Friday, June 19

Love this website... Simply had to share.. No pun intended.

I just found this website on Ali Edwards blog, and had to share a link to it.

Wednesday, June 17

The Best Thing About My Vacation....and a week at the condo.

The very best part of my vacation was getting to see my sister. Although you can't see her very well in this photo because I'm taking a picture of her taking a picture of me, taking a picture of her. Does that make sense? Oh, sure it does. I missed her so much! I will post a better picture of her tomorrow. This one makes me smile though :)

Below is a view of the lake from our condo. Too bad I was too lazy to walk down there. Time just got away from me. Yeah right... who am I kidding?

Just another day at school. Even on vacation you say? Even on vacation.

Thumbody is rarely seen without his Duckie (ie. blanket). He is more like Linus than you will ever know. I love this child!

Scott started working 3rd shift last night, therefore I had a nighttime visitor all night. He was male, he was cute, and he is 5. Yes, my dear son snuck onto daddy's side of the bed during the wee hours of the night. I awoke to the front door opening (I am a very light sleeper) and to the smell of coffee brewing. I heard him wake Skaterboy up for driver's ed, and then come in by me to undress, and get ready to take a shower. (OK, maybe I didn't need to put that... I know TMI.)
After he took Skaterboy to driver's ed he went to bed. I was up before he got back, and was drinking coffee when he came in the door. The little kids finally woke up, and we had breakfast and started our school day (yes, we are still in school and will be throughout the summer). They get plenty of breaks, I promise. They just retain so much more if you don't stop for 3 months. Besides, all we are currently doing is reading and math, so their done within an hour or two.
Skaterboy is finishing his Algebra book, and American Government, and then he's done.
After they were done with school, the kids had some neighbor kids over to swim. We were supposed to have church tonight, but our minister got sick, so I had to quickly think of something for dinner, which ended up being a Banquet meal (you know, the turkey slices with gravy) and Scott made mashed potatoes, and a veg. The kids are now at their grandma's house, and I am hearing nothing.'s so nice once in awhile. Scott has to leave for work in about 30 minutes, and then be gone all night again. Thankfully Skaterboy is home, or I would probably be more nervous than I am. I don't like being home alone at night. I must have watched too many horror movies in my teens.
Tomorrow Scott has a doctor's appt. with his sleep apnea doctor. He hasn't seen him in a year, but he is doing so much better than he used to. It's been over a year since he's been on any medication for his narcolepsy (mind you, it was a very mild case). His cellulitis is looking better too. His leg isn't even red any more. I plan to drive him up there tomorrow because he will have worked all night, and then has to be at this appt. at 8:30 a.m. and it's 45 min. away. So we will have to leave shortly after he gets home.
I know today's post is sort of boring, but that's my life folks. The exciting parts... well, our dog is now so pregnant that she can't even get herself up on the couch by herself anymore. That's pretty exciting. Dachshund/Yorkie or Pug puppies should be coming any day now. Want one?

Friday, June 12

Looking out over Branson, Lunch at Fuddrucker's, and Spending the day with Grandma..... Priceless!!!

These photos aren't exactly in order, because we actually ate before we stopped by this scenic observatory on our way back to the condo. The view was breathtaking. If you look to the far right, you can see part of Celebration City,(we didn't go there this time) which has killer roller coasters, if you're into that sort of thing. My boys are, so I'm all up on roller coasters. I think I personally have had my fill of them, and am very thankful that Truthseeker is now tall enough to ride with Skaterboy. I used to be his riding partner, and am glad that I don't have to be any longer.
A sweet photo of Skaterboy walking towards me. Why is it that teenagers think that if they smile their face will crack? It's hard to get him to smile for photos now that he's a teenager. Is melancholy in style or something? Maybe I'm just out of the loop.

I think the kids really enjoyed our stop. It was a chance for them to actually "feel" that they had been in the Ozark mountains. That was my goal anyway.
Lunch at Fuddrucker's. Still one of my favorite hamburger places. Vicki, if you're reading this, do you remember what we used to call Fuddrucker's back in the day? I still always think of that whenever we drive by one.

Grandma and I. Can you tell we're related?

