Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cow and Boy, Perfect Combination

Helen the cow.

There are some days that make it worth it to dress up like a cow. Chick-fil-a, or in my dyslexic family Chick - a - fil had 'dress like a cow and get free food' day. We all dressed up. Helen won the cutest cow award.

Now, this may seem like shameless free advertising for Chick-a-fill, but really it's a way to shamelessly share some pic's of my punks. Here it comes:

Note the designer duds handmade by Bert, leading fashion director: Wenger devision. 

Who wouldn't love a big ol slobbery cow kiss? 
Hair and Ear design by Momma B-Dub

But wait! Where is my punk kid #1??? Why was he not also photographed in his cow costume? Did he not also enjoy the goodness of FREE food at Chick - a - fil?
Let me just say:
1. Nana had the camera, so I don't have any Jaren the Cow pictures.
2. I am substituting this photo from his birthday instead.
3. No, he wasn't aware that his Transformer mask was upside down.
4. Is upside down mask wearing in the same disabilities family as dyslexia?
5. It is! Good, he fits right in with the rest of us weirdo's. And I wouldn't change him for anything.
Although, I might just delete this picture. It's a bit strange. But it does feature Ice Cream, and I do love Ice Cream..... 

Friday, September 11, 2009

Yes, Your Majesty

Helen and Helen's TeaPot (my grandpa Deward, age 87)

My littlest spawn has a problem. If she were to go to an anonymous meeting she would probably introduce herself as follows:

"Hi! Her name is Helen. Helen wants Helen's swimsuit on. Helen wants Helen's pool. Helen wants blue swimsuit, Helen." (and so on...)

Helen and Helen's kitchen

She can't stop speaking in the third person, and she can't get her sentence structure right. She is only 3 after all. The real issue is that now WE are all starting to talk to her the way she talks to us! I knew from the moment I said:

"Helen, go sit on Helen's potty"   or,
"Helen, go eat Helen's lunch"   or,
"Helen, put on Helen's shirt right now!"

Et cetera.....

My child is doomed. I haven't always spoken thusly. I don't know when it started, or how to stop it. It no longer just affects the immediate family but also the nephew, the brother - in -law (who can't have a conversation without saying "essentially" so I guess to each his own. Daemons that is), the Nana and Pops. EVERYONE around her is being sucked in.

Chubaca, waiting to make sure nothing truly edible comes from that kitchen.

When Chubaca starts, I will forever throw in the towel. Until then Helen's Momma will keep trying. Because thats what Momma's are for. (Not to mention that Helen's Dadda will reunite with the family in about 6 weeks- Please let her figure it out before then or he might think something is really and truly wrong!)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

There is still some good in this world Mr. Frodo

Yesterday tragedy struck at our house. Between punk #1 and punk #2 there was some confusion as to where the dogs were in relation to the open gate in the back yard. So we did what anyone else would do: We hollered at the top of our lungs for a few fun trips walking around the neighborhood. We loaded into the familymobile and drove through all adjoining neighborhoods, while still hollering of course. We enlisted the help of relatives whom, I am sure, drove through the very same neighborhoods while hollering out their window. There was a lot of hollering. And I think all the neighbors know the dog's names. Just so you don't feel left out- CHUBACA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  STRYKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whew, enough hollering ya'll!

The dogs did not respond. I put the kids to bed, still no dogs. We woke up, still no dogs. I made a plan, and it was gonna work daggum it. I had already called Animal Control, no dice. Well, Chubaca has a seizure disorder and can't go without his medicine for more than a day with out having some- so I figured I would call all the veterinarians and animal hospitals within a 20 mile radius and see if anyone had brought in a huge ol' fat lug of a dumb brown dog who couldn't function cause it looked like he was gonna shake his self to pieces. No dice. Nada.

By now Bert, my sis, was in her minivan, driving around, hollering out her window looking for the two renegades. I was placing a call to another animal hospital. My call-waiting started beeping at me. Animal Controll! Whoot! And yes, someone had called in saying they found two stupid dogs that matched my two stupid dog's description, and would I like her number? Heck YEAH!

