Monday, June 30, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday Breakfast: Eggs, Toast and Yogurt and Raspberry smoothies.
Supper: Homemade pizza and Salad
Tuesday Breakfast: Pancakes
Supper: Hamburger Helper, Broccoli and cheese.
Wednesday Breakfast: Brown Rice Breakfast Tacos
Thursday Breakfast: Omelet and Hash browns
Independence Day!!!
Friday Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
Lunch: Ham and Egg salad Sandwiches, Watermelon, Tuna and Macaroni Salad, Radishes and Smoothies/Shakes and Ice Tea.
Supper: Hamburgers, Hotdogs, Potato Salad, Salad from the kid's Salad garden, Fruit bowl arrangement, Ice cream dessert (to look like a flag with Raspberries and Juneberries), Frozen fruit and Yogurt dessert, Star shaped sugar cookies, Ice Tea and Koolaid.
Saturday Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Tacos
Supper: Spaghetti and Green Beans
Sunday Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
Dinner: Jello, Tuna Noodle Casserole, Green beans
Supper: Leftovers.
For more menus visit Heavenly Homemakers.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A good day

We had a good day today. Church this morning and then my parents came over to eat lunch with us. And then this afternoon we drove down to Brainerd to attend a Singspiration. It was fun to see other the christians from all over the state as well as the fun of lifting our voices together in praise of God.

But what topped it off was getting to witness Tracy being baptized into Christ and getting to celebrate with her. It is always so exciting to get a new brother or sister in Christ!!

"Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38

Work with your hands

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody." 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12.

I like the verse above. I don't always follow it perfectly, being quiet and minding my own business aren't always my strong suits but I am trying. It does make me realize just how important my job as a homemaker can be. Not only do I get the privilege of caring for my family but also in living a quiet, simple life I can win the respect of outsiders. Hopefully I won't just win their respect but they will want to know more about the God that I am serving.

I do also enjoy the part of working with my hands and not being dependant on anybody. I really enjoy trying all sorts of things and learning how to make the things we need from what God has given us and not have to rely on stores and stuff like that.

The picture above is of Megan's hand. She has been very into hands lately, loving to trace them and then she wanted me to take this picture.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mississippi and the muppets

We studied about the state of Mississippi a few weeks ago. One of the highlights of that study was finding out that Jim Henson the creater of the Muppets was from there. I had rarely seen the muppets and my kids never had but I found some Youtube clips for them to watch and they thouroughly enjoyed them. We thought we had better share one of our favorites with you.

Mississippi is the Magnolia state with the Magnolia for both it's state tree and flower. The state bird is the Mockingbird.

We found it interesting reading about the Kudzoo vine that had been brought to the U.S. from Veitnam and has "swallowed" the south. It grows very fast and quickly grows over anything in it's way. In Mississippi you will see the utility poles, fences, trees and just about anything covered in it. It is actually quite pretty and I was impressed by all the lushness when I traveled through there. It was brought to the U.S. to control soil erosion and it has worked, just a little to well, to the point of being a nuisance. Check out this site to see some cool pictures and interesting information.

Peavey the manufacturer of Guitar Amplifiers (I have seen that brand a lot and believe it must be a good one) is out of Mississippi.

One of Mississippi's loved foods is fried Catfish. Mississippi brings that largest amount of catfish to market. We didn't have catfish but we did enjoy the recipe from there using trout instead.

Corn bread is another comfort food that is enjoyed in Mississippi. We enjoyed eating it too.

Are any of you from Mississippi? What do you like about your state?

