Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cuttin' up in the Corn!

I'm so excited. Finally, I got to go to a corn maze! I've always wanted to go to one. Monday was homeschool day at a farm 1 1/2 hours away from where we live . We packed a picnic lunch and loaded up our friends. The farm was just beautiful and the people so nice. The corn maze was just one of many things to do. Of course, that's what we did first. It was really cute. At each point where you had to decide which way to go you were asked a question. One answer you turned right, the other you turned left. Thankfully there were guides throughout to help you. We especially needed help because we entered through the EXIT!!!!

After we made our way back out we went on a hay ride around the farm. What a gorgeous place. Then there were animals to pet, ducks floating around on the pond, a cow train to ride on, and a corn canon to shoot. That was really fun. After all the activities, we spread out our blanket and ate our picnic lunch under the shade of some big oak trees. While Sandy and I visited, the girls played on the slides, swings and in a huge wooden box of corn kernels. What a great day! If you're ever in southern Mississippi, be sure to visit the Seward Farm in Lucedale. They have a website that tells all about it http://www.cornfieldmaze.com/sites.php?ID=&username=mslucedale
Our family
The Kernel Corn Box
Mary shooting the corn canon
All the girls

Miss Patty Cake

When my middle daughter was a toddler, she just loved Miss Patty Cake! We had the cd's and videos and even drove an hour to go see her live. I even made her a dress just like Miss Patty Cake's. For those who don't know, Miss Patty Cake is a real, live person who sings and tells stories to preschoolers about the Lord. She's so sweet and full of energy that everybody loves her. We recently saw a flyer at the library saying she would be at a church only 30 minutes from us. I was so excited! I just knew my 3 year old would enjoy it as much as her sister. We dug out the "Patty Cake" dress and off we went. We had a great time. I have to admit that Emma wasn't quite as excited about the show as Grace had been at that age. Grace went along this time for old times sake. I was so happy to see her enjoying the songs and dances. Sometimes I think our children grow up too quickly. They throw out the baby dolls and want to wear "adult" clothes. I'm so proud of Grace for being herself and just having fun!
Miss Patty Cake
Emma in Grace's "Patty Cake" dress

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fun with Friends

Once again our friends are back in town! Hopefully they'll be here for good soon. We started our day at the library for story time with the little ones. Then we headed to the beach to have a picnic and just play and visit. Here's a look at some of the fun we had.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Nature Writer

I just came across this. I would love to read more from her.

Young Rachel Carson’s playground was the fields and the woods surrounding her home near the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania. She grew up delighting in the beauty of the natural world. Language and story became her second love and when she wasn’t exploring nature – she was writing stories and poetry to share with her family.
At age ten, Rachel found success publishing her stories in a popular children’s magazine of her time, St. Nicholas. That success and the fact that she earned a little money from publishing inspired her to become a writer. She began college as an English major but switched to biology when she took a biology course and found her love of nature rekindled. It wasn’t until Rachel was working in her first assignment for her first job at for the United States Bureau of Fisheries that she realized that she could combine both loves. Her assignment was to write a series of radio programs on marine life called “Romance Under the Waters,” and they were so successful that she realized that through her writing she could share her knowledge of science and fascination with nature.
Sadly, none of Rachel’s poetry has survived the last one-hundred years, though there are a few rejection slips so we know that even this gifted writer experienced the agony of publishing. But Linda Lear, her biographer, found this lovely essay titled “My Favorite Recreation” published in St. Nicholas Magazine when Rachel was fifteen.

My Favorite Recreation-- by Rachel Carson
The call of the trail on that dewy May morning was too strong to withstand. The sun was barely an hour high when Pal and I set off for a day of our favorite sport with a lunch-box, a canteen, a note-book, and a camera. Your experienced woodsman will say that we were going birds’ –nesting – in the most approved fashion.
Soon our trail turned aside into deeper woodland. It wound up a gently sloping hill, carpeted with fragrant pine-needles. It was our own discovery, Pal’s and mine, and the fact gave us a thrill of exultation. It was the sort of place that awes you by its majestic silence, interrupted only by the rustling breeze and the distant tinkle of water.
Near at hand we heard the cheery “witchery, witchery,” of the Maryland yellow-throat. For half an hour we trailed him, until we came out on a sunny slope. There in some low bushes we found the nest, containing four jewel-like eggs. To the little owner’s consternation, we came close enough to snap a picture.
Countless discoveries made the day memorable: the bobwhite’s nest, tightly packed with eggs, the oriole’s aerial cradle, the frame-work of sticks which the cuckoo calls a nest, and the lichen-covered home of the humming-bird.
Late in the afternoon a penetrating “Teacher! teacher! TEACHER!” reached our ears. An oven-bird! A careful search revealed his nest, a little round ball of grass, securely hidden on the ground.
The cool of approaching night settled. The wood-thrushes trilled their golden melody. The setting sun transformed the sky into a sea of blue and gold. A vesper-sparrow sang his evening lullaby. We turned slowly homeward, gloriously tired, gloriously happy!
“My Favorite Recreation” from St. Nicholas Magazine, vol. 49 (July 1922), p. 999. Republished in Lost Woods: The Discovered Writings of Rachel Carson by Linda Lear (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1998).
***********During her career, Rachel continued to write in a way that communicates scientific knowledge in a literary style that non-scientists found compelling. She published numerous magazine articles and four books: Under the Sea Wind (1941), The Sea Around Us (1950), The Edge of the Sea (1955), and Silent Spring (1962). A fifth book, The Sense of Wonder, was based on an article and published in 1965 after her death. Selections from her field notebooks and public speeches collected by Linda Lear are published in Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson (1998).
Probably no piece of her writing crystallizes Rachel Carson’s philosophy more than this, the closing statement from The Edge of the Sea (1955):

