Saturday, June 26, 2010

Amusement park

          Elizabeth's Girl Scout Troop decided to go to King's Dominion for the day and camp nearby for the evening.  Since L♡♡ was coming to town and we had tickets for an Orioles game the next day; we decided that it would be better for Elizabeth to just meet up with her troop and enjoy the amusement park, but not camp.  This gave us the opportunity to take L♡♡ to the park.  We hoped that she would enjoy all the rides.  Our previous exchange students have enjoyed going.
  Since I am really big and pregnant and would not be able to ride any of the rides and could not handle all the walking or the heat, I got to stay at home and enjoy the crickets chirping, ... I mean the peace and quiet.  Ahhh....  Quiet, what a stranger you have become, PLEASE visit more often!
  Honey took all the kids and here are a few pictures from his day with them.
Keener & Rolo

Christopher and Keener

It looks like they had a great time.  They were exhausted when they got home.

Unfortunately there are not any pictures of Elizabeth because she spent the day with her troop, but I am glad she enjoyed a day with her friends.

Honey did capture a picture of one little creature that I am glad did not get angry with him.
Yuck!  Those skunks really can leave a bad smell.  

Friday, June 25, 2010


Honey's office has an annual picnic which we like to attend because they have found a good combination of location, timing and food.  The location has just the right amount of shade, which should not be discounted because there is nothing worse than a picnic that is hot and miserable.  It also has a playground, ball field and bathrooms close by.  As any parent of little ones knows, there is nothing worse than a LONG walk to a bathroom.
Here are Honey & Elizabeth enjoying the shade.
We took  L♡♡ with us, event though she arrived just yesterday afternoon.  We have a busy first few days planned for her, but we are so glad that she is here.

Keener seems to be having fun with her already!  Goofy Girl, always making silly faces!

Faking it.

Now that summer has started, I live at the pool almost every day.   With swim team and dive team, it is inevitable that I go every day.  Keener  loves going and most spends a lot of time swimming by herself or with the other 2-4 year olds that hang out near the entry steps into the pool.  The main difference is that she is the only one who is able to swim at the age of 3.  Like Rolo, she is 95% self taught.  I learned a lot from Elizabeth and Christopher about how to teach a child to swim.  The biggest mistake that I (and others) make: showing fear.
  Teaching a kid to swim is all about the fake.  You have to pretend that you are not worried about her drowning.  You have to pretend that when she goes under the water and comes up coughing, that your child must have had a wonderful time doing so.  You need to congratulate her on how much fun she must be having.  Tell her that she did a good job putting her face under the water.  Tell her she is a great swimmer. Why?  because, then she will want to do it again.  So how does this work? You have confused your child.  She is thinking "That wasn't very fun, why is Mommy so excited?" Then she becomes interested in making swimming fun.  She has to figure out a way to find the joy.  She also will start to watch the other kids swim and learn from them.  This is not to say that I do not use other swimming devices (the baby swimming ring, the vest, and a swim noodle) to help my kids learn, but "the fake" is my most effective weapon.
    Right now my only problem is the other parents who keep trying to "save" her.  As if I would not be watching my child in the water!  Oh well, they can enjoy their own clinging child pulling down their bathing suit and scratching them to pieces for a few more years, while I enjoy watching mine swim!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cherry Pie!

       Last Thursday we went strawberry picking and cherry picking at my favorite "pick your own" farm, Homestead Farm.  I just love their farm. They have the sweetest golden retrievers.  They have such a family friendly set-up and are so nice.  And the produce has always been divine.  I went with my neighbor and her girls (seen here before) and I can not believe how beautiful the weather was.  It was in the low 80's and overcast with no humidity and a slight breeze,  Ahhhhh  what a wonderful day!  

     I didn't get to making the cherry pie before  my "fun Thursday."  So I finally made one today.   Keener and Elizabeth pitted all the cherries, Elizabeth measured and mixed the cherries with sugar and flour, while I made the pie crust and assembled the pie and made dinner.   There is nothing like a fresh pie to make you feel better. Yum! Yum! Yum!  

      I generally use the pie recipes in the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (As my taped, but still falling apart copy can surely attest to!! )  The nice thing about their fruit pie page is that is only calls for the fruit and some flour and sugar to make the filling.  I prefer pies this way because they depend on the fruit for flavor and not a lot of spices or other fillings.  I find that simplicity is best where pie is concerned.  Go make yourself some fresh pie and enjoy that it is summer with a lots of fresh produce to eat.
*****I decided to update this page and add the recipe:

Simple simple Cherry Pie recipe.
  • For filling; Mix 4 cups pitted cherries, 1 cup sugar, & 1/4 cup flour. Pour into favorite uncooked pie shell- in this case I made one with lard (below) so it would be flakey. Cover with top pie shell and decorate if you want. Cook @375 for 30 minutes covered with foil, then 30 more to brown the pie top and voila' yummy pie.  (I of course forgot to cover it for the 1st thirty minutes; so in my case I covered it for the 2nd half of cooking. It still turns out the same.
  • For Double Pie crust - (I use an electric mixer) Mix 2 cups flour & 1/2 tsp salt, add 2/3 cup lard, beat until it looks like peas, add 6 TBS COLD water. Mix 30 seconds or so until mixed. Divide in 2. Roll out one for the bottom crust, put into pie pan. Roll out second crust and cover pie.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

What a day!

