Wednesday, October 31, 2007

White Hair Again

Joshua's friend, Brandon, has returned from out of state for a visit. We've missed him. He's like a second son. Stewart must like Brandon, too. Here's the picture I took in April of Brandon and Stewart taking an afternoon nap together.

Tonight Stewart was checking out Brandon's guitar case. It looked like the perfect place to share some white cat hair! I can just see Brandon, puzzling over why white cat hair has coated the black felt lining of his guitar case. Never trust a white cat!

Today was a long day. Steve is finishing up at the "crack den." We will ALL be glad this job will be finished. Steve's sister, Susan has been helping for weeks. She's been a real asset to Steve with this job. Joshua has been working there since being home. Starting today and for the rest of this week, the girls and I will be helping, too. Today I did touch-up paint, cleaned overspray of wall texture off windows, clean up floors, boring things like that.

After working there, Brooke, Morgan, and I went to take care of the horses. Brooke rode Honeybee. Morgan was given the go-ahead to ride Punkin again - just walking on the arena for short periods of time. Tonight she made three or four rounds of the arena bareback. Punkin REALLY wanted to run, but Morgan held her back. I overheard Morgan tell Punkin, "This is so much fun! Didn't you miss this?" Obviously Punkin did. :^D

Monday, October 29, 2007


Today, after Morgan's cheer practice, we had to drive all the way to the LSU campus for a special rehearsal for Brooke's community children's choir. They will be performing a concert this coming Sunday with a youth orchestra at yet another college campus and they needed to have a rehearsal together. Brooke's friend is a member of this orchestra, so it was kind of neat for them to see each other in this capacity.

But I'm afraid of LSU. Okay, maybe not LSU per se, but afraid of driving around the LSU campus. It is enormous, with tons of little streets going this way and that, making no sense, and lots of one-ways. BUT tonight I not only found the music building for Brooke's rehearsal, but I found Mike the Tiger's habitat!!!

The sun was going down and we couldn't get any good pictures of the new Mike VI. His habitat is phenomenal - it cost $2.9 million. That's a lot of tuition money, cher!

Since I couldn't get a good pic of Mike VI, I had to rely on stock photos. Here's a picture of the rescue organization he was acquired from, age 6 weeks. What a cutie!

Here's a more recent photo. At whom could he be sticking out his tongue?

Hmmm....Alabama, I think!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hallelujah Fest

Our horses are not on our property. We have them stabled at a place about 10 minutes away from us. It's a nice place with lots of land, numerous pastures, and stalls for 16 horses (and they are building more). The owner is a Christian man who is very giving.

Every year in the fall, he has this enormous Hallelujah Festival for his church. It's held the last Saturday of October. Since our horses moved there last November, we have heard about this fun annual event. Mr. Barn Owner asked my girls to work at this year's festival, leading horseback rides. Of course, they jumped at the chance.

They have special horses brought in for this event. These are horses that are considered essentially "bomb-proof," meaning they don't ever get spooked, are laid back and easy going, and won't run away, go fast, or get excited. Perfect!

The day started before 9 a.m. I needed a large Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte for this - NOT decaf.

The girls got the horses saddled and started warming them up promptly at 9 a.m. People started to arrive shortly after. Horseback rides were the biggest draw.

Beautiful daughter #1

There were also four-wheeler rides - they had four four-wheelers, driven by adults, and following trails in the enormous side pasture where the geldings usually spend their days, and back into the woods. There was a Jeep, specially modified and with a "Granny Clampet" seat up in the back for more folks. This went into another section of the woods and, as evidenced from the tires, through lots of mud. There were volleyball games, a dunking booth, a space walk, and a hay ride. There were also gospel bands performing throughout the day. Lunch was hot dogs and hamburgers. Supper was pork steaks and rib eyes with choices of baked white or sweet potatoes and corn on the cob. They had a dessert-judging contest. Everyone attending got their name in the bucket for door prizes - two souped up bicycles, two beautiful rocking chairs perfect for front porch rocking, a gas grill, sets of cast iron cookware, iPods, and more.

