Tuesday, December 1, 2009


At our Tate Farms visit this year, we came home with three pumpkins, beautifully carved and 10 squash! We planned to cook us up some squash this fall by golly! Only one survived until December, the chiogga awaits its fate still sitting lonely on the kitchen counter. The favored dishes were the cushaw, descriptor seen here, that filled us on Thanksgiving. We made it into a yummy recipe that I found courtesy of the in flight magazine on my trip to Wichita Falls, TX to see my grandmother the first week of November, recipe is here! And the stuffed Festival squash were delicious also. Tate Farms and Halloween have so much more to offer than pumpkin pie and roasted pumpkin seeds, so glad we are still enjoying our purchases....
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

To the Coast

We set off for our journey to the coast, it was ten fabulous days of surf and sand and all sorts of stuff. Thanks to my friend that gave us the impetus to go travelling while daddy worked, now I know I can do it alone for so long! Not that we want to be alone, as we missed daddy a lot, but had some fun adventures. Now we can head out somewhere farther from home and he can join us! We found out, yes you can sleep in a WalMart parking lot and some folks--Dale Pusey-- are on a longer journey than I felt I was on alone in the motorhome with four joyful children! At a Florida reststop we met Dale Pusey, the self proclaimed "Crazy Guy on a Bike". He was on the last leg of his journey to Florida all the way from Washington State, he left in August! It was a windy and drizzly day as we left him in the rest stop and wished him well on the last of his journey and helped him a little on raising funds--the purpose of his journey--for Iron Horse State Park, an apparent biker's park in Washington State. We discovered the beach is different and wonderful in November. If you must go to the beach last minute, go after a big storm...again on this beach trip there were thousands of shells littering the beaches on those first two days. The campsites were spectacular at St. Andrews, in Destin and in Dauphin Island. I treasured every moment of the time I got to spend with my Aunt Terry and other family on the beach in Destin. I have never experienced the beach in the fall. Having always been in school in the Fall as a child, the beach was still relegated to a summer event for me. We will have to make it a part of our Fall to enjoy this part of the outdoors. I thank my friend that prodded me to go south with her and Terry and Aaron, that were staying nearby to inspire me to stay a little longer and head more west. It was enjoyable at Dauphin Island to see the changes since I spent a summer there as a 14 year old! I was in awe of the Living Marsh dedicated to my friend Beth Ladner that died in a car accident when she was 17.....and wonderful tribute and Estuarium on the tip of Dauphin Island.
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Emma Potter

On the heels of the great wizard party, we introduce not Harry Potter, but Emma Potter ladies and gents.....Emma has had a vision for a long time of learning to throw clay on a wheel. After much searching for a way to make this happen (most places didn't have wheel instruction for young kids and we couldn't find any affordable REAL wheels or places to rent one) we found the Tennessee Valley Ceramic Arts Guild in Madison. Emma hit it off with the instructor and seems to have a real skill for using the wheel and a CERTAIN shine and joy while doing it. She has found a passion. This week her first set of pots and bowls from her wheel time were finished being fired. They are beautiful. If she was awake I could transcribe her descriptions, because in and of themselves, her words about her work are priceless, so detailed about the glazes and the process. Thank you Emma for this delight you brought to us watching you following your joy...look in our creations photo album for Emma's Pots
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Pizza Search

Well, time's up. We can't own a pizza franchise and not eat pizza anymore, gluten free is just no longer an excuse. It might take a little more effort, but we're on a search to make it worth it. We have these really cool pans to use and all this knowledge we just need to meld the two to get our GF selfs just a slight bit less hypocritical! :) Inspired by a PBS special Kurt was viewing one afternoon about the quest for the best pizza we have started having pizza one night/day a week. Gonna try different GF recipes until we get one we like. Here is the first and second candidates, number one made with bob's red mill all purpose gf flour, number two with the actual bob's red mill gf pizza mix. These are the cheese free one's for dh, the kid's covered theirs in cheese, but it didn't make as pretty of a picture. They were so yummy in a the REAL yummy way, not in the "I haven't eaten pizza in years any old thing you called a pizza would be yummy" way...!
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Alex

