Saturday, October 31, 2009
Twas Halloween Night
Twas the night before All Saints, when all through the house, all the large cockroaches were crawling around the couch.
The pumpkin was lit and placed on the stair, in hopes that children soon would be there.
Sophie and Oscar were dressed like a bee, it was definitely a sight worthy to see.
When we walked out on the town, getting candy from ghouls and ghosts dressed in a gown.
Candy was dispersed by shopkeepers with care, looking for little kids ready to scare.The candy was placed gently in her bag, and it got so full it started to sag.
Away we then left to go to the church, where decorations were hung on the perch. Decorations of goblins and witches from the front to the rear, I waited for my friends and others to appear.
With Mom and Dad near by my side, I went to the ball pin for a ride. The colorful balls were fun and easy to hold, I laughed and bounced and felt quite bold.
At the end of the night we had a hotdog and bun, and we then left and went down like the sun.
As we made our way home Sophie fell asleep, and now she sleeps without making a peep.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I think it is time to put away the witty sayings and start thinking of great ways to get kids to understand the 'Why not' in doing drugs. Here are a few interesting ideas.
1) This is what happens to kids' teeth when they do drugs. This picture shows the teeth of an 18 year old, before getting dentures. (Ok... so I'm lying about it being an 18 year old and them getting dentures... but hey... it could be true).
2) Or the ever popular, YOU COULD DIE!
3) You can age faster! Here is a picture of a woman over the time span of 15 years. Looks like she begins taking drugs at the age of 15. They should definitely show this to girls! You know what would be even better? Create a program that would allow the computer to take your current picture and show what drugs would do to your face over 10 years. That might convince some girls!
4) You can go to prison if caught in possession of drugs. Make sure to point out to them that there is no tv or 'computer time' while in prison. Oh... and that their is a rough dude at the local prison or juvy named 'Ralph' that likes to beat up and molest the newbies. Ok... so maybe saying molest isn't a good idea... but it could be effective.
5) Get a drug addict from jail to be interviewed and broadcast on tv to the classes. He/She can talk about all the things they did to get their next 'fix' and embarrassing and scary stories.
And if all else fails... and by fails I don't mean that it won't convince them, but that it isn't 'age appropriate' or pass amongst the school superintendents... go with the ever-popular egg commercial. You know the one... this is your brain... this is your brain on drugs. Classic and effective (somewhat).
When I asked the students why they didn't do drugs (typically I don't ask this but it was 'Drug free month' and they had to sign a banner saying "We say 'No' to Drugs") I got answers ranging from "Because they are bad" to "Because you'll go to Hell". Not one kid said because of prison, death, addiction, and horrible mental and physical defects. I mean sure my suggestions are scarying these kids, but some of them are already being 'scared' into saying "No", by telling these kids simply "If you do it ... you go to Hell". And no it isn't the school system doing it (they know they'd get sued), but it is their parents.
Lets' educate these kids and keep them away from drugs. So ... in honor of the few days left of October... just say "No to Drugs" or as some kids say "Druggies go to the Devil so don't do it".
* Note to Reader- This post is intended to include grades 2-12... although more likely aimed towards middle school and high school students. Also, I was absent for a week in October so teachers may have hit on some of these points, but the students may not have remembered them.
Monday, October 26, 2009
After he spilled his guts (was seed-free), Sophie and I discussed how 'Jack' would look like. I wanted it to be something that wasn't too difficult and take up too much time; and Sophie wanted Jack to have no more teeth than she did. So, we agree and made a 'happy Jack' with two bottom teeth in the middle... just like where Sophie's two teeth are. And thus, Jack was born this Monday, October 26, 2009. And he should stay fresh and functional until October 31, 2009. Then, on Monday, November 2nd, he will catch a ride on the garbage truck to the retirement center where he will live out the remainder of his existence playing BINGO with other pumpkins and discarded waste.
