Saturday, November 28, 2009

Stovetop Goulash

I thought this was already posted, but I guess not. This is a favorite. M. asks for it once a week, usually. The flavor is great, and I like it because you don't have to precook the noodles.

Stovetop Goulash
1 lb. ground beef
1 med onion, chopped
1 15oz. can tomato sauce, plus enough water to make 3 cups
(OR 3 cups tomato sauce)
1Tbsp. Worchestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dry mustard (or reg. mustard to taste)
1 1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar (to taste)
1 c. uncooked elbow macaroni
Brown beef and onion in skillet. Add rest of ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 min.

Holiday Birthdays

L. and M. attended their Dance Gallery's Nutcracker performance with a clutch of friends yesterday. It was a creative birthday party for two of the friends. Afterwards, they had supper out and an overnight at the B-H's.

Myths and Poems

Daughter M. is enjoying her Tuesday literature/writing class with her girlfriends and Mrs. G. They have been learning about Greek and Roman myths.

She also has Poetry with Mrs. K. on Friday afternoons after our regular co-op classes. She has learned many poetry terms and has been writing some nice poems. Some examples:

In The Air
Beautiful birds-
They twirl on the strings of the air.
Flittering, flying, chirping, chatting
Soar, glide, suspended.

Wet cobweb
Shining water drops
Spun picture

Breakfast Wiggle
In the mornings,
Mom in pink pajamas
Funny dances:
Dips, swirls, bobs.

Eating eggs
Sometimes toast
Tepid tea-
Breakfast bash.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Parent, kids, grandkids and great-grankids. A happy day together.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanksgiving Favors

This is a Thanksgiving craft I did a few years ago as favors for the table. I wanted something earthy and rustic.

I used:
brown paper grocery bags
letter stamps and stamppads
Fall or Thanksgiving stickers
gold and/or copper acrylic paint
small eyelets

Find or buy rocks and clean if necessary. Tear narrow strips of the brown paper bag, leaving slightly ragged edges and making each long enough to go around each rock, with enough overlap to glue in back. To soften the paper strips, crinkle and rub it against itself to make it less stiff. Flatten and use a dark stamp ink of desired color to stamp words onto the strip. If you wish, brush or sponge some gold or copper paint or stamping ink along the edges of the strips.

Set a brad into a corner of the chosen sticker. See the brad package for instructions. Get a brad in a size that will fit the string you have chosen. Tie the string around the rock and through the brad in the sticker and tie tightly. Glue the stamped brown paper bag strip around rock over the string.

Snowflake Cards

This week in my art classes, we finished our Prismacolor colored pencil projects the kids made for parent/grandparents. I knew some would be finished before others, so I brought some neat blue cardstock paper that was cut and folded into cards. I brought snowflake reference sheets, and turned the kids loose to design their own cards to go with the gifts. I cannot put the "real" project up until after the kids give them to their parents at Christmas, but I can tell you they all did a fabulous job to make a meaningful project and gift.

Fall Harvesting

The weather has been much more normal lately. The corn is coming out of the fields everywhere in this country. We probably have a week or so left to finish harvest. Things are slowed even more by waiting for dryer bin fuel, waiting for the corn to dry in the bins, bin and combine breakdowns, lack of storage space, and waiting hours in line at the elevators. Overall, we are grateful to have a crop when we so easily could have lost it. (Pix by L.)

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely his goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with his love he befriend thee. (Hymn from Psalm 103, 150)

Gratefulness is to see what you do have instead of what you do not have.-JGS

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Last night we went to a Communtiy Concert Series that we are members of. Five great concerts a season, with a family rate that is manageable. Our G. friends have a membership too, so we attend each one together. Last night's was Daniel Rodriguez, the Singing Cop (NYPD and 9-11 fame). He gave a wonderful, personal concert. The girls and their friends were taking buddy pictures of themselves, so my buddy Nancy and I did some too. Fifteen great years of friendship and memories (and counting.) Husband was still harvesting, so he and Mark had to miss their buddy picture. : (


Cousin Gus came down for a couple of hours today. He and W had fun "playing" tennis. At two, he is a fun visitor to have. Can you tell by these pictures?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Emma's Birthday Party

M and W had a nice visit at Emma's this week for her ninth birthday. They did crafts, ate goodies, played games and had a great time. One craft was initials formed out of wire that each partygoer wrapped with fabric strips, secured (with help) with hot glue, then added tiny silk blooms to. They also made a candy man necklace. Emma's sister Heather was kept very busy hot gluing 12 little girls' candy men together. Very cute crafts.

Corn Bread

My friend Nancy got this recipe from her friend Gwen. It is a little lighter and sweeter than many cornbreads, which is a hit here. It's great for these chilly, comfort-food days. It makes a quick and easy breakfast offering too.
Gwen and Nancy's Cornbread
1 c. sugar
1 c. cornmeal
1 3/4 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
Mix. Pour into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 min. Easy and delicious meal.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nuts for Shakespeare

After the wildly successful Shakespeare immersion camp last summer, Mrs. Kane offered Shakespeare as a poetry class for our co-op group this fall. The kids were thrilled. Under her tutelage, they all love Shakespeare. They think it is "so fun." We moms think it is "so cool" that she is able to inspire this love of "The Bard" in them. It is also "so cool" that it is one less class we have to teach them! One of the girls even has a blog with Shakesperean insults for every occasion. ( Pix: Shakepeare Immersion Camp cast. See Mrs. Kane on left edge with baby on hip.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bean Crop Done!

Beans are in! After several weeks of rain, sleet and simmering anxiety, the bean crop is "under cover." Yields were good. On to the corn. It is overcast and windy today, but the forecast is not bad. (Picture-stock image.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Daughter A is 21! That makes three over 21 now. (And three under 14.) We had a nice dinner of steak and cheesy potatoes after church on Sunday. Brother J was out for church and dinner. A. is living here for a few months while getting a job and saving for an apartment.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Getting the Beans In

Getting the beans in. Several beautiful days in a row now. It was 71 degrees today. They stayed up all night last night to work, and are still at it. Thirty-eight hours and counting. (I love the farmer look. My girlfriend calls him "The Sexy Farmer." I always agree. He smells like Fall when he comes in. Drying corn, clean dirt, sunshine. Yum.)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fall Frames

This was a great project my co-op art classes did this week and last. I got the process from We worked on fall themes, but a few students were fast enough to go on to a second design, and they started on winter themes. (See last two pictures.) Everyone had a successful project on this one, as you can see by the examples above. They all turned out so well! Daughter M's is the first one.

We reviewed the color wheel before we started this project. We discussed primary, secondary, tertiary, analogous, complimentary and monochromatic colors.
I helped them draw the frame around the edge of the paper, then draw a vertical line about 1/3 of the way over. This skinnier frame was divided horizontally about 1/3 from the top or bottom, and then the wider vertical frame was divided horizontally about 1/3 up or down from the skinny division's horizontal line. (See pictures.) This made four frames to fill with large simple designs in the theme of fall or thanksgiving. Let them draw one design in each frame. Emphasize that they want to make large simple designs without many details. We outlined all pencil lines in black sharpie markers then colored in with oil pastels for beautiful saturated colors. I had seasonal stamps and pictures (ads from the paper work well) for reference ideas.

Sewing Girl

"It's so fun to sew!" she says. "Can we do more?" We are working on Christmas gifts for friends. I LOVE this time of year when I can make things and give gifts.