       So now that I have had a few days to recover, I should let you know that Thursday was NOT a good day for me.  Early in the morning, I started having contractions and was generally not feeling well.  It just goes to show what happens when you start  thinking "Wow! my contractions have stopped for almost 3 weeks, maybe I'll get a break for the last trimester......" 
I barely was able to make it through the morning, but luckily I had a movie backup for one of my sick days.  We watched Around the World in 80 days.  During the movie I called Honey to say that he might need to come home early because I was not feeling well and was having pretty bad contractions.  We finished the movie and used it for our daily geography and history discussion.  Then we did our daily scripture readings and were all set to start reading Greek Myths and Aesop's Fables. 
  •  We are using D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths which I simply love.  It has useful illustrations that are detailed and pertinent to the myth.  Each myth leads into the next, so there is a cohesive flow to the book.  The kids really love hearing the myths.  We have already read through Usborne's Greek myths book which was a good introduction, but not even close to the quality of D'Aulaire's. 

     I started to realize that I was not going to be able to read.  I was not able to talk during the contractions, NOT a good sign.   My Bradley Childbirth class (all those years ago...) told us that one of the signs to go to the hospital was when you could not speak through a contraction.   Uh Oh!  I told the kids that school was over and to put things away while I called Honey and told him to come home ASAP.  Then I got on the phone with the doctor, and various friends to make arrangements for the kids.   Then the real fun began!
      I got to ride with a very nervous Honey in rush hour traffic while having contractions.  Scary does not even begin to describe the ride.  
     We get to the hospital and darn it all, but NONE of the contractions are showing up on their monitor.  WHAT?!!!  Here I am having regular contractions and not a bleepity bleep one has the decency to show up on the machine!  After 5 hours in the hospital, a lot of prayers, a lot of patience, and a lot of tests, it turns out that I have an infection.  The infection is irritating the uterus causing me to have "non-productive" contractions.  Great!!!! (said with LOTS of sarcasm.)  I could have saved my uterus the time and told it that I was already non-productive.  It wasn't really necessary to prove it to me!
       So now that I have had a few doses of antibiotics, a few war wounds from being a pincushion, and a few days to rest,  I am feeling a lot better.  I am happy to have left the hospital with my baby still growing inside me,  that was the best part of the whole day!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Playtime in the water.

       Keener has enjoyed playing in the old sandbox and using it as a pool for the summer.  It makes my afternoons easier to have her occupied.  She has a LOT of energy and has a HUGE personality.  Isn't that such a nice way of saying that my child can be a brat?
Since I love her, I accept the good and the bad?!  She is so strong willed that at times I find it hard to balance.  I want her to be the fiercely independent and adventurous person that she naturally is, but I also need her to learn to be respectful and obedient.  It is those fights for obedience that are difficult.  But hopefully with perseverance, I will be able to achieve a happy medium.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Peonies for me

        I love easy flowers and the Peony is certainly one of them.  Easy to care for, beautiful in bloom and low maintenance.  Despite all the variety of flowers that I have growing in the garden,   I do not have any high maintenance plants.
Who wants that?
Who has the time?
      I have developed basic rules for  my yard and gardening and the first one is to limit weeds at all costs.  That is easier done with mulch than with chemicals.  There can never be enough mulch, well,... almost never .
      The next "rule" would be that edging is so overrated!  I avoid that at all costs.  Again, mulch comes in handy.  I just make the flower beds end in mulch and allow several inches of buffer for the lawn mower  and leave the rest alone.
      My non negotiable rule is that I am unwilling to put up with persnickety plants.  If they need special attention, then I do not need them.  The only plants in my garden that fall into this category are roses, which for some reason like me.  I am just lucky I guess.  I have never had any trouble with them, so they get to stay.  There are so many easy plants but here are a few of my favorites:

  • Azalea
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Iris
  • Gladioles
  • Hosta
  • Lirope
  • Lilly- white Easter and Daylilly
  • Native Virginia Honeysuckle
  • Peony
  • Roses
These make up the core group of plants which I have in my yard.  I hope that you enjoy the sunshine and fresh air as much as I do.  Until then,  Happy Gardening!