Friday, July 29, 2011

Week in Review #36: Bb is for Bear and Blessed

Since last week was kind of funky we did "B" again with a little bit of "A" thrown in and a very special guest--the letter "F"! Autumn saw the feet coloring pages and wanted a piece of that action.

Hannah went to insect camp at church Tuesday-Thursday. A mini day camp just like the cooking one she went to a couple weeks ago. I do not know what it is about bugs that intrigue her so much, especially since she's a girl.  Yes, I'm being sexist here. She's also my child, so being a ninny is automatically woven into her DNA.  On Wednesday there was a grasshopper (or it might have been a katydid) on our wall, so Ryan put it in a plastic container with air holes in the lid so Hannah could take it to camp.  Everyone was very impressed! :)

While "Sissy" was at camp, Autumn was quite busy with other activities aside from her letter worksheets:

Patterns and colors

Rubber stamps. Get that ink, girl!

No pictures of it, but Autumn and I also went to the library on Wednesday morning.  So strange taking only one child. :)

Throughout the week both girls did some "B" crafts:

Brown Bear


Ryan bought some shirt keepers to keep his shirt tucked into his pants of his police uniform, but they didn't work out very well.  So the money would not be wasted the girls found a new use for them:

*insert 80s hair band reference here*
Hannah said head bands make you faster.  She's been watching too much "Olivia" I think. :)

The post is linked up with the Weekly Wrap-Up.

Summer Reading Program

The girls both participated in the summer reading program at the Millington Public Library--Hannah read and Autumn was read to. :)  Every three books read got a chance to put your name in a drawing for a new bike--plus they also had a bunch of little prizes depending on how many books you read.  We didn't win the bike, but the girls were perfectly thrilled with the little prizes they received which included night lights, styrofoam gliders in the shape of bugs, glow in the dark lizards, and bubbles.

We signed up three weeks ago I believe.  Got a late start but I had already started tracking all the books Hannah was reading this summer. I just had to start also tracking the books I read to Autumn. :)

Autumn's books

The Berenstain Bears Go to Camp
The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Money (times that by 10! She loves this one)
Spongebob: The Great Snail Race
The Berenstain Bears Go to the Doctor
The Berenstain Bears and the Sitter
Old Hat New Hat
If I Lived Alone
Molly Moves to Sesame Street
The Berenstain Bears Go Out for the Team
The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Birthday
The Berenstain Bears and the Homework Hassle
The Berenstain Bears and the Double Dare
And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street
The Berenstain Bears and the Golden Rule
The Berenstain Bears' Moving Day

Hannah's books

Hop on Pop
Little Bear's Visit
Llama Llama Red Pajama
Owl at Home
The Bears' Christmas
A Kiss for Little Bear
Kindergarten Count to 100
Father Bear Comes Home
Little Bear
Are You My Mother?
Green Eggs and Ham
The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
Go Dog Go!
Wings on Things
Oh The Thinks You Can Think!
Bears on Wheels
The Berenstain Bears and the Sitter
Old Hat New Hat
If I Lived Alone
Molly Moves to Sesame Street
The World of Dick and Jane
Wacky Wednesday
And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street
Little Bear's Friend

Oh, yes, we love the Berenstain Bears around here! :) Ryan likes to make up his own stories when reading to the girls like saying Sister and Brother are going to reform school rather than summer camp. He is such a hot mess sometimes.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Nap Incomplete

Had to pick up her sister from bug camp :P

Linked up at Wordless and Wordfull Wednesdays at Mama to 4 Blessings

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sour Cream Pound Cake


1/3cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/3 flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream

In a small bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.  Set aside.  In a large bowl combine oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in flour, alternating with the sour cream until blended. Grease a loaf pan (I prefer Pam Baking spray because it's made with flour) and bake for 1 hour at 325.  Let cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting and serving.


While still slightly warm, serve with a scoop of ice cream on top!

To save on calories, you can use 1/2 cup of margarine instead of the oil.  I have done that and it's always delicious, but the oil holds it together so well!

You can use 1/2 cup of plain yogurt instead of sour cream!

I'll Keep Future Visits a Surprise!

At the Memphis Zoo entrance
My parents came to visit us for the weekend.  I think my mom was tired of hearing about all our zoo adventures and she wanted to see it for herself. :) Let me tell you what I was tired of--Hannah counting down the days for a week straight!! Every single morning the first thing she said, "Only (x) more days until Grendy and Papaw get here!" Oh my gosh! I started to think that I should keep their visit a surprise, but before I could tell Ryan my idea he had already told Hannah they were coming. Oh, well.  We spent Saturday morning at the zoo, lunch at Chick Fila, took a nap, and then they took the kids to their hotel for the night!  Ryan and I took advantage and had a date! We had dinner at Joe's Crab Shack and saw the new Harry Potter (wonderful! I actually thought it was worth paying to see it in the theater!).  Sunday was church and then lunch at IHOP.  I actually ordered something light...kinda proud of myself. :) A great weekend and now the countdown to the Atlanta Zoo will begin!  Ten days!