Here's to you Brooks, a true American Hero, for finding my two stupid dogs. And being honest enough to try and find their owner and not keep them for yourself. Or even if you just realized the grocery bill associated with a 97 lb lump of Lab would bankrupt you, ya know, that's okay too. You returned his fab flab self to his heartbroken boy. The same boy who cried to 2 solid hours last night before bed. You let "Strikey" enjoy another day being pestered to pieces by a rambunctious 3 year old. You have restored some faith "that there is still good in this world, and its worth fighting for."

"Now we finally understand each other, Samwise Gamgee, here at the end of all things."

Sorry, I just love LOTR- thats Lord of The Rings, ya know- Tolkien. Its a book, and a movie.......

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Caramel Popcorn to die for!

My sister, whom we affectionately call Bert thanks to my littlest punky kid, has given me the recipe for the BEST caramel popcorn on the planet. I'm not kidding. The BEST! Its crunchy, sugary, golden goodness.

Back when I lived in Fayetteville, the second time, I decided to host Thanksgiving dinner at my house single handedly. I invited the relatives, and some of the guys from my hubby's Unit (who didn't show if I remember correctly). Did I mention that I told everyone they didn't need to bring anything? No, I wasn't suicidal, just cocky. And I pulled it off. (side note: the relatives pulled through for me and brought food anyways, they like me! They really like me!)

All was well, until I decided to make the caramel popcorn. It was going without a hitch, the popcorn was popped and waiting inside the brown paper bag, the caramel had just reached the hard ball stage. Everything was ready, all that was left was to pour the caramel inside the brown bag in order to coat the delish popcorn. Murphy's law was written for me, just so you know. Sure enough Murphy wasn't going to let me pull off a perfect Thanksgiving dinner incident free. Oh no, that would have been the nice thing to do. I suppose my ego needed to be lowered a few notches.

I was trying to hold the spoon in the pot of caramel while I was pouring the caramel into the bag. Spoon slipped, caramel flew, cookbook,  counter, and microwave covered in goo; and wouldn't you know it some just HAD to splash onto my hand while I struggled to not drop the pot.

Have you ever had hard ball stage hot candy slapped onto your hand before? Let me tell you, not enjoyable. But I was stuck. I couldn't let go of the pot, the kids were running through the kitchen- mommy instinct saved them big time that day! I couldn't find anywhere to set it down that wasn't already covered in goo. What was I to do? I did what any self respecting Mom does in that situation. I started hopping up and down screaming "OWIE, OWIE, OWIE" at the top of my lungs while ensuring none of the hot magma flew in my offsprings direction.

Dear Charley,

I want to thank you personally once again for being my Knight in Shinning Armor. You heard my  screeching and came running to the rescue! You bravely grabbed the pot out of my poor, already blistering, much abused hands; plopped it right down on the already caramel covered counter, and assisted me to the sink to try and wash off the offending, still hot as crap, still delicious tasting, goop. I will never forget your lightning fast assessment of the situation, your bravery in the face of flying caramel. Nor will I ever forget how you yelled! Oh, I realize now that it stemmed from you concern for your loving wife. I understand how it must have affected you so to see me in such pain. The tongue lashing that followed full of "What were you thinking" and "Why didn't you just set down the stupid pot" just swelled forth from your lips due to the overwhelming emotions my pain caused you. I endeavor to be worthy of your love. My thanks again,

-Your still scarred Wife

Needless to say, I had my work cut out for me. The microwave never recovered. I think the numbers melted. I had to find a way to salvage the popcorn. With my hubby's help, we were able to lift the pot out of the inch of caramel from which is rested and pour the remainder into the bag. I did let my hubby stir to ensure all the popcorn received as much of the goodness as possible. I had blisters covering my fingers so I slapped on some Band-Aids and a rubber glove just in case, and finished the rest of Thanksgiving dinner. My cousin told me later that my turkey was the best she has EVER eaten. I am still proud. So much for the lowered ego...

Now for the good stuff! Are you ready? Don't let my tale of woe distract from the desire to make the best caramel popcorn on earth. If you do, you will regret it for the remainder of you days. Amen.