Beautiful daughter #2

I couldn't stay for the entire day. The girls and I were there until about 4 p.m. when the horseback riding ended. I had a Pampered Chef cooking show to do. My in-laws brought the girls back so they could enjoy themselves and everyone ate rib eyes. Steve even went by after work to eat. The day ended with an enormous bonfire.

The only money collected on this day was for the dunking booth. They collected over $500 and it will go to the church's youth group. Many of the youth were from a neighboring city (where the church is located) and had never EVER been out in the country or ridden a horse. These children had a ball!

Beautiful daughter #2 giving a city kid a ride

What a wonderful day! I can see why everyone at the barn kept telling us about the Hallelujah Fest! We can't wait for it to come again next year! And next year, I'll make sure NOT to schedule a Pampered Chef party on the same day!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Catch Up, Kick Back

I slept late this morning to make up for the exhausting day of driving yesterday. There was also all sorts of excitement when I finally awoke, as they were pouring concrete for the newest house in the neighborhood and the trucks had to come through our current driveway, getting stuck in the soft dirt, leaving ruts alongside the driveway, and mowing down our mailbox (which the nice new neighbor, Mr. R., already fixed).

The girls (both curly and human) romped in the yard this lovely afternoon while I played behind the camera.

Look at Cosette jump!

As you can see, things are still quite green here at the end of October.

Abrial and Morgan look like they're both going for a stroll!

Then we headed over to the new house. Look! Insulation!

And Sheetrock on the ceilings!!!

They'll start the walls tomorrow and should be finished with the rock on Monday.

Quite a stack of 'rock!

The Sheetrock finisher is ready to go as soon as the hangers are done. Steve told me this evening, "When the finishers are done, it'll be ready for paint. You better pick out some colors." WHAT??? I'm no good at picking colors! HELP SOMEONE!!! I'm now in not a small panic!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Whirlwind Trip to Houston

My step mom asked me to accompany her to Houston, as she had some business to attend to at the Jamaican consulate. She was nervous about driving in Houston traffic by herself. So VERY early this morning (about 5:30 a.m.) we left. We went in my Suburban so my brother, Freddie, and Brooke could each have a set to themselves to stretch out on. Morgan stayed with my in-laws.

Brooke took some pictures as we went over Prien Lake in Lake Charles.

We made good time to Houston and didn't have any problems finding the consulate. Then we went to my Dad's office (he wasn't there - he's in China) so my step mom could turn in her paperwork for her and Freddie's visa for China so they can be with my dad. There was a nice pond in front of the office building and the day was sunny and breezy. Brooke took her drawing pad and pencils down to the pond for some sketching.

Then she did a little posing for her mom. :^D

She also took the camera away to take some shots of these guys.

We turned around and came back home. To and from Houston in less than 18 hours. That's definitely a whirlwind trip!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's COLD!!!!

Yesterday it rained all day long. And the low last night was higher than today's high was expected to be. We awoke with temperatures in the low 50's and it didn't rise above 56°. Considering that yesterday's high was 83°, that's COLD!!!

We did math, then headed out to an ice skating rink where a homeschooling friend of ours was celebrating her youngest child's "Gotcha" day. They adopted E. from Romania and decided this year to celebrate the anniversary of his arrival to their family with an ice skating party, the proceeds of which will go to a Romanian orphanage. There was a lot of fun and food, but it was COLD in that place!!! And going outside was no relief!

After skating, Morgan had cheer practice. On the way home we ran a couple of errands and Steve and Joshua graciously took horse duty for us this evening. Supper was left-over Chinese food. BUT....we had freshly brewed iced tea.

Someone asked in my comments how I make my iced tea and so, in celebration of this icy Louisiana day, I'll post the recipe for this favorite icy Southern beverage.

Louisiana Sweet Iced Tea

Start with cold tap water. Bring it to a boil. It's more cheerful if you use a colorful kettle.

I like Luzianne decaffeinated teabags. I use four family size bags to make a gallon of tea.

Remove the boiling kettle from the burner. Add the teabags and cover, letting the tea steep for a minimum of 10-15 minutes.

Add two cups of sugar. This is SWEET iced tea, remember?

Add the warm tea and finish filling the pitcher with cold water.