Today was nice and sunny out. Scott left the house early today to take Skaterboy and a friend to Walmart to buy a World of Warcraft game. I'll save my opinions about WOW later for another post, but my sweetie made coffee for me this morning, so I was happy when I awoke. He then went to pick up a couple Freecycle things I had been given, and to the pharmacy to pick up another (stronger) antibiotic for his cellulitis, which still isn't completely gone, and Scaterboy's inhaler. When he returned, and I had been bugged more than a dozen times by neighbor kids standing in front of our house waiting for us to let them go swimming in our pool (I'll get to my opinion on that later, as well) the kids cleaned up their messes, Scott got ready for work, and left.
After he left for work, I did allow the neighbor kids to come over and swim, while I sat outside leisurely reading a saucy novel (okay, please don't judge me, but I bought the book "Story Telling" by Tori Spelling) that I honestly had a hard time putting down. I love to watch "Tori and Dean", I'm sue me. I am also wanting to purchase "Mommywood" after I'm done with this book, which should be a in day or two. I almost have to force myself to quite reading, or I'll be done with it too quickly. I must admit, it's very good. If you know me at all, you will know that I usually buy a few mindless books each summer to enjoy while I watch the kids swim. I don't always like to be in the pool with them, and the escape from reality for awhile, is a treasured treat, and something I look forward to.
For dinner we had the honey shrimp recipe that I posted below a couple days ago. Just posting it made me hungry for it, and to my surprise these shrimp were already pealed and deveined for me. I know where I'm going to buy my shrimp from now on (Walmart). Much easier. I made it the original way tonight, with the egg white and cornstarch. It was really good, but a bit heavier than the way I usually make it without the breading. I think I'll go back to my way of choice next time. The shrimp were definitely crispier this way though.
So now it's about 8:30 p.m., the kids are in the other room watching a Clone Wars cartoon, and I am here at the computer, getting ready to shut it down for the night, get the kids in bed, and plan my day tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow I will actually get something on my list done.
Good bye for tonight! Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, June 11

My Dad... Nakhon Phanom, Thailand

Our visit to the Veteran's Museum ...Branson, MO.

I highly recommend taking your family to this museum. It didn't cost much, in fact, Thumbody was free, but it was one of the best I have seen. The kids really enjoyed it too. What a sobering fact that our children have to grow up in a time of war, just like our parents and grandparents did. I was born during the Vietnam War era, but most of my childhood/early adulthood was during a time of peace. So I don't remember much, other than what my dad has told me about Thailand during the Vietnam War. That is where he was stationed, in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand. Here is a link to the memorial site for Air Force servicemen killed in Nakhon Phanom, during the Secret War of 1962-1975:
Luckily, my father made it through the war okay. Some weren't so lucky, and this is what this museum is all about. Honoring our fallen soldiers.

The Memorial the kids are standing in front of is spectacular. There's no other words to describe it. It's a WWII Memorial commemorating one man who died in each state of the USA during WWII. So there are 50 soldiers marching in this memorial. Each person (statue) is different in size, and facial features. Under each soldier is the name of the person, and which state he came from. All 50 states were accounted for.
On either side of the monument, which was life size, were the names of all the soldiers killed in WWII. My grandma's brother was one of them. She was able to find his name on the long lists of names of the deceased. Here is a photo of her pointing out his name to the kids. What a learning experience that was, for the kids to see one of their relatives names on the WWII memorial. I think it gave them a sense of connection to the war, like they hadn't experienced before.

The photo below is of my dear youngest son, who sat taking in this painting for quite some time. This was in the Vietnam War room, I believe. He sat there and stared at it, very somberly for quite some time. I asked him what he saw, and he did a wonderful picture narration for a 5 year old. Such attention to detail this young child has. Oh Gosh, that just sounded like Yoda from Star Wars, didn't it?

Thumbody who is a very young 5, was probably the most interested in this museum. The huge WWII memorial he found the most fascinating, and wanted to see the soldiers, again and again. At one point he asked me why they all had the same weapons, and I answered (not knowing that anyone was even around us), "because they were all on the same team, Sweetie." An older gentleman, who probably (I am guessing) fought in WWII, laughed and said, "That's right, we WERE all on the same team." It still gives me goosebumps when I think of that moment.

I won't go into detail about all the different rooms there were, but there were many. It started with WWI and took you through Dessert Storm. At the very end of the museum, was a sign that read, "and for those currently fighting for our freedom". So all were remembered, except of course, those from way back... French/Indian War, Revolutionary War, and Civil War. But there probably wasn't that much documentation back then. (I'm guessing) I don't really know why those wars weren't listed.

