Thursday, May 28, 2009

Jacob & Maryn

Remember AGES ago when we went to TX & I told you I took prodigious amounts of photos both of Andrew (for graduation) & the newly engaged couple?

Since Jacob & Maryn have headed to Big Creek Missions to work for the summer, I thought I'd work up this "tribute" blog so you can see my favorite shots from the TX trip. BTW, Kevin was VERY IMPRESSED that they packed ALL the stuff they needed for the summer in one suitcase each and two carry-ons each. (Ask me about the vulture with the two dead rabbits some time.)

Here they have loaded up Maryn's folk's trunk for the drive to Orlando to catch the flight to TN where cousin Kevin picked them up & drove with them to Big Creek. If you think Jacob looks a little blurry it's 'cause they picked him up at 7 a.m. to get the kiddos to the airport on time.
The following photos were taken at the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Antonio.
You can see why some people choose to get married here.

This is such a pretty spot it almost looks like a backdrop.

The rest of the photos were taken on the Alamo grounds.
Recognize some of these cacti from Andrew's pics?
This would even look nice with a waist-high crop.
Made as we were headed back to the van. Such a beautiful and huge old tree shading that cute couple.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Camping on the Island

Years ago when the island was actually surrounded by water and the lake was full enough for us to fish and splash in, sometimes on cool nights Stan would load up the big tent & cooler into the boat or onto the floating dock and wade across while dragging or paddle or pole to the island to camp out with the kids.

There are no photos of this because the family photographer stayed at home to sleep in her own bed. :-)

Since the water went down & life got busier, camping on the "island" had virtually ceased.

A few weeks ago some new friends came over & we walked out to the island. She looked around & gushed about what a great spot for camping it was SO after working out some scheduling details they came over for a 2 family campout.

Stan got the firepit ready & cooked some stew for supper. That & Traci's cowboy salsa hit the spot.

My camera was still having low battery troubles so here are my few photos.

Our friends have been blessed with six kids, the oldest being a daughter about Rachel's age & the youngest a two-year-old son. Things were interesting with all the little ones running around!
There were four tents: boys, girls, & two for the adult couples & smallest kids. I wound-up sleeping in the house though. Maybe next time...

Jacob & Maryn came down for awhile. Jacob & Andrew slept in the house since both had to work the next morning.

The girls brought horse coloring books & colored pencils as an in the tent before bed activity.

Molly kept everyone entertained with her fascination with light, chasing flashlight spots & the sparks flying off the fire. I was concerned that she might jump right into that campfire, she was so focused & almost obsessive with it.

The next morning I brought down sausage, egg & potato scrambled together for breakfast tacos. Yum.

A puff adder (aka hog nose) was caught & added to the outdoor experience for several hours. How funny it was puffed up & hissing then playing dead. Stan would roll it onto its stomach & it would roll back onto its back with its mouth wide open & tongue hanging out. Too funny.
>>>Yes, it is now living in the reptile room along with a scarlet snake rescued from the cats & Tangelo, Slick, Rosy & Ziggy.

The humid heat of the day came on so we relocated to A/C & had hotdogs for lunch in the house.

I think this activity will happen again when cooler weather is back in the forecast: probably not for 6 months or so. We may even invite the AHG troop to come.
Next time I plan to have fresh camera batteries (got a bunch for my birthday - yeah!) and I may even sleep in a tent.

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Makin' Butter

To make butter you start by purchasing cream from the store OR you get blessed with some milk from a friend's cow - see the cream at the top?

Then you carefully scoop cream into a smaller container.

Now it's time to SHAKE, SHAKE SHAKE!
Shake your cream. Shake your cream!
For 20 minutes or so, so no, I did NOT sing the whole time. In fact, Caleb did most of the shaking then gave up so I won the prize > butter!
After pouring off the buttermilk into the bottle you see holding a funnel, the butter is scrapped into a bowl then mashed (my friend says to use a wooden spoon so don't tell her I used metal because I do not own any wooden spoons & haven't since Jacob was a wee tot. I think you may know what happened to them if you dwell on the time period...)
The butter is mashed to remove as much buttermilk as possible - which I save to cook with - so the butter will not spoil as quickly.

After stirring in just that much salt, the butter is soft, tasty & ready to spread
on home made bread
for Caleb with his hairy head
who then said,
"Can I, uh, MAY I have some more?"

"Of course, dear. We have a bowl full.

