Wednesday, December 31, 2008

And So the End (of Another Year) Has Come

Here we are at New Year's Eve and it's time to review another year. We've faced some really big changes in 2008. Nasa Man finished up with his part of the Ohio project and moved on to Tennessee. This meant that he lived in Tennessee during the week and Ohio on the weekend from late April to about August.

In July the kidlets and I officially moved to Tennessee and we got our current apartment. We did spend some time back in Ohio for Cub Scout and Webelos camps, and getting our house ready to be put on the market.

We have really enjoyed being here in the South. We are in a really great Ward and have made lots of friends. Daddy has been able to come home for lunch most days, which is a real treat. We love only being 5 minutes away from his work instead of an hour and a half like we were in Ohio.

The boys enjoyed having the Princess join them in being Home Educated. They all have really grown and blossomed. It has been especially exciting for me to have Princess start reading.

December has been busy for us. We have had the usual Holiday bustle. Visits from Uncle Dan and Aunt Kay, and Grandma and Grandpa Van Hoose added to our fun. We also saw Game Boy make the big transition from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. (Post about that to follow)

We look forward to a bright and exciting New Year, and hope that the blessed peace and joy of this holy season is your's throughout 2009.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pictures with Grandma

This year I got smart for Christmas. Normally we get a nice picture of the kidlets to give to the Grandparents. Well, this year I had a stroke of inspiration, why not a picture of the kidlets with their grandparents? Genius! And since we are here in Ohio visiting it's even a plan I can pull off.

So, here's my darling cuties with their Grandma Van Orman.
Grandma loves her girls. Everyone tells her that Princess reminds them of her. They are both very beautiful and strong individuals. Little Miss loves to give her Grandma smiles that remind her of Grandpa Van Orman. Those smiles are very special to her.

Grandma waited quite a while for these handsome boys to show up in her life. She was 71 years old when Gameboy was born. He was her first newborn biological grandchild. All of the boys love spending time with Grandma. I'm so glad that when they were little they got to go over to her house often.
Thanks Mom for being such a good mother to me and teaching me how to be a good mother to them.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

N 36° 08.604 W 086° 46.525

One our favorite things to do as a family is to go geocaching. Geocaching?” Click the link for a great article about it on Wikapedia.

Last Friday we went to what is now our favorite cache ever, Tour Of Historic Fort Negley. This cache rocked. Lots of fun and adventure, plus Mommy could take lots of pictures. “Because you’re going to blog this, aren’t you Momma,” said Princess.

This cache was extra fun because it was a multicache. We had multiple locations we needed to find and collect information from in order to find the cache at the end of our search. NASA Guy and the kids getting started.

The boys loved jumping around on these concrete pointers. I wish I had a better camera so I could have caught them in flight. Make sure you check out the visitor's center in the background. They have a really neat film about Nashville's place in the Civil War and some cool interactive displays.

The signage for this historical site was really fun. Both for peeking through and for learning more about the Civil War. Great for some hands on Home school education.

And while we're at it we might as well get some more P.E. time in, so ya'll just run on ahead.

Gameboy, true to his name, found that a stick and a hedge apple can be quite entertaining .

NASA Guy gets some help from Cowboy and Princess to locate the next piece of information we need. Little Miss was happy to supervise everyone from her chariot.

Fort Negley is often used by Civil War reenactors, and we were lucky enough to be there while a group was setting up. The kids were fascinated by all the attention to detail. We really wish that we could have come back to see them the next day. Maybe another time.

Being major history buffs we loved reading all the signs. Who ever put all the information together did a really great job. And the site is really well maintained, no graffiti, etc.
Looking in to downtown Nashville - then and now.
The Union soldiers who manned this fort would be glad to see that Old Glory is still waving here.

Just the Saturday before this NASA Guy and the kidlets had gone geocaching with out Little Miss or myself. NASA Guy had wanted to check out another Civil War battle site. Peach Orchard Hill was the site of some of the bloodiest fighting during the Battle of Nashville. We thought it was really cool to find information on their last cache while searching for this cache.

Yes, I labeled that picture wrong. Oh,well, you still get the idea.

And look, there in the background, could that be the Adventure Science Center?

Here are a few shots of the reenactors as it was getting dark. The soldier to the left of the tent is stuffing his mattress with hay. Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite.

The ladies with the group were really sweet. She cracked me up because she really has down that vintage picture expression. She said that the reason so many people didn't smile in pictures back then was because they had bad teeth. Who knew?

It was a great day. I'm glad that we decided to find this cache. Wonder what will find next?

I So Smart

Check out our cast of characters at the bottom of my blog. Just keep scrolling, scrolling, scrolling to the very bottom. Traveling Longhorns had posted her cute family at her site. Unfortunately our family was to big to fit in a regular post, so I put our gadget at the bottom. Maybe some day I'll play around more and try some other arrangements.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

With a Name Like Ike Ya Just Knew Someone Was Gonna Get Hit

There are just some names that shouldn't be used for hurricanes. I think Ike should be taken off this list.
Here are a few pictures of Ike's visit to Grandma's house. What a rude guest he was.
There used to be a 17ft carport awning here.

Thank goodness this branch didn't blow into the windows.

Oh, here's where part of the carport awning went to.

Yep, Ike doesn't need to come visit again.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tag I'm It

Kathey of From My Window tagged me. Using my Pictures folder, I was supposed to find the fourth picture in the fouth folder, and post it on my blog. Here's what I found.