Are state for next week is Arkansas, If you have any favorite foods from there or any information to share, we would love to hear it.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Entering stuff at the county fair

A few years ago my kids and I got started on what is now a fun yearly tradition. We entered stuff at our county fair.
I guess I had kind of been under the impression that stuff entered at the county fair was stuff that was done by those in 4-H groups or that it was difficult to enter stuff at the fair. I found out that I was totally wrong!
Entering stuff at the fair is quite easy. You can either pre-register (which I totally recommend because at least at our fair it majorly speeds up the "check in" process) or you can just bring your stuff that day (at our fair it is the day before the Fair really starts) to check in. It doesn't cost anything to enter and guess what!? If you win you don't just get a ribbon you also get a little money (not much but it is fun to get something).
At our county fair and I would guess this is true throughout the country, there are oodles of areas to enter stuff in: Sewing (clothing, quilts, bags, you name it and there is a category), Baking (bread, muffins, cookies, cake, etc.), Paper Crafts (scrapbook pages, homemade paper, cards, etc.), Knitting, Crocheting, Tatting, Canning, Flower Arrangements, Wood working, Photography, Painting, Drawing, Other Crafts, Garden veggies,Baskets, Plants and the list goes on. There are first, second and third prizes given in each category and so your chances of getting a prize are quite high (since participation at fairs, though there is a fair amount is not as much as there is categories).
I just thought I would tell others about this opportunity because not only is it fun to take something you have worked hard making and see if it will get a prize but also the chance to win a little money is fun for both Parents and kids. I usually take a lot of stuff (last time I had a big suitcase full as well as a box. The suitcase works very well for transporting some stuff as it is on wheels and you can carefully pack it). Taking a lot of stuff ensures that I will always (at least it has worked for me so far) have quite a few ribbons and thus win some cash.
Mara has also entered quite a bit. It seems like competition is a little higher among the kids but she has still gotten ribbons, also at our fair for the kids if the item doesn't get a regular ribbon then they give it a rainbow participation ribbon. With the money we have won we have enjoyed sending it to one of the missionaries we like to support.
Do any of the rest of you enter stuff at county fairs? What have your experiences been like?
For more Frugal Ideas visit Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Works for me Wednesday ~ Frozen dessert

Do you need something refreshing and cool for the summer time heat? We tried a new recipe at our house that we think is quite yummy.

It is made with a bunch of berries (the recipe calls for blueberries but we used juneberries and I think raspberries or strawberries would be yummy too), yogurt and a lemon lime pop. It is super easy to make and very good to eat! I got the recipe online at a sight with recipes from Maine. It is called blueberry frozen yogurt but my husband suggests it should be named something else like "frozen fruit dessert" as it doesn't have the creamy texture you expect with frozen yogurt.

It works for me because it is:
  • Simple, easy and fast!
  • Inexpensive (at least for us as we pick our own berries and I used plain homemade yogurt instead of vanilla yogurt-I did also add 1 teaspoon of vanilla)
  • And fairly nutritious.

What cool foods do you enjoy in the summer?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My sweaty, silly boy

A quick look at this picture might make you think that it was cold here today ~ not so! It was nice, around 75 degrees or so. In fact rather warm in the sun. But there were also bugs. Bugs that were bothering my cute boy. The solution: Cover up completely!! Mittens and all! (he did have a hat but it is in his hand for the picture.
When he came around by me he was totally sweaty but seemed to be enjoying his time outside and didn't seem bothered by bugs anymore so I guess it worked.

It makes me think of another thing funny about him today. When I went to wake him up this morning he had socks on his hands. I asked about it at breakfast and he told me why. I guess Jonathan (who had worn socks to bed) got hot last night before they fell to sleep and so he took off his socks and asked Aaron (don't ask me why he asked him, I don't know!) if he wanted them. Aaron didn't need them for his feet as he already had some on himself and he explained that he was sweaty so he decided to put them on his hands. I don't quite understand the logic in that but maybe it is logical to a 4 year old boy!

Tackle it Tuesday ~ A flower bed

Tackle It Tuesday Meme I thought it would be fun to join in with "Tackle it Tuesday" so here is my tackle:
This is what the side of our garage looked like. We had without thinking let our sprinklers splash on it all last summer and since we have hard water and a white house the results were not to good! What was especially bad was that this was the side of our house/garage that faced the road so everybody saw it. We did have the orange on the back side a little as well but not as much.

