Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy All Hallow's Eve

What a whirlwind of a weekend!  Saturday morning began with Cavett's baseball game at 10:15, in which Chick-Fil-A followed with Grandmama and Uncle Austin and Aunt Karen. 

Next, we made in to Cavett's school in time for my shift at the Cupcake Walk while Dad (a.k.a. The Cat in the Hat) and Grandmama escorted the kids around. 

Aside--Two weeks ago Cavett decided on Thing One and Thing Two.  Easy--fleece footy-pjs, some white felt and Uldene's blue swim cap from the 1960's.  Then, I found one more wig on the Internet.  The boys kept telling everyone that Dad was going to be Cat in the Hat.  So, on Friday afternoon with the mathematical skills of Stephen, we whipped up a hat and tie.

After the Cheatham Elementary Festival, we headed to Watter's Creek for the festival where Taylor, one of Cavett's little buddies was having his birthday party.  I thought it was a genius party!  Free and fun!  Petting Zoo, magician, tick-or-treating at the shops.  I was a little nervous about the crowds and loosing them, but after realizing that blue hair was easy to spot, I eased up a little bit. 

At 4, I was dropped off at our church festival to get ready for the Cookie Walk that I was in charge of.  I know, I stuck with one theme for the day on purpose.  I sent the boys and grandmama home to get a little rest before hitting one more party.  The day ended with happy faces and sugared teeth.  Stephen has renamed the weekend Cavity-ween. 

Sunday morning brought a nice break in the candy filled hype with a re-focus on the purpose and what All Saint's Day began as--a celebration of the life of those that have gone before.  It also brought a few harder questions from Cavett about the true meaning of Halloween and what it has turned into. 

We ended with a bit of trick-or-treating to our close-by friends and the neighborhood.  They were sufficiently worn out.  I'm glad this holiday is passed again and look forward to our new tradition for Thanksgiving beginning tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kitchen Concoction

Here's my latest easiest kitchen recipe.  Of course it is from my favorite recipe book, but I hadn't made it until a couple of weeks ago.  It's out of the vegetable section...need I say more.  But, really it works well as a vegetarian entree/casserole.  Stop and Smell the Rosemary by the Houston Junior is the end all be all of great showstoppers.  If only I could get my kids to try it, I know they'd like it.  Enjoy!

Tamale Pie

2 c. corn
1 c. chicken stock
1 c. masa harina (in the flour section at the grocery store)
1 can creamed corn
1 t. baking powder
2 T. melted butter

2 cans (15 oz.) black beans rinsed and drained
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. chili powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
pinch of cayenne
1/2 t. oregano
1/4 c. tomato paste
1 can (4.5 oz.) diced green chilies
8 oz. Cheddar cheese, shredded (2 c.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 7X11" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Puree corn briefly in a food processor.  Add creamed corn, stock, masa, baking powder, and butter and briefly pulse.  Set aside. 

Combine remaining ingredients, except cheese, in a large bowl and mix. 

Spread 2/3 of the corn mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.  Layer the bean mixture and cheese.  Top with remaining masa corn mixture.

Bake 1 hour.  Serve with salsa. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


This afternoon we decided to estimate the number of pumpkin seeds that we scooped out of the pumpkin we carved over the weekend.  However, it wasn't all of them out of the pumpkin, because we used a couple handfuls for an art project. 

So, Cavett estimated 201.  We counted them out in groups of 10.  Once we got up to 200, he reassessed and decided, "ok, maybe 230."  He came close.  252 was the actual count. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Comfort and Hope

Richard Hill and David Dent-
taken Oct. 6, 2002 at my Graduate Recital in Houston.
I am allowing myself one blog this year to remember those who left us last fall--Stephen's Dad (Richard) who passed away a year ago today, his grandmother (Uldene), my grandmother (Eleanor), grandfather (Bert) and my great aunt (Alice)--and 8 years ago my father (David). 

Death is a hard thing and it doesn't matter how you go.  If it is a quick, tragic event where you don't get to say good-bye such as a car accident or if it is a long drawn out cancer, it doesn't matter.  Death is death and there is no easy way to go. And, it's hard on all involved.

However, there is hope.  God has a plan.  He has a reason for everything.  Without this hope and view of such purpose, life and the passing of life is a sad experience. 

I Chronicles 29:15 says, "We are here for only a moment...Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope."  And it's true, we are only here for a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of time, but put here for a purpose.  Without hope it is a hollow, shallow, self-centered existence. 

Just look at Job and how many times the word "hope" is mentioned in his book--at least 18 times depending on the translation.  Psalms--full of hope.  Hope and faith are what bring us through the tough times.  And, those times will come no matter who you are.  This hope is what gives us purpose and to persevere no matter the circumstances. 

