Monthly Archives: September 2012

Look to the Ants (Or, Holding Off Winter)

Look to the Ants (Or, Holding Off Winter)

Winter is coming. Look to the ants. In East Texas, it seems to me that when the ants start swarming, it’s time to seriously consider putting as much as you can of your harvest into jars. Winter is coming.

It was pretty much the same when we lived in South Arkansas. Although, I don’t recall the ant activity of South Arkansas, just the cool fall days. May I take a moment to say I love having distinct seasons again? Yes? I LOVE having distinct seasons again!

When we moved to Lake Jackson my oldest son was four and my daughter was three. We moved in August so when Christmas came around I made what had been tradition, Christmas Sweaters, to go to pick out the Christmas tree. This was about mid November. My poor children suffered the 86° temps in wool sweaters. The next year we started the new tradition of Christmas Tee Shirts.

I have a friend that has lived with her four children in Hawaii. She recently moved to North Texas and had to explain the concept of a jacket to her oldest two children, ages 4 and 5. “But mommy, why would we put clothes over our clothes?” You haven’t thought of that have you? Read the rest of this entry

The Crayon Fascist

The Crayon Fascist

Reblogged from Speaking in Pictures, Hearing in Color

They’re my Crayons. I’ll show you exactly how to use them. But I won’t let you.

This is how my husband described my childhood issue with my Crayons. I think it’s pretty accurate. Let me explain.

As a kid, I loved to color. For the longest time, I got along with my little box of 16 measly colors (I was a spoiled kid), wishing I could color Cinderella’s gown Cornflower when all I had was Blue. Then one day my mom came home from a shopping trip with that magic box of 64 Crayola® crayons – the one with the built-in sharpener on the back. (I’m hearing a choir of angels right now just thinking about it.) I carefully opened the lid – how cool was that lid? – and beheld the majesty of the 64 different colors. Maize! I had a Maize crayon! They were packaged so carefully, with the crayons subdivided into four smaller boxes. It looked to me like the people at the Crayola® factory arranged the colors into four coordinated and happy groups. It was just beautiful.

 

And that’s where my issues started.

Any time I used my Fantastic Box of 64 Crayola® Crayons, I would carefully select the color that was exactly appropriate to the item I was coloring, gently slide it out of its spot in the Smaller Box Inside the Big Box, color with it lightly (after first meticulously outlining the section to be colored), then slide it back into its appointed space. Thus I maintained the order and beauty of The Fantastic Box of 64 Crayola® Crayons the way the fine people of Binney & Smith had worked so hard to provide.

Then the neighborhood kids came to my house to color.

We headed to the basement where my little kid-sized table & chairs were. There was the Fantastic Box. As I spread out the selection of coloring books, I watched in utter horror as my friend Beth opened the Fantastic Box and dumped the contents out onto the tabletop. I was speechless. But not for long.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” I shrieked.

Beth was just as dumbfounded. “Coloring.”

“NO!! YOU CAN’T DO THAT!! THEY’RE IN ORDER!!” Panic was beginning to rise, along with the pitch of my voice. Binney & Smith were never going to allow me to have another Fantastic Box of 64 Crayola® Crayons if I didn’t fix this fast.

“DON’T TOUCH THEM!” I hollered. I tried to envision that pristine box. Was Cerulean next to Brick Red, or Indian Red? Or was that Blue Green?

Beth just stared at me. “You’re weird,” she pronounced, and picked up a crayon & started coloring. Roughly, too. I lost it.

I have very little memory of exactly what I said and did right then, but I think it involved some pushing and grabbing. Poor Beth got disgusted and left. I did my best to put the Box back together the way it was, hoping that Binney & Smith would forgive me.

And thus it happened every time one of my playmates came over to color. I would hold tightly to the Fantastic Box of 64 Crayola® Crayons, and instruct my little friend in the acceptable usage of my crayons: take one at a time, do NOT peel the paper, and put it back in the exact spot that it came from. God help the child who broke one. They were banished from my basement indefinitely.

It’s safe to say that I lost more than one friend over my fascism. But it didn’t faze me.

Here’s the sad part: I see this quirk raising its horrid head to this day. I’m very picky about how my classroom equipment is used & stored. (This can be quite a problem, as I’m in charge of several video cameras, tapes, microphones, and headphones for our broadcast program.) I have two pen/pencil holders at work: one that is for anyone to use as they wish, and one that is MINE. I get very uncomfortable when anyone mistakenly takes something from the MINE holder. I manage to not yank whatever it is out of the hand of the poor unsuspecting student or colleague, but my stomach is slightly queasy until it is back in its home in the MINE container. I even prohibit students from touching anything on my desk. I keep it light, and thankfully they always comply, asking before they come into the Magic Space (as they call it.) I’m also responsible for the maintenance of the school’s laptop carts. Just close your eyes and imagine what kind of stress that causes me. I keep a large supply of Tums in my desk.

The Crayon Fascist lives.