We have put a lot of scrubbing into it (using "Whink" and an "Earth Stone") and I decided to try to finish the job today. It isn't quite perfect yet (an I am not sure I will ever get it perfect) but at least people won't look at our house and have "orange" be their first thought.
My other tackle for today was to put in mulch around all of our perennial flowers. The job is done! Yea! Last Friday the kids and I had put in the edging and done most of the weeding. I do enjoy having a pretty and well kept flower bed.
Here is a close up of some of my perennial bachelor buttons that were hiding.

Tipster Tuesday ~ Making pants fit your tall and thin kids

I have tall and thin kids (especially my eldest who at 8 is taller than some 12 year olds we know) which can be a challenge when I am trying to cloth them. If they fit in the waist, they are way to short or vice versa. Thank-fully I have a creative mother who came up with a very easy solution.
If the slacks are to big around it is quite simple to take a piece of elastic and stretch it across the back of the slacks (or skirt or jeans) while sewing it on. You start at one side of the back(on the inside of the slacks) and make sure to sew back and forth a few times so that it is knotted, then just pull out the elastic over top of the waistband (which is laying flat) and sew while you stretch. When you get to the other side just go back and forth again to knot it and cut the extra elastic off. You may want to sew on both sides of the elastic so that it doesn't curl. Tada! You have a smaller waistband for your skinny child.

It is so nice not to have their pants falling down half of the time. Do you have any quick sewing tricks to share?

For more tips you can visit BeCentsAble.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Our first harvest!

On Friday we pulled up our first radishes! We all enjoyed butter and radish sandwiches. Sometimes I can get a little impatient when gardening and it is always fun when something is ready to eat!

The radishes were our first official harvest of something we planted but we have also been eating chives, mint and some "weeds".

The picture above is of Lambs quarter. It is a weed that is good to eat. I am not real big on just plain cooked greens but I have found a bunch of ways (including putting it in sloppy joes) to get it in our food without anybody minding.
This next picture(above) is Amaranth. Another weed that is good for you. I use it the same way as lambs quarter.
I thought I would also share a picture of my garden helpers. Here is what we set up for our beans to grow on. Aaron found most of the sticks and brought them to me. He was very happy to be told that he was a "very strong boy!"

How are your gardens doing?

Getting some exercise and saving on gas

Last night we rode bikes to church for the first time. The kids were very excited about it and had been wanting to do that for a while now. All of the kids enjoy bike riding (or riding in the trailer behind the bike ~Megan often asks to go on a "bike ride") but they were especially thrilled with the idea of riding somewhere.

We live around 3 miles from the church building. Riding there is on a nice but rather busy road (which had been our concern). The kids did very well at staying on the edge of the shoulder and Mara was a very steady rider (Jonathan always has tons of bike riding energy but Mara has a tendency to wear out somewhat quickly). I haven't pulled the trailer that often but it went just fine though I could tell I was getting better exercise than just plain bike riding.

Our goal is to make riding to church on Sunday night a habit as well as riding to the Library, Chiropractor and Farmer's market. I am trying to see just how long we can make one tank of gas last. I am also excited about getting better in shape.

Dreaming of keeping bees

Tonight I happened upon a neat article on beekeeping. It started me dreaming about Beekeeping again. I think it would be so much fun to get our own honey, as well as the benefit of wax to make candles and such from. Also having more bees around should up the productivity of my garden. Bees sound like they are fairly simple to care for, this article says they are less work than a dog but a little more than a cat.
Getting started does sound a little expensive but there are a bunch of plans available online for building your own hives and some other equipment.
This site is out of MN and has stuff for sale as well as a lot of information on beekeeping and about bees.
Here are a lot of posters that have pictorial instructions for beekeeping.
Probably a lot of my interest in the idea of beekeeping stems from one of my favorite books "The keeper of the bees" by Gene Stratton Porter. That was a book I read quite a few times (I am a rereader of good books) during my teen years.
Do any of you have any experience with bees? I would appreciate any helpful advice.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday Breakfast: Fried Eggs and Toast.
Supper: Beef Noodle Skillet and Salad.
Tuesday Breakfast: Cereal.
Supper: Chicken Pot Pie and Corn.
Wednesday Breakfast: Springtime Omelet and Hashbrowns.
Supper: Meatloaf, Brown Rice and Broccoli.
Thursday Breakfast: Eggs and Muffins.
Supper: St Louis Toasted Ravioli (Ravioli Recipe) and Green Beans.
Friday Breakfast: French Toast and Fruit.
Supper: Kansas City Spare Ribs, Baked Potatoes, Corn and Fruit Salad.
Saturday Breakfast: Eggs, Toast and Yogurt.
Supper: Pizza and Salad.
Sunday Breakfast: Waffles.
Dinner: Ham, Potatoes and Green Beans.
Supper: Tuna Melts, Popcorn and Apples with peanut butter.
Desserts for the week: Sour Cream Sugar Cookies,
For more Menus this week visit the Organizing Junkie.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Interesting Indiana