We have this hope because God has given us grace.  His grace is an undeserved favor, mercy rescuing us from our own destruction, because we are all sinners and fallen short of His glory.  We can't be made right by doing what the law commands, it just shows us how sin-filled we are. We don't earn grace by doing good deeds either. God gave his son, Jesus as a sacrifice for sin.  (Rom. 3:20-26, 4:16, and Eph. 2:8-9)  And, he conquered the grave.  Death has been defeated and those who put their trust in Him will have eternal life. (John 17:3 and I Cor. 15:56-57) 

This is the comfort and confirmation he gives us. 

Recently, again in choir practice I was reminded by the text of what it will be like.  We were singing Mack Wilberg's "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need."  It's a take on the 23 Psalm with beautiful words, text painting finely woven into the texture of the music accompanied by (every time I've done it) 2 flutes.  The last stanza was the one that really hit home, paralleling verse 6--"Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." 

"Thy sure provision of my God attend me all my days.
O may thy house be mine abode and all my work be praise! 
There would I find a settled rest while others come and go,
No more a stranger, nor a guest, but like a child at home."

Our choir director, Phillip reminded most of us about what it feels like to come back home from college--to have that home cooked meal and love lavished on us by parents who have missed us--to feel like a child at home.  Through no fault of anyone, I haven't felt this on earth since the passing of Dadoo.  Mom doesn't live in the same house where I grew up (and I'm glad she doesn't.)  But when I "go home" I don't feel like a stranger or a guest, but I also don't feel "like a child at home."  My hope is that one day with my heavenly Father, I will feel that again.  Not a stranger or a guest, but like a child at home.

I know that Dadoo, Richard, Uldene, Alice, Gran and Granpaw feel that today.  They are settled in and feel that rest in the Lord.  Their work was all praise for Him and now they are at home.  I can't wait to have that feeling with my heavenly father and be reunited with those I love.

I have hope in my Lord, Jesus Christ.

Art: Picasso's Child Holding a Dove

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Good, the Bad

The Good:  This weekend we were blessed by a visit with our dear friends the Alexanders.  We immensely enjoyed the company,the conversation and the catching up.  Our kiddos did as well.  We were also able to celebrate our college friend, Sha-nay-nay's, Renee's birthday.

The Bad:  When we came home that evening, Anna went to check on Walker only to find that he had thrown up at some point.  Bless his heart, it didn't quit.  Unfortunately, this seems to be a trend when they visit.  Hopefully, it won't continue when we reconvene for Anna's birthday in Grand Saline next year. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Cool Fall Morning Bliss

This morning's adventure was in the kitchen--pumpkin pancakes.  I've been looking for a good kid-friendly recipe with pumpkin that wasn't a cookie or cake.  Cavett's class is having a pumpkin tasting next week and I volunteered to bring something in the non-cookie/cake genre.  Pancakes are on the verge, but I was also looking for something they would actually try.

Compared to some "make from scratch" pancake recipes, this one was pretty easy.  Be ready, these are not Reduced Fat Bisquick style.  Talk about yummy!

2 c. all purpose flour
8 T. packed brown sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 2/3 c. buttermilk
1/2 of a can of pumpkin
3 large eggs
2 T. melted butter

Mix the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl and blend.  Whisk buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs and melted butter in a medium bowl until blended.  Add to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.  Cook in a skillet on medium heat.  Serve with syrup. 

Although, Cavett complained at the start, he said he liked them ok and finished his plate of two.  Kendrick gobbled up two and asked for more.  Let's hear it for vitamin A!

Friday, October 15, 2010


I volunteered at Cavett's school today and afterwards in talking with another parent, I am the only one that has been allowed to stay in the room.  I'm not sure what this says about me and I'm not sure that it is because she likes me....  anyway.  I was able to observe Cavett's behavior and a little bit of teaching.  One of the things they did was "Writing Around the Room."  This is where they are given a word or a set of words and then they are to write down words from around the room that start with each letter of the word given.  For example, today's word was "Community Helper," since they have been talking about this in their social studies lessons and has had speakers from the community all week.


In the 5 minutes they were given, he got 5 written, but I also observed some talking with his best friend, Owen.  Other kids got 11!  The work sheet was sent home so we completed it at home.  It took him under 5 minutes to come up with all the rest of words, granted he didn't have to walk around the room and find stuff.  Afterward, we decided to try a "spelling test" of his sight words so far this year:  I, like, to, the, a, an, can, am, you, my, are. 