Fun pics from the weekend:

post-zoo lunch at Chick Fila!

Autumn and Papaw at IHOP

cooling off at a misting station at the zoo...those things are amazing!

hanging out at the herpatarium

Grendy and Hannah at IHOP

Hannah and this super huge

Julie and Splish get a drink :)

lounging at the pool at Grendy and Papaw's hotel

Grendy comforting Autumn on the carousel...oy


Ryan is amazed by the steampot at Joe's!

sea lion show! so cute!

sweet sisters

30-Day Mom Challenge

I like to think I'm not the only mom out there who by the end of the day wonders if she did enough to contribute to the raising of her children.  I could easily say "Oh, what's one day?", but then that one day turns into weeks, then months and then years. I think you know where I'm going with this.  I found this 30-day Mom Challenge which is originally from iMom, which I think will be a fun thing to do--not saying you can't hug your kids until Day 3--just make it a point to do so on the given day. I find myself already doing Day 9.  Day 2 might be a bit of a challenge for some (I'm included in that). It's all definitely worth a shot though, right? :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

This is good if you're feeling a little lazy :)

 I got this from Almost Unschoolers.  Just a fun, thing to do when you have a lazy moment. :) 

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (I'm counting high school marching band ;D)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain (just a 12,000 footer - no ropes or gear needed)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (from the shore)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29 Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33 Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (tried to anyway)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41 Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45 Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60 Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64 Donated blood, platelets, or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66 Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67 Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79 Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House (saw it from the outside)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life (I'm a mother, right?)
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Friday, July 22, 2011

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

I made this and the Sopapilla Cheesecake for my Sunday school class last week and what a success! :) Hardly anything was left! Then again, who doesn't like carb-loaded sugary goodness? Ha!

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon
1 cup sugar (take 1 tablespoon of that out and set aside)
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup buttermilk

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and the larger portion of the sugar until light and fluffy.

2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.

3. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries.

4. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Tip: I don't know about the rest of you but I typically don't keep buttermilk around the house so I knew that it would go to waste if I bought some.  Just add a tablespoon of lemon juice to regular milk and that should work just fine. :)

This recipe originally from Alexandra Cooks

Week in Review #35: Bb is for Bugs and Blah

Occupational hazard of being a lefty

 Even though we did some school, this whole week has just felt a bit off. I guess partly it's adjusting to Ryan's new work schedule.  With him home in the morning I guess I depended on him helping us get a running start on the day. :) Ooops.  We also need some solid organization for school.  I'm going to start using the workbox system which sounds simply glorious...setting everything up the night before. Oh yeah.  It didn't really seem necessary last year, but now that Autumn is thrown into the mix I need something that won't make me feel so scatterbrained. Just need to go to Wal-mart and get those plastic totes! :-D

You can see the frustration all over her face!

 We will do a combination of A and B next week as more of a review (although I did throw in a D is for Dora page just for fun).  Autumn did some letter recognition using graffiti in the restroom at Kroger this week. LOL Like my mom said, "Think of the words she'll learn!" Oy.  Cross that bridge when we get to it! Identifying colors and shapes are perfect! Hand-eye coordination has improved but she's drawing lines right to left instead of the other way around. No worries.  We also worked on cutting for the first time.  I found some special scissors that don't open all the way (only $1.97 at Walmart!) and will help her focus on the motion of cutting.

Hannah had her first math test this week and got 100%! Sure it was review but still agreat start to the year. I didn't even tell her that it was a test--no point since I don't think she is aware of the concept of grades.  Everyone knows what I'm talking about when I say that you become so focused on grades that you're not focused on learning...just what grades you need to get to get through the school year (okay, maybe that's more for high school but still).  Hannah is also reading more and more on her own during quiet reading time before bed.  Definitely not something I have to force her to do! Handwriting is definitely not her favorite thing.  Unfortunately it's one of those "have to" things. :-/

Spelling out short words
My parents will be here visiting for the weekend, so that should be a nice end to an otherwise odd week. :-p

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Banner

As you can see I have made a new banner. A blog I follow made a post about being extra careful when you use pictures from the internet and other blogs.  This blogger was recent fined hundreds of dollars because of using an image, unbeknownst to her, without permission. She linked the image back to the website where she got it from but said website was also using the photo without permission. And this image in question was simply of colorful Easter eggs in a carton.  I know.  Very scandalous.  Sooooo...that being said, the photo I used in my previous banner was one I found on Google Images and I did not want to take any risks. This photo in the new banner is my own, taken at the zoo.  I know I've used other company logos and various clip art from image searches here, so I wonder if they would fall under the same category as actual photographs? Hm. Worth looking into.  The only photos I have used are my own. It used to annoy me seeing a blog with photos that had a huge mark on them since it made it appear less personable, but I definitely understand now. :-/

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ryan has a day job...what?!?