Add ice. I prefer crushed, but Steve says cubed is best. I'm right, of course.

I'll also add a slice of lemon or lime. Steve says no lime or lemon, thank you. I'm right, of course.

Tonight felt like a "lime" night. Add a good book and enjoy!

Now I'm COLD. So I'm off to make Peppermint Cocoa and get into my snuggly fleece jammies.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Our New Table

I arrived home last evening and when I walked into the dining room, SOMETHING was just not right. I looked at the table and my usual seeded glass hurricane had been replaced by a small vase that was holding my river rocks, but the candle was suspiciously missing. Not that it could have fit in the small vase. "Where's my hurricane?" I asked Morgan. She tells me it had an "accident" and the guilty party was curiously absent. Hmm....

It seems Brooke was talking on the phone (a new development) and LAYING on the table. This is an extremely old table, belonging to Steve's grandmother, and it was not in good shape, to say the very least. The pedestal legs were very wobbly and had small cracks running down the length of them. When Brooke leaned up, the whole table gave way on one corner and the hurricane went sliding off.

Brooke had swept up all the glass that she could see, as the hurricane simply shattered into a million little shards. She tried to prop up the table leg, but it was really not able to be helped.

My nephew helped me carry the table outside. A young carpenter who works with Steve will be taking it to his workshop to make a contemporary wood and steel coffee table with it. So it will still live on, although not in our family and not in its original state.

I needed something for the girls to do school on this morning and, because my friend has borrowed our folding table for a family reunion, this will have to do....

It's a small wooden folding table that this elderly gentleman makes for Pampered Chef consultants. I use it for my demonstrations. It is very handy, but not very large for a family of five. But until we get into the new house, it will be no new table for us. For now, we'll be a CLOSE family. :^) Like it or not.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Today Steve took Brooke and Morgan to the horse show. Brooke and Honeybee had an awesome pole run and got first place! Hurray for Brooke!!!

I had a Pampered Chef show, so I missed it. I was so bummed!

On the way home from my show, Morgan called to tell me My Boy called and said he was finished with his outprocessing and his first drill and was ready to be picked up! Steve and his dad drove to New Orleans to pick him up.

Here he is!

The Camo Kids. Love the hats hiding the eyes.

This is the Cool Camo Look. It takes practice to look this cool.

I'm giving Joshua "the eye." He looked like he was going to stick out his tongue for the camera. Love the skull on the shirt. Not.

Saturday Work Day

Today I went over to the new house and hauled bricks. The brick layers left a MESS - there are whole bricks, broken bricks, and enough mortar on the ground to build another house. (Okay, so I'm exaggerating just a wee bit. But it's a lot!) So today I picked up bricks and big mortar chunks, put them in the wheelbarrow, wheeled it to the front of the house where I stacked whole bricks on one pallet, broken pieces on another, then wheeled the small pieces and mortar to the dumpster and tossed the rest over the side. Wheel back and do it again. Over and over and over again.

As you can imagine, my family was eager to help. Not. Steve was actually putting the finishing touches on the remodel house. They are hoping to be done within the week. Just waiting on the stair treads and risers to come in. The rest should be finished. Brooke and Morgan were trying to NOT haul bricks. They came and helped for a little while. A VERY little while.

I, on the other hand, worked until I am stiff. I'm feeling old. Here are some pictures of two little guys who are NOT feeling old.....

These little fellas were running through the parking lot of the temporary base housing when we dropped Joshua off on Tuesday. I guess the rain had kept them cooped up in their nest long enough. The needed to stretch their legs.

Maybe they'd like to help pick up bricks.

Friday, October 19, 2007

October Hostess Club

Tonight was hostess club night. It was bumped back a week because of Joshua's A school graduation, Brooke's choir concert, and Morgan's pep rally all last Friday.

Here's our layout.

Stamps: Letterpress Alphabet, Best Blossons, Pure & Simple Alphabet Lower
Cardstock: Very Vanilla, Old Olive, Pumpin Pie, So Saffron
Ink: Old Olive, Pumpkin Pie, So Saffron Craft Inks
Accessories: Black grosgrain ribbon, Hodgepodge Hardware, black eyelets

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New Recipe

I tried a new recipe from my new Pampered Chef cookbook, 29 Minutes to Dinner. Call your Pampered Chef consultant and buy this cookbook TODAY!!! It has fabulous recipes! Here's the first one I tried.

