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Location: United States

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

We've had a great day today! The kids got up around 7:00 this morning to a table full of treats that I had set out for them. I filled gift bags with treats and small prizes and bought Halloween crafts and fun things for the day. They were so excited!

I made cinnamon rolls with orange icing for breakfast. Later, we made candy necklaces and bracelets.

We took Ginger to the groomer this morning and went back to get her this afternoon. She was all dolled up in her Halloween bow!

Carter won a pumpkin and a cool carving kit at Awanas on Sunday night. We carved the pumpkin today. I was a little worried about pulling off the design that they picked out, but it turned out great! Afterwards, we made cookies before getting ready for trick-or-treating.

We went trick-or-treating with Jeff's brother and his family. We went with them last year and had such a great time. We were happy when they asked us to come back this year.

Like every year, the kids poured out all of their candy to look at when we got home. I'm always sad to see Halloween come to an end. Yes, I'm usually very tired by then, but still hate to see it end. We had an amazing day. Madison, Patrick, and Carter all three thanked me a few times for making the day fun. I do it because I enjoy it and love to make them happy. I would do it for no thanks, but it feels so great to hear them tell me how much they appreciate it. These are such precious times...I don't want to take even a moment for granted!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Food From India

For our study of India, we found a recipe for Aloo Bonda. They are deep fried potato balls dipped in a spicy batter. I normally use instant potatoes when I cook, but chose to use real potatoes for this dish, so they would be thicker and easier to make into balls. The potatoes are mixed with seasonings and onions and them formed into balls that are dipped into batter. No, it was NOT an easy task...VERY MESSY!!We deep fried them until they were golden brown. I left the first batch in the fryer too long. This is how they turned out. All that was left was the outer crust...the potatoes all fell out into the grease! I always tell Madison that there's no way to mess up a craft project. Well, I took the same philosophy for this cooking project and tried a second batch...hey, any excuse to dig in the potatoes again! This time, we took them out as soon as they turned brown. Success!!
I really didn't think the kids or Jeff would like them, but we ate them all, including the messed up ones. They're a little too messy and time consuming to make often, but I'm sure I'll make them again.
Our next stop...Japan.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Hometown Fair!

The kids and I met my sisters at the fair Saturday night. The fair was in town....the town where I grew up. Although the fair comes to the town where I now live every year, Jeff and I have never taken the kids to it. Why? It's in the middle of a parking lot right beside the interstate. Now, I know that the rides and the games are all basically the same, but it is just not a REAL fair to me unless it's out in the middle of a muddy field.
That's where the fair from my hometown is set up. It has been at the same location since I was a kid. If I were to close my eyes when I walk through the entrance...a gap in the trees and bushes that surround the field...I could easily be 10 again with my mom, dad, and sisters following close behind. The cool air, propelled by the nearby rides, hits my face and bombards me with the sweet smell of funnel cakes and cotton candy. Loud music from different attractions echos through the crowd, blasting from cheap, but loud speakers and clashing together, forming a new song that can only be created and enjoyed at the fair. There's the feel of soft earth under my feet as I surrender to the mud, the hay that was put out having been trampled already by the crowd. Black cables are spread out on the ground, running from large trucks full of the sound of generators and motors running. Then there are the games, most specifically the tired workers beckoning the crowd to them with promises of cheap toys and even cheaper compliments. The squeal of children competes with the music and the motors while the young teenagers walk arm in arm with new love pretending that their parents aren't keeping a close eye on them from the other side of the crowd.
These are the sites, sounds, and smells of a small town fair.....my hometown fair. It's the only one that I care to take my kids to..the only one they want to go to. We had such a great time with my sisters and their kids. It was great to see faces that I haven't seen in years, probably won't see again for many more years. As always, my sisters and I stayed until the bitter end, until the rides started shutting down and the last of the food was being served. Then, we made our way back through the gap in the trees, with our stuffed animals, fair food, and blowup swords, to the grassy parking lot. I was tired, but happy as I made my way to Vicki's for the night, with a car full of excited kids reliving every ride and every moment in loud voices...all running together like the music still echoing in my ears as we drove away.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

San Francisco

Jeff sent me some pictures last night from San Francisco. The school that he's been going to this week is about an hour from there, so I'm so happy that he got the chance to go see the Golden Gate Bridge.