The funny thing about this photo is that it's in a folder labled "Princess" Bath, but this is a picture of one of Little Misses first baths. Guess I need to relable that folder. :P

Hey Go Longhorns, did you see that you were tagged too?

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Boys Get It Wright

Last Saturday the boys had a really neat opportunity with their Cub Scout pack. They have a really great Cub Master who tries to have at least one outing a month. At one of the local municipal airports there is a group that has free airplane rides for youth once a month. There were different types of general aviation aircraft, including kit-built and commercial aircraft that they boys could see up close. Then they had the chance to go for a ride in one of the planes and get Young Eagle Certificates. Daddy went with them, as he is the Bear Den Leader, and took lots of good pictures and video.

Ar Force One - the World War II Era plane the boys flew in.
Checking out their wings.

Getting ready for take off.

Taxiing out to the runway.
Game Boy actually got to taxi the plane for a little bit. Cool stuff!
Here are some videos of the boys taxiing out and taking off.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Please Draw Only on Paper

Little Miss is becoming quite the artist. She loves draw on anything, especially the hallway walls.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Eat your Rootbeer Float

Some people are true foodies. They make fabulous creations. They take fantastic pictures of the cooking process. People follow their blogs just to see what their next great creation will be. Like my wonderful blogger friend Chocolatechic.

Me, I'm just a simple girl. Every so often though I find a recipe that is so simple but so fabulous. This is my favorite super simple cake. It's even easier than Dump Cake. So let's make...

Rootbeer Float Cake

The cast of characters: boxed white cake mix, oil, egg whites, rootbeer.

Pour the cake mix in your bowl.

Add oil and egg whites according to the box mix directions.

Now for the magic -
add the rootbeer in place of the water called for on the box mix.

Blend according to the box mix directions.

Normally I would make this as a 9x13 sheet cake, great for potlucks,
or as a layer cake. This time though I was taking these as a dessert for
a Relief Society activity at church. So I thought I would try making
them as mini cupcakes.
Bake in oven according to box mix directions.

Aren't they cute? They need to cool completely.
So while they are cooling let's make some really yummy frosting.

Cast of characters: Dream Whip, rootbeer.

Mix according to package directions replacing milk with rootbeer.
It's best to chill the rootbeer and if you want the beaters and bowl.
Then frost and place in freezer to chill. After all this is rootbeer float cake.

Serve chilled! Yum!
A few extra notes. Use a good quality rootbeer, we love IBC. The stronger the flavor of the rootbeer the better you can taste the rootbeer in the cake. Chilling really brings out the flavor. And if rootbeer isn't your "cup of tea" you can use any flavor of soda you like. I love making this recipe with Stewart's Orange and Cream soda. I'm thinking of trying it with Stewart's Key Lime soda. Enjoy!

Friday, September 26, 2008

And now back to our semi irregular blogging...

Gee. I guess it's been a while since I posted anything. Things have been a little crazy though. We've started home education for the year. Including going to once a week home education co-op, or as I call it; yippee! I get to talk to other adults time. Then we had the emergency trip to Ohio to have a new orthodontia spacer made for Cowboy. Oh and then there was trying to find out if our house in Ohio made it safely through the remnants of hurricane Ike. Luckily it did.

So after all that you would think that I wouldn't be surprised to find this in my freezer.

Well, where else would you keep your Mr. Freeze lego guy? I thought the ice cubes on top of him to keep him in the middle of the glass was a nice touch. Hope your comfy Mr. Freeze.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Davy Crockett's Cornbread

Last week we went on a field trip with some friends of ours from Church who are also homeschoolers. We visited David Crockett State Park near Lawrenceburg, TN. Our friends were a little bit late so we got to spend some time with Ranger Hannah getting to know the resident corn snake at the park. Her name is Cornbread. Cute huh?

Ranger Hannah taught us a lot about snakes. Here's what we learned about snakes. (Going from left to right and top to bottom in the picture.)

Gameboy: Only three of the 32 species of snakes living in Tennessee are poisonous.

Princess: Cornbread is not a poisonous snake.

Spaceman: A snake is poisonous if; it has eyes like a cat, it's head is shaped like a triangle (and has puffy cheeks), and it's tail has only one row of scales. (By the way, doesn't he looked spaced in this picture?)

Cowboy: You can tickle a snake by rubbing your finger gently down their belly.

We really liked Ranger Hannah. She took us out to the little stream behind the Visitor Center and taught us how to catch salamanders. The kids had lots of fun splashing around in the stream.

Spaceman even caught a salamander. Mommy is still learning to use the camera and forgot to use macro mode. Too bad the salamander came out all blurry.

Once our friends showed up Ranger Hannah gave us a tour of the Visitor's Center and showed us what life would have been like in the early 1800s. The boy's especially liked the knife that Davy Crockett would have used. No matter how much they asked Ranger Hannah would not let them touch it. Sorry boys.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Living with a Gourmet Chef

Okay, maybe that's streching it a bit, but Gameboy really enjoys all parts of cooking, including making a good presentation. When I was unpacking this time instead of putting all the pretty fancy bowls away I decided to keep them out and use them.

There is a song by Zoe Mulford, Elegy (Crystal Glass), that talks about not saving things for just special days.

Glasses may break if you use them every day
You can keep them safe - but what good are they
if they just stay shut up in some chest?
Why wait to use the very best?

So in that spirit we have been using the fancy glass bowls. For lunch last Thursday Gameboy came up with a very creative use for the hobnail milkglass candy dish my Mom had passed on to me.

Yes, those are corndogs.
Don't you think they complement the dish beautifully?
Gameboy and the Princess think so.