Thursday, July 29, 2010

Happy Sixth Birthday Bean

Why does six seem so much older than five? I just am having such a difficult time believing
Bean is six today. Time does fly. Since his birthday was just the day after Playdate, I told him he could pick the Playdate treat. He wanted cupcakes. I asked what kind and he wanted vanilla cake with chocolate icing. Then I made the fatal error of asking what he wanted on them, thinking he'd say dinosaurs, or horses, or maybe planes and I could just get them at the cake store place that caters to inept folks like me. Oh no, he wanted Abe Lincoln. God has blessed me with a talent or two. I can bake a cake that tastes good. Cake decorating however is not one of my talents. It isn't that I haven't tried, I'm just no good at it. When I can't even draw convincing stick people, I don't know why I'm surprised. Dear me, what to do. I first decided I'd just stick a penny on each one, but then it occurred to me that you could make one big face. Ha, ha, ha! Well, actually you can and it's a big face all right-yes it is. It doesn't hurt my feelings if you chuckle, but try not to spew your coffee or tea or whatever all over the screen. Thanks.

The eyes and mouth are pennies. Ceece brought some cut outs of Abe's head that we taped to toothpicks and stuck in there, so it was Abe everywhere.

Bean also wanted to make cards to give to all his friends, along with some jewelry he said. So he illustrated cards and I helped him sew a bead on a ribbon (folks, jewelry is not my strong suit either). He's as aware as the rest of us that Missy Bugg and Antebellie are in love with princesses and each other. I thought his little illustration was so very sweet, down to the color of their hair and jewels in their crown.

The first order of our Civil War day was providing the troops with hardtack. A delicious combination of flour and water and that's all. Miss Glitzy said they'd eat if after dark so they didn't have to see the bugs. Ewwwwwww.

We left out the bugs. They toted this tasty treat in their ruck sacks whilst chasing the enemy through the hills yesterday. Some of them even attempted to eat it.

Lastly, from time to time I make up songs for the gramerlings. I might have titled this post, Things I do Poorly. I'm cool for some little rhyming ditty, but that's about it. Anyway, Bean asked for a song, so I wrote one about his current stage of development, and mine, to the tune of Jesus Loves Me.

Conner Bean is six years old,

where did all those six years go

But I was there when he popped out

so i know what i’m talking about

yes, Bean six years old

yes Bean is six years old

yes Bean is six years old

and he’s a precious boy

He’s strong and smart handsome too

There’s a million things that he can do

Run and jump and write and read

Grow, grow, grow just like a weed.

Civil War and dinosaurs

Bean will never be a bore

He’s interested in tons of stuff

including Lambie made of fluff

He’s carved a place inside my heart

even when he burps and farts

His laughter I still love to hear

His lovies are to me so dear

He’s growing fast and getting tall

Ready for 1st grade this fall

But still he loves that dolphin swing

and for his Gramerly to sing

Happy Birthday Sweetest Grandboy of Mine

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Battle at Parisville

There was lots of excitement firing up the deep dark forest in a Civil War Battle today. Ol' Mother Hubbard's friend's L and L did a wonderful job dressing wounds, and passing around drinks. Miss Charlotte and her kiddos were such a great help as well. I was very surprised by the intense activity and shooting by my sweet little princesses. Ev was a great pretender and fell mortally wounded each time he was shot, much to my girlie soldier's delight.
Antebellie is down and being transported in a litter fashioned by Auntie G-Lou and Pap.
Now Miss Bugg has fallen and Raina, Ev and Miss Linnee are hauling her to the first aid station.
The enemy is in hot pursuit as An-dee flees with the princess soldiers.
Lots of head wounds and broken bones.

Did you know Rambo was just a baby in the Civil War?

Cutest Civil War Babies- my heart. Bean really put forth a good effort, but he has been a little under the weather, and wasn't feeling too hot today. Um, well, he was feeling hot. It was an oven. He wasn't too perky though. I spent about forty-five minutes swinging him at the end of the day.
You might want to play "Count the Bandages" as there were a heap of them in use today.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Our Vacation Spot-The Creek

Boy, these gramerlings of mine just won't stop growing-up at warp speed. It just doesn't seem possible to me that Bean is going to be six this week. Ahhhhhhh- slow down a bit already.
I think he was about four when he first inquired about the reason for the creek.
Bean- Gramerly, why did you get this creek?
Me-Well, I thought it would be a good place for your Daddy and Uncle Tim and Aunt Rae-rae to play.
Bean- Then you saved it ter me?
Me- Yes, I did Bean, I saved it for you.
I believe I could pitch him a tent on the bank and he'd happily take up residence there if I'd provide some vittles and honeyed tea on demand.
He found one of his presents I'd left in the car- you would think I would learn. He kindly allowed his sister a turn.