We had a wonderful day celebrating Alex's birth this day 10 years ago. We really celebrated all week long as we went to Nashville and David Crockett State Park earlier in the week. I had to see if I could motorhome solo with the kids for some traveling future adventures, so we went nearby for a couple of days, Alex officially turned 10 over a waffle in the campground. For his big party he likes to have he devised a celebration with food, potions, bobbing in a dry ice bubbling cauldron and a bonfire. I want to send a thank you to all who came, sent him cards and gave him gifts. Everyone knew what would make him shine and smile...thank you! He was truly wowed and felt smothered in love. It was a special time to mark his first decade. These are ten potion bottles that were left on the deck the next morning. Emma had helped create names for all the ingredients from their wizardology book. We had various spices glitter and other ingredients disguised as: wool and blood of bat, pixie tears, toe of frog, ground unicorn horn, eye of newt, scale of dragon, screech owl essence, dragon's blood, tooth of wolf, oil of basilisk, tongue of dog, etc. Alex had been collecting the bottles and cleaning them off from the recycling bins outside the little green store for a few weeks. Thank you Maggie and Mom for your help in making the delicious green Cauldron Chicken Curry, that was the best soup I have had/made in a while. We can't believe we have ten year old and such a special person, too, in our lives. We love you SUN! Pictures from the events
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Looking for Life

The robin's nest eggs have started hatching. There are four of them now. Emma is spending each day checking on them several times a day. She told me that she thinks of Major and wants to go looking for something living to help the sad go away and seeing the birds helps her do that....The male and female robin really chatter and dive at emma when she comes over, they want their nest left alone! The sparrows in the front nest were missing on the 10th day and they weren't ready to fledge, so we speculate something happened to them. The kids have also found a nest in an old mailbox with my mom on an abandoned lot near her house. Those birds were sparrows and were about to fledge. We learned how the babies eliminate in a tiny sac so that the parents can carry that sac away from the nest and not attract anything, cool!
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Goodbye to Major...

Today marks one of the saddest days for our family in a long, long time. We all said goodbye to our beloved Major late this afternoon. He had several illnesses going on and primarily his pain and complete immobility after yesterday caused the vet to advise us to help him die peacefully. We could not get him to move all day, despite all types of assistance. This was not his first bout with immobility in the past three to four weeks. We could have taken him in for testing, but our hearts didn't tell us to take that path. His labored breathing and eyes told us he was not comfortable. We knew this might be coming, but it made it no easier as any of you that have experienced this know. We made the hard choice to help his suffering end, it was time to let him go in his condition and at his age.... I had never travelled this path before, and am a pretty numb person right now. This is one of the hardest things I have gone through, so I guess in many ways that speaks to all the blessings in my life, there are so many......but we still want Major back to himself and wanted him to die naturally years from now......I couldn't sleep even though it is late so I wanted to write about Major.

Major came to us out of another tragedy. In February of 1998, Kurt and I visited the Atlanta Humane Society and came home with this tiny black fluff of a puppy. He was adorable. Days later he died of heart failure. We returned him to the Humane Society as they requested and soothed our loss by bringing home one of his litter mates, a tiny golden fluff of a puppy. He looked and felt like a baby bear. We named him after the constellation of the big bear, Ursa Major, as his big feet made us think he might be a good size dog. Boy did we have that pegged, and Major grew right on into that name. He always was like a teddy bear, he thought he was tiny, but was oh so big! He was a person's dog and a dog's dog. We know he was unique in his demeanor and gentleness. He knows Kurt and I better than anyone as he's been with us so through so many changes in our lives. I feel I've lost the silent confidant, the fly on the wall to our lives, the kid's third protector. He wouldn't be Major having been born any later, but I oh, so wish the kids could have gotten to see him as a puppy and frolic with him when he was still young. It is painful to know at least two of them most likely won't remember his prominent place with us......We have been reading the book this week of Judith Viorst's about a cat's death, "The Tenth Good Thing About Barney". The kids wanted to make a book about Major, so we will, but here are some things we thought of today as we sat with and around him on the deck knowing we might be saying goodbye, tidbits that will be in the book Emma has titled, "The One Hundreth Good Thing About Major":

He always wanted to go on walks with us.
He liked to "Horse-around" the House with whomever was horsing around.
He followed us down to the creek and liked to walk in the cool water.
Once he "treed" a family of possums, when we lived in Georgia.
We never figured out how he caught a squirrel one day.....
Daddy used to lift him up to the water fountains to drink, not for long!
He liked watching us play the Wii.
In Georgia, he liked to swim in the lake near our house when we took him there.
He is named after Ursa Major, because he looked like a bear when he was little.
He was a great watch dog. He watched the bend in the road and the yard from his sentry post on our deck.
He loved to roll on his back in the grass, quite a feat for the big guy! He would shimmy down the hill as he did it.
The first time he barked, he scared himself and whined. His bark was deep and low, the best bark on the block!
He would greet you with a Happy Dance when you got out of your car.
He liked and gave bear hugs.
He had velvet ears.
He liked to lick babies, even those big grown up babies...
He was GOLDEN, his eyes, his fur and his heart.