He did pretty well, except for knowing when to use a capital letter.  Next, I asked him to use each word in a sentence.  We didn't write them down, but I started to after a while, because they just kept getting better and better. 

I love you.
I like to play with this.  (knocked out two in one!)
The alligator is big.  (at this point we started talking about where the period goes.)
A pencil is writing on paper. (at first he gave the next sentence, but then I reminded him of the a/an rule.)
An astronaut went into space.
Can I borrow this?  (totally threw me off guard.  I was expecting a statement, not a question.  Then I asked him to use in like a statement.) 
I can open this can(uh, hello.  He used it in two different ways!)
Am I doing something wrong?  (yet another question.)
I am a superhero!  (now he wanted to use exclaimation marks)
You are the best mom ever!
My mom is awesome!
Are you my friend?

Gosh, I love this kid.  I don't care what grade there is on the report card or what his teacher says or whether or not he gets into the GT program.  He's awesome!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Frog vs. the Monkeys

Last night Stephen heard a noise coming from Cavett's room.  He went to check on him and see what was going on.  Here is the conversation that transpired:

Stephen:  Time to be quiet Cavett.  It's bed time.
Cavett: It wasn't me!
S: Who was it?
C: Frog!

(Frog is one of Cavett's stuff animals that has been banished from the bed due to the multitudes he is sleeping with now.)

S: Is he in bed with you?
C: No, he's on the bookshelf.
S: Why is he making noise?
C: Because the monkeys are beating him up!
S:  (Laughing) I love your imagination, Cavett.

I asked him this morning if Frog survived the night.  He told me that the monkeys thought he was a punching bag.  He's ok though.  No worries.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkin Soup

This weekend, besides my sister's incredibly easy pumpkin cupcakes, I cooked two pumpkins for soup. Last year I found this great low-calorie/low fat recipe. Unfortunately, when I went to make it this spring, there was no pumpkin to be found. So, this year I'm freezing some.

Thought I'd share:

2 Leeks chopped (white and light green parts)

1 can of Pumpkin or 2 cups baked fresh pumpkin

16 oz. can Garbanzo beans (rinsed)

2 c. Chicken broth

1/2 c. Cooking sherry

1 1/2 t. Oregano

1 t. White pepper

Salt to taste

In a pot, sauté leeks in 1 t. Olive oil. Add remaining ingredients over medium heat. Blend with hand held emulsifier/blender. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and parsley.


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Friday, October 8, 2010

How Much Fun Can You Have with a Re-Usable Grocery Bag?

This much....

Kindergarten Report and Awards

Earlier in the week, I was notified that Cavett was to receive an award at the Celebration Awards Ceremony.  I was elated!  Stephen's comment was--"you know every kids is going to get one."  Through looking at emails and talking to other parents, I determined this was not the fact.  He was part of a select few. 

The assembly was today and Stephen was still out of town.  Bummer.  I took Kendrick and we brought Chick-Fil-A to him for lunch and then we waited in the gym.  The kids sat on the floor parents in the stands and the teachers tried to call out names over the poor sound system.

Cavett received two awards.  The first was for perfect attendance.  The second was for the 110% award.  I was excited.  Only 5 students per class received this award.  Again, it was hard to hear, but some were receiving the award for being a great helper or a good reader to others, etc.  Here is Cavett's...

"In recognition of Cavett's determination for controlling his noise making." 

It's hard to be proud of an award of this kind.  It's kind of back handed.  I know he is trying really hard.   I understand that and I know she was trying to be supportive of him and noticing his effort.  And, I know it is a problem.  I knew behavior would be an issue when he was 3 years old.  He doesn't realize he's doing it, but really?  Do you need to call attention to the problem in front of the entire Kindergarten class?    Couldn't there be another positive you could find instead? 

His report card also came home today and it seems his behavior is overshadowing his conceptual benchmarks.  I've been a teacher.  I know how that happens.  I haven't discussed the marks with him at length, but I have talked to him about how he needs to listen to the teacher better and follow her rules and instructions.   He's smart.  Really smart and I will keep affirming this even though his report card doesn't.   He reads and comprehends on a level way higher than Kindergarten.  He grasps phonetics and wants to write words like significant and hippopotamus.  He's interested and curious in how things work.  He's awesome and I will continue to be his advocate while supporting the teacher at the same time. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Art Lessons

I'm happy to report that in the past 10 days Cavett has only had one yellow day instead of green at school.  I think we are getting the behavior figured out and what is expected of him during the day.

On another note, I didn't quite realize how much drawing and coloring was required of the Kindergartener.  We aren't doing as well in that category as in the reading area.  So, today when he brought home this  paper, I decided we needed to have a little art lesson.  Not that I am the artist at all, that is my brother, Jonny.  But, Cavett needed to know how to draw clothes on his stick/big belly person.