The Days of Our Lives (Or Apples Anyone?)

The Days of Our Lives (Or Apples Anyone?)

“As sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives…” Who remembers that?

Today the Parsnip did a clown gig for a nursing home where he met a woman celebrating 101 years young. Wow! That’s all, just wow! She could have been one of the first babies at New Summerfield church of Christ. = )

And now…apples.

Last week I gave the recipe for Apple Custard, today we’ll try Apple Butter. Slow cooker apple butter is super easy and delicious. It makes a great gift and you can’t beat it on a bisquit, or you would be hard pressed to do so.

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Honey Crisp! I’m in love!

6 1/2 pounds apples – peeled, cored and sliced (I don’t peel, but you should try it peeled first)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1. Place the apples in a slow cooker. In a medium bowl, combine sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg cloves and salt. Pour the mixture over the apples and mix well.
2. Cook in slow cooker on low for about 10 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and dark brown.
3. Uncover, stir in vanilla and continue cooking uncovered on low for about 2 hours.
4. Use an immersion blender to puree the apple butter until smooth.

Paisley Notes: I use a mix of Honey Crisp, Granny Smith and Pink Lady, you pick your favorites. Let the apple butter cook down to your desired consistency. It will end up with a nice scrumptious browned color. You can leave the lid off for the last hour or two to get a thicker consistency. Fill your jars leaving a 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims clean, remove any air bubbles and place your lids. Process 10 minutes for pints, 15 minutes for quarts.

Apple Butter in Weck Jars…Beautiful! (Photo My Baking Addiction)

I love Weck jars for things like this, but I can rarely afford them. Sigh…maybe next year.

Fresh Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Icing

Cake: (Southern Cooks recipe with a paisley twist)

Fresh Apple Cake

Fresh Apple Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 cups chopped apples, such as Rome Beauty(again I use Honey Crisp or Granny Smith, but I like a tart apple)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional, I usually omit or sub pecans)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside. Beat eggs; add sugar and oil and beat for 3 minutes. Gradually stir in sifted dry ingredients. Fold in apples, walnuts, and vanilla. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan and bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Brown Sugar Icing

apple cake with brown sugar icing

Fresh Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Icing

2 cups brown sugar
6 tbsps butter
6 tbsps whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
In saucepan, add brown sugar, butter and whipping cream. Bring to a boil. Boil 1 Minute Add vanilla. Beat with mixer until cooled and whipped. Spread on cooled apple cake

 

 

October Garden, Fun for Everyone with The Haunted Garden

October Garden, Fun for Everyone with The Haunted Garden

The October garden? It’s what one would expect, carrots, parsnips, lettuce, cilantro, mache (corn salad), radishes, pumpkins, winter squash, and cabbage, because…why not? All of that is pretty much to be expected from a fall garden, right?

Haunted garden

Fall Garden…some things we expect…

Haunted garden

…others we don’t!

Well that’s just not very paisley, so this is what we’re doing in Patrick’s green garden. We’re calling it, “The Haunted Patch” or maybe just “The Haunted Garden” and decorating his garden for Halloween! Atop the tree stumps we’ll put his Jack O’ Lanterns, string fairy  lights along the length, and create a huge spider and web on his trellis, we’re leaving the Mexican Sour Gherkins in place as they are still producing. I’m going to use glow in the dark yarn for the web and We’ll put a foam spider painted with glow in the dark paint. We’re thinking of perhaps making a few headstones as well, but I may go for more whimsy than in your face scary. We’ll just have to see.

Haunted garden

Fun Halloween Garden!

I’m gathering supplies still, we want to install it the first week of October, which is coming up quick. This also means school will start again, yay. I love the beginning of the school year. For one thing, I can take a break again, and plus, I just love that my kids are excited to start again. This year is no exception, Jonathan is anxious to start French and Patrick is chomping at the bit to do math again.

Now I’m thinking I might do a Thanksgiving version and of course Christmas. This will be so fun! I promise to post pics as I get them, until then…have an excellent, paisley week!~KeriAnne

Coming and Going (on)

Coming and Going (on)

Wednesday is here and I barely know where Tuesday went. The weather is beautiful and has been perfect soup making company.

Potato soup is my all time favorite, but I really like soups of just about any kind. My mother in law waits until the first cold front of the year and makes Split Pea for the occasion. It’s a yummy way to take the chill off.

I’m down to the last of the curriculum choosing for this coming school year. Jonathan is starting 9th grade and Paddy will be in 2nd. I don’t know if I’ve said before but my favorite homeschool product is the Total Language Plus program. My older kids loved it and Meghan says it’s one of the reasons she did so well on her ACT’s. Patrick will get his first taste of it this year and Jonathan is pretty excited about the books he chose to study.

For the most part I decide the year’s activities, but I’m pretty flexible if there is a reasonable request made. Jonathan and I have a deal that allows him three Literature picks to my one. He reads and studies about 15 books each year which is a healthy serving of great books. Total Language Plus incorporates Vocabulary, Spelling, Grammar, Creative Writing and Comprehension in each study guide. It also has absolutely remarkable suggestions for activities that go along with the book making it a learning by immersion tool.