The book is a work in progress, so I'll stop there for now. He loved us and we loved him. We all cried for him, and cried for him and cried for him. We are grateful to Dr. Ashman and Roberta for letting us cry and talk so long. There was no hurry to this process, just lots of painful steps. Then we made him a crown of flowers and held him and told him goodbye so many times and in so many ways. He drifted off in all our arms here at home, when we were all ready and while not the natural death we dreamed of one day, it was peaceful and beautiful to be here at home with him. It is a relief to know he is not in pain, as he could never tell us what he felt from day to day. His body stayed with us and we buried him in a favorite spot in a grave Kurt and the kids dug and placed his body there with lots of flowers and sprinkled his grave with Morning Glory seeds and started the awesome Cairn we are going to build in his memory on top of where he is buried. With each rock we place through the years we'll bring back a memory of him as we place it on the growing pile. We miss him so, there is such profound emptiness, it keeps coming as something brings him immediately back here to the present so quickly, the pain will fade, but it is so real and so sad for now.....he's gone.

The kids also want to celebrate his life with a bonfire. So we'll find a day and let everyone know and if Major touched your life you are invited to come enjoy the fire and celebrate the light and darkness of all life by honoring the life of this amazing creature, our dog, Major.....

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tae Kwon Do Winners

We had a fun trip to Fayetteville, Georgia to an Invitational TKD Championship. Both Kurt and Alex competed in sparring. Alex won first place in his division and Kurt placed Third in his division. It was so wonderful to watch them shine and enjoy what they are doing. Alex can't wait until the next competition. Kurt held his own quite well, and I was so nervous which i did not expect! He had to spar with a guy several belts higher than him, several years younger and quite a bit larger! Go guys! Here's video and pictures
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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Birds are Nesting

Celebrating Spring's arrival, the kids built nests in the yard to go visit the next morning and see if there was a surprise left there by mom and dad. After nest raiding and egg hunting for days, we hunted for nests around the yard. There are two we are watching, one in the front vine, you know that vine that attacks you when you come to visit? and one in the pear tree in the side yard. The front nest is a sparrow and has three eggs, one that got cracked and two that hatched today! The pear tree has four eggs of a robin and hasn't hatched yet. We are enjoying watching them as all the kids can get up on a stool beside them and peek inside!
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Saturday, January 31, 2009


Emma asked us today, what is round on both ends and really tall in the middle? stumped? it's OHIO, she screamed! I am not sure if that joke exists somewhere or if she made if up, but it was hysterical. The kids are sleepless for ohio, they have been helping me get us ready all week. We are headed to Ohio for the week for UWWG, that is the acronym for the unschoolers winter waterpark gathering in sandusky, ohio at the Kalahari, america's largest indoor waterpark, we are going with friends to see other friends and will also get a visit from our friends that moved to pennsylvania last summer, and the true blast, over 1000 unschoolers all at a waterpark for a week. we are so excited are SO packed and will leave in the night. it is hard not to bring everything when you are going to funshops and travelling 10 hours, and going to water and snow.....We will see snow and get sunburned all in the same week. Thank you to Grammie and Papa for your Christmas gift that is helping fund our winter adventure, we are going to love it, and thanks to others of you that gave us some christmas gift cards, they and we used them to enhance our journey with fun things for the trip or games or books the kids wanted, we have shopped with gift cards all week to be ready to go, and had a blast doing that shopping. we'll let you know if an indoor waterpark should be in your future! Here's to 10 hours of driving! We hope the stores survive, the computer already crashed, the drama already happened, the things already broke, what will happen while the cat is away????? Yahoo! p.s. note to self, don't plan winter vacation right when year end stuff and tax stuff and audit are happening, AGAIN! or maybe do plan vacation to RELAX and usher winter out properly!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Year of the OX

we went to esther's today to celebrate chinese new year, this year is the year of the ox! the wraps you made were delicious esther, with mint leave and rice paper and a delicious sauce, thank you for the fun day. the kids played games, got some outside time in the pasture and generally had one of those romping kid days......we all refreshed ourselves what year we are, we have a couple of rats (kurt & inde), a rabbit (alex), a horse (emma) and a tiger (kt) what animal are you and do you match your characteristics?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Kite Flying Weather, Not!

