Thursday, February 24, 2011

Orchestrating the Perfect Thursday Morning

In the homeschool community there is an amazing game of "telephone" that takes place via email. Someone gets a notice that this or that great event is taking place and has extra room (fewer schools are doing things these days thanks to all the testing) and the event coordinator is opening it up to homeschoolers. Just such a heavily forwarded message reached me a couple of weeks ago and we scored four seats to the Young People's Concert series with the Huntsville Orchestra's performance of Lemony Snicket's the Composer is Dead. It was the perfect mix of formal orchestration and hilarious hijinx.

My Clarinet, Trumpet and future Saxophone

Beethoven's 5th
High School student's amazing performance on Bassoon

The Composer Is Dead
If you have the chance to visit the family concert (also FREE) this Saturday, I would highly recommend it. I would also suggest printing out this great guide to go with the visit!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

On your birthday it's important to play...

relax with friends...

and eat.

Check off another great birthday for me!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Four Seasons

I have missed having four seasons. I mean here in the deep south we do have three seasons (cool, warm and hotter than the dickens), but I missed having four real and solid seasons to go through.  This year I got my wish.

Our Spring was cooler than usual and lasted until May. Usually in May we are all dying of heat stroke and swimming every evening. Not this year. It was cool and rainy. Camp-outs and warm weather activities had to wait. We prepared to sell our house. All the preparations were ready by the end of April. Well, almost all.

Summer came with all it's usual fury to the Southland. Temperatures soaring into triple digits with humidity nearing the same. The rain stayed through most of the season so there was plenty of goodies to be had at the local markets. Lou searched for an above ground pool to fit our existing deck. It took all summer to find and get in and set up.

Autumn this year was quieter than usual. The rains tapered off and the colors were muted. The leaves didn't turn as quickly or as prettiely as they sometimes do. Fall this year was more brown and less red. We started school with little excitement. There was a house to be sold and a move to be ready for; we were finally on the market. Several showings later, we were still hopeful.

Winter this year has been strangely white. Snow after snow has fallen, until the local schools have added Saturday school days to the schedule to make up for all the days off. I have loved it. The quiet that comes with being snowed in is in stark contrast to the business of the rest of my year. The house didn't sell and we didn't move. Instead we waited out the quiet.

And still we wait. Spring has been teasing us the past two weeks with warm temperatures and sunshine. I feel ready for the new beginning in a way one only can after a real winter. The house finally showed again this weekend after weeks of nothing. No offer came. Big decisions loom ahead and change is in the air.

Project 52: Week 7

I'm a little late posting this week's project: Romance. (Stomach bug be gone!) To be honest my ideas of romance don't generally meet Hallmark's standards. The most romantic things to me are most clearly seen in nights like our date night this week when I really wanted Chinese and even though Lou didn't, that is what we got. Ah, true love as seen through my heart shaped sweet and sour chicken.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Project 52: Week 6

The stomach bug finally left us on Wednesday and I've been playing catch-up. This week's assignment is, um, Body Parts. Let's try to keep this G rated people! LOL!


I can't resist adding my favorite one from a couple of years ago:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Project 52: Week 5

Stomach bug has hit our house this week, so I'm cheating. This is an old picture. Hopefully my kiddos will be well again soon and next week's assignment will go better.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Early Valentine's Day Fun

Griffin was so excited this morning about his first valentine exchange. After band we got to the Skate Castle early to set up.

How cute did that turn out? It's his "snail mail" box. We had somehow missed out on the fact that this is a BIG deal. LOL! There were way more boxes than we anticipated.

50 actually. We had only brought half that many cards so we passed out what we had and then picked our favorite boxes.

First place
Second place
Third place
Shout out to Keilee for her FABULOUS box.

Carson's eyes got huge when he saw all the candy Griffin got in his box. "What do you have to do to get that candy?" he asked. I think next year we may have two boxes. I would also like to thank the moms of girls because I have now racked up on pencils too girly for Griffin. Tinkerbell and Tangled? Score!

Today I also got my first "I'm a teenager and you are embarrassing" wave away.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Year of the Rabbit

Kung hei fat choi! 

I love Chinese New Year. Okay, I love any reason to hang out with friends and learn about other cultures. Today was the SEVENTH Chinese New Year Esther and I have shared. We had met only a few weeks before the first and when she invited us to celebrate I was so excited! I think it was the first time we had been to their house as well. She gave me this little Rooster (2005 was the year of the Rooster) and he's been standing guard over my kitchen ever since.

So today for our seventh year we ate and chatted about old times and talked about the Disney trip in September with Cathy while I cried hoped we could figure out a way to make it.

Red foods for luck

Oranges for health and wealth

Ramen for longevity

We were all very amused when it started to snow.

And then it started to SNOW....

 and we decided maybe it was time to get off the mountain....

So happy year of the rabbit everyone. I'm staying in my hidey hole for a while until all this clears back up again.

Snail Mail

Valentine's Day may be more than a week away, but for our homeschool group, the big day is tomorrow. During our monthly skate day, the kids will be bringing boxes for a contest and valentines to exchange. We have never done the exchange as I am not a fan of V-Day and neither of the older boys care about such "mushy" stuff. Griffin, my love bug, was taken with the idea for the first time this year. I let him come up his theme and, being a kid after my own heart, he picked snails.

We worked last night on his box idea and, after several failed attempts, I think we have a design that will work and look how he wants it to. It is still a work in progress. We did however find the perfect cards online thanks to Zakka Life.

Aren't they cute? We modified the original design a bit, but changing from suckers to chocolates at G's request. We used a cool temp glue gun to attach the candies. He can't wait to get this box finished and give his treats to all his friends tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Doughnut Follow Me

I've been a bad, bad girl.... 

Starting a cardio workout has made me hungry! But not for just anything, no, for CARBS. Fried carbs. Enter Betty Crocker's favorite doughnuts.

Favorite Doughnuts

3 1/3 cups Gold Medal Flour*
 1 cup sugar
 3 teaspoons baking powder
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
 2 tablespoons shortening
 2 eggs
 3/4 cup milk

Heat fat or oil (3 to 4 inches) in deep fat fryer or heavy kettle to 375°(I use Medium heat and let it preheat while I'm mixing). Measure 1 1/2 cups flour and the remaining ingredients into large mixer bowl.  Blend 1/2 minute on low speed, scraping bowl constantly.  Beat 2 minutes medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally.  With spoon, stir in remaining flour.  (This next part is fine if you insist on your doughnuts being round with a hole, but I find it easier to just plop them in and only have the "holes") Turn dough onto well-floured cloth-covered board; roll lightly to coat with flour.  Roll gently to 3/8 inch thick.  Cut dough with floured doughnut cutter.  With wide spatula, slide doughnuts into hot oil. Turn doughnuts as they rise to the surface.  Fry 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown on both sides.  Remove from oil; do not prick doughnuts.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve plain or, if desired, sugared or frosted.  Makes 2 dozen doughnuts.

*If using self-rising flour, omit baking powder and salt.

They turn out so much better if you get the song from this movie stuck in your head while you fry them: 

Are they as good as they look? Nope. Better. I usually make up a batch and freeze half for later, otherwise I eat them all at once. It's not as bad as it sounds. The boys usually only leave me about four. Just as a disclaimer, if you are working out and trying to loose weight this is NOT the way to do it. Doughnut do as I do!