I always feel rather bad when a state falls on a week that is very busy for us. We never get to learn as much as we would like, but even a little is better than nothing!

Indiana is a state I have been to quite a few times. My older sister Anna married a "Hoosier" and they lived in that state for a while before moving up to MN. I visited her quite a few times there. I also have Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and cousins that live there and so I feel connected with the state of Indiana.

For food Anna told me that an Indiana staple (something to be found almost always at Potlucks) was homemade Macaroni and Cheese. I did make some but I do believe that is something I need to improve my cooking on. It didn't nearly compare with the stuff that Anna can make. She also said doctored up canned baked beans was another common food. We don't care for Baked beans plain so I decided not to try that one.

The one thing that I fondly recall from visiting Indiana and my mouth was watering for was Persimmon Pudding. Oh I wish we could grow persimmons here! They are so very yummy. Mom suggested that I could make basically the same thing using squash but I just didn't think it would be quite the same. (I might try it sometime anyway.)

Here are some facts about Indiana:

  • It is the 19th state with Dec. 11, 1816 being the date of statehood.
  • It is the smallest in land size (other than Hawaii) west of the Appalachian Mts. (However its population isn't nearly so small)
  • It is the home of the famous and well attended Indy 500. (I had thought it would be fun to have a pretend Indy 500 race on bikes or something but we didn't get that done. Or even use the boy's toy cars to have a pretend race.)
  • The State bird is the Cardinal.
  • Abraham Lincoln grew up in Indiana.
  • The state flower is the Peony, which my brother-in-law (from Indiana)pronounces Piny. (I am not sure if that is the Indiana way to say it or just his.) I wish I had some peonies in my yard to photograph to add to this post as I think they are quite beautiful but I don't.
  • Indiana is called the Hoosier state but nobody really knows why.

If you visit Indiana you will likely see lots of farms (they are a leader in farming) and small towns. I know I was impressed with seeing a tiny little town just every few miles. There are big trees, and rolling hills.

One of my favorite times for seeing beautiful scenery was when my older brother Peter and I drove down near the edge of Kentucky to a blugrass festival in Indiana. We did a lot of driving on fairly narrow and curvy roads through tall hills. Everything was so green and we saw a lot of rustic cabins. It was a very scenic drive. (That trip was even more interesting because on arrival Peter's car's engine burst into flames!) I would love to go exploring in that part of Indiana again sometime.

What do you like about Indiana? I would love to have some comments from you all. This next week we are studying Missouri and would appreciate you input on that as well.

Some weird looking pictures for June

I was forwarded this link to some pictures of a storm that took place in Nebraska not far from where I was born. It looks like an amazing storm.

A verse of encouragment.

I wanted to share with you a couple of verses that have really encouraged me in my walk lately and also a picture of some Iris that are blooming in our yard that I am enjoying and thanking God for.

Colossians 3:15-17
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body you were called to peace.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and
admonish one another with all wisdom,
and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do,
whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Friday, June 20, 2008

A fun game/craft/gift to review the fruits of the Spirit.

At church on Wednesday nights lately we have been learning/teaching about the fruits of the Spirit. This coming Wednesday is our last night of this subject and we want to do some review. We decided it might be fun to have fruit of the Spirit bingo and we would ask questions about the different fruits and the Bible stories we had studied to show an example of each fruit.