The kids wanted to fly kites today........you know it was windy in the low 20s, there were flurries at our house......but the sun was out, so why not! Before some errands, we went down to the soccer fields downtown and took the kites Grammie and Papa had made for them. Luckily Inde stayed asleep right nearby in the car and everyone got their kites going for a bit. Emma was the first to retire to the van, saying it was too cold. Owen and Alex lasted for quite a bit running in the field and laying in the grass with the kites swirling above them. They also retired quickly thereafter. It was nice to have some running even with the wind chill and some sun. These guys are ready for warmer weather...........I think it's on the way and only two months till spring is officially peeking at us!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Emma's Dragon Den

The dragon den was a success! Emma planned a dragon spend the night party to celebrate her birthday this year. The planning has been going on in her head for weeks and going on around the house for weeks as well. She made a red dragon for her cake with baking clay. Like Owen she wanted to bake her own cake and decorate it, chocolate cake, chocolate icing, red sprinkles, green writing icing. Emma wanted to have her friends all to herself for the night, so Alex and Owen went to spend the night with Gram and Gramps after we all shared cake. Thank you two for helping make Emma's spend the night special by giving her siblings a special night away, that was a wonderful gift! Earlier in the day we went hunting for icicles, Emma remarked that it was the best birthday ever to "go see such beautiful things on my birthday!" I am glad you enjoyed that, emma.....What night can go wrong when you start off with dessert? The five girls that spent the night seemed to enjoy the activities Emma had planned. I can take no credit as Emma pretty much planned the whole party! There were make your own nachos for dinner with chips, beans, meat, cheese, avocado, sour cream, olives and salsa to choose from. Then there was a scavenger hunt that started at the mailbox and ended in the dungeon(the basement). Along the scavenger hunt the girls found glowsticks for the night, nail polish in green blue purple and red to paint their dragon 'talons', hair color to color the "scales" on their heads, chocolate to go along with the movies they found on the hunt, and at the end the scrolls Emma made and the wands Emma and I made. Emma worked for days making each friend two scrolls with drawings they would like, some were traced and some drawn. Such a beautiful and thoughtful gift you gave, Emma! We made wands from sticks in the yard, whittled them, wrapped the 'handle' in different yarns. The girls had fun that night adding jewels and beads to their wands. Kurt had the best colored hair, I think. And we all thank him for serving as the party chef, the ice cream sundaes were delicious! Emma had made her bedroom into a dragon den for sleeping with two air matresses, but all the dragons ended up moving sleeping quarters to the den. I hear the last dragons went to bed at 3am...the elder dragons were already asleep...In the morning Kurt had made us some M&M pancakes before he left for a meeting and Emma had planned another scavenger hunt for ten stamps she had carved to stamp in little books the girls made that morning. Emma you are a fabulous party planner and a special person to all you know. She enjoyed her presents and the shopping we have done in the days since with some gift cards. Emma, you are our lucky 13, the world is a brighter place with you here! You seem so much older than last year and at the same time exactly as curious and independent as that one year old baby I remember wandering the house so many years ago. Happy Birthday to my "Star" Dragon! Love, Momma (pictures)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Loving the Library

I wouldn't have thought it a few months ago, but the library is one of the most peaceful relaxing outings with everyone right now. Alex and Emma are really getting into picking out books on things they are interested in on their own where before i used to do most of the picking based on their interests. Emma always leaves with a stack of books on CD. She and I recently finished Inkheart and we can't wait to see the movie. Some she likes to check out audio books multiple times and listen to the story over and over while she draws or creates other things in her room, around the house, in the car...... Weeks later she will repeat for me lines from the stories verbatim and laugh and laugh. We had a haiku book this week on animals and then Emma and I wrote this haiku after talking about what they were while she was in the bath with Inde and Emma had remarked how slippery Inde was like a salamander:

Bathing in Water,
Skin Slips Like Salamander.
Water is to Blame.