Autumn was not awake for this Kodak moment
Ryan officially started his new job as a base police officer on Monday! A day job--as opposed to his afternoon/night job. :) His old schedule was 2-midnight, which we all adapted to after 9+ months.  His new schedule is 8-4...a normal schedule for a 40-hour week work. Strange.  Being a police officer is all he's talked about doing since I've known him.  He went on a ride along in high school and that pretty well did it for him.  He's going to Georgia in less than three weeks for the academy. He'll be gone for 2 months!  In the meantime, he's doing computer-based training since he can't go out on patrol yet.  Be on the lookout for motherly rants about the heathens dear blessings we call Hannah and Autumn. I know everything will be fine. If I was totally loaded I would probably move to Clarksville for those two months, but I can at least visit a few times. :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Week in Review #34: Aa is for Apple and Astronomy

Our first full week of school!!!  And what a busy and productive success it was!

I am surprising myself with how relaxed I am feeling toward school. I read that if you try to force your kids into learning than they will start to resist your teaching. Don't want that! 

Tuesday through Thursday Hannah went to cooking camp at church. It was a day camp that lasted 9-2:30 each day.  She always wants to help me prepare food (she currently knows how to make pb&j and scrambled eggs--with proper supervision of course), so I knew she would have a blast!  Wednesday morning she helped me make pancakes by pouring the batter into the pan. She did a great job! I did the pancake flipping and cooked the bacon.  I just turned 29 years old and I still managed to burn my hand with grease splatter. Sheesh. 

I finally got around to ordering Hannah's astronomy book, and it came on Monday! I've been trying to find it used, but to no avail. Apparently it's a hot item on ebay right now. Flipping through it I am very excited to get started! The text is very simple for me to read aloud to Hannah, and there are fun activities to do at the end of each lesson. The end of the first lesson we are to make our own solar system and of course we will buy the styrofoam balls and paint them! Can't wait!  We read through some of the first lesson on Friday, learning the definitions of astronomy and constellation and that there are nine planets (we're including Pluto, sorry :-p)
I believe toward the end of last week we officially implemented reading time when the girls go to bed.  We have their bedtime story and they go to their respective rooms and read/look at books for 30-45 minutes before lights out.  It's been working out beautifully!

A is for Alligator (Autumn will get it mixed up
and say A is for crocodile :-p) 

file folder game to review telling time

What happens when I'm not paying attention

playing a match/memory game

At the park with Daddy so Mama can watch
the morning news in peace :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Easy Peasy Paper Plate Panda

pic wouldn't act right...argh

paper plate
black felt
white felt
googly eyes

No directions necessary.  I even free-handed it in cutting the ears, eyes, and nose. :)

Totally Cute #2: Bags

Love giraffe print! I found this purse at Goodwill, priced at $4.99.  Since I was there the first Saturday of the month (everything is 50% off!) I got it for a whopping $2.50!  A smaller purse might be good for me so I'm not tempted to toss everything but the bare essentials in it.  We'll see how long that will last. :)

My mom made this! I'm planning on using it as our "zoo bag".  She said if anyone were to order one from her she would charge $50 since it took a good while to make. She said that people can choose what animals they want though! :) Email her at!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Week in Review #33: "Not" Back to School

July 7th was our official first day of school!!! Of course we started out small just to get ourselves warmed up. Hannah did some copywork and math--three lessons! Then again, the first 20-ish lessons are review.

School in pjs!

Autumn had a blast working on the letter A worksheets--especially using a dry erase marker on the sheet protectors! I did this assessment with her a couple weeks ago just to see how many letters she actually recognizes (about 70% I would say!).  I've been learning a lot about homeschooling this age from 1+1+1=1 not to mention it's where I got a lot of my awesome printables! :-D In the picture above you may notice Autumn is scribbling writing on a magnadoodle. Talk about a great homeschool tool!

Colored it purple and said it was a dead apple :-/

Aside from beginning school on Thursday Hannah had a dentist appointment. She would sob on and off over it, no matter all the "pep talks" Ryan and I tried to give her. Long story short, all went well!  Due to lack of dental insurance, we've been going to the UT School of Dentistry.  Forgive me if I've already mentioned this. They accept insurance but even paying out of pocket is massively cheaper than a private practice. It's so fantastic. Anyway, Hannah saw the same student doctor I see. He was so great with Hannah which was a good thing since I had to stay in the waiting room. :-/  I left my phone with Hannah so she can flip through my pictures or play a game to distract her from the impending doom she was imagining. I forgot about how she loves to take pictures and I found a few like the this:

I just had to laugh. I could just imagine Hannah giggling as she was snapping photos of all the other students wandering around!

She also requested her own smock :-p
Caulfield Academy is officially in session! :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Long Overdue Family Outing

Ryan has been working a massive amount of hours lately.  He is training to be a base police officer (just had his physical so he should get an official start date any time!) in the morning and then working his normal shift with Lockheed Martin in the evening. Seriously, the girls and I wake up and he's gone. He gets home around 11:30, and I'm still up. We basically say hello and go to sleep since we're both so tired from the day. :-p The kids have really started to notice have much he's been gone lately. :( While today he still had to work for LM we were able to go out together this morning to the zoo and then mexican food for lunch! Feels like forever since we've all gone out together!

"Daddy who? I have chips!"


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