Yesterday afternoon one of my friends who is one of the other teachers was over and we decided to work on the game together. To make the Bingo sheets we cut a piece of cardstock in half (to 5.5" by 8.5"), wrote Fruit of the Spirit Bingo on the top and then made a 5" x 5" grid on the bottom. That left us with 25 squares. There are just nine fruits of the Spirit in Gal. 5:22-23 (We did do a simple 9 square grid for the really little kids but thought that would be to easy for the bigger ones) so we decided to use each fruit twice. We had already been associating a regular fruit with a fruit of the spirit like the list below:
  • Love: Strawberry
  • Joy: Orange
  • Peace: Watermelon
  • Patience: Pear
  • Kindness: Grapes
  • Goodness: Banana
  • Faithfulness: Cherry
  • Gentleness: Peach
  • Self-control: Apple

Using two of each made 18, we then added a wild square in the middle (19) and then we decided to do two each of 3 different fruits (blueberries, pineapple and raspberry) and for those fruits we would just have general questions like: "Where is the verse about the fruit of the Spirit found?".

Our finished product is below.

I had figured we would draw each of the fruits and that was sounding a little labor intensive as well as taxing our artistic abilities and then I happened to remember that I had seen something about finger print fruit in a recent family fun. I started experimenting and we came up with the fruits above. For the Watermelon you use a big thumb print and then add lines with a marker, For the grapes you use a bunch of pinkie prints and add a stem, For the apple you have to overlapping finger prints and you add a stem and leaf and so on. We ended up have a lot of fun working on it and had some very colorful hands afterwards!! Remember if you make this that each playing card needs to have the fruit in different spots to make the game work.

Then we made 24 cards (2 cards of each fruit) and put fruit and the name (Love, Joy etc.) on one side of them. On the back side we will have a question that corresponds to the fruit on the front.

To play: Each person has a large bingo card and quite a few playing pieces like buttons or pennies (10 or so). One person will be in charge of the little cards, they will draw one and show it to the players and ask the question on the back. Our plan is that the question will be open to all players and they can work together at answering it. Then each player gets to put a playing piece on the corresponding fruit (since there are two squares for each fruit they get to choose the place that they want to put there button on). When somebody gets five buttons in a row they yell "Bingo" and they won the game. You would not need to have questions to make the game work but we wanted them to help with our review of what we had learned.

As I was making this I started thinking how this makes a nice frugal craft if you want to let your kids try finger fruits. It also could be a frugal gift for some child or just a fun frugal activity for your family.

For more frugal tips visit Frugal Fridays at Biblical Womanhood.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A quick project to make a litte boy happy

Jonathan has been wanting overalls for quite a little while now. Aaron has several pairs and Jonathan thought they were something he really needed too. As usual he asked me to make them, knowing that is more likely what his mom would do rather than buying something.

Tuesday evening I was working on mending and I came across some jeans and overalls that weren't worth mending and I started thinking that maybe I could quite quickly whip up some overalls with them. I had Jonathan try on the overalls below thinking maybe I could just cut them down somehow. I started working on that but it didn't quite work.

So I ended up using a pair of jeans with his jeans as a pattern and I cut out the pants section of the overalls from them. I was able to use the existing leg seams. I just had to sew the crotch seam. Then I used a square from the back of the pair of jeans which had the pocket in it and attached it for the front bib part. Then I did use the back part from the old overalls and attached it for the back part of the overalls. The waist was a little big so I just put in some elastic quickly to make it fit better.
The overalls that resulted from an hour or so of work are not designer ones and not made that greatly but they do work and they did make one little boy happy.

Have you been doing any sewing lately? Share with me! I could use some more inspiration. If you have any questions feel free to fire away in the comments section.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wordless Wednesday ~ Around our yard this week

WFMW ~ Cloth diapers

One thing that has worked well for me through the diaper time of life for our 4 kids has been cloth diapers. I don't think I have anything new or unique to share about them but I thought I would share the ways that they do work for me.