This steep bank used to be woody. Then the powers that be needed to get in the creek after the hurricane, so they poured gravel here, which was fun for the kidlets. A neighbor works in concrete and had a truck of the stuff that wasn't needed as thought, so he poured it over the gravel. Now it's steep, sharp and dangerous. Not easy for Bugg to navigate in Raina's too big creek boots.
As you can see the purpose of the boots were to protect tiny feet for descending, not to keep them dry-dear me.

Every year I faithfully plant flowers and bushes that attract butterflies. The kids and I never tire of seeing them flutter about. Sometimes you can't improve on mother nature. Instead of a salt lick and bison, we have a creek lick and butterflies galore this year. When you walk down they fill the air with flutters.

There are at least ten in this pile. It seems toward evening they head up the hill to the butterfly bushes.
Oh, here is our family of creek ducks, nearly grown. Lest you think they simply waddle out to visit with the humans, I'll share the rest of the story.
We are throwing rocks, pretending, sailing boats, etc. when the awfulest caterwauling you've ever heard seems to be coming out of the bushes at the far end of the creek. Of course, we all look, and here comes the mama and daddy duck flying and splashing like their tail feathers are on fire. It reminded me of the albatross trying to take off in the Rescuers movie. We only had a second to be curious about their unusual visit, when Arwen came behind them in hot pursuit. She was not content to simply terrorize the parents. After chasing them down the creek she came back and ousted the kiddos too. She doesn't hurt them, well, physically anyway, just enjoys an afternoon chase.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Beautiful Garden Bounty

The garden and chickens are in full production and I feel as if most every meal is fit for a Queen. Eggs from happy chickie girls, heirloom tomatoes, pesto from my jungle basil and cold-pressed olive oil, cucumbers, fried corn, well you get the idea.
I'm afraid I fall victim to hurrying and will run by a fast food place just to save time. Of late, I can't wait to get home, and will make two trips to be able to partake of sumptuous garden fare for lunch-so very fine.
Handy Man and I spent the morning clearing a path through the small deep dark forest in preparation for our Civil War Reenactment on Playdate. At ten thirty I was soaking wet. It is so, so hot. Well, at least we know there are no evil ground bees to contend with on the battle grounds.
So, what does your garden grow?
I was asked for the Gak recipe. It is colored water ( 1 tablespoon), mixed with white glue (1 tablespoon) and borax solution. It's easiest if you get a jar with a no spill lid and add the borax to hot water until it no longer dissolves. Stir two tablespoons of that into your water glue mix and waa-laa, Gak. Put the lid back on the solution, out of reach of wee folk and it's ready for another day (after shaking vigorously). Borax is a laundry additive and can be found in the detergent section of major grocery stores. It is an irritant, so use caution with littles. In my classroom, the students use safety goggles.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Bubbles

After the mud on Wednesday, we played in bubbles. Ol' Mother Hubbard bought these beautiful bubble wands for me. In addition to their beauty, they make way cool bubbles.

Missy Bugg spent the night before Playdate. Bean helped me clean the chicken coop after his sleepover, so she wanted some chores to do also. She mixed up the bubble mix, then had to try it out.

Bubbles bring lots of smiles.

What a little dolly.

When Little BB and Miss Linee had their fill of garden/mud fun, it was snack time. Miss Linee is the most nurturing littlest bit. She fed BB his snack. So sweet.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mud Bath Anyone

Today's blog features a newcomer to the Playdate scene this summer- Auntie Em and her little BB.
We made more messes today than I have time or energy to blog about this evening, so today's play will be brought to you in parts.
The recent storms kindly swished out the creek so we could play today. The water was cool and there was a breeze, so it was the place to be in this ghastly weather.
This was Little BB's introduction to the creek. He isn't always so sure what all these crazy kids are doing, but after observing, he usually jumps right into the thick of things.
After the creek it was time for some serious mud wallowing I had promised for the past week or two.

Hmm, interesting texture.

Don't you think it's kinda mean that I just learned to walk and you stick me in this stuff that is sucking on my feet?

Well, when in Rome....

