Saturday, October 31, 2009

Last of the Apples

We finished the last bag of apples this morning, with sleep-over Nicole's help. Made three more pies and two more crisps. I think that makes 13 pies and 7 or 8 crisps into the freezer. Thanks Kris and Chad for the apples! On to Thanksgiving and Christmas crafts!


Friends, costumes and loot!

The co-op teens had a party at Simon's tonight-fire, roasting wieners and marshmallows, hot chocolate and treats, trick-or-treating. We all went to drop off L. and stayed in town to take the little folks around for trick-or-treating. No rain. A Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 30, 2009


A bunch of our homeschool co-op teens waiting at the library to go to Mrs. Kane's Shakespeare class. They have great times together.

Halloween Birthday Party

A double 50th birthday/Halloween party tonight for my brother and his wife.

Strange and wonderful cousins.

Dangerous characters.

Our own American Gothic...Daryl and Daryl?

And a pig!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

At Home With the Girls

We're having a nice evening at home. L. and M. went to town with aunties and did some volunteer work today. A. stayed with W. and I went to town for errands and lunch. (Whoo hoo! Thanks A!) I had a great "day off." Hit a lot of thrift stores, and found "good stuff."

Tonight the big girls are playing Star Wars Monopoly and the little ones are pretending to be horses and turtles. W and M are now ready for bed and listening to a taped book of Farmer Boy. I found some cute fake pumpkins at Hobby Lobby (on sale!) and am having fun writing on them.

The only sour note is the rain taking the men out of the fields.

Chicken (or Turkey) Casserole

We had this chicken, broccoli, cheese, dressing casserole tonight. YUM! This is one of Kevin's favorites. He was able to eat supper in the house tonight. They have gotten two whole fields of beans done. I am sorry to report, though, that I am seeing rain on the window right now, so I suppose he will be in soon.

Here is the recipe. Great for the Thanksgiving leftovers season.

Chicken Hot Dish

1 16 oz. bag chopped broccoli-Microwave 8 min in covered dish-drain if necessary.
Put into a 9x13 pan.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and 2 tsp. sugar.
Lay 8 slices of American cheese over broccoli.
Mix a can of cream of chicken soup and 1/2 c. of sour cream. Spread over the cheese in the pan.
Layer 3 c. cubed chicken on top of soup mixture.
Pour 2 Tbsp. chicken broth over all.
Fix Stove top Stuffing according to box directions and spread on top.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 min.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Apple Pies and Crisps

This week we were able to make and freeze 8 apple pies and 2 apple crisps from the apples we got from our cousins. That's two bags down, two to go!

Here is my pie crust recipe. Makes 5-6 crusts.

Leona's Pie Crust
5 c. flour
2 c. lard
Mix until crumbly like corn meal.
Then add:
1 egg-beaten with a fork in a cup (about 3/4 c. size-Leona just uses a tea cup)
1 Tbsp. vinegar
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
Fill rest of cup with COLD water.
Mix with flour/lard until it forms a ball.
Makes 5 or 6 crusts.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Weather Prints II

A few more cool prints from my classes.

Friday, October 23, 2009


We explored printmaking in my art classes today. It was a hit. It went very well for such a potentially messy, complicated project. My inspiration for this project came from research for Mrs. Daly's meteorology class, which Daughter L. takes. I found some great printing illustrations in the book Wild About Weather by Ed Brotak .

My goals were to teach the kids a little about printmaking, and to use materials that were inexpensive and accessible to everyone. I like to try to give the kids many art experiences, and give them ideas that they can take home and try themselves on other projects.

Printmaking can be a little daunting in a group, but this project worked really well with my two classes of 7 and 12 kids. Here is the process:

We used:
plastic foam plates
acrylic paints
foam brushes
pencils , paper

I pre-trimmed off the plate edges to make a flat surface. We used a weather theme (a few kids went to seasons.) I only offered three color choices for paint, positioned near the sink with layers of newspapers for neatness. I did not allow them to mix paint, for simplicity and control. The kids made sure they pushed up their sleeves and they wore paint shirts. Acrylic paint can be washed up or out of clothes while still wet, but is pretty permanent when dry, so care should be taken. We used the inexpensive acrylic paints that go for under a dollar a bottle. I did thin the paint a bit with water on the plates to get the right thickness for printing.

We talked about printing terms and methods before starting. I did not go into much detail, but did introduce them to plates, brayers, screen painting, wood block printing, lino printing, mono printing and etched plates.

The kids "etched" their designs onto the plates with pencils. I instructed them to keep their designs simple. When each one was ready, they came to the printing stations and I showed them how to "ink" the plates with paint. We laid the plate down and then brushed the paint all over from the center to the outside edge. The "inked" plate was moved to a clean spot on the newspaper and the paper was placed on top and rubbed with a flat hand to make the print. Be careful to lay, rub and lift the paper without shifting.

I had them put their names on their papers, and lay their prints on the floor to dry. The etched plates can be rinsed and reused for more prints. I let them each make two plates and as many prints as they wished and had time for. The 6th graders were able to do it pretty independently after they got going. The 4th/5th class did fine too, but it was harder with the larger class.

These are a few examples. I think they did well.

*Note* While practicing techniques for this project, I did try using washable markers to "ink" the plates. It does work, if you use darker colors printed on white paper. Lighter prints, but less potential mess. You must do it quickly with the side of the pen, or the ink will dry before you can print. If it does dry, you can "huff" on it with your breath, or print it on slightly wet paper to pick up the ink. (Wipe paper surface lightly with a dampish sponge.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

White Gourds

A smaller version of the pumpkins. (Three earlier posts.) I really like these. It's all freehand using references for the filigree. Would look good as table decorations. Wish they were permanent, but the fake gourds just aren't that great.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Apple Day

Cousins Will and Burke had extra apples on their tree, and today we finally got over to pick some. We had time to swing and play a little, too. We plan to make some pies for the freezer.
Top to bottom: apples and bugs, apple pickers (Will, L.-the climber with apples in her shirt-she reports 30 apples will fit!, and M.) and silly swingers W. and Burke

One More Pumpkin

OK. So I'm a little obsessed with this pumpkin idea, but it is so fun! (See two earlier posts.) I love the look. I googled filigree clip-art so I could reference it for the design around the word. Now the earlier ones look a little plain! Again, I laid it out with washable marker before using a Sharpie to finish. So easy to wash off the washable marker, and so helpful for a good finished product. Too bad I'm not making money on these! This one is a gift for a friend.


This is the second day in a row for sun! The weather man said that the first 15 days of Oct. had 13 days that had either rain and/or snow. Maybe more to come, but they should get into the fields today!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mr. Putter and Tabby

Mr Putter and Tabby Series by Cynthia Rylant
illustrated by Arthur Howard
This is a favorite series of mine. Delightful text and illustrations. Each story has Mr. Putter and his cat Tabby, going through their days. Sometimes their neighbors, Mrs. Teaberry and her "good dog Zeke" join in their day. A warm, neighbourly look into another generation's life. Each book is told with a quirky sweetness that will delight you.
These are considered chapter books, but they are simple enough for early readers.