  • They save us a lot of money! I do use disposable diapers when we are going places, at night and when life just seems a little to crazy to have anything extra added to my schedule. When I buy disposables I buy the cheapest ones but even at that it is over $10 each time. All of our cloth diapers were given to us (When friends asked what I wanted, I told them honestly) and they have worked for all of our kids, so they last very well. Even if I would have had to buy them it would have only been around a $30 investment or I could have used some of the patterns and ideas online and made my own.
  • My kids have had less rashes when wearing them. Here is an article that tells a lot of the benefits of cloth diapers as well as why they are healthier.
  • We have less trash to throw away. When I think about how much most people (even me, and I try to be careful!) throw away it bothers me that it is just going to sit in a pile someplace. My goal is to contribute as little as possible to that pile.
  • They are not that hard or gross to use! I know many people are scared off by the whole idea, but I guess I would just like to tell you that it is not that bad.

Cloth diapers work for me! What do you think? Have you used them and really given them a chance? Or have you avoided them completely? What are your thoughts?

For more Works-for-me-Wednesday visit Rocks in my Dryer.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lots of links

Tonight I felt more like blog reading than writing and so I thought I would share with you some of the neat things I have read.

  • Do you need and idea for an economical and very cool gift for a child? Try a "Pirate in a Box". My friend Emily shares how she made this fun gift for her young cousins.
  • A recipe for homemade dishwasher detergent that looks interesting.
  • Some more homemade cleaners that I am thinking about trying.
  • An in depth list and explanation about blog memes.
  • Is this season a little hard on you? You might want to try this Hay Fever Tonic.
  • And an interesting post about living Car Free. This is not something I ever plan on doing totally but I would like to use it less (and hence forth pay less for gas!).

Menu Plan Monday (er... Tuesday!)

Yesterday was a busy day (with Chiropractor and dentist appointments and company) so I didn't get this done then but I decided better late than never so here it is:

Monday Breakfast: Leftover waffles and pancakes, oatmeal and cereal.
Supper: Pizza and salad and no bake cookies.

Tuesday Breakfast: Fried eggs and toast.
Supper: Potato salad skillet dish and salad.

Wednesday Breakfast: Pancakes and real maple syrup.
Supper: BBQ turkey on homemade bread, green beans.

Thursday Breakfast: Downeast Maine Pumpkin bread and yogurt.
Supper: Mainiac chicken casserole and fiddle head salad (if I can find them). For Dessert: blueberry frozen yogurt.

Friday Breakfast: Eggs and hashbrowns.
Supper: Meatloaf, Italian potatoes and broccoli and cheese.

Saturday Breakfast: Fried dough, fruit and cheese.
Supper: Tacos

Sunday Breakfast: Cereal and yogurt.
Dinner: Roast chicken, potatoes and carrots, fruit salad and corn.
Supper: Corn Pone pizza.

For lots more menus visit OrgJunkie!

Monday, June 16, 2008

I think I am still in shock...

Today Jonathan, Mara and I went to the dentist. We went to have our teeth cleaned and I wanted to have my retainer removed. The dentist also checked our mouths quickly and he decided to fill 3 tiny cavities that I had. We were there a couple of hours and I did figure it would cost a fair amount but when I went to pay (using our health savings account debit card) she told me $610 and my jaw dropped and then she is like "oh no, that's not right!" and I was thinking oh good, she got something wrong. And then she said "it is $616. Going to the dentist sure isn't cheap!!

And if that wasn't enough, my van was nearly out of gas so I went and filled up. To the tune of $83.23! I do believe that is a new record for me! I did have $5 in coupons though so I did save a little bit.

Well I am surely thankful that we have a God that provides for us very well, even when things are expensive!

I am curious, do you get regular dental cleanings? If you do, do you have insurance that covers? I am wondering if they are really worth it. What do you think?

A fun father's day

We had a fun Father's Day at our house (I hope you all did too!!). For breakfast I made waffles and scrambled eggs (not exactly following my menu) and the kids put their cards and a few small gifts for Daddy (all except one were homemade) around his plate. Also as soon as Ken got up (on weekends he is often the last up) the kids all ran down to wish him a Happy Father's day.

One of the gifts given to Ken was a coupon book made by all of us. The page above was designed by Jonathan.