No way I could not capture these mud puppies on film. Let's say the rest of afternoon consisted of lots and lots of washing.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Waltzing Down Memory Lane

I've been blessed to have remained friends with many of the wonderful teachers and staff my children had at their grade school. We live in an old, old farm house. Our property is right beside the elementary school. My kiddos walked to school everyday, from K through sixth grade. Things were so very different then. We had a school dog, two actually, first Poco, then Charlie. Once Rae-rae's cat followed her to school and climbed into her desk for a nap. I took a picture. Parents came and went as they chose. No one signed in. Everyone knew everyone. I went to school with my kids. I volunteered, then went to work when the twins were in third grade, in their classroom of all things. It was a small and loving environment. That's probably why I love teaching in a small school. That's why I'm heartbroken at four of our local school's being closed. Sad that my sweet grandboy can only go to elementary through fourth grade, with no field trips and no sports.
The teachers I worked with in third grade are such special friends of mine. They are retired now, but come to my classroom throughout the year to give special learning opportunities to my lucky students. Apparently, the retired teachers meet for lunch most months and though I don't think I'm ever going to get to retire, they invited me, since it was summer.
At the end of lunch, they were trying to decide where to meet next and I invited them my house. You see I used to have them to lunch on their first day of school before students returned, so it felt like ol' home week.
So, we had a big feast of garden goodies like fried green tomatoes, pesto, sourdough bread salad and other tasty treats. The food was yummy, but the sweetest part was a little time to waltz down memory lane. Though it wasn't long ago, it was a very different time and one we all recall fondly. Much laughter and sharing rang around my kitchen table. It was such a refreshing and enjoyable way to spend a summer afternoon.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Friday was Bean's turn to spend the night. I took him and Raina to the science center all evening. On Saturday morning he and I gloved up and headed to Cluckingham Palace with shovel for me and scraper for him in tow.
All the compost piles now have fresh fuel.
I have hatched chicks myself, had them sent through the mail, but this is our first experience watching Mama do her job. As expected, it was love at first sight for Bean and this little one. He knows the fate of chickies who become roosters. He said, "Oh, I hope that yellow one is a girl, cause I'm going to name her "Sweetie."
Yellow Chick Awesome's feathers stay fluffed out in back all the time she has the babies out for a stroll. I don't know if it's a warning-"Keep your distance people!" It could be so they see her easily and can fly under fast.

I brought them some tasty treats after cooking and cleaning out the frig yesterday. I was surprised that she came out to see what I'd brought. She inhaled a berry then ran right back to the babies. I gathered up a couple of pieces, some egg shell and a little piece of stale cornbread, and took them into the coop for her. She would pluck off a piece of the bread then make some chickie girl noise and all the babies would peck it from her beak. This went on for sometime. Then she grabbed the egg shell and made a different noise and babies never attempted to take it from her. I thought that was so interesting.

When snacking and strolling is finished, she digs down into the pine chips, fluffs up and they disappear underneath her.
God surely created an amazing world!

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Science Playdate

Sometimes when six AM rolls around on Wednesday mornings, I wonder why I ever thought Playdates were a good idea. It seems especially so after a big bridal tea on the Sunday before, hospital sitting, and teaching my college class while wrangling some nasty something or other that invaded my sinus cavity, ticking off said sinuses, resulting in them joining together in an effort to push out my eyeballs and shove my nose right off my face. Blek.
There's much to be done behind the scene for Playdate. Let's see. Check the porch basket and make sure there are clean towels, wash cloths, swim clothes, mosquito repellent and treatment, clean baby undies, diapers, swimmies, wipes, and sunscreen. Fill up the snack basket with juice boxes, fruit chews and whatever snack is available. Clean out the water and tea table, wash all the toys and fill the table with water. Set out lunch plates on the bar with utensils. Make Bean's tea. Start lunch for the Gramerlings and Ol' Mother Hubbard's kids. Be sure drinks for the grown-ups are handy. Mix the borax and the colored water for Gak. Get cups, stirrers, glue, mixtures and all things needed for science day in a basket, including a tiny journal and pencil per kiddo. Get the clean blankets off the backporch and spread on the ground for snack and stories. Oh yeah, find those two stories you want to read and put with the snack basket. Don't forget, there are no rugs down in the bathroom, so retrieve them from the dryer. Seriously, the dog has got to be bathed before anyone can stand to be in the room with her. Sweep the floor, unload and reload the dishwasher, put the chicken in the oven, make the noodles, get the little yogurts and slice the cucumbers for lunch. All righty, all systems go.
We did have some rain, so we were able to go to the creek for nature's best science exploration. Creekers were catching beasties left and right. The creek never fails to fascinate. Each return trip from the creek requires a rub down with Dial soap and a dunk in the outside tub or a spray with the hose. Then time for snack and story and then science.
Once Playdate gets rolling, I know why I do it.
The youngest was 19 months and the oldest nine, but every child loves everything and is completely involved if it's creek, story, printing or making Gak.
Handy Man got a cast iron pump for his oak water barrel. It was wrapped in all this great paper. God love the man, he's learning and saved me the stuffing paper. We rolled it out on the sidewalk. Then each kid chose a way overgrown garden vegetable to use as stamp. Good times.
Lots of missing teeth this summer.
Next we put glue in a cup, then colored water. We added a wonderful chemical that made the liquid become a solid. A squishy fun solid.

