Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Holy Hot Weather! Where did spring go?

Looks like we're skipping spring again this year.  We went right from cold weather to massive rain and flooding to intense, hot, muggy heat.

Today is Ranger's 5th grade graduation, so my parents, my oldest son and his girlfriend are coming up to help us celebrate.  I made mini cupcakes with homemade buttercream icing, homemade potato salad, deviled eggs, and will be grilling kielbalsa, hotdogs, and burgers.  Yum!

I'll be posting pictures soon!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps'.

But what may be needed to return the solemn, and even sacred, spirit back to Memorial Day is for a return to its traditional day of observance. Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: "Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day."


What do you think?  Have we lost the true meaning Memorial Day?  

Friday, May 27, 2011

Banned words - a bit of a rant

Yesterday I had the privilege (er... duty) to work at "Art Day" at the elementary school.  My station was free paint - the children had access to paper, wood blocks, and all the paint they wanted.  They had 40 minutes to create their lovely masterpieces.

While I was there, I was called into the principal's office.  Oh lord.  It wasn't the first time.  I recall going to the principal's office in 4th grade, 5th grade, and again in 11th grade.  I will plead the fifth on the reasons  :-)

There's a show the boys watched called My Wife and Kids.  The jist is the father's character didn't want his daughter going to prom.  Just google what prom stands for.  Most little boys talk about their body parts - we all know what kind of talk goes on in the boys bathroom and on the bus.  There are certain words that aren't to be said at school.  I just told him to say boogers next time.

No, my little darling should not have repeated what he heard on television.  Yes, I'm mad that this type of show is on prime time family television.  I had a little talk with him.  His punishment was missing the Fun Friday activities he'd earned.  I'm torn because I know there should be consequences but they seem a bit severe.

But the purpose of today's rant is teacher attire.  Gone are the days of male teachers wearing ties and dress shirts and female teachers wearing skirts, hose, and conservative shoes.  Teachers, in our area, wear flip flops, shorts, mini skirts, etc.

Yesterday, one of the female teachers had on low rise jeans.  If you don't know what low rise jeans are, here ya go:

Now, this is what the students were exposed to (keep in mind hormone driven 4th and 5th grade males).  This would have offended me whether or not I had to make a visit to the principal's office.  I understand that young women choose to dress this way.  However, I feel this attire, in the workplace, especially in an elementary school is not acceptable.

What do you think?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


June 2nd.  It will be here before long.  June 2nd will bring lots of laughter, some brotherly arguments, video games, playing outside, and more . . .

June 2nd and the boys will be out of school for the summer

Seems just like yesterday

And now Ranger is getting ready for his 5th grade graduation.  Maverick is realizing he'll be "all alone" in school with no big brother there.  He doesn't like it.  At all.  

I can't believe how fast they grow up.

All for one and one for all
My brother and my friend
What fun we have
The time we share
Brothers 'til the end.
~Author Unknown

Monday, May 23, 2011

Blog Hop - Hop on over & Gardening & Pickle Recipe

Kathie over at Kathies box of chocolates is having a no holds barred blog hop.  I thought this was a great idea to get to know bloggers that have similar interests.  I can't wait to peruse the blogs that strike my fancy.

So hop on over and see if you can find one or two or three that pique your interest.

The garden is offically out.  Hubby got it all tilled up and yesterday we planted 20 better boy tomatoes, one cherry tomato, 4 jalapenos, 8 green peppers, one row of purple hull peas, cukes, 1 squash, butternut squash, cantaloupe, watermelon, lots of sunflowers, banana peppers . . . I'm sure I'm leaving something out.  We had a nice drenching rain during the night, so that is a great start for the garden.  I also have dill, oregano, and basil coming up!  I cook with oregano and basil year round.

My boys cannot get enough dill pickles.  I have to can quarts and quarts and quarts of them. 

Left to right:  Squash pickles, dill pickles, salsa


Approximately 10 pounds of pickling cukes (small)
5 cups white vinegar

13 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup pickling salt…coarse
fresh garlic pieces
fresh dill


Wash cukes well and leave in cold water while preparing everything else.
Mix water, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Simmer.
Prepare canning lids and rings by simmering in water.
Prepare clean, warm canning jars by adding 1-2 pieces garlic pieces and one head of fresh dill. Pack tightly with cukes. I prefer to use very small whole cukes.
Fill jars carefully with hot brine (vinegar mix).
Place lids and rings on the jars carefully and place into a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Some country cooks do not process their pickles in a boiling water bath. Pickles can be done be completely eliminating the canning process and they will seal on their own. However, many people are not comfortable with this method. You have to do what works best for you.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spring in a jar - Strawberry jam

There is nothing sweeter than spring fresh strawberries.  To save that little bit of spring, I canned up 9 half pints of fresh strawberry jam.