After church our family, my parents and brother and a couple of other friends went on a picnic. The weather was fairly nice (cool but okay) when we got there but as we ate it got increasingly cooler. The afghans that mom always keeps in here van got put into use and we ended up not staying around real long. We did have a yummy lunch though and it was fun to be together.

The park that we went to had recently been redone and looked very nice. They had these chairs along a walkway that faced the lake. It was quite pretty.

After supper we had Ken go on a scavenger hunt that led to this ice cream cake that we had made for him.

What did you all do for Father's day?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Lovely Louisiana

A couple of weeks ago we had fun studying about Louisiana. I have been privileged to visit the State of Louisiana twice. Both trips were memorable and I had a good time. Louisiana definitely made an impression on me as it is quite different to what I am used too and I feel as though I am visiting another country.

Above is a picture of me (around 10 years ago) standing in the Gulf of Mexico in LA.

Louisiana became a state on Thursday, April 30, 1812.
Louisiana is called the Pelican State.
Louisiana is a state with much French and Spanish influence. It was originally settled by the French but then fell under Spanish rule after the French and Indian war. French settlers in a part of Canada called Acadia were forced from there and many of them went and settle in LA. They were Acadians which over time came to be called Cajun. The Cajun heritage is still very much there today and I was amazed to meet people who spoke mostly French when I went to LA.
Another group of people in LA are the Creoles. From my understanding of what I read Creoles were a mix of African American and French or Spanish. They also still have their culture a big part of their lives. I did not see that as much as I visited in Cajun country.

We had fun reading about one wealthy Creole, Charles Durand. When two of his daughters were married on the same day, Durand imported spiders from China. He then had them put on trees for 3 miles leading to his house. After they had spun webs on the morning of the wedding he had his slaves sprinkle gold and silver dust on the webs for a fairyland effect.

Louisiana does have a lot of wonderful food. Thinking about it makes me rather hungry! :-) I did attempt making Pork Jambalaya and then I invited my parents over to eat with us as they are fond of Cajun food too.

I also tried making Pecan Pralines but was trying to do to many things at once so they sat a little long before I put them on the pan and they got a little crumbly. They were still yummy however.

I also made Louisiana Crunch Cake (after a fashion, I have a tendency to never truly follow a recipe). I was thinking about trying King's cake (or 12th night cake) but I didn't get it done as we only need so many desserts in one week. There are a lot of recipes available for LA food.

We had a lot of fun looking through the photo albums at pictures from the trips to Louisiana. I scanned some to share with you.

When I was in college on one Spring break quite a few of us decided to go to Crowley, LA. One of my dorm mates was from their so she and I and another friend all planned on going to her house. Some others from college also had relatives or friends in that town (they all went to church together) and so down we went. We were there around 1 week and were blessed to see and do a lot. Above Stacy and I are trying our first craw fish (a big specialty there).

On that trip I also learned how to catch crabs (tie some old meat on a string, dangle it in the water and then when they~the crabs~ catch on you put them in a net) We had fun catching quite a few and then they had a crab boil.

Some of the guys crabbing.

One day we drove down to the gulf and on the way we stopped to walk on this path that went through a swampy area. The family we were staying with thought maybe we could see some wildlife. Well we did! At first we just saw a baby alligator but then we saw around 3 big ones. This big guy was I think less than 50 feet away. They were not in fences, just out in the wild. At the time I don't remember being scared (I do remember my friends dad being a bit concerned for all of our safety) but I don't know that I would want to do that again. (Especially when I think of the snakes that could be there as well.) Other things I enjoyed seeing was Spanish moss all over big trees and then Irises blooming all over in the ditches. It was so very pretty!

The other trip that I made to LA was nearly 4 years ago when my sister Martha and family were living there. We drove down when my niece Heidi was born. One of the places we went while we were there was to Avery Island where they make Tabasco sauce. My Mom, 2 youngest siblings, and my 3 kids drove down together. Above are my Mom, Kids and friend Rosella who lives there.

Louisiana is a fun place to visit and we had fun studying about it too. There is more I could tell about but it is time for me to go to bed!!


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