The grand finale was Ms. Glitzy putting on a show with Mentos and soda. She was more entertaining then the fountain spewing all over the yard.
I wish you could see all those little faces and the excitement.
Ah yes, this is why I do Playdate.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Harvest and Hatching Time

Handy Man and I have been working hard on our gardens this summer- mine in the side yard and his up on the hill. Let me just say that chicken poop is a good thing. It's been years since we harvested enough corn to put some in the freezer. This is blanched, cooled, dried and ready to be bagged up for the freezer. I know when cool weather heads back around (if it indeed does), we'll be enjoying a tasty garden treat.

Yellow Chick Awesome decide to start brooding in the favorite hen nest box-one that is about five inches off the floor. Since it was the favorite, it was full of eggs when she went broody. She's been sitting eleven eggs for nearly three weeks. Handy Man found her under the box with a chick (two actually, I didn't discover until later) and another hen in the box on all the eggs. So, I took the box off the wall and put it inside of a cardboard box. She clucked happily and climbed right in. I put her babies in with her. A third one had just hatched, but she wasn't showing it any interest. We'll see what happens there. Some of this chickie girl stuff isn't quite as fun as other parts. Poor thing. I think the new babies hopped out and when she went after them, another girl hopped on, and then she was left to defend and protect the two under the box, or fight for her spot in the box. It is just always something isn't it? Thank the Lord one of the babies is yellow, cause that's the only kind of chick Bean is interested in.
In other happenings, Ol' Mother Hubbard's surgery was successful. The doc said it was the largest separation of muscle he had ever seen. She is mighty uncomfortable, but otherwise fine.

Please continue prayers for my friend Big D as a PET scan on Monday will determine the course of further treatment.

Also, my niece Laurie's husband Anthony is ill and in the hospital, though the source of the problem is unknown. Praying, praying, praying.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Gramerlings and Bridal Tea for Tim's Tonya

Rings on her fingers and rings on her toes, and she will have, um rings, wherever she goes. Buttercup enjoyed putting rings on.
I love when Handy Many is on vacation and so do the gramerlings. Now you know this is Pappy's choice of literature. It's so nice to have an extra reader, swinger, pair of hands, etc.
Time for some painting.
Pap took Bean and Raina to Squire Boone Caverns in the afternoon.
Missy Bugg and I had a date with Antebellie and Ol' Mother Hubbard. They came back to our house for an afternoon of uninterrupted little girl play. Bugg got to spend the night. She hates that being the center of attention don't you know. We had a big time planting more seeds in the garden. It will sure be interesting to see what and where some things pop up.
Speaking of Ol' Mother Hubbard, after having four big whopping poopies in less than five years she's in some serious need of hernia repair. Please keep her in your prayers for her surgery tomorrow.
Saturday was busy with Bridal Tea preparations. My brother is getting married in September and we had his bride-to-be a shower this afternoon. I made strawberry fluffs, mints, mint fizz syrup and cut a lot of flowers for today's decorations.
I have these tiny vases that I filled with tiny flowers to set amongst the tea items. They were so adorable

This is a close-up. My sisters, SZQ and Tish were working Saturday at SZQ's. Today we put all of our talent and charm together for a lovely tea. It was nice to meet Tonya's family and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Vacation Part 2

After Monticello, we headed to Ocean City Maryland, Stephen's childhood vacation spot. You can't goto the Boardwalk without a stop at Thrashers for fries.

And Dumser's for ice cream.

Interesting sand sculptures.

Handy Man out of his element and on the beach. The ocean was cold. Handy Man and I enjoy seeing different places, but we aren't much beach folk, so we're quite satisfied to just be there two days.
This is the picture I tried to put in the entry about Jefferson at his bigg-0 monument in DC.