Contemplating the teeming life of the shore, we have an uneasy sense of the communication of some universal truth that lies just beyond our grasp. What is the message signaled by the hordes of diatoms, flashing their microscopic lights in the night sear? What truth is expressed by the legions of the barnacles, whitening the rocks with their habitations, each small creature within finding the necessities of its existence in the sweep of the surf? And what is the meaning of so tiny a being as the transparent wisp of protoplasm that is a sea lace existing for some reason inscrutable to us – a reason that demands its presence by the trillion amid the rocks and weeds of the shore? The meaning haunts and ever eludes us, and in its very pursuit we approach the ultimate mystery of Life itself.
Life in the Rachel Carson Reserve

Friday, September 7, 2007

Gifts from Heaven

Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven. ~James 1:17

Be still and know that I am God;~Psalm 46:10

All Grown Up

One of my nieces is a freshman in high school this year. Last night I went to her volleyball game. We only live 30 minutes from them, but don't see each other often. She has 4 siblings going different directions and we're always running around here. Anyway, each time I do see her I'm shocked at how much she's grown and changed. One thing that never changes about her is her sweet heart. She has such a quiet loving spirit. As soon as the game was over she was up in the bleachers hugging me and her cousins. She's always been the mothering one who watched after who ever was my youngest at the time. I miss her being a little girl, but she's such a beautiful young lady. I know God must have big things in store for her.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Fabulous Dinner

Okay, I'm not exactly known for my cooking skills. I enjoy cooking, it's just such an effort for me. 2 of my girls were sick on Friday so we sat and watched some of their favorite TV channel-Food Network. Some of the recipes looked so delicious I just had to try them. Not only were they easy, but they turned out GREAT! Give 'em a try.

1 pound fresh bay or sea scallops Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper All-purpose flour, for dredging 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided 1/2 cup chopped shallots (2 large) 1 garlic clove, minced 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves 1/3 cup dry white wine 1 lemon, cut in 1/2
If you're using bay scallops, keep them whole. If you're using sea scallops, cut each 1 in half horizontally. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss with flour, and shake off the excess.
In a very large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat until sizzling and add the scallops in 1 layer. Lower the heat to medium and allow the scallops to brown lightly on 1 side without moving them, then turn and brown lightly on the other side. This should take 3 to 4 minutes, total. Melt the rest of the butter in the pan with the scallops, then add the shallots, garlic, and parsley and saute for 2 more minutes, tossing the seasonings with the scallops. Add the wine, cook for 1 minute, and taste for seasoning. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice.

1 cup uncooked long-grain (white) basmati rice (recommended: Texmati) 1 3/4 cups water 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 2 tablespoons minced fresh curly parsley leaves 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill leaves 1 tablespoon minced fresh scallions, white and green parts Pinch freshly ground black pepper
Combine the rice, 1 3/4 cups water, the salt, and butter in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat to low, stir once, and simmer, covered tightly, for 15 minutes. (I need to pull the pot half off the burner to keep it from boiling over.) Turn off the heat and allow the rice to sit covered for 5 minutes. Add the parsley, dill, scallions, and pepper. Fluff with a fork, and serve warm.


2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 eggs 12 vanilla wafers 1 (21-ounce) can blueberry filling, or other pie filling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a paper cupcake liner in each cup of a muffin pan.
Beat cream cheese with a handheld electric mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Place a vanilla wafer, flat side down, in each muffin cup. Spoon cream cheese mixture over wafers. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow tarts to cool completely. Serve with blueberry filling on top, or pie filling of your choice.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Sweet Sisters

Despite the heat we've been managing to get outside for extended periods of time daily. It's so good for all of us. We come back inside refreshed and renewed and in much better spirits. The girls even seem to get along better when we're outside. I captured some of those sweet moments.

Emma & Mary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Grace & Emma

Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday the girls had their first reading in Abraham Lincoln's World. Later that afternoon we went for a walk along the bay and through the rose garden. We were pleasantly surprised to see....Mr. Lincoln's Rose!

Baby Ballerina

All last year, Emma would cry when I would drop Mary or Grace off at ballet. She wanted to go to dance too. This year we decided she could try it-afterall she wears a dance suit and ballet slippers every day anyway. LOL! She has a fabulous teacher who is full of imagination (and patience). The best thing of all is that the teacher asked Mary and Grace to assist in the class. 3 year olds have to take lots of potty breaks! Emma is thrilled to be dancing each week. Here she is on her first day. I was shocked she picked out a blue dance suit-she lives in pink!

School Days!

We officially started school this week. Here's a picture of the girls-all excited and ready to go.

Passion Flower

Thanks to another Ambleside mom we've found out the name of the beautiful flower that grows on our fence.
Passion flower

Scientific classification