Saturday, March 21, 2015

Uncle James and Aunt Dolores

Aunt Dolores is my Mom's sister. She and her husband called unexpectedly over the weekend to let us know they'd be close to San Antonio, and would we like to meet them for supper? 

So, of course, yes! I love seeing family, especially family we don't see very often.

 I took these pictures of Phoebe eating cotton candy just for Nana. Uncle James remembers stopping at the store to buy me and my siblings a bag of candy because, "kids should have candy." And my mom did not allow a lot of sugar in the house. :-) Which was not in the least detrimental to our health and possibly the reason none of us had cavities as kids. Anyway, this picture was just to make Nana say something like, "I ca-an't believe you let those kids have that!" 

 Uncle James and Aunt Dolores were always fun to be around growing up. They had horses and Uncle James would show at horse cutting competitions. We got to watch him anytime he was in Crowley for one. I just learned that their daughter Darlene (my cousin; I don't know her well because she's a bit older than me) was the Youth Reserve World Champion in 1981 for cutting horses. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Mostly Swimming

 Harrison enjoys going outside now that it's getting warmer. He's been asking me to go with him lately though. Good excuse to get me outside too. This is a Mimi idea that I like to use when I don't want the little kids to paint with real paints - glass of water, paint brush and sidewalk with the sun to dry your canvas so you can paint a new piece.

 This just says itself.

 We weren't going to take a break for spring break. I didn't even know it was spring break till the last minute. But Elizabeth found free week-long swim activities going on at an indoor pool, so we decided to take Spring Break. The kids got swim lessons and lots of free time to play in the water. The older three do so well at swimming and I'm glad. They're better than I am. One of my worst fears used to be driving over bridges because I can't swim very well and I was afraid I couldn't save the kids. They might be the ones saving me! 

 Harrison did not like the water, however. I tried to get him in on two different days, but he was pretty terrified. Or cold. It's supposed to be a heated pool, but it was still pretty cold. So he and I sat at the benches. I read or memorized or texted or watched the kids. He made up stories or snuggled on my lap.

 This is a bakery near the Natatorium. (New word for me) 
The kids loved it. 

 A family was having a late lunch and shared some juice and mandarin oranges with Harrison. 

 During free swimming, the older three always stuck together. Funny how that works. A crowd full of strangers brings them together. 

 This is Harrison's "Rocket-feller" costume. 
He watched "The Men Who Built America" recently and really took to Rockefeller. He's trying to do his eyes the same way as the actor from the show.

He is moving dirt to build a mound which is supposed to be an oil derrick, I think. He's going to be an oil man apparently.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Kid Sweetness

Just a few things we've been doing lately. I feel the need to post what pictures we've got since we like to go through the blog and remember. And I think we may have lost a bunch of baby pictures when our hard drive crashed, so the blog is seeming more and more precious. 

Jonathan picked this lovely rose for me. 

And Jonathan put this Lego Technic set together that he purchased. He had to redo some parts at different times. It was a more difficult set to put together which was really good for stretching him.  

I made a Jayne hat and Elizabeth took a picture using her homemade lightbox. We didn't have great lighting at this point in the evening, but I thought the lightbox was pretty cool.

The adorable Best Beloved.

And Phillip commissioned Elizabeth to make some chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine's Day. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

New Recipe

Okay, ya'll. I'm not great at coming up with creative dishes. When cooking,  I'm inspired by recipes I see. I buy the ingredients needed and work from there. Some people look at the ingredients in their cupboard and refrigerator and are inspired to make something from what they already have. I was granted a little taste of that this week and I love it!

My parents sent us some homemade butters (fruit butters) and jams. The kids were thrilled! Peeking in the fridge, I decided to try some pear butter on a toasted ham and cheese sandwich. Pears or apples are often paired with pork, so I figured it would at least taste good. Someone had given us their leftover Pepper Jack cheese slices from the Super Bowl party we went to; I used that instead of the shredded cheddar or Velveeta that was our usual availability. I had minced some shallots for our lunch meal that day, and they were also calling my name.

This is the best toasted sandwich I've ever eaten! Seriously the best. I've had one the last three evening meals. And I gave some to Phillip who is also sufficiently impressed. I would eat another right now except we're out of ham.