1) Crater of Diamonds (I'd like to do this when Sophie is walking because carrying her and constantly bending down to try and pick up or search for diamonds sounds a bit too strenuous)
2) Little Rock Capitol building (apparently is a miniature version of the Capitol building in Washington, DC)
3) Alligator Farm (there is one in Hot Springs)
4) Hot Springs National Park (I'd like to go there again and hike around a bit more than what we did)
5) Get pampered inside one of the Bathhouses in Hot Springs (an excellent Mother's Day gift I would think- hint hint)
6) Washington (during the Civil War, this place became Arkansas' state capitol and they have lots of museums and buildings from the era)
7) Louisiana Purchase State Park (where the Louisiana purchase was signed)
8) Petit Jean State Park (beautiful landscapes and AR's first state park)
9) Devil's Den State Park (I want to see the caves and enjoy some hiking)
10) See a Civil War Re-enactment (not exactly a place, but they take place in a couple cities in Arkansas)
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Even some of the adults dressed up... however, Brian and I were not in this category regretfully. There was a Queen of Hearts, a Sexy Kitten (I would say 'cat', but for those that were there would say that that would be a very bland definition of her costume), Safari guides, V (from the movie 'V for Vendetta'), Morticia, a Minnie Mouse, a Steeler's player, and a Patriots player. I'm probably leaving someone else out and for that I apologize. But if we are here next year, I'll make sure that Brian and I are dressed for the occasion as well! Sweaters and jeans doesn't quite cut it at a Halloween party.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Hi my name is Stacey and I've been a Technological Retard for 20+ years. If it resembles a computer in any way, just consider me incompetant! I'm truly thankful for all of the techologically competant (computer geeks) who are friends with me and can overlook this trait and help me with my computer (because yes of course I have to own one). And even after owning my own computer for about 10 years, I still use 'monitor' and 'modem' interchangibly to mean the 'screen'. However, fear not I am progressing in the computer vocabulary area, because what I used to call 'the big black thing that has the cd drive and 'on' button' I now call 'the tower'. I count this as progress. Today I had a 2nd grader that told me their was something wrong with the CPU and I said "What?". I eventually had to ask him to point to what he was talking about. So... baby steps are needed with me when you talk about computers.
Also, don't ask me how much RAM I have because I'm as likely to known the answer to that question as I am to know how many cockroaches live in the United States. I know that RAM means speed... I think. The same thing applies with asking me about gigabytes or megabytes... just don't ask. I may know how much I have on a jump drive as long as it is written on there. If it is not written... don't ask. However, I know that gigabytes refer to storage space. Now how many gigabytes is good to have on a computer? I don't know, but hopefully there are more on the computer than on my 2 jump drives combined.
Computers and I just don't know how to talk to each other. I don't speak computer and if this gives you any indication... I've taken Spanish for 4 years (2 in High School and 2 in college) and I can barely speak Spanish. A computer can give me an error message in the most basic language it can and I'll stare at it like it's written in Klingon (spelling?). Even on my last post it wouldn't let me post my video because... my html object wasn't closed. What the heck?! It's not a door... how do you close something like that? Even now, my laptop is in the hands of someone infinately more intelligent trying to get the stupid thing to start working after Windows Vista caused it to crash. And of course, Windows Vista had to crash on MY laptop... a person who is so stupid they wouldn't know even how to fix it. Thank God again for the computer savy. You have bailed my rear-end out SO many times! So this post is for you... Josh Biebs, Gordon Schroeder, Britt Neeley, Elizabeth Barton, Brian Oney, and anyone else who has helped this Techno Retard with her computer... you guys are the best!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
For those kids that do not have a sibling it's a little harder for them to find entertainment and to learn important lessons like sharing and such. Allow me to suggest a pet! Yes it isn't the same thing... but it's at least a step in the right direction. Pets are great for kids because they can learn to share their toys. To work things out when the dog/cat destroys their toys (like a sibling does). And then they also learn to shift the blame onto the pet when they did something wrong (like a sibling does). As a perk, the pet will not back-talk to the parent, they'll just look at you with their sad eyes and mentally communicate the message "This sucks" when they are dressed up like a babydoll or are getting fed bugs or mud pies. Also, they'll not embarass you in public, like when your daughter points out to the ladies in church, that her brother likes to pee in the next door neighbor's rose bush out front near the road. If she says, the dog likes to pee there outside... it's expected... it's a dog. Or if they tell a gross or embarassing story related to the animal... most people just shrug and say, "Well it is an animal; I guess things happen" and they won't questions your parenting skills at all!
Overall what I'm saying is... I'm glad we have Oscar here for Sophie. He loves her so much and they seem to share everything. Now, I'm not saying that is great... I really get tired of pulling Sophie away from Oscar's dogfood dishes, which she seems to think is her afternoon snack. But at least she has someone else by her side, other than Mom and Dad, to play with her and be her companion. Oscar always seems to make time with her- whether it's when she's in the highchair eating (he is an excellent floor cleaner) or when he's playing with Brian and will take a few seconds out to give her a kiss on the face before returning to play. So take some time... and thank your pets (either the present ones or the ones you had as a child) and reward them with catnip, dog biscuits, or whatever... because they are invaluable to a child.