6 quarts already popped popcorn

2 Cups light brown sugar
2 Sticks of butter
1/4 Teaspoon salt (of popcorn is pre-salted, if not use 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 Cup white Karo syrup
1/4 Teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 Teaspoon baking soda
Brown paper bags

Pop the popcorn and place it into a brown paper bag. It will sit there until the caramel is ready.
Cook sugar, butter, salt, Karo syrup, and cream of tartar to hard ball stage (240 degrees on a candy thermometer), stirring frequently.  When it reached the correct temperature stir in the baking soda. It will foam up, be prepared, keep stirring until its done. Then pour it into the brown bag over all the delish popcorn. Use a LONG HANDLED spoon to stir until evenly coated. Pour out the now golden covered puffs onto 2 large cookie sheets. Spread it out with the spoon, as it is still really hot- I promise! until you have a nice mostly even layer. Into the oven it goes at 150 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes. Toss twice during baking.

I usually try and let it cool off for about 10 minutes before chowing down, just so I won't burn my mouth. There have been enough burns on my person due to this delightful goodness, now caution is my middle name!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Pioneer Woman

If you have known me for any time at all you know that I love The Pioneer Woman. Ree posts new recipes, homeschool stuff, home and garden, and photography tips. Not to mention updates to her daily life living on a ranch raising four kids. Some of my best recipes come from her site. They usually involve insane amounts of butter and love. It doesn't get any better than that. This is my favorite: Apple Dumplings. Lots of butter, sugar, and love. Here is the recipe and the link to PW's original post. Delish.

2 Granny Smith apples
2 Cans of crescent rolls
2 Sticks of butter
1 1/2 Cups of sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1 Can Mountain Dew

Peel and core the apples, then cut them into eight slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 X 13 buttered pan. Melt butter on the stove in a small saucepan, then add the sugar. Barely stir. Add the vanilla, barely stir again then pour over the apple filled crescent rolls. Pour the can of Mt. Dew around the outside of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream and spoon some of the Mountain Dew sauce over the top.

WARNING: Make at your own risk as these are super addicting! 

One of the reasons I love PW's site is the photography. She shows step by step how to make her dishes- it makes you mouth water just looking at them.

Make these today, you won't regret it!

Homeschool Curriculum: Usborne Books

When I sat down to try and develop my son's curriculum this year I was stumped. I knew I couldn't afford to my a "curriculum in a box" so I needed to be creative! I mean just last week I ... maybe, last month... Oh, I've got it! About two months ago... Okay, so I'm not creative. Sue me or send HELP, either way.

I started by scouring the Internet. Surely this was going to be easy; I am great with Google! Unfortunately, the more I looked the more expensive this whole "home school" thing was turing out to b e. "There has to be a way" I kept telling myself. Then inspiration struck! The Library! Whoot! I CAN be creative! Or perhaps if I had just asked other home schoolers they could have given me the answers. But I don't know any, so that idea is out...

You heard me, I am starting my own home school and I don’t know ANYONE else who is already doing it. I am striking out on my own with no wise words from a friend to help me. If you are reading this and you home school feel free to leave all the advice you want. I will cherish each word like a priceless jewel. Lets face it. I need help.


Usborne books were first brought to my attention when reading up on The Pioneer Woman. She has a home school section on her website. It’s my lifeline at the moment. She is my hero. She can run a ranch AND home school 4 punks. Woah.


My own punk and I started our year in science studying the Universe. That’s a broad subject; wish I had some one who would have clued me in before we jumped in with both feet! I scoured the library and checked out probably 45 different books on the topic. Then I made my eldest read about 30 of them and thought I had done the best job of home schooling EVER!

Turns out, all I did was confuse the heck out of him. He couldn’t keep the names of constellations separate from the names of nebulae or the planets. Then, inspiration struck! If PW (that’s Pioneer Woman for short) could use Usborne books then so could I.

Trudge back to the library. Find Usborne book

Revel in simplicity, organized thoughts, brilliant illustrations, and detail. Wholeness.

Usborne books are checked over by the experts to ensure accuracy. They are chocked full of full color pictures and diagrams to help the kiddos see, for example, what the inside of the Sun and other stars and planets look like.

They have an “Internet-Linked” series that, you guessed it, provide a URL where you can go and find regularly updated links to further explore the topic at hand.

Usborne books can be found online, or through individuals who sell (kinda like Avon representatives). I found many on ebay, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Border’s online bookstore. The price is usually right- most sell for under $10! I have also found they my local library has quite the selection- for my 9 year old AND my 3 year old! Can’t get any better than free!


So the real question is, Have you used Usborne books? Would you recommend them to your new to homeschooling friends? Tell me what you think!