page before using it because some of the projects are printed on both sides of a page which needed to be cut. If we don't take a snow day tomorrow, it will be back to business as usual!

Old Spice

While rearranging my spice cabinet last summer, I came upon this little can of Cayenne Red Pepper. I knew that I had had it for years, but I didn't realize just how many years until I looked at the expiration date stamped on the bottom.
The sell by date is May 13,1985. I obtained this can before my first son was born and he's now 25!
 The price of  $1.19 is also noteworthy because it is "stamped on". This was sold before grocery stores switched to scanning the UPC code. An equivalent can of red pepper sold now would be closer to $3.00!
The funniest thing about owning this can, is that despite it being moved from an apartment through three houses,  I don't ever remember using it! As a young housewife, I must have figured that every well equipped kitchen had cayenne pepper on hand. My sister suggested that if I sprinkled some of this pepper on the counter, the "granules" just might walk away!!! Although I don't ever plan to use this can of pepper at this late date, I do want to keep it in my cabinet for fun. Let's see how old spice can get!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Superbowl XLV

We all looked forward to the Superbowl because we traditionally have a family party to watch it. This year it was expected to be a good game played by the Steelers against Uncle Dan's team- Green Bay!

The kids told me an interesting "factoid"-that the Superbowl is the second biggest Food occasion with Thanksgiving being the first. I'm not sure if that's true, but like most people, special foods are a big part of our Superbowl celebration!
We decided on pizza for the main meal, Little Smokies and Buffalo Chicken made out of boneless breast meat for snacks. I did my shopping for the game on Sunday after church and all the little Smokie packages were gone! Oscar Meyer premium hotdogs were substituted, which I cut into 5 pieces each. These were wrapped in crescent rolls to make pigs-in-a-blanket.We all agreed that the hotdogs were actually better than the little weiners.
Sliced veggies with Hidden Valley ranch dip added some crunch to the menu.
Chocolate was a crowd pleaser! We could have eaten ten times more of it!
  We were absolutely thrilled to be joined by all of our children on this side of the country except for Tori-Dori who had to work!
Tim and Kristy came in after the game started and announced themselves by Tim making a Loud, Deep GROWLING noise. This shocked the menfolk into action, and a few of them went barreling up the stairs to accost the intruder! When they saw their brother, I'm not sure who was more surprised!
 The Game itself was fantastic! As usual, we recorded everyone's prediction of the winner and the final score. Greg, who knows the ways of the Golden Horseshoe, was the winner. Most of us did not expect Green Bay to win but it was so much fun that they did!
 At one point, I was able to capture this picture of Larry with his five sons and his little grandson. How sweet it is....What really meant so much to us was that all of our adult children had a number of places they could have gone to watch the Big Game. The fact that they wanted to come to our alcohol-free party to hang out with their family is an honor and a treat for us.
Jeff  brought over his large screen, Hi-Def TV which made for a wonderful view of all the exciting plays. It was set up high so that the kids didn't break the most important rule for all football games, "Don't Block The T.V.!" Hilarious commercials did not disappoint! The Black-Eyed Peas, who are much better known to the young people than the aging rockers that have been featured for years, put on such a wild Half-Time Show, that everyone was inspired to dance!
 and sing!

Despite twenty minutes of musical fun and a crazy light show made out of Alien looking people on the field, Tim said that he still preferred Janet Jackson! All in all, it was a wonderful evening and I enjoyed every minute of it!