You'll need:

5 cups of crushed strawberries
7 cups sugar
1 box sure jell powdered pectin

Measure sugar into a separate bowl.  Bring strawberries and pectin to a rolling boil.  Quickly add sugar and bring back to a boil.  Boil for 1 minute and remove from heat.

Ladle into 1/2 pint jars, wipe threads are jar clean and seal with heated lid and ring.  Carefully lower jars into a prepared canner.  Make sure water covers the jars by one inch.  Process in water bath for 10 minutes. 

Remove from water and allow to sit overnight.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Change is scary

Do you know what it's like to get comfortable?  When you've been doing something for so long it seems as natural as taking a breath.  Change is scary.  What we do with that fear dictates who we are and what we become.  I've been a college student for almost 5 years.  I started out, several years ago, when I was a single mother of 3 boys, working full time, knowing that divorce was around the corner.  I'd been left in a sad home with three children who needed to be taken care of, the bank was reposessing the house that had been our home and sadness oozed from every corner.

I realized that I had to change.  I had to make myself do something I never thought I would do.  I started by taking one night class.  Just to see.  Just to try.  Now, 5 years later I am finally in a happy home and I am one semester away from graduating with my bachelors. 

Now it is time for me to change again.  I want so badly to get my masters.  Change is scary.  It is daunting and overwhelming.  I've begun the process though.  Paperwork has been printed, portfolio has been started, and I'm studying for the GRE.  It's all about having courage.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Mark Twain

I have an appointment at 4 today to meet with one of the professors of the psychology department at WKU.  I will likely have to drive an hour and twenty minutes every day to class then home again.  It's another two years of homework, studying, writing papers.  I need the courage to keep going. 

And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

Anais Nin

It's time for me to put on my big girl pants and just do it.  Why am I scared?  Change is scary.  I have to admit, I am scared to death of the GRE.  Why?  Math.  Math and I go way back.  It, at best, is a tumultuous relationship.  I know I can do it.  But the fear is there.  The anxiety.  I am doing this for me.  For my family.  For my husband.  For my children.  I want better.  I can do it.

But still.

I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move.
The Bible
Matthew 17:20

I will do it, with palms sweaty, knots in my stomach, shaking hands, and bile in my throat.  I will.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.
Ambrose Redmoon

Failure is not my greatest fear.  My greatest fear is that others will see me for the imposter I feel I am.  I don't give myself enough credit for my successes.  I trivialize them and mock them as being something anyone could achieve. 

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves 'who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?'
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; its in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."Marianne Williamson

Monday, May 16, 2011

Where did spring go?

I've decided that Mother Nature is teasing us.  We went from rain and more rain to cold weather and even more rain.  So in honor of rain, I thought I would share some of my favorite pictures that feature water in some form.

Noble Park, Paducah Ky

Trailing Geranium

Water on leaves

Noble Park
January ice storm 2010

January ice storm 2010

Water in the birdbath

Ranger in seahorse aquarium

I am so tired of the rain.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I've been thinking . . .

And I try not to strain my brain when I do, but it's time I thought about summer plans.  Hubby will be laid off in about 3 weeks.  He's usually off all summer.  I am taking classes this summer in order to graduate in December.  We put on a garden and I can and freeze and dehydrate everything I can.  I have a flat of strawberries in the freezer now just waiting to be made into strawberry jam.  I may tackle that next week.  I have plenty of green beans that were canned.  I just opened my last jar of salsa a few days ago and only have 2 quarts of tomato juice and 3 pints of spaghetti sauce left.  Fortunately because of hubby's great hunting skill, we still have deer in the freezer.

My summer plans are to garden as much as possible.  I sit on pins and needles just waiting for the garden to start coming in.  But because of all the rain Kentucky has had, the garden isn't even broken up yet.  My Grandmother says as long as it's in the ground by the end of May I'm still in good shape.  I have to pull everything up, get all the tomato stakes out and get it tilled up.