The Parsnip teases me because if I really love a curriculum I seem to think the author must be a member of the church. Of course most of the time I find out the person is in fact Mennonite. So when I kept saying, “I think Barbara Blakely (Total Language Plus) is a member of the church.” The Snip just smiled and nodded. Well ha! She is a member of the church! I had to be right eventually, right?

In other news, I continue to crochet and knit for the store and in fact, have an auction today at Tophatter. You can get a bargain on a cute rolled brim hat for a boy or a girl. 12 Central at Tophatter in the Handmade Bazaar. 

Have a great rest of the week!~KeriAnne

Two Favorites and a Like

Two Favorites and a Like

I’m giving you two of my favorites today, and then I’m throwing in a like, because…why not?

Two Favorites

Favorite 1…

Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake

favorite cake

I make a slightly different version of this but I’m giving you the recipe from Mama’s Gotta Bake. The only real difference is that I use my own pumpkin, or squash or related veg I have on hand, even eggplant so, now you see why I’m defaulting to a more traditional recipe. = ) Read the rest of this entry

“Mama, we’ve got every pew covered!”

“Mama, we’ve got every pew covered!”
Every Pew Covered

New Summerfield church of Christ

Yesterday we had the 100th anniversary of the New Summerfield church of Christ, where Curt preaches. Paddy leans over to me before the service and says, “Mama, we’ve got every pew covered!” And we had. It was delightful. The singing was awesome, the sermon was awesome, the love in that little building was heavenly.

 

I’m thanking people today. Thanks to Anne Corbin for keeping the momentum going in the right direction. Thanks to Anthony and Andy King for leading singing. It was the first time I had ever seen a song service “tag teamed”. Thanks to brother Lille for speaking. It was precious to hear the stories of services from 60+ years ago talked of with such fondness. Thanks to all of you that attended. We had every pew covered, how cool is that!

We moved up here to be closer to family, never dreaming we would be finding a new family in the process. His plans are so much better than ours. God bless you today.

Apple Picking Weather

Apple Picking Weather

It’s so exciting to have the changing of the seasons. This weather always reminds me of two things, the grape harvest and apple picking. Apple picking weather is divine and it has arrived in East Texas! The weather man has said it is likely we will not see any more days of 90+ this year. That’s cool (literally)

Apple Picking Weather, used to be grape harvest weather…

apple

The grape harvest

You can’t live in Napa and not think about the grape harvest. I used to make a fall dress for Meghan at this time of year that had grapes on it. Smocked grapes, painted grapes, embroidered grapes or grape material. I wonder if she’d wear a grape dress if I made one for her this month? I’m thinking at 20, probably not. I dunno though, I could make a big girl version, the chic grape dress…nah, still no.

 

 

apple

Apple Picking Fun!

Read the rest of this entry

I’ve Been Bad

I’ve Been Bad

I repent! I’m sorry! I’m wholeheartedly contrite! I’ve been bad.

I could use illness, school break and general malaise as an excuse for my serious lapse of postings, but I won’t.

The truth is I’ve been crocheting like crazy and really enjoying that, so I’ve simply been a slacker with the posts. To my friends that look forward to hearing from me I say, I’m sorry and you will once again be hearing about my frenetic, chaotic, paisley musings. To my scoffing Parsnip, get off me! Let’s see your last post churchfun.com guy!

Enough, let’s hear about new things.

 

New Summerfield church of Christ

This Sunday we have a very special event happening at our little church in New Summerfield. We are commemorating the 100th year of the founding of the New Summerfield church of Christ. 100 years is a long time. It’s super fun to see the pictures of people at the church in wagons. It’s also rather strange. The area we live in is rich in history as it was one of the first places settled in Texas by homesteading families heading West. I can see why, it’s mild and scenic. Even the hottest days usually give way to cool evenings and things like to grow here, which is a nice thing. I’ve said it before but, it’s a good place to grow kids too.

What else? Oh, there’s a cool “green” site that I joined last week. It’s called Ozoshare and it seems to be a good place to meet with nature people. You should add me if you register, I like to hear from you. That link is here.

If any of you shop at Etsy, be sure to check out my new shop here. In conjunction with that, if you go to Tophatter, you might find some of my items at the auctions there as well. You can really get a good deal if you play your cards right. (…errr, your bidding paddles? your bids? Ummm….you know)

I've Been Bad

This sold last week. Yay! (I do have more of these though, if you are interested)

I've been bad

Makeup remover/scrubby These are great gifts!

I've been bad

This is up for auction at Tophatter on September 19 at 4PM CST. Don’t miss out, you’ll get a bargain!

Poppies! This hat is beautiful irl. I don’t know that the pictures convey it?

So you know I have not been idle. Here’s what I’ve been working on. Have a great, paisley weekend!