The Home Front
It's raining today, and the kids are disappointed that they can't go swimming in our pool we set up yesterday. I believe that the water is too cold to swim anyway, but they wanted to give it a go. Skaterboy had his 2nd day of driver's ed this morning, and has had a lot of homework. He gets his permit on Tuesday. Scott has to work today, and will be leaving in about 40 minutes. I am looking forward to doing some sewing and scrapbooking today, if I can get it together here soon. I am cooking corn beef for dinner, but I think I will be splitting it into 2 meals. I think tonight I am going to make a reuben casserole, and then save the rest for something else tomorrow night. I can't decide if gravy would taste good with corned beef or not. What do you think? Email me and let me know, if you have any ideas. I love to try new recipes.
Oh, BTW... Yesterday's recipe I posted is also supposed to be served with steamed broccoli mixed in, or on the side. I completely forgot to add the note about the broccoli, and that's what makes the dish more healthy than just eating shrimp, sugar coated walnuts, and rice. Have a great rest of the day. Please keep my brother in your prayers. He's going through a tough time right now, and could use some praying on.

Wednesday, June 10

More vacation photos - Relaxing at the condo, visiting relatives, and Grandma's 84th Birthday. Oh... and a promised recipe ;)

Thumbody and I, and his duckie (this is what he calls his blankie) relaxing at our timeshare condo, the first day we got to Branson. Our condo is actually in Kimberling City, not far from Branson.

Aunt Verna and Uncle Ray stopped by for a visit. They were camping at another resort close by.
Uncle Ray visits with Dad, and smiles for a photo.

Here's what all southern ladies do, while together. Did you know that? The men go off on their own, and the ladies "sit". To "sit" in southern terms means to actually sit and talk, and sip tea, or other beverages. We enjoyed our time "sitting" with Aunt Verna, mom and Grandma, catching up on "everything". That's the coolest part about "sitting", you get to know everything you've missed over the past couple years.
Grandma turned 84 while we were at the condo. I gave her some organic herbal tea, and some bright and colorful socks. Mom and dad gave her the prettiest decorative hat box. I believe my grandma has a collection of hat boxes, and she loved the one they gave her. I think she had a nice 84 year's young birthday.

Grandma and her hat box. Happy Birthday Grandma! Oh, the morning of her birthday, mom and dad had to leave for work, so they had to leave early in the morning. I decided that I wanted to cook her something yummy for supper, so I made that delicious Crispy Shrimp recipe that I have been raving about for the last number of posts, and that I have promised to post, more than once. I will post the recipe below. We love the recipe so much, we have it at least once every 2 weeks or so. It really is delicious.

The recipe:
Honey Walnut Shrimp
1 lb. raw shrimp (raw tastes 100 times better in this recipe than pre-cooked)
1/2 cup walnut halves
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1-2 tbsps evaporated skim milk
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 egg white (may be omitted, see below.)
1/2 cup corn starch (for coating shrimp, but may be omitted...see below.)
olive oil for frying (any oil will do though)
For the walnuts:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Peel and devein all the shrimp. Pat dry with paper towels, add the egg white, mix well with the shrimp and set aside.
Rinse the walnut halves with water, drain and set aside.
Heat up the water until it boils and add in the sugar.
Keep stirring until it turns thick and golden color and then add the walnuts.
Boil for 2 minutes, then drain and place walnuts on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray so they don't stick.
Heat oil in a wok or frying skillet on med/high. (It's 7 on my stove, but I end up turning it down to 5 to cook).
Coat the shrimp with a thick layer of corn starch and then fry in hot oil until golden brown. (I have omitted the cornstarch and egg whites altogether, and I think it's much better just to cook the shrimp until they are pink). I then drain them on a paper towel. Shrimp cook very fast, so I watch them closely, and only do as many as I can handle at one time.
In a bowl, stir together the mayo, honey, evap skim milk, and lemon juice.
Add shrimp and toss with the mayo sauce. Mix in sugar coated walnuts.
Serve with cooked rice of choice.
Enjoy!!! My family loves it. Even the young ones.

Tuesday, June 9

You know you've once lived in Wisconsin When... More SDC photos.

Your 5 YO can milk a cow. Okay, so it's not a real cow. But he took to it like a fish out of water. Speaking of fish, you'll have to look at the last photo on this post. Very funny, and entertaining. Thumbody spent time milking this cow at SDC in Branson, when we were there on vacation. Notice how the bucket says "pull gently". I mean, who wants their nipples pulled hard, right? This cow actually spewed white stuff, but I don't think it was milk. Probably chalk water, I imagine.

Thumbody enjoys steering the boats at SDC. His brother is at the other end.

And here he is. Truthseeker is having fun steering the old time boats too.