* Video coming soon!*
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
And then there was the Nebraska Husker game going and Sophie and the dog were decked out in their Husker gear. Brian moved the tv next to his computer and he and Sophie watched the game. He brain washed her into a Husker fan!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Today we went to the Oakland Cemetery in Camden, which contains 683 grave, including those of Confederate soldiers. It was amazing to see so many old graves and it made me think about all these people and all their stories. For example, the oldest grave is that of an unknown girl who died on a flat bottom boat on the Ouachita River. Chain around the grave was from old anchor chain from the boat. But what was her story? Who was she? Why was she on the boat? All that remains of her story or her life is a plaque that tells where she died.
And that girl (or woman since we don't know her age) is not the only one whose story is lost. There is over 250 graves of Confederate soldiers... most of them 'Unknown'. They are even grouped together around a monument stating: “We care not whence they come / dear is their lifeless clay / whether known or unknown to fame / their cause and country still the same / they died and wore the Gray.” But that is all that unites these men... the Confederate army. These soldiers not only lost their lives, they lost their identity, their stories. Who were they? Who did they leave behind while they were at war?
There were several graves that made me wonder who they were... other than their names and dates for their birth and death. One says "Loving Mother", but honestly... I'm sure she was more than just a 'loving mother'. I mean, could you summarize your whole life in one line?
Otherwise, it was interesting to walk around and see all of the graves and imagine all of their stories buried long ago with their bodies. But the weather was perfect for a nice walk with the crisp cool air and the leaves beginning to change colors I got some nice pictures as well.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Anyway, knowing that the rest of the weeks' weather would inevitably be the same (as I said in a previous post it rains for days), I picked up some more apples and other ingredients to keep myself occupied in the kitchen. And since apples were still $1/pound, I've made more fried apples. Canning all but a little bit which is to become Sophie's lunch.
Canning Fried Apples
- After making fried apples, turn the stove off but leave the apples and the pan on the stove to cool slowly.
- Have already prepared 3 pint jars in boiling water along with their lids
- Remove one jar and funnel in the fried apples.
- Add the juice and water until liquid removes all pockets of air and is an inch to a half inch from the rim of the jar.
- Wipe the jar rim clean from any liquid or apples with a dry towel
- Remove one lid from the heated container and place on the jar
- Place ring around the jar to secure the lid to the jar and return jar to the hot water bath
- Do the same with the remaining two jars. The reciepe makes about 3 pints total.
- Make sure the water in the hot water bath covers the lids of the three jars and leave the jars in the hot water bath for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Remove from hot water bath and place on counter
- After jars have cooled, check to make sure the lids popped to 'seal in freshness', and label. If jars did not pop- place in refridgerator to be used within a few days.
And since I'm stuck with tons of apples as well as the perfect season for apple sales and even the consumption of apples, I've added another apple reciepe. This one is for apple bread, which I have made several times for my parents and sibilings, as well as for my husband. And therefore, I'll add this recipe on here for you (don't worry... I promise this will hopefully be the last apple recipe from me that you'll see in awhile).
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups chopped apples
1 cup nuts (optional)
Grease 2 loaf pans. In a large bowl beat together the sugar, oil, and eggs. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinamon. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture. Add the vanilla, apples, and nuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 1 hour.
For those of you who have found any or all of these recipes a good resource, I'm glad; for those who have found these past two posts fairly boring and only like looking at the pictures, well I promise to not include any more recipes for awhile.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Secondly, since this is the weather for it... I made homemade bread! I just did the traditional white bread, but I added honey butter to the top of it before putting it into the oven. Mmmm.
Here is the recipe for Traditional White Bread:
6-7 cups all purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp shortening
2 pkgs. regular or quick active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups very warm water
Melted margarine or butter
Mix 3 1/2 cups of flour, sugar, salt, shortening, and yeast in large bowl. Add warm water and beat with mixer. Add remaining flour. Turn dought and knead on floured surface. Place in greased bowl, turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 40-60 minutes. Grease 2 loaf pans. Divide dough in half. Roll dough into rectangles with rolling pin. Roll dough up and pinch in the sides of the dough and place in loaf pans. Allow to rise in warm place for 35 to 50 minutes. Then place bread in 425 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. When cool, brush loaves with margarine or butter and allow to cool.
Sophie loved the bread!
Lastly, since this is the season for it... I made fried apples. I've never made fried apples before, but in the Sunday bulletin newsletter from our church Faye added her mother's recipe for fried apples. In addition, the grocery store had apples on sale for a dollar per pound. How could I resist? They turned out nicely and since it isn't likely that we'd be eating them very soon (at least not the whole batch) I canned them. And they look beautiful! So far I've made 3 jars, but I have more apples to do, and I've got at least 2 jars reserved - 1 for my in-laws and 1 for my parents.
