Saturday, January 16, 2016

South Texas Visit

We went to visit Mimi and Papa for Phillip's birthday. 
That's a nice thing about homeschooling ~ you can rearrange the school schedule whenever you want or need to. 

The kids opened their Christmas gifts from Mimi and Papa. The gifts gave them something to do while hanging out for a couple of days.

We went to see the Iwo Jima memorial in Harlingen, TX. It's the original full-size plaster model of the famous bronze sculpture in Washington, DC. There was a short movie about it, and Papa told us some stories that he'd heard from men who had been in that battle.

A delicious Mexican restaurant. 

A farmer friend of Papa's invited us to his citrus orchard to pick grapefruit, oranges, and lemons. He often sends down bags of fruit when Mimi and Papa come to visit, and so we are blessed with lots of fresh citrus!

He had some stories to tell us too about dealing with thieves who will come fill the back of a pick-up with the fruit and then sell it at farmer's markets. 

He told us about these cutter ants that like the leaves and some of the fruit. He said they're fine for older trees, but they can destroy young trees. The ants were marching in a long line and we followed  them to their nest. They have big squarish heads and spider-looking legs. Quite industrious little folks. 

Harrison and Emily the day after we got back and had to start right back to school and HAAC day. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Christmas Time

I've had some trouble accessing my photos this past month, so there are quite a few pictures here that have been saved up. They are not necessarily in order, but that's okay. They at least belong mostly to the month of December of 2015. Good enough for me.

My mom has been in Louisiana the past 6 months settling Momo's affairs (selling the house; allocating possessions to family members, etc). We received two wooden chairs and these figurines. The wooden chairs are from my Great Grandma Emilie (Momo's mother). My mom said she had these chairs in her welcoming room. It was like a tiny parlor where visitors would sit when they came visiting. If you know Cajuns, you know they like to go visiting. Mom thinks the chairs have to be a hundred years old. They're great quality ~ very sturdy. I'm blessed to receive them. 

I remember the boy and girl figurines being on Momo's shelf from earliest memories. Mom isn't sure where she got them. The little bell is a wedding favor, it seems like. It also came from Great Grandma Emilie. The little tag reads, 
"Wedding bells are ringing! As our hearts are singing! A celebration has begun! For two hearts are joined as one! Ring the bell to wish the Bride and Groom a lifetime of Love and Happiness."
Perhaps it was an alternative to throwing rice as the bride and groom left the building. I believe Grandma liked collecting bells and Momo received some of them (or all of them?) when Grandma passed away. Momo kept them on a wooden shelf in her house. This was the only bell that had a clapper left in it.

I wanted to keep track of these little stories about the antiques we received, but I knew if I wrote them down, I would lose the paper in a shuffle. Perhaps they will survive better on the blog and my kids will know the stories behind these family treasures.

Phoebe's bonnet that she requested for Christmas. 
She bought the apron at Pioneer Farms this past year.

Elizabeth's Archery Lessons that she requested. 
The discovery class was only $10, so I went ahead and took it with her. Feels pretty awesome to shoot a bow and arrow.

Christmas day in the morning!

One of the two family chairs from Grandma Emilie.

Selfies at church in Louisiana. We sat in the back, so it's okay.  

Christmas day in the morning. 
Harrison and his 3-foot shark. He calls it Long-Shot because it's so long.

This was so neat ~ I had mentioned to my kids and a neighbor that it might be fun for our kids to carol to one of our elderly neighbors. Well, the kids were not thrilled with the idea, so I let it go. But then on Christmas Eve, Phoebe and Charlize knocked on our door and sang "Jingle Bells" to us and it was very loud and sounded really good, so I asked them if they would invite some other neighbors and go sing to the Cokers. They did (Mr. Coker gave them each a dollar). Then they went to more houses. At each house, more kids joined the caroling group. One family passed out festive hats for them to wear. Most of the families gave the carolers candy. And just about everyone loved it. (One lady, who I believe is Jehovah's Witness, asked the kids to stop because she was on the phone.) It was really neat to watch the kids plan and accomplish this on their own. And this might seem silly, but it was something I had prayed about happening to cheer up our elderly neighbors, but had dropped the idea. And then it went and happened without me needing to make it happen. I love that. 

Christmas Eve watching of "A Christmas Carol." 

Another neighbor who is from Trinidad. 
She wanted a picture of the kids in front of her tree. She decorates her tree with poinsettias. It makes a vibrant decoration for a home. 

At church in Louisiana. 
My dad was there to pick up my Mom and we were all able to sit together in church. Uncle Gerald even sat with us. I did not get a picture of Grandpa Black, but he was also at church and we ate lunch with him at Golden Corral and we went to visit him right before we drove back to San Antonio. So we got to spend quite a bit of our time with him. Such a neat story; I'm grateful he's now in our lives.

Our meal for Christmas Day. 
We were home for Christmas and then traveled Saturday morning to go to Louisiana. We came back Sunday evening, so it was a quick trip. But our Christmas meal was simple. The rolls did not rise to the occasion like I would have liked, but they were still okay. Edible at least. :-) The vanilla crumb pie was tasty, but I had to make the custard part twice. And the crust was not that great. I have never been able to get the hang of making pie crust. That'll give me something to keep me busy in life though; something to continue aspiring to. The kids all liked the cornbread casserole this year. Their taste buds are maturing! 

Another caroling picture of Charlize, Phoebe, and Kaia. 

This was a gift for Phoebe. 
She had mentioned maybe wanting a certain tea set that you decorate, but didn't seem particularly thrilled about it (she was listing off gift possibilities for us). Phillip said maybe we should get her a real tea cup and saucer since she's getting older and might appreciate that more. So I went to a thrift store close by to see if they had anything neat. I saw this one and loved it. It's made in England which made it even more desirable since Phoebe loves to listen on Librivox to stories that take place in England ("Little Princess" and such). I asked the store owner if I could just purchase those two pieces since I could tell the set was already incomplete. She didn't want to sell just the two pieces, so I told her I only had $10-$15 to spend on this gift. She thought about it and then said I could have the whole set for $15. So Phoebe got 7 pieces for her Christmas gift, and I was thrilled that I got a deal. (This is a big deal to me because I'm not great at making deals!)

We tackled gingerbread houses again. 
The last time we made gingerbread houses was 5 years ago. We made the gingerbread ourselves and it took several days and it was a huge mess. This time we bought kits and it was so much better! The candy tasted gross (this is a great thing if you don't want the kids to keep eating the candy!), there were plenty of materials (I thought for sure the kit wouldn't have enough frosting), the gingerbread was well packaged (I also thought for sure there would be some broken pieces when we opened it up). And I'm pretty sure we spent less money with the kits than when we bought all those different kinds of candy. Nonetheless, here's to another 5 years before we do that again!