So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished! Luke 1:45

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday's Menu

I'm finally getting this recipe on here. It is some good stuff, let me tell you.

I got an urge to try some salted caramel cupcakes not too long ago. After some searching, I decided on some brown sugar cupcakes with salted caramel frosting. The brown sugar cupcakes were kind of blah. They didn't really do much for me. But they didn't compete with the frosting - what I really wanted - so I can forgive that.

I found a recipe for the frosting I wanted here. Next time, I'll probably use this chocolate cake recipe since I don't care to use her processed ingredients for the cake.

I have decided that the caramel sauce can be also used for other things as well. We made just the caramel sauce to drizzle over ice cream and a banana pudding we served at home group. It was yummmy! I've separated the sauce and frosting recipes below to make them easier.

I'm assuming that regular caramel candies would probably be made the same way and cooked to a candy stage rather than removed from the heat once it is a sauce.

This is a wonderful recipe to have on hand even if you don't like frosting.

Caramel Sauce

1/2 cup salted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Once melted, add brown sugar and heavy cream. Stir constantly over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Add salt. Allow to bubble for exactly 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Salted Caramel Frosting

Caramel Sauce
2 - 3 cups powdered sugar

Mix together caramel sauce and powdered sugar (1 cup at a time) until you reach the desired consistency. Frost cooled cake or cupcakes.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


You know how sometimes when you are on a run to the grocery store and you notice in the rearview mirror that only one eye has makeup on because it rubbed off when you were attempting to take a nap  on the couch despite the fact that small children were roaming around.

So you try to rub the makeup off the other eye so it will match and end up walking in the store looking like you just got in a bar fight because one eye is all red with mascara rubbed underneath.


That's awkward, huh.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Whatcha Doin' In School Lately?

 Well. Let's see.

In Math, Rugrat has been learning her addition and writing 'math sentences.' Math is usually a pretty quick lesson for her. She has had days but it is usually not an issue with the content as much as that she decides to be stubborn.

In Phonics, I am still amazed at how she zooms through the lessons. At the beginning of last year, 50 minute lessons were taking us 2 1/2 hours. By the end of the year, she was tearing through them though and that has continued to be the case. Vocabulary still remains her easiest and fastest subject. And Handwriting is just about where I would expect it to be for her age. If she focuses, she can write quite neatly, however, she likes to zoom through it which means sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. So I usually have to hover some and remind her to slow down.

Literature is probably our toughest subject. I have begun to dread it every day despite fighting that urge. I really don't understand that. All she has to do is listen to the story and answer the comprehension questions. But as soon as I start reading, she kind of zones out into her own little world. She still loves asking us to read to her at night. And if she reads it, she seems to comprehend. But when we read stories in school, forget it. I've been trying some different strategies but none have worked well yet.

It didn't stop her from getting excited when I mentioned she might get to make a paper bag owl like Ramona did though. And now, about halfway through that book, she seems to be picking up a few things a little better. We'll see how the rest goes though.

In the same area, I 'm really excited that she gets to participate in the Book It program. Both Chick and Dude loved this program when they were in elementary. We've set a goal and she gets to start as of today. I can't wait for her to earn her first one and get to use it.

In History right now, we're talking about Egypt and the Nile river. She's enjoying that because for our Bible lesson, we've been talking about Joseph (who is currently in Egypt) so she frequently makes the statement "like we talked about" while doing those lessons.

In Science, we've been covering the states of matter. She seems to have no problems with that. She's even made the jump a few times to making a conclusion that I was sure would take much more prompting and hinting than it did. Her interest in science is probably for the best if she truly wants to be a doctor.

 Social Studies this year seems to be more of a good citizenship course. We only are required to do one lesson per week so it hasn't made much of an impression yet.

Art is the subject she truly gets excited about. She always expects to have a project to do and usually isn't disappointed. (That's another one that I like to get done and out of the way for the week though. Is that terrible of me? It has more to do with time, I think, than anything else. I like to get as much done in the morning before I leave for work as we can. I can't really tell how much time Art will take so it's hard to plan for.)

Also, I still think the Art lessons are awfully advanced for her age. I felt the same last year. And I just don't feel like she gets much out of it other than getting to do the project. But I suppose that's okay.

Really, I try to remember that a lot of the course work she does at this age is intended to be introductory. Phonics and Math are the big focus. She definitely remembers a lot from other subjects, both this year and last, but I try not to get to concerned about the finer details. We work towards the big ideas -- like I've been encouraged to do.

School this year has been much more enjoyable than last year's beginning.We are doing better and were able to step right back into the groove of things. She was excited to begin and seems to look forward getting started each day. There are still good days and bad but I truly feel like we've made the right decision for her schooling for the time being. And I think it shows in all she's learned.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Wildlife Expo

We tried out a new thing this past weekend -- the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo. Dude wasn't able to go since he was off on a Scout campout but the rest of us had a good time.

Rugrat especially seemed to enjoy it. Of course, that might have been because a whole lot of the activities were geared toward her age group.

But not EVERYTHING so we got to have some fun too.

It was a pretty big deal apparently because it was very well attended both by vendors and booth participants as well as attendees. And it was free. Can't ask for better than that.

Some of the things Rugrat enjoyed:

Making her own necklace with a piece of cactus as the centerpiece

Being shown how to tie a fish knot

Lots of bugs to look at...

and touch


And lots


of bugs

Fish too.

These paddlefish were pretty crazy looking!

There were lots of animals to see.


This was her first chance to do a rubbing and she seemed to like it while not necessarily understanding it.

There was a whole setup with aquariums and frogs, turtles, snakes, etc. I always get tickled here when people get so excited about seeing an alligator (which they had one young one of).