Book Swap 2009

With people already sayin' what they plan to do next year at the bookswap AND with us hosting it the same weekend (the Friday before the baccalaureate so the tables are up for us), it sounds like an almost official annual occurrence to me. We had over 20 "sellers" with at least 3 people coming in just to leave their materials on the free table - and some of it was really great stuff, let me tell ya.
We had an area set up for those interested in home education to watch information from HSLDA on the TV but never had to start that DVD since we just sent folks around to veterans to answer their questions & made use of the materials sent by FPEA honcho Gary Weaver.
Kids sat in the center section watching DVDs from the church library or shopped with their folks. I heard that a couple people had reunions at the bookswap, calling family to "come on down" to see who was there so they could grab a hug & catch up. I admit - I grabbed a few hugs myself. :-)
Aside from the socializing & networking, it was great to know that some of the materials used in our home schools could now be used in other home schools and cool to make some great purchases for our own kids.
I'm glad I have all summer to reorganize my school room.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Graduation Stuff

Last Sunday, graduates were recognized in the a.m. church service including getting their pictures on the front of the bulletin > nice little keepsake. Both my big guys were honored: Andrew for graduating from high school & Jacob for earning his AA. They were called to the front of the church complete with words about their achievements & plans, given little gifts then prayed over. Amen!

I would love to be able to show you pictures of this moment in time but Stan was manning the photo opp as my camera batteries bit the dust so nada. sigh. After a quick trip to Walgreen's, I was able to snag the following shots of events from the rest of the celebratory day.
A church luncheon for the grads & their families was next on the memory making agenda.

Here's my two grads chowing down.

Bro. Jeff blessed us with encouraging & challenging words then let the grads & families talk a little bit on the mic.

Does he look happy?

Notice how the color of the floor makes that balloon weight appear to be floating.

Funny brothers. I feel blessed that they are also friends.

Traditional family shot.

Notice how Rachel looks taller than Jacob. LOL! Sloucher!

Proud parents!

Andrew & his best friend, Matthew, came to the library to show me their robes. Matthew had invited Andrew to sing with the high school choir for their baccalaureate service several weeks earlier so he (Andrew) practiced with the students several days after work in preparation. They even managed to find a cap & gown for Andrew to borrow. Way cool!

Andrew's name made it into the printed program as a part of the senior choir. I know, not really a biggie - but we homeschoolers enjoy not-really-biggies like this. :-)

At the baccalaureate fellowship with Matthew on one side and a homeschooled until high school re-acquaintance, Zach, on the other.

See Stan & Rachel in the background?

Hey! Another photo opp with 2009 balloons!

When the youth choir sang in the p.m. service, I took the opportunity to snag a photo of my three singing since Andrew won't be up there much longer.
I tried three different camera settings to attempt to combat the distance and lighting. This may be the "indoor lighting" setting.
This may be automatic.
This may be landscape. I'd ask you which you think turned out the best but since I don't really recall what I did so cannot repeat it...
I hope it was memorable for my two guys. I'm so pleased with what they've accomplished. I'm even more thrilled to see them walking with the Lord. I pray that their walk will take them ever closer to that Best Friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

13 Years

May 1996 Answering Machine Message by "I only do boys" Stan:
"I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes! We have a baby girl! Rachel Emily was born May 19 at 9am weighing 8 pounds even and 20 and one half inches long.
Mommy and baby are both doing fine."

Here's Stan's "Blondie" - hard to believe she had nearly black hair at birth. Wish I could show you come of those darling dark curls but I... just... couldn't... cut... it.
You can see that even at a young age she liked to help & was sure to dress for the occasion.
As my only daughter, she is my communicator! She's always been a social butterfly so was thrilled this a.m. when I let her open a facebook site.

Here's a sweet profile shot with her (at that time) favorite stuffed animal in the neck of her pjs. What a sweetie. Don't cha' just wanta pinch those chubby cheeks?
In TX at the Japanese Sunken Gardens this spring, not to be outdone by that engaged couple or graduating brothers, she made sure to pose for a few shots of her own.
She is growing into a beautiful young lady while at the same time doing a great job taking after her tom-boy mama by playing with wildlife & riding those horses.
Her highest goal & greatest achievement this year: growing taller than said mama. And she will be happy to prove it to you anytime you want! Happy birthday my sweet, talented, loving, helpful, friendly & fun Rachel. May your walk with the Lord grow ever closer as you learn to lean on Him alone for the desires of your heart.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Not Dandelions

Three cheers for new camera batteries so I could download my photos! Click the photos to make them full size.

As I mentioned before, Rachel & I were blessed with a photo shoot by my talented friend, Alice. She allowed me some target practice in the flowery field also. I liked this "batter up" pose.

Please forgive this unflattering Alice angle. Look upon it recalling all the bad photos made of you (I'm thinking of ME here) & she looks faaaabulous, daaahling.

We had some cool props in addition to God's created wonders & the property owner's, uh, to quote the kids, "stuff" : Rachel brought her hat & wore her freshly polished boots. Alice provided her grandfather's chair & the frame borrowed from Pam - another fantastic artist with a blog you should view. -- She had a huge photo shoot happening the same day. Alice encouraged us to get to the field early before the lighting was perfect for all the other shutterbugs.

I learned about lighting for photography: shade = good.
Too much direct sun = bad.
Rachel seemed to enjoy being the center of attention since you know she is ignored all the time here.

I like this one best I think.
Who knew red, purple & yellow - not to mention green, could look this good together.
Well, yes, I know He knows...

Here's the back of the field. The flowers are finished for this season but, Lord willing, will remind us of our Great Creator's artistry again next year.