Here is the receipe for the Faye's Fried Apples
6 apples (any kind but I used red delicious) peeled.
1/2 stick butter
Brown sugar to taste
Peel apples and slice them thinly. Heat butter in a large skillet and then add the apples. Turn them frequently until they are the doneness you desire. Sprinkle them with brown sugar to taste. Then cook them a bit longer. Remove and serve.
Sophie and Oscar both enjoyed the first part- peel apples and slice thinly. While I sat on the floor of the kitchen peeling apples, Sophie played and occasionally grabbed small bits of apples to eat. And Oscar (encouraged by Sophie's triumphant attempts at getting food) snitched some of the apple peels I had discarded in a nearby bowl. It was cute.
Sophie also got to dance at the wedding and she loves to dance! Aunt Ashl
Monday, October 12, 2009
Now... traditionally, it's just Dad and I setting aside some time with the guy and grilling him with tons of questions about his background, his future plans, and his views or beliefs. However, this only allows 2 people to interrogate them and therefore leaves out 6 other siblings, the mama, and distant relatives. In light of that, it was decided that since many of the siblings and distant relatives would be in town due to my cousin's wedding, that they be able to participate in the interrogation process as well. So my mother passed around paper to all of Suzy's family... and all of her relatives (aunts and uncles) to list questions to ask Tony. So rather than get interrogated by Suzy's dad and sister, he got interrogated by her brothers, sisters, dad, mom, aunts, and uncles. Only the pets were left out.
After everyone submitted their questions, everyone gathered around the round table where Tony and Suzi were sitting. I say 'gathered around' as opposed to 'sat around' because there were not enough seats to fill the butts of the number of people who were there to witness Tony's answers. I believe in fact that there were 24 eyes all looking at Tony awaiting his answers (26 if we were to count Suzi who was sitting right next to him). Of the 12 people gathered around the couple, Dad read off everyone's questions, while also sitting right next to Tony in case one of his answers required him to drag him out of the building for an ass-whooping. (I love my Dad!)
Here are some of the things we learned about Tony:
1) He's Irish and German heritage
2) He comes from a Baptist background
3) His favorite color is orange
4) The first feature he noticed about Suzi was her eyes
5) They met at his work- Baker grocery store, while Suzi was doing rotations for pharmacy school.
6) The thing Suzi does to annoy him is not spend more time with him.
7) The thing he does that might annoy Suzi the most is send her too many flowers.
8) If Suzi was mad at him and wanted to borrow his car, he'd run.
9) He has 2 older siblings- a brother in the Navy (married and stationed in Japan) and an older sister who lives in Omaha.
10) He seemed to be an overall good guy who was respectful to 'the family' (always a good idea) and to Suzi (definitely a must).
Overall, I'm going to say Tony got the 'Green flag' from our family. But if the background check comes back with issues... we'll have to revisit the subject and him again! (Just kidding!)
On Friday, Sophie and I went to see Autumn's newest daughter- Baby Suzy or Suzanna Grace. Sophie seemed more interested in playing with Autumn's two other daughters (Allie and Mariah) who were 'big girls' (in Sophie's estimation since they were 5 and 3) and had lots of cool toys around the room. And this gave me some time to just hold Baby Suzy. She was so small and tiny and it brought back memories of Sophie when she was only a few weeks old as well. And the strange part was... she was just like that only a few months ago.... well.... technically... several months ago, but time flies.
Anyway, after some cuddle time with Suzy, I brought the baby closer to Sophie to see the 'baby'. She just looked at me... looked at the baby... and then continued to play with the toys one of the girls had left on the floor for her to play with. She really didn't seem all that interested in baby since it didn't seem to light up, make fun noises, or move around like the other toys did. She even gave me this look that was like 'What? What is the big deal?'.
Eventually, we did get some photos of Sophie with Autumn's three girls on the couch... and then she became somewhat interested in Baby Suzy. And she kept wanting to touch Baby Suzy, which wasn't a good idea since Sophie's 'sometimes' idea of touching is hitting things to see if they make noises. So... not that great of an idea. Anyway, even after seeing and meeting Baby Suzy, I don't think Sophie has any real idea that Suzy is another person and that Sophie herself was just like that not too long ago. Well... maybe we'll have to try a lesson on babies another time, when she's a little bit older. Depending on when things happen, perhaps we'll give her that lesson with one of her own siblings.