It's funny to me because alligators were just part of the landscape in South Carolina. Subdivisions that had a small pond would have signs telling everyone not to feed the alligators. You just expected to find them in ditches or small creeks too.

I can remember thinking that in South Carolina, you may get eaten on whether you're in the salt water or the fresh. It didn't quite seem fair.

So it always makes me laugh to hear people in Oklahoma get so excited about them.

We had hoped to get her signed up to make a birdhouse at one of the craft centers but they were out of spots for a few hours by the time we found them. I guess we'll have to look up some instructions or something to do it at home.

We spent a few hours there and had a pretty good time. The event was definitely a good discovery. I'm already looking forward to next years.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Canning Weekend

Want to see something that makes me happy?

See. I was a busy little girl this past weekend. I canned more beans, some peaches that Hubby's coworker brought him (in juice not syrup -- I love doing that) and some apples (a combination of the ones we managed to grow on our tree and one or two others I had).

While it doesn't look like a whole lot, I did it in between going to the community yard sale and baking a batch of brown sugar cupcakes with salted caramel frosting (don't worry -- I plan to share).

Every time I look into our pantry and see those jars lined up on the shelf, it makes me smile. I love having organic food that was inexpensive or free ready to eat (and whose exact ingredients I know). I love feeling prepared to make a meal or snack without killing myself.

I love knowing that I have learned the skills necessary to be able to do that.

So, even though I recognize how silly it probably is, all those home canned jars sitting in my pantry make me happy. Did you know that happiness comes in a jar? :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

State Fair 2014

A week ago Friday, we decided to make our annual trip to the fair. Rugrat knows what the fair means and she was pumped to go.

As usual, she and I were the only ones with hand stamps so we could ride rides. Hubby has, frankly, wimped out on riding rides (although he did say he might get one next year) and the older two could take them or leave them. They usually desert us until it's time to eat so they can walk around and look at everything they want to.

That left Rugrat and I in kiddie ride world.

The reason Hubby said he might get a hand stamp next year was because I was lamenting that I didn't have anyone to ride the big kid rides with. 

Then he decided that Rugrat might like the Himalaya. I wasn't sure but I explained how it went and she said she wanted to try. She fit the height requirement as long as I was with her so we got in line. I kept a firm grip on her the whole time so she wouldn't slide around too much -- at least as much as I could going that fast.

As it sped up, she hung on tight to the bar but once it got as fast as it was going, she started laughing loudly. And she didn't stop.

She LOVED it! She even asked to go on again later. The second time she didn't even keep hold of the bar.

We decided to try a few other bigger rides with her -- the bumper cars

and one of my favorites: the scrambler. She loved the scrambler too (she called it the one with the pretty lights). We ended up riding it twice too. She laughed so hard on it that I was laughing as much at her reaction as I did at riding the ride. She even got to try a fun house (the one that ends with the big turning pipe which was fortunately off then) but not a scary one.  I was glad that Hubby convinced me to give her a trial on the bigger rides.

It was a good day, despite my misgivings because it had been raining earlier, and I was glad we went that day. The earlier rain and cooler weather had kept most of what would have been a Friday night crowd away so we only had to wait in a short line once or twice. The crowd was not overwhelming like it normally was in the evening.

And, of course, Dude got to try the bacon explosion sundae -- his weird fair food for the year. I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Our Weekend Away

 Last weekend,  Hubby and I had a first. We decided to make a trip to Fayetteville to see a Hogs game. Just the two of us.

Hubby had found that tickets were pretty cheap online and bought a couple. He used some of his hotel points for a hotel. So apart from about $15 for the tickets, the only money we needed would be gas and eats. The last time we went anywhere, just the two of us, overnight was in China so we were looking forward to it not to mention that we would be going to the game.

Hubby told my mom how cheap they were and offered to get her some too when she seemed interested in going. So we left early Saturday (o'dark thirty early) to make our way there and when we got to Fayetteville, we met up with them before going in. Since we got the tickets at separate times, they weren't together but only a row apart. So we were fairly close and once people starting leaving at halftime, they moved on down to where we were (pretty much everyone around us was gone).

Why were they all leaving? Well, the match was pretty uneven. This was the final scoreboard.

And the weather was threatening rain the whole time plus a little chilly.

We waited it out though. I had never been to a live Razorbacks game and Hubby is a diehard fan. Mom and John waited it out too. By the time we started to talk about going ahead and leaving, there was only 3 minutes left in the game, so we figured we might as well stay for that. :)

Afterward we went to a local place for some dinner (Lucky Luke's I think it was called).

We had a great time. I felt a little sorry for the other team since they were so unevenly matched but for my first live game it was kind of cool to watch all the scoring. And I just felt a LITTLE sorry for the other team. :)

Chick will soon be 20 so I knew the kids would be fine at home. And, since it was supposed to rain all weekend, I figured they would probably be staying in as well. In fact, we all probably would have. Plus, I fixed them up with a box of 20 chicken tenders to reheat, cash to get something out if they wanted, and a redbox code to rent a movie. They were pretty happy campers.

The only thing I wasn't sure about was Rugrat. Sometimes, she can get in a mood -- a stubborn mood. But Hubby found a little toy at the store that we left on the counter to be used as a bribe. And she apparently earned it on Saturday. Sunday was a different story, largely due to the refusal to sleep after she went to bed on Saturday. I guess they should have held it until Sunday morning. She eventually chilled out after she got to Sunday school. So things weren't too bad since we got home that afternoon.

Hubby has already mentioned possibly doing that again later and at least one of the kids has said they'd rather stay home again. I guess that means it wasn't too traumatic for anyone. Even Rugrat seemed fine with it. Why would she be, as long as we ply her with new toys and cheeseburger kid's meals? :)