What is more fun for a 5 YO than playing in a fountain? Well, anything that has water in it, in general.

This was so very funny. The last show of the night, which if you have ever been to SDC, you know they close the park, and then start the night-time show. It changes every year, and this year was very good. Well, every year I have ever seen is good. These guys were hysterical. They are singing "Cletus Take The Reel". Too funny!

Have a great Tuesday! Scott is off today, and he is trying to get the yard work done before tomorrow, since it's supposed to rain. The kids desperately want him to put the pool up. So he is going to try to do that today as well. This is the latest we ever put our pool up. It's usually up by Memorial Day. My garden isn't even tilled yet, and it's always planted by this time of summer each year, as well. I do have my tomato patch done, and we have ripe juicy strawberries from our strawberry patch. Our plums should be ready for picking soon too.
We have so much to do today. Still have to run to the store, finish with the yard/pool, pick up a couch for our family room, and a bunch of other things that need done. Scott has off tomorrow too, but we'll focus more inside the house tomorrow, since it's supposed to rain.
Yesterday, I planted 12 or so orange day lily plants that were given to us, in one corner of the backyard, and a yellow cone flower plant in the front yard, by our purple cone flowers. It was somewhat raining yesterday when I did this, so I was pretty much coated in mud, when I was done. I also picked quite a few strawberries from our patch for dessert last night. They were wonderful. Probably grilling out tonight. Posting more photos tomorrow :) Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 8

Silver Dollar City -- 2 weeks ago.

My dad was joking that he wanted to take me on this swing ride, because when I was little I used to ask him to push me higher and higher. He said that I used to squeal, "Higher Daddy, Higher". So I obliged his wishes, and got on this swing ride. Let's just say that I will never ride this again. Can you see me praying? I was. Each and every minute that this ride lasted. First, I prayed that the harness that was holding me in the swing wouldn't break, then I prayed that I would not get sick (this one I prayed, more than once), and lastly I prayed that the ride would be over soon. I had to keep my eyes closed, for fear that I would lose my cookies all over my 2 sons on either side of me. Once I got off the ride, there was no looking back for me. I didn't even want to see what was behind me. I wanted out of there.

My dad is in the yellow shirt, Skaterboy is in the orange shirt, I am in the brown shirt, and Truthseeker is barely visible. He's so tiny in that huge seat. Luckily, everyone else enjoyed the ride. My mom took this picture as she waited for us with my grandma, and Thumbody.

Skaterboy and Truthseeker on a roller coaster at SDC. They are in the last row. It was pretty fast, and Truthseeker was thrilled that he was tall enough to ride. I have to say that hee was a bit scared afterward, I think (though he didn't really show it, in front of his big brother) because he didn't want to ride anymore roller coasters that day. His favorite ride was Fire In The Hole, which is somewhat of a small indoor roller coaster. Thumbody did not like Fire In The Hole, at all! It scared the juice right out of him, and I should have known it would. I remember being terrified of Fire In The Hole when I was 5. I hated that ride, now that I remember it. I guess I deserve the "Bad Mommy Award" for not remembering. My poor baby.

Truthseeker is smiling in the photo right now, but they haven't left yet. I don't think he knows what is in store for him.

All of us (minus Scott who had to work) waiting for the saloon show to start. We had such a fun day. I just love SDC, and we forgot to go down in the cave. I was so bummed, when it was too late to go. Well, next time the boys will be a bit older, so it will be more memorable for them then. The last two times we were at SDC, I was pregnant, so I haven't been on a cave tour in quite some time.
Pictures of mom, dad, grandma, Truthseeker, and Thumbody.

Here's my sweet Skaterboy. This photo kind of makes me sad, since he's 16, and really has only a few family vacations left with us (as a child). I will miss him when he's out on his own, and not going on family vacations with us anymore. I hope he still will. I just don't know what I will do not being able to see his beautiful face each and every day. Oh, and he starts driver's ed on Wednesday. Homeschoolers are allowed to take driver's ed at the h.s. during the summer time if there's room for them. He and another homeschool friend of his are taking it together, so they won't be all alone, not knowing anyone.

Sunday, June 7

Well, here are the Dam photos I promised you yesterday. We actually got to see the dam open and the water pouring out with great strength. This made the fishing that we had intended to do, not so good. There was no doubt that the fish were moving, but too fast, I fear, to stop for a bite to eat. This is the Truman Dam, in Warsaw, MO.