Thank you, Dad, for the pear butter which inspired this most delicious sandwich!


2 slices Bread (we use honey-wheat bread ~ not the 100% wheat)
A bit of regular yellow Mustard (I'm sure Dijon mustard would be good too)
1 slice Pepper Jack Cheese
3? slices thin-sliced Ham (We used very little ham since I wanted to stretch it out to last as many sandwiches as possible)
1 tsp minced Shallots (we also used chopped onion when we ran out of shallots, but I liked the shallots best)
Aupa's Pear Butter (I don't know this recipe; store-bought apple butter might work okay)

Heat a frying pan on medium-high heat. Once heated, melt some butter in the pan. Lay a slice of bread down on the melted goodness. Squirt a little mustard on the bread. Lay a slice of cheese down, then ham, sprinkle with shallots. Spread pear butter on the other slice of bread and lay (pear side down) on the sandwich. Pick up the sandwich with a spatula and butter the pan again ~ flip the sandwich over and toast long enough to allow the cheese to melt and the pear butter to heat up. You might need to lower the temp for a longer cook time.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Harrison Alone

Harrison wanted to go with me to drop Elizabeth off at a youth event at church. He said he wanted to play by himself at the playground, and "You don't have to come with me, Mom; I know how to do it by myself."

I did end up sitting in the play area listening to a podcast while he played alone. He had a story going on in his head and was running from one playscape to another making spaceship noises. A couple of girls eventually showed up and one of them told him hi. He ran up to me smiling ~

"Mom, that wittle gul just told me 'hi'! (chuckle, chuckle) I can't beweive it!"

"Did you tell her 'hi' back?"

"No, I fohgot. (chuckle, chuckle) I usually do."

And he ran off to play by himself.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

My Sister Comes to Visit

Tonya and Joshua came to visit us for a weekend. We had seen Tonya and Jordan last year in Louisiana at Momo's funeral, but most of my kids had not yet met Joshua. It means a lot that she took the time and money to come spend some time with us.

Upon arrival she had lots of Valentine treats to give to all the kids. 

Saturday morning games and cartoons.

Celebrating Tonya's birthday with pork chops, mashed potatoes, corn and 
pineapple-upside-down cupcakes.

Of course, the Alamo! It was a little drizzly but still fun.

The kids all played fine together, but Phoebe and Joshua especially got along well. Asleep on the bedroom floor when there was at least one bed available.Very sweet.

And Sunday we watched the Seahawks play in the Super Bowl. They didn't win, unfortunately for my sister's sake (and it was her birthday too!), but I had a good time visiting. That's what matters, right? :-) We had some good talks in between the activities. 
It really is a special relationship to have ~ sister to sister. And cousin to cousin. I always love my kids to spend time with their cousins. Glad you came, sis!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Library Field Trip

We took a little field trip to the country's first all-digital public library which opened right here in south San Antonio in 2013. 

But first, a van full of crazies. This is what we do on co-op day 
if it's too cold and rainy outside for the kids to play. 

Ashley is the lovely head librarian who gave us a tour. 
We were there before library hours, so we had the place all to ourselves. 

That's a lot of iMacs. 

They do a lot of technology help and training. 
They do not lend out physical books, but they do lend out eReaders (Nooks, I think) through which books can be checked out.
They go out into the community to do events and training. 
They have a specialist on staff who helps legally blind constituents with devices.
They do lots of other stuff too, but I can't remember it right now. :-)

Once Ashley showed us this room, there was no leaving. 
And how nice to have it to ourselves for an hour or so!
There were two Xbox Kinects on the wall, several Surface Tables, iPads, 
and other computer-type devices filled with kid-friendly games.

It's a county library as opposed to a city library, so we got another set of library cards so we can use all the wonderful resources they offer online. They're a little far to drive to very often, but you can check out everything online (of course), so there's no need to drive. Elizabeth is excited about having a new set of books to browse through. I'm excited about (which is free access only from the physical library) and Mango (online language lessons for the kids!). And there's a number of other resources I need to look into. 

It was a fun excursion. A first for our country (I'm sure many more will follow; they're already planning another all-digital location on the West side of San Antonio). And we had some great talks with the librarian about the direction of our culture and ebooks and paper books. She was homeschooled growing up as well, so that was fun to talk about.