Today she got Inkspell the sequel to Inkheart and convinced Alex to get Inkheart for himself. He enjoyed it in the car on the way home and for several hours at home. Emma and I are reading another Funke (the author) book, Ingraine the Brave. Alex has mostly all books about RC flying and planes, he is really enjoying that passion along with his simulator on the computer. We found some kits that we didn't know the library had that I hope Owen and the other kids will enjoy this week. And we are glad they have upped the limits on dvds and videos! I am also glad that the library now uses the library elf service--thanks for telling me esther! they didn't when we first moved here, so now we won't have any late fees hopefully, that's a new years resolution of mine anyway! So here's a toast to the library! I marvel that it is a place I flock to with a smile with everyone, as we are usually so loud when it's everyone and me alone, the library seems like the least likely place to go.........but it's not---i'll take it everyday over grocery shopping with more than two children! Twice weekly library outings are on our list of things to do this winter to keep out the blues and barricading in the house of this cold weather.....

Friday, January 9, 2009

Magic Dog is Four

Owen had a fun few days celebrating his birthday. This year I think we got to see for the first time the challenges of having two birthdays in the family only days apart....since each member wanted to celebrate separately for the first time! On Owen's actual birthday he got to participate in a friend's build a bear party, what a treat! And what a treat for our family to all be together on the actual day and watch that joy. He made a panda and dressed in it tae kwon do gear, he calls it tae kwon do panda or kung fu panda. For his celebration, Owen wanted to play games with all of his family and have a robot cake. He made the Robot with Emma and I one night while Alex and Kurt were at Tae Kwon Do. We made it out of sculpey clay and other odds and ends like screws and metal. Owen also made his own cake with me one night when Emma was doing book night and Alex and Kurt were at TKD. Peg remarked that he was the only four year old she knew that baked his own birthday cake! He made a chocolate GF cake mix and a vanilla GF cake mix, mixed them together and then we baked it! He frosted it with vanilla and strawberry frosting and lots of sprinkles. We also had a special time this week going shopping in the rain just he and inde and i to get the ingredients, he pushed the cart all through kroger for me. He enjoyed the cards he got in the mail and the wishes he got on his birthday on the phone. After playing the Wii with all of us and having cake, which he set everyone's place with a plate and a napkin for, he said, "I want to have my cake with the more people that are gonna get here." He meant, I wanted to have cake and more singing with more folks and friends, hindsight 20/20.....So we set a day to go to sciquest and have cupcakes with friends. I made Owen a stuffed magic dog out of felt, daddy gave him a zoom-o catch game he has had his eyes on, gram&gramps gave him a mini rc car that he drives all over the house, emma made him a magic dog card, alex made him a stamp that is a moon, eye and sun, peg gave him one of those famous singing cards, he hasn't picked yet what to do with his gift card from grammie and papa although daddy took him shopping one day just the two of them, the adelfangs tye-died him a shirt, and the conklins made him a stuffed robot named "lighting"-as he calls their mom lighting right now......All this celebrating Owen weathered with quite a cold/sickness that is on the outs! I am glad he is feeling better. It was so fun to watch him enjoy this birthday and be such a part of celebrating his life here with us. I can't believe he is four, i remember the day he was born like it was yesterday, and yet at the same time, it seems as if he has always been here. We did get to see some amazing moons this month, One night as the moon "rose" owen insisted it was the sun--it was so large and bright! much like the moon Owen was born under....I love you MoonBeam, Happy Birthday, Love, Momma photos

Monday, January 5, 2009

Special Nights

Gram and Gramps have decided to have some "special nights" with the kids on their permanent schedule for the year. The kids are so excited and have been really enjoying their time. Each week twice a week one of the kids goes over to their house at night for a few hours to read, play games, explore something together, eat, etc. They are just alternating right now. I enjoy hearing what they did while they were away. And often just one of the kid is left at home with Inde and i, so we get some special time, too! Gram said she might blog about it and I hope so, as i always enjoy what they say and do when we are not around, they are different when i have each of them alone, that is special to see....I never lived close enough to any of my grandparents to visit them regularly, our visits were always on a trip or a vacation. And although I have many memories of them, I always pined for that relationship where I could go over to my grandparent's just to visit, just to have a cookie, just to go on a walk. I never had that familiarity of what it was like to be at my grandparents house just as a part of my everyday life. I think the kids are blessed to have these memories....i'm feeling a little jealous, can I come have a special night, too? :)
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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to You! We all made a toast, watched a movie retired early to nurse our sick bodies. on new years, daddy made awesome new year nachos, and we also had black eyed peas, greens and marcy's yummy GF cornbread! Here's to another amazing year of life!
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