Below, Truthseeker tries his hand at fishing anyhow. The men behind him are using huge rod and reels, hoping to catch a big fish. The fish were moving so fast that when they would get a bite, it would break their line, every time.
Thumbody enjoyed playing on the rocks most. He kind of reminded me of the Morton salt girl. Don't ask me why, maybe it's the way he's walking joyfully amongst the rocks.

See the foam from the dam water? There was so much foam from the rapid rush of water flowing through the dam, that it kind of reminded me of the ocean waves. Very fast, and heavy.

Thumbody smiles ever so cutely under the no swimming sign. Do ya think you should swim here? I'd say, "not"!

Tomorrow I will post photos from Silver Dollar City, near Branson. Have a great Sunday afternoon!

Saturday, June 6

More photos from our trip. Thumbody's B-day and Christmas in May with Nonnie and Papa

We had a great time celebrating Thumbody's birthday and Christmas in May with mom and dad. Ethan is thrilled with his new video, as was mom and dad were with their baskets of goodies. I already mentioned how much we are enjoying our Cold Stone Ice Cream set, with all the goodies to go with it, and the tortilla warmer (which we used tonight with our tacos), and our microwave splatter cover (I will never have to clean my microwave again...LOL). We did go to Cold Stone Creamery last week after Scott's doctor's appt, and we bought a half gallon of their cheese cake ice cream. The guy thought I was nuts when I just asked for the ice cream, and told him that we would mix it at home, but he sold it to us. It was worth the $10 we spent on our gift certificate. We will probably be buying "good" ice cream from the supermarket with the rest of the gift certificate though, so it will go further. Thanks mom and dad for some great gifts! Oh, I forgot to add that they also gave us a book about the meaning of Christmas, a cute "happy birthday Jesus" ornament for our tree, and a Willow Tree collectible to add to my collection. You may be wondering why we waited until May to do Christmas, but we simply hadn't seen them since Thanksgiving last year, and in our family we like to watch each other open their gifts, even if they're late. It's just a tradition we have always had. Enjoy the photos, I will post more tomorrow. Probably the Dam photos. I'm not swearing, they really are Dam photos :)

Wednesday, June 3

Vacation Photos - Day 1- Observing nature.

I have so many photos from our vacation last week, that there is absolutely no way that I can post them all in one day. I will have to post some every day, but I will try to keep them in order. So check back regularly. One thing that I have noticed this trip, probably more than I have noticed any other time in my boys is their fondness of nature. Charlotte Mason said that one of the most important learning experiences for a child is learning the art of observation in nature, and your surroundings. Over the past year, I have noticed that their fondness for nature was growing, and the fire for learning about nature was maturing in them. On this particular trip however, I noticed for the first time, unguided observation of nature, in my children. Let me explain more clearly, in case I am not making sense. For the past year, we have been doing weekly nature studies, learning to observe nature as it unfolds around us. We have studied many things. Different plants, trees, flowers, animals, birds, seasons, etc. The kids have sketched and painted in their nature notebooks. They have learned the scientific names for these different things we have studied. They have gone on numerous field trips and nature walks, learning from park rangers, and through the use of nature guides. But until this trip, I hadn't felt that they had grasped exactly what Charlotte Mason meant when she stated how important personal observation of nature was to children.

Then I saw it, when I wasn't even watching for it. My 5 year old crouching down to observe something. I was talking to my grandma, but watching him at the same time. He was about 5 feet from me, and my heart skipped a beat as he ever so gently lifted a rock on my grandma's patio, and crouched down even closer to watch what was going on under that rock. He observed in silence, studying every so carefully, like I had never seen him do before. For moments on end he continued to observe, quietly taking it all in. It was at that moment that I knew what Charlotte Mason meant.

She stated all so eloquently that parents should not fill their children's minds with what they know about nature. That children should have the freedom to explore and observe, and ask if they feel inclined to. But only if they feel inclined. Watching Thumbody at that moment made every minute I spent on nature study this year worthwhile. I hadn't taught him this, no matter how much I would have loved the credit. This was instinctive, and unguided; all his doing. I'm so proud of my little guy, and my big boys too. They are all very attentive to nature. Pointing out certain birds by name, or noticing small animals that might be overlooked. Or even insects, like Thumbody found. It's just the beginning, of a world of learning more about God's creation. What could be finer?
Fishing off of Nonnie and Papa's dock.
Thumbody tries his hand at fishing, for the first time.

Can you see the excitement in his eyes?

Skaterboy is digging into the big bait box on the dock.

Truthseeker waits patiently for a bite.