I saved purple hull pea seed from last year.  It was the first time ever that I'd grown them and it will be a permanent fixture in the garden.  Easy to grow, harvest, and freeze.  I also saved cantaloupe seed and butter nut squash seed that will go out.  I'm also planting corn, banana peppers, jalapenos, and of course my all time favorite - TOMATOES!!  No meal is complete without a homegrown, still warm from the sun, tomato.  Oh yes, let's not forget cucumbers.  The boys HAVE to have their dill pickles.

People are surprised that I can.  I'm told it's too complicated, too much work, etc.  It can be complicated for a beginner, but information is out there if you just look and ask questions!  I don't even consider it work.  I enjoy gardening.  I love seeing my little pantry stocked with jar after jar after jar.  It's "my thing".  I truly love doing it.

Mustard relish

Pickled eggs

Squash pickles, dill pickles, and salsa


Spaghetti sauce and mustard relish

Green beans going into jars for canning

Tomato juice

Strawberry lemon marmalade

What are you plans this summer?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Can you help id these birds?

Any idea?

Juvenile Rosebreasted Grosbeak?

Juvenile Downy Woodpecker?

Bluebird or Indigo Bunting?

This is one of the Mother's Day plants I picked out.  I love Fuschia.  My Grandfather's sister, Alna, always had this growing on her front porch.  It reminded me of her.

Yes, we have no bananas

I was feeling a bit bananas today, so thought I'd share this with you.  Think of it as my gift to you.  Sit down, breathe deep, and push that play button.  I dare you.

Yesterday, the male bluebird that I've been trying to get a picture of decided to tease me.  I ran in to grab my camera and of course he disappeared.  Just as I was about to give up, I spied these crossing the road.

Mom has twins and is expecting again.  See her plump tummy?  I'm anxious to see the new fawns soon.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mom's Day

Peggy, Grandmom, Paula, Mom, Molly and Debbie
 celebrating Mother's Day

Spotted this at Mom's on her new Mother's Day
bird feeder.  This is only the second time
I've seen a Rose breasted Grosbeak!! 

Happy Mother's Day

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bird Nerd

I love sitting outside trying to catch pictures of all the birds that visit my only two trees left in the yard after the ice storm a few years ago.  The two remaining trees aren't big but both appear to be diseased. 

The Robin only posed for a moment. 

I believe this is a House Finch.  Correct me if I'm wrong.

This little flirt kept the male Cardinal busy.  She would fly from the feeder to the tree and back again.  The male Cardinal watched admiringly.

There were two finches playing.  Their song and the way they played reminded me of watching small children play and laugh.

Click on this to enlarge.  The colors on this hummer are amazing.

You know it's spring when you see this!

I have no idea what this is.  The tail feathers are blue.  Any help?

These are growing in abundance in my yard.  Does anyone know what it is?

If this damn rain would ever stop then the ground could dry then I could plant my garden then I could start watching it grow! 

I'm really hoping to see the Rose Breasted Grosbeak again this year.  I saw it two years ago.  The bluejay made a brief visit, but not long enough for me to get a shot.

The boys just got home, so Mom time is over for now!

Monday, May 2, 2011

If hail falls in the country and noone is around to hear it . . .

It can still do massive damage!

Although these were no larger than a quarter in diameter, the sound of it hitting the house, porch, and vehicles was simply incredible.  Just unreal. 

I think it's pretty unique that some were solid white and others were clear.

We had hail damage to the vehicles

If you click on this to enlarge you can see the tiny little green flowers that had just broken through.  There are large holes still in the dirt where the hail it.

If the worst we have is hail damage, then we are very fortunate.  Prayers to those whose lives have been devastated by the spring weather. 

On another note, I only have ONE FINAL LEFT and I'll be done for a few weeks - til summer.  I have to admit I was extremely disappointed in the class choices that were offered online at the community college.  The school has a rule that your final 32 hours must be taken on the home campus, but I submitted a request to take 6 elsewhere this summer because it is about $800 cheaper.  I'll be taking introduction to law enforcement (I can just imagine a bunch of Barney Fife's) and terrorism and political violence.  I'm guessing this one will be the most interesting.

The boys will be out on June 2nd and on June 6th, my friend Peggy is flying in from Texas to stay with us for a few days.  I am so excited!  I haven't seen her in over 4 years!