He's almost finished with his classes. We're so happy that he'll be coming home soon!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Animals, Pumpkins, Tailgating, and Football

We had a busy day on Saturday. We got up early and went to a local farm for family day. They did a little tour for the families that included petting animals, milking a cow, planting corn, going through a hay maze, and picking a pumpkin from their patch. It was a beautiful cool, sunny day...perfect to be outside. We all had a great time!

Saturday afternoon, we went tailgating at our local college. Jeff's parents always have lots of food for everyone with lots of people dropping by to eat. The kids enjoy playing ball, eating, and running around with friends.

We stayed for the game that night. Jeff usually stays at the game with the kids, but he is still out of town. I don't really enjoy football, but had a good time visiting with my sister-in-law during the game. We did win the game, and the kids enjoyed watching it. I rarely went to the football games even when I was a student at the college, but am willing to sit through them for my kids.....the things we do for them!

It was a great day, but we were all SO tire by the time we got home last night. It was also a good distraction from missing Jeff, although I still did! I wish he could have been here for it all....we miss him!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It's True!

Absence does make the heart grow fonder!
Jeff and I are often away from one another. He's gone many weekends on singing trips, and I frequently run off to my sister's with the kids for a few nights at a time. That's why I thought this wouldn't be too hard.
I dropped Jeff off at the airport yesterday morning for his trip to California. He's spending some time there studying for a new certification for his job. It was way harder than I expected to turn around and walk out of there without him. It gives me a new appreciation for the men and women who put their spouses on planes to Iraq and other places...not knowing when they will see them again or knowing that they won't see them for months or years. I can't imagine!
It isn't hard to be without him as far as managing the kids and the house. When they were babies and he used to go away for a couple of nights to sing, I would be worn out by the time he would get home. That isn't the problem now....I just miss him because I miss HIM. This is the furthest and longest that we have ever been apart. I know...I sound like a weepy teenager girl separated from her boyfriend....well, that's how I feel.
I'm ready for him to come home.
I miss him!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

That Was Fun!

While at the skating rink last Thursday, I received a $1 bill as change from the concession stand. Patrick noticed that the bill had some strange writing on it and asked me what it meant. Here is a picture of the markings. We went to the website listed on the bill and found out that the bill is being tracked through http://www.wheresgeorge.com/ Our bill was first registered April 30, 2007 in Alabama. It passed through two places in AR before I got it. That doesn't seem like a terribly large area until you consider that it was passed between those places in a matter of 6 months. Plus, there's no telling how many places it went and never got registered.
This is so interesting and fun to me that I have decided that for each of my children's next birthday, I'm going to register a bill. The stamps are available for purchase in various places. I think it will be so fun to go back each year to see how far it has traveled. I'm going to hang on to the bill I have until I travel out of the state. I should have sent it with Jeff to California this week! How fun!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Voice From Katrina

On September 23, I posted the following letters from children in Canada to the victims of Katrina.
My intention in posting the letters was to reach those to whom they were intended...those who were and still are victims of Hurricane Katrina. I feel that, until they are read, I have failed the children that wrote them as well as those who they were written to.
A few days ago I received this reply to the post:

It is 2 a.m. in the house I am currently staying in. I have not had a house of my own since Katrina came and took it all away. I did a google search for Hurricane Katrina Canada, because I have applied for residency there and I am looking for some way to make it happen faster. I have spent my 6 months per year that I am allowed to be there in Ontario both years. When I tell people that I want to go home these days, it is Ontario that I am talking about. Now when people ask me why, I will show them this site. Thank you for posting this. Tonight I feel like it was just for me.

When I read this reply, a peace settled over me. I finally knew that at least some of the letters had reached someone that they were intended for. They reached this person when he/she really needed the encouragement. Two years after the hurricane, many of the victims feel forgotten. We like to think that everyone has found his/her way home or settled in a new home, but it isn't so. There are still those searching for a place to call home and longing for someone to listen...to encourage them...to care. I'm glad that, through these precious letters, I was able to be that person and to help the children who wrote them to be that person.
Whoever you are, thank you for the note. I pray that there will be many others like you who will read them and be encouraged!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Skating With The Homeschoolers

We had our monthly meeting at the skating rink with the homeschool group today. This is our first one of the school year.

Afterwards, I took the kids to a costume shop to get a few things for Madison's Halloween costume. Patrick found something he's been wanting for a long time. He loved it so much that he insisted on wearing it while we shopped in Old Navy. Did I let him?
Yep! Sometimes you just have to choose your battles :)!