Curried Chicken with Couscous

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
4 medium carrots
1 medium onion
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 can coconut milk


2 cups chicken broth
1 1/3 uncooked, plain couscous
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp fresh snipped cilantro, plus additional for garnish

Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Lightly spray skillet with vegetable oil. Heat over medium-high heat for 1-3 minutes or until hot. Combine salt and pepper. Sprinkle chicken with half. Cook chicken 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Turn chicken over; cook 2-3 minutes or until center of chicken is no longer pink. Remove from skillet and set aside.

As chicken cooks, peel carrots; cut in half lengthwise, then thinly slice on the bias. Cut onion in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/2-inch wedges. Add oil to skillet. Saute' carrots and onion 5 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Stir curry powder, raisins, coconut milk, and remaining salt/pepper into skillet. Add chicken; simmer 3-5 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken.

Meanwhile, for couscous, pour broth into microwaveable, covered bowl. Microwave on high 3 minutes or until boiling. Stir couscous and butter into broth. Cover; let stand 5 minutes. As couscous stands, snip cilantro. Fluff couscous with a fork; stir in cilantro.

To serve, divide couscous among serving plates; spoon chicken mixture over couscous. Garnish with additional cilantro.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Steve Hates Cats

Steve hates cats. So he says. On the way out the door today, he saw this....

And he did this.....

Yup. The last of the great cat haters.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

More Fatty Cat

Today while doing school with the girls, I turned around and saw this in our hall....

I do mean RIGHT in the middle of the hallway, blocking the way down the hall. What a weird place to nap.

Libby is the silliest cat.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cosette, the Goofy

I wanted a red poodle. Badly. I discovered Cosette when she was just a teeny tiny little thing. She was SO adorable!!! I had planned to name my red Poodle Jezebel, kind of in keeping with the "bad girls of the Bible" we had evidently started with Delilah.

Here she is at 2 weeks of age. She didn't look like a Jezebel. She was way too sweet! So Steve pulled up a list of French names (even though Poodles didn't originate in France, but in Germany where they were bred as water retrievers - blame the German hunters for the strange show clip, as they started it). He got to the C's and said, "Cosette!" Our whole family loves Les Miserables, so it seemed very appropriate. Since Cosette's character in the musical sings a song, "Castle on a Cloud," we decided that should be her registered name. So she is Gineve's Chateau sur un Nuage.

And here she is when we picked her up in Ohio. She was only 7 weeks old, but she already weighed over 13 pounds!

Delilah traveled with us to pick Cosette up. Look how tiny Cosette was next to Delilah! Now she is quite a big larger than Delilah!

Cosette is a big goofball. She makes everyone laugh. She teases Abrial constantly by hiding her toys when she leaves the room for a drink of water. She adores Steve, practically crawling in his lap to give him kisses. Here she is trying to win a "longest tongue" contest.

Okay, she's up to something now. I can just see it in her eyes.

Here she comes! Cosette on the attack! Look out! :::giggle:::

I love my big, red goofball. I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Abrial Takes a Turn

Hi everybody! I'm Abrial and I told The Lady that I wanted to be the blogger today. The Lady took us Poodles for a walk to The New House. Here I am guarding the door of The New House.

Here's my Mommy, Delilah. Isn't she beautiful? She's The Lady's favorite - but I don't mind. Delilah is my favorite, too.

Here's my sister, Cosette. She's my favorite sister. Even though she steals my toys. But I love her anyway.

Between The Old House and The New House is this lovely little path through the woods. I thought you might like to explore it with me.

Hurry up!

Keep your nose to the ground! You never know what you might sniff out here in the woods! We like chasing rabbits and squirrels. But we never catch anything.

Hey! We caught something this time! It's a Girl! We like Girl! She gives us yummy Poodle Cookies - and the best belly rubs!

And here we are, back at The New House! I'm glad you got to explore the woods with us! I need to get back to guarding The New House now! Bye!