The object was to place the necessary items on your person as the weather indicated.  If he could have just written--scarf, hat, umbrella, boots--he would have been fine.  But, no.  Drawing was required.

Here is his final masterpiece.  Hopefully, some of these little tips here and there will help him bridge the gap until just writing is required. 


Our conversation after school today went a little like this...

Mom: What did you do at school today?
Kendrick: Nofing.
Mom: Really? Did you have music?
Kendrick: Nuh-uh.
Mom: You didn't take your Teddy bear to music today and sing.
Kendrick: oh yeah.
Mom: What about books? What book did you read
Kendrick: Nea....
Mom: I know you did.
Kendrick: No I didn't.
Mom: I think you did.
Kendrick: You're arguing with me.

It's all I can do to keep from laughing. And this is the same conversation we had on Tuesday after school. Can you tell that we have been having some back talk at our house?

Turns out they read "Duck on a Bike," one of my favorites and evidently the cow and the sheep are his favorites in the story.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

4 Trips

After running 1 1/2 miles

It's been a while since I have written about the kids.  BSF has started up, Stephen is trying to hire 2 girls at the office and keep them all happy and the kids have just been going with the flow, but I thought it was time for an update, especially since I made 4 trips to Cavett's elementary school today. 

Trip #1- Easy and predictable, dropped him off at shool with Kendrick in his pj's.

Trip #2- Surprised Cavett at lunch and he got to eat on the stage with me.  Afterwards, made a shopping trip at the school book fair. 

Trip #3-  Took Kendrick with me for Run Club after school.  The gym teachers marked out a half a mile track around the school grounds.  There were about 150 kids and each time they passed "go" got a mark on their card.  There are prizes when you get up to 5 miles.  To my surprise both kids totally ran a mile by themselves with short bursts of walking.  What was difficult was that Kendrick wanted to hold my hand as we ran.  We ended up doing a 1 1/2 in about 30 minutes.  Not bad.  They will now be signed up for the 1 mile Fun Run in Allen in a few weeks!

Trip #4-  Headed back for "Milk and Cookies" Night at the school.  The kids got to dress in their pj's and listened to stories being read by teachers in the library.  Afterward was a PTA meeting with the milk and cookies.  Of course, Kendrick doesn't know a stranger and headed right for a teacher's lap! 

Did I mention that Stephen is on a plane to Vegas?

I. am. exhausted. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Finding Meaning

My mom always talked about how A.C. "Cheesy" Voran, founder and original director of the Centenary College Choir alway found a way to get the kids to find meaning, heart and belief in the sacred choral pieces they sang.

For me and my education in choral music, I never had a director like that and was always a little jealous when she talked about it. Someone might mention it here and there, but I never felt like it was enough. And, when you are in the education side of choral music you aren't at liberty to discuss such things. I was just glad to even be able to use sacred "historical" music. But, the focus was always on the music and the perfection of musical elements.

Maybe it is where I am now spiritually, maybe it is the music that I am singing, maybe it is the group I am singing with, maybe it is just that I had a year hiatus from singing. But, I believe a lot of it has to do with the director I am singing with now--Phillip Haworth.
Yes, our group is not large and they are all volunteers and we aren't perfect, but how he leads us is spiritually driven. It's not about Phillip. It's not about the singers. It's about God and his message though music. And that is how it should be. Too often our own egos and pride get in the way of praise to Him. It's a delicate balance.

In Isaiah 2:11,12,and 17, the Lord says three times that the prideful will be brought down . How often have we been proud of ourselves and not acknowledged from where our gifts, talents and strength comes from? In music or a work of art?  On a project, event or presentation?  In making that clenching sale?  On a run or workout?  On a written paper or test?  In cleaning the house and getting the laundry done?  In taking care of kids and husbands?  I'm guilty.

So, my new focus is not on perfecting the musical elements, it is to sing the words with meaning in my heart. Not just in singing but in all things. 

Psalms 121:1-2  "I look up to the mountains-does my help come from there?  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth."

Here's the one that stuck out to me at Wednesday night' rehearsal. The tune is from Holst's The Planets or hymn tune THAXTED.

For we can only wonder at every gift you send,
At blessings without number and mercies without end:
For Christ your gift from heaven, from death has set us free,
And we through him are given the final victory.

Hear, O gracious Saviour, accept our love that we,
Who know your favor may serve our King.
And whether our tomorrows be filled with good or ill,
We'll triumph through our sorrows and rise to bless you still:
To marvel at your beauty and glory in your ways,
Make joyful duty our song of praise.