Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Six years old!



Happy Birthday Ellie!!! 
You have had a fun year - lots of horse time, soccer, and are now a Kindergartner! 
You are a sweet girl, a wonderful big sister, and I like that you are an artist like me :) 
Have fun and eat some cake for all of us in Tulsa!
We LOVE you




TaaDaa!!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Giving

I am a first grade teacher to 21 sweet little 6 and 7 year olds at Jenks Southeast Elementary here in Tulsa. I really do enjoy my job- yes, it takes a lot of patience and work, but there are so many rewards to being a teacher. Each year in December I do a Giving Unit with my 1st graders and it is one of my most favorite units we do all year because it is such important lesson for these little ones to learn. Most of my class comes from a family who are fortunate and live a comfortable life- and for the most part usually get what they ask for. The Giving Unit opens their eyes to the importance of giving instead of receiving and tangible gifts vs. intangible gifts especially during this Christmas season.

We read the following books:

this book brings a tear to my eye each time I read it. We talk about how throughout the little boy's life, the tree was always able to give something to make the boy happy; and in return that made the tree happy.

The Night Tree is a book about giving to birds, squirrels, animals of nature. This family has a tradition of finding the same tree in the forest each year and stringing it with popcorn strings, peanut butter bird food balls, etc. My class then takes a bagel and spreads cream cheese on it and dip it in bird food. As a class we walk outside and find the trees that our classroom windows look out to and hang the bagels on branches. The kids love seeing if the birds have eaten off their bagel throughout the weeks. 

Aww sweet Claude...it's all about Claude who gives his gifts that his family gave him on Christmas to Buster, a stray dog who has no family- gives me a lump in my throat each time I read it. The kids write notes to the dogs in the local Animal Shelter and we make little doggie bags filled with treats and milk bones. Then my husband delivers them for me, because I can't bear to walk in the animal shelter.

The Gift of Nothing my 1st graders always giggle through this book. This is a wonderful book to teach about intangible gifts. The kids then talk about an intangible gift they could give a loved one- love, laughter, friendship, kindness, a hug, etc. Always so sweet to read what they think up. 

At the end of the week, we also give the gift of song by caroling to the residents of The Arbors Assisted Living across the street from our school. The littles are always a little nervous as we walk into the nursing home, but once we leave, they have huge smiles on their faces. I think they have learned what it is to be GIVING.


"Give freely to the world these gifts of love and compassion. Do not concern yourself with how much you receive in return, just know in your heart it will be returned.” 


I hope my first graders take what they have learned about giving past this Christmas season and remember it the rest of the year and hopefully even the rest of their lives. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Santa's Workshop

It was a busy day over here at the workshop as we crafted, baked, watched Christmas movies and just enjoyed making merry! The photos expose us - there was sugar consumed! This has become an annual tradition with the three of us that we look forward to~time to create, talk, eat, relax, and enjoy a day of not rushing from one thing to another.


~ We're dreaming of a white Chrsitmas ~

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Baby sister

Happy, Happy Birthday Sweet Carolie!


Birthday wishes for a year of happiness, love, contentment and discovery as you travel the road of your life!





Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Just a few images from last week, one of our best Thanksgivings ever!

day before Thanksgiving~a little sugar to start our day of cooking

 pie baking

cranberry relish making 

chopping veggies for the dressing

 Thanksgiving breakfast toasting!

 junior potato peelers

 centerpieces

 the table is set

time to feast!




The day after we were treated to a Holiday Brunch at Emily and Blake's. She had switched gears to Christmas and somehow we were all hungry again!


 our hosts

 the girls

After the guys left for a game of golf the girls had our own fun afternoon planned -
"Let's Craft!"
 we made cork Christmas trees


Ellie is quite the artist and colored intently for hours on a gingerbread scene


 our finished trees all snazzed up

next we moved on to larger, fabric trees 

the proud artists!

So thankful for Thanksgiving and all the family time and memories it brings!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The week ahead....



This is one of my favorite weeks of the year, that week before Thanksgiving. It stirs up so many fond memories of Thanksgivings past and there is excitement for the present and getting ready for family to arrive and share the holiday. 

There are so many good smells I associate with this day~turkey roasting, the sweetness of cinnamon and cloves from pies, my aunt's heavenly dinner rolls and maybe my favorite dish-the dressing and it's oniony-sagey aroma. Ok, my mouth is watering as I type. 

There are memories of my grandmothers, donned in aprons, scurrying around their little kitchens, dishes covering every inch of space, pies cooling on the window ledge, the men in front of the football game, lots of chatter and laughter in the kitchen from all of the women. Both of my grandmothers were excellent cooks and everything was made from scratch and love. We lived a couple of hours away and driving through the Illinois countryside I couldn't help but hum the tune in my head "over the river and through the woods...." I remember lovingly those no longer with us and how they made those Thanksgivings so special.


I love all the preparation and planning - the menus made, the grocery lists organized, the house cleaning, and most of all the cooking. I make dressing like my mom and grandmothers~ bread drying on cookie sheets all over the kitchen, pecans are bought at the farmer's stand south of my home, apple butter canned. We like to add a new dish each year but the standards are always our favorites.



Beyond the feast even more I love having my family all gathered here. Champagne with cranberry juice is toasted with early in the day. Last year we made a Thankful Tree and each wrote our gratitude on a leaf which then hung on the tree. This year my little neice and nephew are in charge, it will be fun to see what they create. After the dinner it is necessary to change into our most comfy clothes so we can lounge, nap, play games and visit.

Feeling very blessed and thankful for family and all these good gifts of the season!


Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year;
to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.
~Edward Sandford Martin

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Putting the fall in fall break...

It was fall break here last week, a much anticipated and deserved break for my daughters who teach. We spent a few days getting into the season- crafting, shopping, lunch out at one of our favorite spots to eat in Utica Square, a fall hike and finally making apple butter! It was our first attempt and the results if we do say so were delish!

First, we picked apples from our orchard....(aka the grocery store)


 Next we had a peel-a-thon of those apples, a mixture of Gala and Jonathans. 


We used the crockpot method of cooking them and added sugar, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. 

They cooked all day long as we went about our business and gave the house the most heavenly aroma. Fall had arrived! Too bad this isn't a scratch-n-sniff post!

After 10 hours in the crockpot we blended batches in the blender as I do not have a handheld immersion blender which would have done the trick.
The jars and lids had been sterilized and were ready to be filled. Next came the water bath for 15 minutes. Once they came out we heard the "ting ting" of the lids, evidence that they were sealed.

I snuck a taste as the butter went from pot to jar and it was sweet and spicy!

Autumn in a jar!